It is important to immediately take action after a fire to save your home. This is particularly important for delicate items like clothes, draperies, or other textiles.
It can be expensive to replace them, so try to save any textiles that aren’t damaged or scorched. A professional restoration company can help you restore damaged fabrics and clothing from smoke/soot. They have the right equipment and cleaning solutions to restore contents after a fire.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional restorer for your garments and fabrics, these tips will help you restore them. You should be aware of the proper steps to clean smoke-damaged fabrics. Otherwise, you could cause more damage.
Reduce the Damage
- To prevent mold growth, dry the textiles immediately
- Hang your clothes and fabrics outside for drying.
- Fans and dehumidifiers are good options. Open windows to allow for ventilation.
- The furnace filter should be changed daily until it absorbs the most soot from the atmosphere.
- Protect clean fabrics by covering them with plastic sheets.
Find the Fabrics
- You can separate salvageable items from scorched items. It is possible to save fabrics that are not burned.
- You can organize the restorable items according to their fabric type and washing instructions (e.g. “bleach-safe” or “dry clean only).
- Take out any damaged accessories.
Get rid of the soot from fabrics
- Before cleaning, remove any soot.
- Place the items on a plate and gently shake off the soot. Because soot can be oily, it can stain fabrics easily if it isn’t brushed off gently.
- You can also use a high-powered vacuum with a narrow tip. Keep it at least one to two inches from the fabric.
- Use a brush tip attachment only if you don’t want to get soot particles into your clothing.
- Professional help is strongly recommended for soot removal from textiles. You could permanently stain your fabrics if you make a mistake.
How to Get Smoke Smell out of Clothes
Fabrics should be deodorized before being cleaned. Otherwise, the smoke odor may remain in the fabric. Do-it-yourself deodorization is not recommended. We recommend using disinfectants, aerosol sprays or perfumes to temporarily mask the odor. Ozone treatment is required for effective deodorization. This deodorizing process is used by professional fire restoration technicians. It breaks down each smoke molecule to eliminate odor.
How to Clean Smoke-Damaged Clothes
After your clothes and textiles have been deodorized, it is possible to clean them. Dry clean only clothes should be sent to a dry cleaner who is certified to handle smoke-damaged clothing. Use warm water to wash cotton or polyester fabrics. Bleach-safe fabrics can be washed in heavy detergent. To prevent soot oils contaminating your next loads of laundry, hand-wash your clothes the first two or three times. If the odor persists, soak the clothes in a mixture of 4 to6 tablespoons trisodiumphosphate, 1 cup bleach, and 1 galon of water. Allow fabrics to sit for at least one night, then rinse them and hang them out to dry.
If you don’t have the tools and experience to restore damaged clothing or fabrics from smoke, it is best to hire a professional company. Hiring a professional company who is experienced in handling smoke-damaged clothing and other personal property will save you a lot of time and money.