different types of smoke damage restoration techniques for every scenario

The Different Types of Smoke Damage: Professional Restoration Techniques for Each Scenario

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When you hear of smoke damage, you likely have an idea of what it looks like in your head, but professionals have a longer list of ideas. In fact, smoke damage is more nuanced than many people think. Professionals deal with a wide range of different types of smoke damage, and each type offers its own challenges along with its own clean-up method.

Given the many challenges and the different strategies needed for different types of restorations, you should consult a professional smoke damage removal service to restore your property back to normal. After all, professionals have the expertise and equipment needed to ensure an effective restoration.

Still, understanding how to clean smoke damage and knowing the different types will give you an idea of what you can expect from a professional restoration service.

Different Types of Smoke Damage

Restoring smoke damage in your house or business isn’t as straightforward as many people think. Restoration experts deal with several different types of smoke damage, and each type requires its own clean-up strategy. There are four main types of smoke damage that experts handle.

Wet Smoke

Damage from wet smoke results in a thick, sticky, and unpleasant-smelling residue. Wet smoke results mainly from low-heat, smoldering fires. These fires leave a dense residue that is difficult to clean and can easily cover your home.

Some of the main causes of wet smoke include:

  • Burning plastics
  • Burnt synthetic materials
  • Burning rubber

Wet smoke most commonly occurs as a result of kitchen fires or fires in areas with synthetic furniture.

When you try to clean wet smoke damage, it will typically result in the residue smearing and spreading. Because wet smoke is so challenging to clean, it often requires special equipment to handle it properly, making it important to rely on the professionals.

To clean wet smoke residue, the experts use specialized cleaning agents and professional-grade equipment, like high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums and thermal fogging machines. These methods ensure that the area is as safe and clean as possible.

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke is the result of fast-burning fires that have high heat. As its name suggests, this form of smoke damage often leaves behind a fine, powdery residue. This powder is easiest to clean compared to other forms of smoke damage. 

Although it still has an odor, it is also not as strong as other forms of smoke damage. Still, it is important to take it just as seriously as the other types of form.

The most common causes of dry smoke fires are paper and wood. However, dry smoke damage restoration is needed in instances of electrical fires, appliance fires, or fireplace accidents.

It can be difficult to clean dry smoke damage as it can travel through air ducts and sink into porous materials, like furniture, carpet, and wood. Because dry smoke permeates porous materials, the odor of smoke can remain even if the area appears clean on a surface level.

Fortunately, a professional service can remove as much of the dry smoke damage as possible using specialized methods. To clean dry smoke damage, the experts use air filtration systems and other equipment, like air scrubbers, vacuums, and ozone generators.

Protein Residue

Protein residue occurs from fires that involve organic materials, like food. Fires that result in protein residue are particularly difficult to address because they leave behind a thin, greasy film along with a unique and unpleasant odor.

Fires that lead to protein residue include:

  • Restaurant fires
  • Oven or stovetop fires
  • Cooking fires

The full extent of damage from a protein-related fire isn’t always clear to untrained professionals. Therefore, it’s important to turn to a professional smoke damage removal service for the best results.

Addressing protein residue requires the right equipment and expertise. This harsh residue can stain painted and varnished surfaces, so it requires urgent action to minimize the effects. To effectively clean protein residue, professionals use enzyme-based cleaners, degreasers, and tools like steam cleaners and pressure washers.


Soot is a dense and difficult-to-clean residue resulting from smoke damage. Like wet smoke residue, soot is sticky and spreads easily. Soot can stick to surfaces and even get stuck in your HVAC system. Inhaling soot creates a significant health risk, so it is important to rely on the professionals with the proper equipment to address it.

Causes of soot include:

  • Candle fires
  • Chimney fires
  • Furnace malfunctions
  • Large house fires
  • Heating system fires

Cleaning soot requires special equipment and cleaning methods. To address soot damage, professionals use dry cleaning tools, HEPA vacuuming, and other specialized techniques like thermal fogging and dry ice blasting.

