Experiencing a house fire leaves survivors not only with trauma from the event itself, but the extensive process of picking up the pieces after it’s over. Restoring your home will involve services for the structure, as well as for the personal property inside. The affected contents of your home will have suffered varying levels of damage – professional contents restoration companies will perform the proper cleanup to remove smoke, soot, and odors to return your belongings to their former condition.
Items that were burnt in the fire are generally disposed of and replaced. While salvaged items may not have sustained burn damage, these belongings still bear damage from being exposed to the fire. Soot and smoke odors are left lingering in items such as clothing and electronics, and this property must be cleaned to restore their condition. Contents restoration professionals use various tools and techniques to remove fire-related contaminants while protecting the integrity of your belongings – Hays and Sons shares the methods we use to remove smoke odors from electronics and clothing that have been through a fire.
Removing Smoke Odors from Clothing
The first step in restoring salvageable personal property after a house fire is to remove it from the residence. With these items out of the home, crews working to restore the structure are left with clearer access to perform the necessary services. Packing out these items also allows professionals who are working to restore personal property to take the first step necessary in removing smoke odors from these clothing items.
You don’t want to wash these items immediately, as typical laundering processes can worsen odors. As fabrics soak in water, smoke odor particles are absorbed by the water. With the fabrics left to soak in smoky water, the odors can be redistributed throughout the item.
Instead, clothing is first aired out. Clothing is left outside for at least 24 hours before any additional cleaning methods are deployed. Garments are shaken out to clear away loose soot particles on fabrics and left to hang in the breeze to further remove soot from the clothing and air out as much of the smoky odor as possible.
After a period of 24 hours or more, the clothing fabrics can be treated with other cleaners that will help remove leftover smoke smells. One part water and one part vinegar are mixed in a spray bottle, and the solution is sprayed over every inch of impacted fabric until it feels damp. Repeat this process a couple of times if needed to further minimize smoke odors – just don’t let the fabrics fully dry.
While garments are still damp from the water and vinegar spray, it’s time to wash them. Place the damp clothing items in the washing machine with one cup vinegar and one cup baking soda, then run a wash cycle. After the first wash, rewash the clothes with the preferred laundry detergent and then dry them. Any lingering vinegar odor will naturally dissipate, but it may be necessary to repeat this treatment process several times to completely rid clothing of smoke odors.
Getting Smoke Smells Out of Electronics
Smoke odors can linger in electronic devices after a house fire, too. Once salvageable items are removed from the home, they can be treated to eliminate the smell of smoke.
First, allow the electronic devices to air out just like salvaged clothing. Doing so will help push particles out of the item that harbor the smoky odor, like ash or soot. Next, further clean these particles out of the device with compressed air. Using a safe pressure to avoid damaging internal components, sweep the compressed air through every area of the device and blow out remaining dust, ash, and other debris.
Dust or smoke particles may be sticking to the device, causing odors to stay. An air ionizer can be used to charge ions and force attraction between the elements so they come together. Then, deposits can be easily cleaned away with a damp cleaning cloth.
An equal vinegar and water solution can be used to clean the device’s casing. Unplug the item and remove the casing, then dip a cotton swab or soft cloth in the solution – wring it out before cleaning the device. Clean the entire interior of the electronic device as well as its casing – just take care to avoid exposed components like the circuit board. Use cool air from a blow dryer to thoroughly dry the device before you reassemble it.
Professional Fire Restoration Services
Knowing the right way to remove smoke odors from clothing and electronics can ensure more of your personal belongings are salvaged after a devastating house fire. If you are in need of fire remediation or personal property restoration services, contact Hays and Sons today.