Recovering Parts of Your Home

Locks and Hinges

Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene, and oiled. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges also should be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.

Walls and Furniture

To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture, and floors, mix together:

  • 4-6 tablespoons trisodium phosphate
  • 1 cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
  • 1 gallon warm water


  • Wear rubber gloves when cleaning.
  • After washing the article, rinse with clear warm water and dry thoroughly.
  • Walls may be washed down while still wet.
  • Use a mild soap or detergent.
  • Wash a small area at one time, working from the floor up, then rinse the wall with clear water immediately.
  • Ceilings should be washed last.
  • Do not repaint until the walls and ceilings are completely dry.


  • Use a commercial paste to repaste loose edges or sections.
  • Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners.
  • Washable wallpaper can be washed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper.


  • Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape.
  • Clear off the mud and dirt by scrubbing with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution.
  • You can also rub the wood surface with a #4/0 steel wool pad dipped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth, and then buff.
  • Remove drawers and let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them.
  • Wet wood can decay and mold, so allow it to dry thoroughly.
  • Open doors and windows for good ventilation. Turn your furnace or air conditioner on if necessary.
  • If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of Borax dissolved in hot water.
  • To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup of household ammonia and a half cup of water.
  • Wipe dry and polish with wax or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup of turpentine and a half cup of linseed oil. Be careful because turpentine is combustible.