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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What to throw away after smoke damage?

1/6/2023 (Permalink)

Fire fighter in fire truck putting out a house fire Fire fighter in fire truck putting out a house fire

If you’ve experienced a house fire or smoke damage, it may be difficult to know where to begin. It can be overwhelming to take stock of what was damaged and to safely decide what to clean and what to toss. To help steer you in the right direction, let’s take a look at what to throw away after smoke damage and why.

Clothing and Bedding 

Clothing, bedding, and any other fabrics are likely to have absorbed the smell of smoke, as well as any other toxins in the air during a fire. Even if they don’t have any visible signs of damage, you likely need to toss them out. The same goes for curtains and carpets; these will likely retain too much odor even with thorough cleaning efforts. 

Keep in mind – there are professional restoration companies that specialize in content cleaning. In some cases, they can use specialized equipment to professionally clean linen, garments, and rugs/curtains. They can remove toxins and odors in the process. If you’re at all curious if some of your household items can be preserved, contact a restoration company and ask about their content cleaning services. 

Food Items 

Any food item that has been exposed to smoke must be thrown away immediately, as it could contain dangerous toxins from the smoke itself or from flame retardants used in furniture or carpeting. This includes canned goods that were not opened before the fire occurred; their seals may have been broken by the heat of the flames or contaminated by smoke particles entering through cracks in the packaging. Open food packages should also go into the trash as they might also contain toxins from the fire.  

Personal Care Items 

Personal care items such as makeup, lotion, shampoo, and toothpaste will often absorb odors from smoke exposure and cannot be saved. Make sure that all personal care products are disposed of safely; never just throw them away in your regular garbage can! Many beauty products contain toxic chemicals that can contaminate water systems if not disposed of properly.  Contact your local waste management department for instructions on how to dispose of hazardous waste properly.  

Upholstered Furniture 

Upholstered furniture is highly susceptible to smoke damage, especially if it is located close to where the fire occurred. Even if these items appear undamaged, they should still be discarded due to the fact that the smoke odor may not be able to be removed. Additionally, if these items were exposed to heat or water during the firefighting efforts, they should also be discarded because of potential mold growth that could occur over time. 

Carpeting and Flooring 

Carpet and flooring can also suffer extensive damage due to smoke exposure. Carpet fibers can trap odors, which are difficult and expensive to remove. Additionally, carpet padding absorbs water, which provides an ideal environment for mold growth. If your carpets have been exposed to water or smoke, it is best practice to have them professionally removed and replaced with new carpeting or flooring material.  

It’s important to understand what types of things need to be discarded after a home has been affected by smoke damage from a fire. The more you know, the more likely it is that you can avoid further damage to your home and yourself. In most situations, contacting a fire damage restoration company is the most ideal solution. They can guide you through the process of restoring your home back to its original state.

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