Hey there, Adam Vermilyea here. It’s been a minute, right?
Along those lines, a lot has changed in our world since we started fighting COVID-19 in the spring right?
Basically, after adjusting how we clean, our cleaning solutions (free antimicrobial), and our Personal Protective Equipment like Kn95 Masks, we went into a warm dry summer. My team and I carefully kept distance and kept working.
Then while I was vacationing with my family, the wildfires began. The vacation came to a close.
“Ash from wildfires turns into lye when wet…”
After an amazing 6 months of twists and turns, cleaning, safety changes, the indoor air quality of all our clients houses are now at risk because of smoke damage.
But that’s not the only problem. Ash from wildfires turns into lye when wet. Lye is very caustic chemical capable of causing serious damage. It can burn skin, cause blindness, and even cause death if ingested, of course this is on the extreme side, but it’s still true.
A common concern is the affect this has on the external your home. Patios, decks, cars and windows. It will eat away at these things if not cared for properly.
Another major concern is poor air quality inside your home…
When I got home, I wanted to clean immediately…but today, 4 days later the smoke is still here! Ugh!
So I decided to do research and get prepared. Here’s what I found.
I was reading any article Center for Disease Control (CDC) titled Protecting Children From Wildfire Smoke.
My daughter has asthma, so the article recommended we stock up on medicine, for food we made sure we weren’t grilling or frying anything in the house.
Because the air is so bad outside, your vents won’t be able to exit the concern without drawing in smokey air from outside to replace it. Then it was time to prepare for an evacuation.
It looks like we escaped this, but our neighbors just 10 miles away had to go…so it was close!
The CDC also offers a FREE pdf called Wildfire Smoke Fact Sheet Protecting Children from Wildfire Smoke and Ash (download here) and had some interesting points. One states “Create a “clean room” in your home. Choose a room with few windows and doors. Buy a portable air cleaner you can use in this room. Never use an ozone-generating air cleaner.”
Here’s what else I thought about.
All of our HVAC systems have been affected. And now are distributing small ash particulates throughout your home, causing irritants, and can affect allergy, or asthma sufferers.
Soft textiles (Sofas, Pillows, Carpets, and Rugs) have also absorbed these fine particulates, causing an ongoing problem each time they are disturbed by walking, sitting, or laying down.
What I’m doing to care for our clients at their homes.
Beyond a general clean, our clients are choosing to have us pressure wash their driveways, decks and patios. Windows, and window tracks have also be popular, because the threat of lye eating the vinyl has been a real concern.
As for inside. Vacuum. Getting as much of the ash particles out of your home through dry-extraction will be a huge help. We aways dry-vacuum first in our Healthy Home Packages for Carpets, Upholstery, and Airducts. Usually over 50% of the soil can lift out with a excellent, commercial grade vacuum.
Your carpets, or your are rugs were originally designed as a way to capture dust and debris from circulating in a home. As more houses have hardwoods, luxury-vinyl, or engineered floor, more dust becomes air-born. The rest is trapped under areas like your sofa – have you seen dust tumbleweeds before?
Air Ducts. Unfortunately, most air duct filters are made not to keep your “breathing” air cleaned. The are designed to keep the furnace/AC motor clean and running instead. Which is a good thing, but I’ll like cleaner air too!!!
Let me say this another way. Most air filters are cardboard boxes and do not seal inside your HVAC system. Dust and ash will get it.
If your not sure, take a look just inside any air vent in your home…
If you are considering what to do, DIY air duct cleaning options are available. You attach them to a drill and begin agitating the dust. The problem is, how are you going to catch the debris?
Upholstery: Vacuum, or have your furniture cleaned as well. Do the “Dust Test”. Here’s How: With a flashlight in hand, slap your upholstery, and shine the flashlight up above…any dust particles??? If yes, consider getting it cleaned!
Whether you’re currently a clean it yourself-er (C.I.Y), you have a cleaner, or you’re just thinking about how to handle this smoke and ash situation this hopefully this article gives you a few points to help you organize your cleaning efforts to keep your home clean, safe and healthy.
Pressure wash your patios, decks, driveways, etc.
Clean your windows, and window tracks
Vacuum your Carpets, Area Rugs, Furniture
Wash your bedding
I also want to send a shout out to all the Home School Teachers i.e. Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and Trusted Friends it takes a community!
And cleaning ideas or questions from your smokey “home classroom”?