Professional Smoke Damage Restoration Process

Professional smoke damage restoration services have established processes and procedures to ensure a safe and effective restoration for every property they clean. To get rid of smoke damage, the professionals follow a process that looks like this:

  • Initial Assessment – Professionals will always begin by performing a thorough inspection of the damaged area, assessing the extent of the damage and determining a proper plan for restoring all affected areas.
  • Cleaning Procedures – After determining the scope of the damage, the professional team will follow detailed cleaning methods to address the full effects, cleaning your surfaces, belongings, and air ducts.
  • Deodorization – To address the unpleasant, lingering smoke odors after a fire, professionals use a range of methods, including ozone treatment, thermal fogging, and air purification.
  • Restoration of Surfaces and Materials – In an in-depth restoration, professionals will do their best to restore as much of the property to its pre-loss condition as possible, including surfaces, furniture, fabrics, electronics, and other affected materials.

Throughout the process, professionals will also follow advanced safety precautions to protect themselves and the property. Precautions that professionals take include wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilating the area. By trusting a well-established professional service, you can have more confidence in a successful result.

Benefits of Hiring Professional Smoke Damage Restoration Services

Often, it is easier to think about tackling certain jobs yourself. However, when it comes to smoke damage, things can be a bit more complicated, and it’s best to leave the restoration process to the professionals. Ultimately, there are multiple reasons to trust professional smoke damage restoration services to clean smoke damage in your house or property.

1. Expertise and Experience

Smoke damage clean-up is not easy, but professionals have experience dealing with a wide range of smoke damage, making it a bit easier for them to employ the proper clean-up methods. This expertise and experience allow them to determine the full extent of the damage and address it accordingly. Professionals will be able to identify the type of smoke damage and know which approach to use to clean it.

2. Specialized Equipment

A rag and some soapy water will rarely be enough to clean smoke damage. To perform a thorough cleaning, you must have the necessary cleaning solvents and tools, especially for the harder-to-clean types of smoke damage.

If you were to take on the job yourself, not only do you need the proper cleaning supplies, but you will also need the necessary protective equipment. Working in a smoke-damaged area is no joke, as it means you are exposed to harmful, toxic chemicals—this is the case for any type of smoke damage. During the cleaning process, it’s vital that you protect your skin, eyes, and lungs.

Hiring professional restoration services means you don’t have to break the bank by buying all the equipment needed for an effective smoke damage restoration. Opting for professional help also ensures you don’t have to put yourself at risk and can leave the risks to those who know how to mitigate them.

3. Time and Cost Efficiency

Although hiring professionals often sounds more costly, it is well worth it when you factor in the time, energy, and materials you save. What would likely be a several-day job for you will only be a matter of hours for the pros. Plus, the price of paying a professional offers the unbeatable value of peace of mind.

Since they already have all the necessary materials, you won’t need to worry about buying any cleaning products or tools yourself. Once the experts get to work, you can enjoy being able to sit back and let them work with their established and efficient techniques and processes.

4. Guaranteed Results

When you perform a smoke damage restoration on your own, there is a lot to consider, and you won’t always know what to expect from the results. If something goes wrong during a restoration, it falls back on you to try again to address it. However, when you rely on a professional service, you know they will ensure the best outcome.

A professional service will provide you more confidence that they know what they are doing and will achieve better results. On top of that, many professional services offer warranties or guarantees on their work, meaning that if something goes wrong, they will come back to fix the issue for good at no charge to you.

Altogether, relying on a professional service will provide you with much more peace of mind, both during and after the restoration.

Call Alpha Environmental for Smoke Damage Restoration

Smoke damage restoration is more complex than many think, with several types of smoke damage and different methods required to address them properly. Fortunately, with the right help, you can tackle fire and smoke damage and get your home back to normal.

Our team at Alpha Environmental is here to support you with any type of fire and smoke damage restoration. We respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will take every step to protect your property and belongings, all while acting with the urgency your situation deserves.

Contact us here at Alpha Environmental to schedule an appointment for a free estimate. We will assess the damage and perform a thorough restoration with our 21 years of expertise.

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Lake Oswego, OR
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Beaverton, OR
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