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How to clean up after a small kitchen fire

Small fires occur in kitchens due to distractions while cooking, a flare-up of grease or a faulty appliance. This leaves soot, a foul odour and unsightly residue on the surfaces of your kitchen countertop, ceilings, walls and floor. Cleaning the area properly helps remove the odour, stains and debris from the fire. A fire restoration company is often necessary after a large fire, but homeowners can clean up after a small fire quickly by using the right products.

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  1. Open all the windows and doors to ventilate the kitchen. This helps remove smoke odour and the fumes. Set an exhaust fan near or in your window frame, if you have one. Position the fan so that it sucks out the air in the kitchen and blows it outside.

  2. Mix a solution of 6 tbsp of trisodium phosphate, 1 cup of chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of warm water. Tri-sodium phosphate is a caustic yet effective cleaner, therefore wear rubber gloves while using the solution.

  3. Scrub the walls, furniture and floors with a sponge dipped into the solution and wrung out well.

  4. Rinse the areas well with clear water and dry the surfaces with a soft towel.

  5. Wash the pots, pans and flatware with a mild, liquid dishwashing detergent and a dishcloth.

  6. Rinse the pots, pans and flatware well with clear water.

  7. Scrub the kitchen cookware or flatware with a fine-powder cleanser. Another effective method is to saturate a dishcloth with vinegar. Wring the dishcloth well and sprinkle regular table salt on it. Use the dishcloth to scrub any residue or stains that result from the fire.

  8. Rinse all the items well and dry with a dish towel.

  9. Tip

    Set out small bowls of vinegar in the kitchen and other areas where the smoke odour remains. Vinegar neutralises and absorbs the odour after a couple of hours. Tri-sodium phosphate is available at discount, hardware and home supply stores. Test any textured, painted or wallpaper finishes before using bleach on them. Mix 1 cup chlorine bleach with one gallon of water. Apply the mixture to a small area with a sponge and wait 24 hours. Check for discolouration or spotting, if the area looks fine you can use the bleach solution. Wipe down all counter surfaces with 1 cup chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. This prevents mould and mildew from growing and effectively sanitises the area. Avoid getting washable wallpaper too damp during the cleaning process. This may cause it to peel. If seams or edges loosen or peel, use wallpaper paste to glue them back into place. Clean the wallpaper from the bottom to the top. Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up any wet debris as a result of putting out the fire. Vacuum attachments are handy to remove soot and other debris from hard-to-reach areas. (see ref 2 bullets 1 & 2)


    Never mix bleach with ammonia-containing products. This results in toxic fumes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Window fans
  • Bucket
  • Measuring spoon and cup
  • Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Chlorine bleach or all-purpose cleaner
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • Mild liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Dishcloth
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Table salt
  • Dish towel
  • Small bowls
  • Wallpaper paste (optional)
  • Wet/dry vacuum (optional)
  • Vacuum cleaner with attachments (optional)

About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.

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