Fire Clean Up Tips - Removing Soot And Smoke From A Leather Chair

Posted on: 12 March 2015

If you have recently had a fire in your home, then it is wise to hire fire damage experts to remove the soot, smoke, and water from your house. These individuals will help to prevent permanent tarnishing of metal items and etching of glass surfaces. Floor, wall, and ceiling cleaning will also be completed to remove the majority of the smoke damage. More extensive cleaning of household items can also be arranged. If you want to clean your furniture yourself though, then you need to take care when cleansing porous materials like leather. Follow the tips below to remove soot and smoke smells from a leather chair.

Release External Soot

The first step in cleaning a smoke or fire damaged leather chair is to remove the excess soot that has landed on the furniture item. There is likely both dry and oily soot attached to the surface of the leather. Dry soot can be released with the use of a vacuum cleaner, and one with a HEPA filter is best. HEPA filters can remove particles that are about. 3 microns in size. This means that it is effective in keeping the 5 to 30 nanometer soot particles from being released back into the air.  

Secure the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clear the dry soot away. Oily soot will then be left behind. This soot material is generally acidic in nature and a basic substance is required to clean the debris from your leather chair. Ammonia can be used for this purpose, but make sure to dilute the cleaner so it does not burn the leather during the cleaning process. Add about one-eighth of a cup of ammonia to three cups of water and place the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray your chair and use a damp cloth to gently wipe the cleaner and soot away.

Clean Ingrained Debris

Once you release the soot that sits on the outside of the leather, you will need to clean the debris that has worked into the chair. Leather is a porous material that is made out of the hide of a cow or another animal. About 25% to 30% of the hide is comprised of protein matter that is formed from fibrous bands of collagen. These collagen bands allow soot and smoke smells to remain within the leather material. This means that you need to pull out the odors from the pores to effectively clean a fire damaged chair.

Acidic substances can work their way into the pours of your leather couch to remove both smoke smells and leftover soot stains. Vinegar is a mild acid that will not damage the leather of your chair. Mix about one cup of vinegar with one cup of water and apply the mixture to your chair. Use circular motions to release as much soot and debris as possible and clear the extra moisture away with a clean cloth.

Condition Your Chair

After you have finished cleaning your leather chair, you will need to condition the leather. This is wise, because the cleaning process can dry out the natural hide and lead to cracks and rips in the future. To prevent this from happening, purchase a leather conditioner or cream. These products will both lubricate and protect the leather hide.

Add a thin layer of the conditioning cream to your chair and allow the leather to soak up the lubricant overnight. If the leather still seems dry, then add another thin layer to the surface. Two layers of cream are more than enough though, because too much moisture and lubrication will cause the fibers within the leather to break down and become soft.

Fires in the home can be quite devastating, and fire damage contractors can help to remove soot and smoke so you can enter your home once again. Sometimes, personal items may smell for some time after the cleaning crew leaves though. If a leather chair is left dirty and smelly, then follow the tips above and get more information to properly take care of the furniture item.