The Dangers of Soot. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
It doesn’t seem that dangerous. It’s just the byproduct of a fire… maybe from a chimney, a furnace puff-back, even an over-zealous gas grill. When the fire is out, you should be able to clean up the soot residue easily, right?
Not so fast! Soot has some characteristics that everyone should consider before attempting to clean. Those who perform fire damage work understand the dangers of soot. So do emergency personnel like firemen. In fact, outdoor soot is regulated by the EPA, classified as a criteria pollutant.
Consider these facts about soot.
Soot is made up of very fine carbon particles that become airborne and can remain airborne for quite some time. You must consider this if any type of fire occurs. When it is in your breathing space, it can end up in your lungs. You may not realize it is happening, but it is, and it can cause damage to your mouth, nose, throat and, of course, where it ends up… in your lungs. And did you know that “harmless” wood smoke has many chemical similarities to cigarette smoke?
Skin contact can be dangerous. The International Agency for Research on Cancer says the specific type of hydrocarbons in soot are classified as a “known human carcinogen.” So if you do attempt any cleaning, remember that simple contact, not even breathing in residues, can be potentially harmful to you. Ventilation of affected spaces is required.
Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment is a must for the professionals, and so it should be for you if you do any of the work yourself. Qualified respiratory, skin and eye protection should be purchased.
So when you do have the unthinkable happen, such as from a fire, furnace puff-back or other source that produces soot, think carefully before proceeding.
It’s best to leave the tough work to your disaster restoration pros!
Avoiding Wood Deck Woes. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
Wood decks can be beautiful things, add value and enjoyment to your home. Unless they are ignored or neglected, of course.
Like any surface in your home, a wood deck needs some special care. While a lower-cost alternative to pavers, concrete and other hard surface materials, wood decks are very attractive, especially if you chose a color tone that matches your home and is one you enjoy.
But after a year or two, aging happens and dirt and grime accumulates. Stains as well. You start to wonder what you can do to bring back to life the deck you admired so much.
You can do quite a bit, actually. Just take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and put to practice these short, easy steps to revitalize your deck.
Wood deck maintenance tips
The first smart action to take is to keep the deck as clean as possible at all times. Sweep or wash it off with a garden hose on a regular schedule. Debris left on the deck can cause uneven weathering and staining.
When you do wash the deck, let it dry and inspect it. If there are stains, use an oxidizing cleaning product that comes in powder form that you mix with warm water. Do not use chlorine bleach. Apply the solution to the deck and work it over the surface with a brush, allow approximately 15 minutes of contact time, and rinse it all off. The oxidizing cleaning product is similar to what you find in laundry detergents, so it is fairly safe to use. Do NOT use chlorine bleach!
If that doesn’t do the trick, visit your favorite hardware store and ask about stronger wood cleaning products, but be sure to mention the type of wood your deck is made from. That may affect the type of product you should use. Follow the directions carefully.
Of course, your cleaning pros have the best advice on how to clean virtually any surface. Do the smart thing and give them a call!