How to Clean up After a Grease Fire April 17, 2017 – Posted in: Blog

A grease fire damage can be an unexpected disaster for your kitchen and home. One of the challenges of grease fires is that they are difficult to extinguish. Pouring water on a grease fire only makes it worse, and trying to snuff it out with towels or other materials close by can lead to the fire spreading. A fire extinguisher is the best way to put out a grease fire so you will want to be sure you have one that is easy to access in your kitchen.

The most common type of fire at home is kitchen fires. Statistics reveal that annually, there are 5,000,000 cooking fires occurring in the U.S. households.

And the reason is that the kitchen is a source of major fire hazards – electricity, heat, gas vapor, and grease.

And of all kitchen fires, fire in ovens is the most prevalent.

Grease fires are very dangerous because they spread out quickly. Before you know it, the fire has already spread all over your kitchen walls, cabinets, and ceilings. Worst, the fire has spread all over your house and made irreparable damage in a split second.

Many cases of grease fire damage usually occur when someone leaves a pan on a stove unattended, or when the oil in a pan overheats and the grease catches fire.

Because it is such a common occurrence, every household owner should be prepared at all times by learning how to put out a stove fire, how to get rid of smoke in the house from oven and clean it up, and most importantly – how to prevent kitchen fire damage.

But then there’s cleaning up after a grease fire damage, which is the second challenge. Just as a grease fire is hard to put out, a grease fire damage is also difficult to clean up.

Grease Fire Damage: How to Put Out Grease Fire

Follow these steps on how to put out a stove fire:

Putting out grease fire requires skills, a speedy reaction, and most importantly – the presence of mind.

  • It’s easier said than done, but the best way to confront any emergency situation is to stop panicking and stay calm. Only then will you be able to think of the best solution in the quickest way possible.
  • When there are grease fires, one thing you should never do is to pick up the pan. Otherwise, the fire can spread to you or the grease could spill into the counter or kitchen floor, causing the fire to spread easily.
  • Do NOT put water to the pan. Doing so could only cause the fire to grow bigger. Before you know it, you have walls on fire.
  • Instead, what you should do is cover the pan with a lid to deprive the fire of the oxygen it needs. If you can’t cover it, dump lots of baking soda in it. Once the pan is properly covered with a lid, turn off the burner. Let the pan cool before touching it and cleaning up the mess.
  • If the fire is too huge to handle, cease it using a fire extinguisher.
  • If you or your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll. This is life-saving technique is applicable for all types of fire emergencies.

How to Properly Clean Up After a Kitchen Grease Fire

Now that you successfully put out the grease fire, breathe and give yourself a pat on the shoulder.

Your job has not ended though. The next thing to learn is how to get fire smoke smell out of the house, along with the soot, residue, and debris.

Cleaning up after a fire is a laborious, intensive process. It’s much better to solicit help from family members or friends to save time and energy.

Follow these steps to clean up after a grease fire damage:

Open and window and turn on a ceiling fan

Turn off your HVAC system to prevent the soot and smoke particles from spreading to your entire house.

Ventilate the area by opening the windows and making use of smoke eater ceiling fans or just a regular fan or air blower. Place the fans in opposite corners of the kitchen.

Clean grease and soot with vinegar

You can use some distilled vinegar which is a very effective cleaning product that does not only remove grease and soot but also eliminates the smell of smoke. Yes, vinegar is a powerful DIY smoke eater.

Remove the microwave

If your microwave is located above the stove, you may need to throw it away if it was damaged by fire. Next, clean the surfaces that may have been affected by the fire, such as your kitchen cabinets, walls, counters, and floors using degreasing agents or vinegar. Carefully clean the insides and outside surfaces of your cabinets. If you don’t completely remove the grease and soot, they can stain your kitchen and the smell could linger. For appliances, clean them with a soap-water solution using a sponge. Throw out contaminated food items.

Is oven safe to use after fire? After a grease fire, you should check with an appliance technician to see if your oven is safe to operate.

