Damage – Fire

The treatment of a fire-damaged garment or fabric depends on the kind of fire it was in. Wood, plastics, and other materials leave different chemicals in their soot and odors, and may react differently to cleaning treatments. It is best to contact a professional fire restorer or dry cleaner to find out if items can be safely restored, and let the experts handle it. They have special chemicals that remove smoke and soot particles that are not available for home use. There are a few things you can do at home to help restore your garments, but be careful—an item can be ruined by improper cleaning methods.

Cleaning methods

Machine-washable clothing that was in a closed closet or drawer during a fire can sometimes be restored at home. Only attempt cleaning items with very mild damage; take dry clean only and heavily soiled items to a dry cleaner. Do not attempt to wash fabrics at home before they have been deodorized / aired out. …

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Do not use perfumed sprays or disinfectants to remove odor. They will only mask odor for a short while, and may interact chemically with smoke odor to create a new unpleasant smell. Hang damaged items outside, preferably in sunlight, for 4-8 hours to air out. If weather does not permit, hang items in a location …

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Soot and Smoke

Do not attempt to wipe or rub away soot—the oily particles will be ground into the fabric and stain permanently. Take the garment outside and shake it as best as possible. If the item cannot be shaken (like a couch), avoid touching it until a professional can take a look at it. Larger, sturdier items …

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