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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

3 Tips for Handling Cleaning of Textiles in the Aftermath of a Fire

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Burnt edge of the fabric. Remove soot from any textiles like clothing

3 Tips for Handling Cleaning of Textiles in the Aftermath of a Fire

Fire is capable of destroying or severely damaging buildings and their contents. Besides the burning of the flames themselves, soot and smoke also contribute to content damage. The aftermath of a fire often leads to a need for dry-cleaning, content cleaning, and/or content storage of any surviving items. Fabrics are one type of item that may survive a fire, but they require care to save. Here are three tips for clean-up of surviving textiles post-fire in N.C. State University, NC.

1. Remove Salvageable Items
One of the first actions you should take after a fire is removing non-burnt or minimally scorched items from the building. They should be stored in a location free of soot until you have time to clean them or have them cleaned. Soot and smoke damage does not render items irreparable, but the contents of a burnt, soot and smoke-filled building with a possibly unstable infrastructure should not be left there to accrue further damage.

2. Clean Items
As soon as is feasibly possible, you should remove soot from any textiles like clothing. Soot and smoke damaged fabrics cannot be handled simply by sending them off for dry-cleaning or throwing them in a washer. Soot can permanently stain clothes if not removed quickly enough. Here is what you should do:

  • Air-dry the textiles
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers around the textiles
  • Gently shake out the textiles to remove surface soot

These are preliminary steps for minimizing damage, but further steps may require professional assistance to avoid permanently marring the textiles.

3. Hire a Professional
It is recommended that you hire a professional restoration company for deep soot removal after initially removing surface soot, as a wrong step can render the textiles no longer usable. They can also perform deodorizing using ozone treatment, a necessary process. After these steps, dry-cleaning or washing can be done on the saved textiles. Professional restoration companies can also take care of cleaning non-porous items using ultrasonic cleaning, something not easy for the average person to do.
After a fire, you will probably need content cleaning. It is best to allow professionals to handle tasks like deep soot removal or non-porous cleaning.

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