Preventing Grease Fires

  • Grease fires are extremely dangerous. But the good news is they are preventable. Follow these tips to prevent grease and other kitchen fires:
  • Never leave your pot or frying pan unattended.
  • Do not put frozen food into hot grease. Remove as much moisture from food before cooking.
  • Always keep grease at the recommended levels and heat oil slowly.
  • Always keep a metal lid on the counter to cover burning pan or pot.
  • Store a fire extinguisher nearby, preferably between the kitchen and the nearest exit.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove, such as wooden utensils, mittens, rugs, etc.
  • Keep your kitchen well-ventilated. Trapped heat can cause grease fires to develop faster.

Always keep your kitchen appliances in good shape. A routine inspection by a licensed technician ensures that there are no issues like faulty wires or gas leaks that can exacerbate grease fire when it happens.

Grease fire damage is one of every homeowner’s worst nightmares. Knowing what to do when it happens can save your life and your property. Additionally, taking preventive measures should minimize the risk of any kitchen fire.

When to Call the Pros

Because of just how quickly a grease fire can spread and because of how intensive a grease fire damage can be, it’s almost always ideal to call a professional for help with repairing damage from a grease fire. A grease fire damage most often leaves a heavy scent of smoke throughout your home. It can also leave soot covering your kitchen, including the ceiling, cabinets and more. No matter what, there’s going to be grease residue and soot everywhere — and grease is notoriously difficult to clean.

A professional has the knowledge and experience to quickly and effectively repair damage from a grease fire, as well as the tools needed to get the job done. Additionally, a professional will know the proper techniques for taking care of grease fire residue on different materials.

Residue can often find its way onto paper, wood, plastic, natural substances and more, and there’s a proven process for cleaning each — but the processes are different. A professional can take care of these different materials in the best way possible for each.

Be Proactive While You Wait

When you’ve experienced a grease fire in your home or in your restaurant, it’s important to be proactive. Here’s a look at what you can and should do immediately:

  • Find a Professional: It’s likely you’ll need fire damage restoration professional help. Contact one (or get bids from several) to get them on the schedule as quickly as possible.
  • Remove Pets and Children: Smoke and soot can cause health problems in both people and animals. For this reason, until the environment has been cleaned and repaired, children and pets should be taken elsewhere.
  • Replace Your Filters: Because of the smoke and soot’s ability to travel throughout your house, it’s important that you change out your furnace’s air filter. Replace the filters on your refrigerator, too — if it’s salvageable.
  • Toss Out Food: Discard any food substances that were out when the fire struck — soot and smoke particles have contaminated your food.
  • Clean Cabinets: It’s likely your cabinets are covered soot inside and out. Wipe them down, too. While initially cleaning them is important, you may need a professional to sand, reseal and repaint the cabinets to fully remove the odor.
  • Check Appliances: Your microwave may need to go. If it was located close to the fire, it will be next to impossible to get the smoke scent out of the plastic. Check the gasket seals on your refrigerator for damage as well. If they are impaired, it may be time to get a new refrigerator. This is another area where professional guidance can be helpful.

Never enter a structure that has been affected by any kind of fire until it has been declared safe to do so by the fire department or other public authority. If you have any doubt about the structure’s soundness, wait until a professional can assess it.

Hidden Damage Caused by Kitchen Grease Fires

You can see soot when it is clinging to your kitchen ceiling and cabinets. But a restaurant kitchen fire or a home kitchen fire can leave damage that’s not as easy to see.

For example, flames from a grease fire can find their way into ductwork and cause damage there that will only get worse if left unaddressed. Smoky odors leftover from a grease fire can also linger if they aren’t dealt with in a professional manner.

Hidden damage is yet another reason why it’s often a good idea to call in the professionals for help cleaning up after a grease fire. If left to take care of the damage on your own, you may get your kitchen and home looking great — but the hidden damage can cause problems down the road and certainly hurt your home’s resale value. A professional will know all the places to look, and they will also know how to repair that damage.

Get Equipment from Aer Industries

At Aer Industries, we help equip smoke and fire damage professionals with the tools needed to deliver outstanding results. When you need the right equipment for mitigating damage after a grease fire, browse through our selection of equipment.

Related Resources:

How to Remove Smoke Odor