Can you Save Smoke Damaged Clothes?
Fire damage clean up | How to get rid of the smell of smoke on clothes
As a homeowner, other than natural disasters, arguably the biggest threat to your investment is a fire. Whereas it may seem like an unlikely threat, data suggests otherwise. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there's a response to a fire by a fire department every 24 seconds. In total, there were 1,291,500 responses by local fire departments in 2019, resulting in $14.8 billion in property damage.
Such fires can reduce entire houses to ashes and leave families starting from scratch. Other than the blaze itself, even the smoke and soot produced can damage belongings. However, this is not to say that you cannot salvage property if a fire is stopped. Some of the things that are often discarded after such occurrences are clothes. But, what if there was a chance you could save your favorite outfits from smoke damage?
Read on to learn more about fire damage clean-up and whether you can save damaged clothes, and how to do it.
Can you save smoke-damaged clothes?
If clothing has not been burned in a fire, there's a good chance smoke, and soot have damaged it. Even still, you can still restore your clothes to their original fresh state. However, this takes special care that often takes the expertise of fire damage restoration professionals.
How to restore smoke damaged clothes
It's possible to clean smoke-damaged clothes without the help of professionals. However, before you begin cleaning, you should know the appropriate steps to take. Otherwise, you will cause further damage.
Here are some of the steps to take to prevent further damage:
- Separate non-burnt clothes from burnt ones.
- Organized salvageable clothes based on
- Hang the clothes outside immediately to dry them. This will prevent the growth of mold.
- Cover clothes that have not been damaged with plastic sheets
After a fire, you will notice that your belongings are covered by a black powdery, at times oily, substance known as soot. Its particles are small, allowing it to move freely in the atmosphere and can penetrate fabrics. Before you even think of cleaning your salvageable clothes after fire damage, you should first remove soot.
The primary reasons for removing soot first are:
- It is the main source of odor on your clothes
- It can easily cause stains as it is oily
To remove soot, begin by taking your clothes and shake them gently. Avoid any aggressive shaking as it can cause stains on the fabric. From there, you can proceed to use a high-powered vacuum cleaner that has a narrow tip. Prevent staining your clothes by ensuring the vacuum cleaner is at least an inch away from the clothes. While vacuuming smoke-damaged garments, do not use an upright vacuum or attachments with brushes as they may cause soot to penetrate the fabric even more.
Getting rid of smoke odors
One of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with clothes after fire damage is assuming that normal laundry practice will eliminate the smell. Doing so only serves to worsen the problem. This is because, during the wash, water will loosen up the smoke odor. However, it is then absorbed in the water, leaving your clothes bubbling in smoke-smelling water. As such, the smell is evenly spread throughout the garment.
Therefore, you must get rid of the smoke before putting your clothes in the water. After you have aired out the clothes and removed soot, spray your clothes with a mixture of water and vinegar in equal parts. If the smoky smell is too concentrated, do this a few more times. Put the clothes in the washing machine while they're still damp.
Before you begin washing, pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar on the clothes, then wash normally. After the first wash is complete, toss them back into the washing machine. This time, clean the clothes with your favorite detergent. You may notice that your clothes smell like vinegar. Fortunately, that smell goes away naturally. If your clothes still smell smoky, repeat the entire process. Depending on the concentration of the smell, you may have to do it several times.
What if the fabric is non-washable?
There are some fabrics that are not suitable for machine wash. Though they present a bigger challenge, there's still a way to remove the smell of smoke. Take your garment outside and pour baking soda on it generously. Make sure that all the surfaces are covered. Baking soda is highly effective in removing odors on clothes and textiles.
For the best results, leave it for twenty-four hours to settle and work its magic. Once this time elapses, remove the baking soda by shaking it off or vacuuming your clothing. Proceed to leave your clothes out in the air for as long as possible as fresh air helps remove the smoke odor. If the smell remains, you may have to repeat the process a few times.
Alternatively, you can try using commercial smoke-odor-removing products. Though they can be very effective, make sure you do not buy a product that just uses a stronger smell to cover the smoke smell.
How can professional fire restorers help?
Though it is possible to get rid of the smoke-smell by yourself, it is always advisable to hire fire restorers after fire damage. Along with experience, they also have the necessary tools to clean and remove bad odors from your clothes.
The main process they use is called ozone treatment. This deodorization method removes the odor by breaking up the smoke particles using an ozone generator. Also, it produces an oxidizing effect that leaves your clothes with the refreshing smell that comes after a rainstorm.
Usually, cleaning takes place in an ozone room. However, the fire restorers can pitch a tent in your compound where they can clean and remove odors in your compound.
More often than not, using household deodorizing products or aerosol sprays and perfumes to deodorize produces temporary results. At times, they even combine with the odor to create an even more pungent one. This is why it is essential to call professional fire restorers after fire damage.
AdvantaClean is a cleaning agency that offers both residential and commercial cleaning services. Reach out to us today for a free consultation on fire damage clean-up.