Recent Cleaning Posts

Cigarette Tar and Odor

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

This picture shows you the sticky discoloring tar that cigarette smoke has left on the walls. The white areas are where pictures hung.

We are often asked if they can remove cigarette or tobacco smoke odors. For instance, a home may need to be cleaned and deodorized when it is being sold; an apartment may need the service between tenants. Cigarette odors not only ruin the resale value of your property, but they're harmful to your health.

The smoke from tobacco clouds the air and sticks to every surface of the area. People can also see, smell, and feel a yellowish-brown, sticky substance that is left on all surfaces and furniture in areas where smoking has taken place. It is extremely hard to remove residue discolors on painted surfaces and plastics. It can permanently change the appearance of wallpaper, blinds, paint, and many other items in the area. The smoke can penetrate furniture, carpets, walls, windows, and every other nook and cranny in the area. And the home’s HVAC system will carry the smoke odor and the residues throughout the structure

The smoke from a fire is sometimes much easier to remove from walls or other surfaces than tobacco smoke. Removing tobacco residues can be a real challenge. It is very time-consuming, as residues are present throughout the entire home.

The only effective way to remove tobacco residue and the smell that comes along with it is through very thorough cleaning and then sealing with a sealant designed to lock in the very last of the stains and odors of all structural surfaces. Hydroxyl generators or ozone generators may be used. Both are professional equipment that creates molecules that can follow the smoke into tiny spaces, and both processes effectively destroy the malodorous particles.

SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie professionals will bring your property back to a preloss condition...

"Like it never even happened."®


12/10/2020 (Permalink)

This shows what the room looked like before cleanup, the resulting damage to the floor, and the room after the floor removal and cleanup is complete.


Hoarding is the persistent difficulty to discard or part with possessions, regardless of their actual value. The behavior usually has detrimental effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, legal, and possible loss of their home. This not only affects the hoarder but family members as well.

Common hoarding cleanup hazards

For those who hoard, the quantity of their collected items sets them apart from other people. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 40 percent of object hoarders also keep animals and more than 80 percent of animal hoarders have diseased, dying, or dead animals on the premises. The animal waste, including fecal matter and urine, are biohazards and spread disease. This creates a situation that is just as dangerous to cleanup as infected blood. droppings and urine residue is a biohazard and can spread disease.

The following materials are common hazards found in a hoarding home:

  • Human waste – Toilets, tubs, and sinks are usually unusable or inaccessible
  • Mold/Mildew
  • Sharps (needles, medical instruments, and sharp objects)
  • Asbestos
  • Rotting food - major appliances are broken or inaccessible
  • Paper/Plastic - newspapers, magazines, paper, cardboard boxes, photographs, and plastic bags
  • Heavy dust – poor air quality
  • Stressed property – damaged flooring, ceiling, walls, etc.
  • Electrical hazards
  •  Tripping and the possibility of contents falling

Importance of safety gear during a hoarding cleanup

It’s not uncommon for hoarding cleanup technicians to be exposed to a cocktail of human and animal waste, hypodermic needles, broken glass, and black mold. The bacteria transmitted through animal and human waste can cause infections and respiratory complications that have long-term effects.

SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie technicians are properly equipped and trained to handle biohazard materials and hazardous working conditions. Our technicians wear personal protective gear that meets the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, including:

  • Disposable mask
  • Purifying full-face respirator
  • Chemical and Puncture resistant gloves
  • Biohazard suits
  • Steel Toe Boots

 We at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie are here to make the process as quick and painless as possible.  You can count on us.

Sources:,, and ARyan