After the Fire

Editor’s note: Today’s post details the experiences of one of our own employees with our household products during her family’s efforts to salvage clothing and other items damaged in a recent house fire. Please click on the pictures at the end of the post to view the results in greater detail.

We had a fire in October that did substantial damage to our house and most of our contents. The emotional elements of that night will remain with me forever, but we’re all OK and healthy. I know contents can be replaced, but I still got emotional thinking about items of sentimental value or the first outfits my young son wore that I was saving in a keepsake box. Whatever didn’t catch fire had smoke, soot and water damage. Of course, the odor was awful. There were a lot of things that couldn’t be saved, but we felt blessed to have some items we could try and restore.

It’s recommended you remove your contents as soon as possible after a fire because soot basically becomes ingrained into every surface and fiber of your home. Soot will be more difficult to remove the longer you wait. Soot has an oily or greasy feel to it. There are different types of soot depending on materials burned in a fire.

Using a fire restoration professional is the best course of action in fire restoration. However, we took on the task of salvaging some clothing, photos, jewelry and a few other items on our own because of the expense. I did a lot of research and was very concerned about the different chemicals used in cleaning after a fire.  I was hesitant using these cleaners because of my young son. I didn’t want to expose his respiratory system (or mine, for that matter) to toxic chemicals.

I personally have used SoyMagic products for two years before becoming an employee. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to challenge SoyMagic’s performance on my items. I knew the products were effective and had a pleasant smell, but I could not have imagined how well they worked on a lot of the items.   Clothing was washed in SoyComplete All Purpose Cleanser and a dye and fragrance free laundry detergent. I would recommend that items soak in this solution for 24 hours. Soot stains and that nasty smoke smell were gone on most of the items. SoyWorld is working on a laundry detergent prototype that I used on the baby clothes. I also found some small electronic items and power/USB cords that came remarkably clean.

Some of my jewelry was also recovered. My jewelry box was literally burned in half and items not melted or burned were covered in soot. Jewelry was initially processed through an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner with no results. I then soaked everything in SoyComplete, which is a natural degreaser. I also used SoyShine on silver items. It took several soakings and rinses and little light agitation using a cotton swab, but I was beyond thrilled with the results. I also used a combination of SoyComplete and SoyShine on two stainless steel pans I found.

I’ve included a few “before” and “after” pictures. Click on each photo to see even more detail. The results are just amazing, and I never would have thought that an all natural product would yield such great results without being harsh on my skin or irritating to the nose.

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