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Even tiny, contained fires can devastate property. Soot and smoke are often more damaging than flames, but don’t worry—you can scrub away the thick, black mess on your walls, furniture and floors.

Clean affected areas with a mild detergent or mix the following solution:

• 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate

• 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach

• 1 gallon warm water

Wearing rubber gloves, wash a small area of wall at one time, working from the floor up. Then rinse with clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last.

Rinse furniture and floors with warm water after cleaning, then allow everything to dry thoroughly. If possible, open windows and use a fan to circulate air.

Don’t repaint until walls and ceilings are completely dry.

Is your wallpaper dirty or peeling? Use commercial paste to secure loose sections. Your wallpaper dealer or installer can provide more information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be scrubbed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper. Work from the bottom up to prevent streaking.