What to Save and What to Throw Away After Smoke Damage

Brad LackeyCleaning Tips and Checklists, Fire Damage

Burned Roof

A fire at your home or business can be devastating. Not only does it damage your property and possessions, but the loss can also have a negative psychological impact on you and your family. Restoring and salvaging at least some of the items you owned prior to the fire may make the situation feel more bearable, however it is important to know which items can and cannot be saved after a fire.

Burned Roof

Burned Roof

Different types of fire damage determine what is salvageable at your property.

It is important to understand the different types of fire damage as it will help you know which items you can restore.

  • Fire damage can be exhibited in two ways:

    • Flame damage – Fire causes any items that are flammable to burn very quickly. This includes materials such as furniture, clothing etc.
    • Heat damage – When certain items encounter high heat, they can melt. This includes items such as appliances and plastic materials.
  • Smoke damage:

Smoke contains tiny particles that are released into air that float around and cause damage to your belongings. These particles have chemicals that can also affect your health including carbon monoxide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde etc. The tiny particles in smoke eventually settle down onto objects and materials and embed themselves all over your property. If smoke damage is not addressed properly, it can result in permanent damage and health symptoms such as coughing, irritation of the eyes, bronchitis, cancer etc.

  • Water damage:

Emergency services put out fires with water, however excess water does cause damage to porous materials such as drywall and wood. When water seeps into these materials it can cause structural damage which is unsafe. The amount of water damage at your home will depend on the extent of the fire and in turn, how much water had to be used to put out the fire. It is crucial for a fire restoration company to remove all water from your home after a fire and dry out any affected areas to ensure you do not get a bigger problem such as mold.

  • Mold damage:

After a fire, it is very important to have the water that was used to put out the fire properly cleaned up so that it does not cause mold. Mold can ruin your belongings and negatively affect your family’s health. If you have mold in your home after a fire, you may experience coughing, headaches, rashes, and other symptoms from mold exposure. Always make sure to call a fire restoration company to get rid of any mold at your home after a fire. It is important for them to clean it up properly so that it does not come back. If you notice mold anywhere in your home after a fire, make sure to call them right away, as mold spreads quickly and leaving it alone may make the problem worse.


Which materials can be salvaged after a fire?

What can be salvaged after a fire will depend on what the item is made of and what kind of condition it is in. Usually, if the surface is non-porous, it is easier to save. Here are some examples:

  • Glass

This material cannot be damaged by a fire. If it gets dirty you can clean it with soap, white vinegar, or baking soda.

  • Wood floors

Most wood floors can be salvaged by cleaning them with oil soap, sanding them, and refinishing them as needed.

Damaged Hardwood Floor

Damaged Hardwood Floor

  • Metal items

Usually, items made of metal will stain but can be cleaned with dish soap and vinegar and lightly sanded and painted.


Things to Throw Away After a Fire

It is very important to understand what should be thrown away after a fire. If you have any items that are burned, melted, or damaged by heat or flames, you should always throw them away. Some examples of items you should dispose of after a fire include:


  • Melted plastic
  • Canned, boxed or food left out at room temp
  • Cosmetics and medicine
  • Clothing, towels, and bedding that have been burned
  • Furniture and mattresses

Burned Items

Trying to save items that are not salvageable after a fire could put your and your family’s health at risk. Always consult a professional fire restoration company for more information on any specific items you may want to salvage after a property fire.


When should you contact a professional fire restoration company after a fire?

If you’ve experienced a fire at your home or business and multiple rooms have been affected by the fire, you should call a fire restoration company right away. These professionals have the proper equipment to clean smoke and soot, remove stains, and fully restore your home. This will help ensure that you and your family have a safe place to live in after the fire damage has been cleaned up.


What can you expect when you call a fire restoration company to restore your home after a fire?

Each fire restoration company follows a specific process when they take on the job of restoring a home after a fire. Here are the general steps they usually take during the restoration process:


  • Assessing the damage to the home and providing a free estimate for cleaning it up
  • Boarding up the home and covering it with a tarp if needed to keep your belongings safe
  • Removal of any leftover water and drying out all affected areas
  • Removal of smoke and soot from all areas of the property
  • Deodorizing and disinfecting all areas
  • Reconstruction of the property to get it back to its original state


Have you experienced a fire at your home or business? Our professionals at ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors can help. We offer fire damage restoration services to home and business owners in Ft. Wayne, IN, and the surrounding areas. We will repair and restore any damage caused by fire, as well as remove any byproducts leftover from smoke and soot. To learn more about our smoke damage restoration services call us at (260) 420-1502.