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Rescuing Your Wardrobe And Fabric Items From A Fire: Why It Doesn't All Have To Go To The Dump

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Going through a fire is hard enough. Sorting through the aftermath to see what you can salvage is even harder. If the fire occurred late at night (as most fires do), you probably escaped with just the pajamas on your back and not much else. Sorting through what is left of your home results in uncovering lots of clothes. With any luck, you can rescue some of it. Here is why it does not all have to go to the dump.

Smoke Damaged Fabric Can Be Saved

Smoke damage to clothing can be removed. After all, it is just smoke. Look for any of your clothes that are not singed by flames and only have the smell of smoke about them. Separate these from the clothes that are clearly singed. The singed clothing cannot be saved as the fires and smoke have already made these unsalvageable. 

Take the Smoke Damaged Clothes to a Dry Cleaner's

Dry cleaners can and often do work magic. They can remove water stains and smoke damage from fabrics in ways you never could with your own laundry appliances at home. They will take your entire lot of smoke-damaged only clothing and put them through the dry cleaning process.

This removes all of the smoke and even some ash particles so that your clothes are clean, stink-free, and wearable again. (Because of the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process, and because singed fabrics are weakened threads that cannot be restored, not even the slightly-singed clothing can be saved with dry cleaning.) The smell of the chemical used in the dry cleaning process will remain until your next wash at home, but it beats the smell of smoke damage.

Other Fabric Items

Other fabric items in your home can be restored in a similar fashion. Loose items, such as sheets, towels, pillows, and curtains, can be dry-cleaned and restored. Furniture that managed to survive will need professional furniture cleaners to come to your location and clean the furniture. Any furniture that has been singed or slightly melted should be thrown away because it is considered highly toxic and you should not hold onto it.

If couches and padded chairs survived, make sure these items are cleaned right away to avoid mold and mildew. If mold and mildew set in, you will need to throw these furniture items away. They are beyond rescue when mold, mildew, and/or smoke damage has soaked in and developed.