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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What is Salvageable After a Fire?

12/20/2022 (Permalink)

Soot damage on dishes SERVPRO of Downtown Oklahoma can take care of soot damage

What is Salvageable After a Fire?

Fires are devastating, and the aftermath is one of the most difficult parts of the process. When a fire occurs, it's easy to want to rush into action and start cleaning up — but that can make matters worse. It's important to understand what can be salvaged after a fire before you begin your restoration project. The following sections outline some of the key things you need to know about salvaging items after a fire.

Fire cleanup

The first step in any cleanup process is to remove all the smoke damage and water damage. If you have soot residue or other remnants of a fire, it's important to remove these elements from your home as soon as possible.

The next step is to deodorize any odors from within your house. This will help eliminate any lingering scents that could make their way outside through vents or cracks in walls during renovations or repairs after a fire.

Water damage

Water damage is likely to occur immediately after a fire. Firefighting efforts may cause water damage, but so can other sources of moisture such as sprinklers, fire hoses, and engines.

Smoke damage

When you are faced with smoke damage, it can be difficult to know where to start. It is important to remember that although the fire may be out and gone, its effects remain in your home. For example, if there was smoke damage in your kitchen after a fire in the stovetop, it would be wise for you to clean up any soot and residue left behind by the flames before attempting anything else. If not cleaned properly, these deposits can become ingrained into surfaces such as wood floors or walls — and once this happens, they will not come off easily!

Soot residue

So, what is the difference between soot and smoke? Both are byproducts of combustion and can be easily removed with a vacuum cleaner. Soot is a black powdery substance; it's heavier than air and tends to settle on surfaces or in low-lying areas. Smoke consists of fine particles that rise into the air and disperse quickly.

As you sift through the debris after a fire or house fire, if you see an abundance of soot residue—and especially if it has settled into crevasses or corners—you may want to consider using one of these methods:

  • A wet-dry vacuum cleaner can help remove this residue from large surfaces like floors, carpets, drapes, and blinds. It works best when used along with other cleaning methods such as steam cleaning or chemical treatments for removing stubborn stains from fabric surfaces such as couches and curtains. 


Deodorization is the process of removing odors from a structure. After a fire, odors are produced by smoke residue and organic materials (e.g., wood) that have been damaged or burned. The goal of deodorization is to make the affected area safe for occupancy by eliminating those odors so that people can live in it again.

If there was not much damage to the structure and it has been cleaned up, you may be able to get rid of any remaining odor with just air filters and ventilation systems. But this doesn’t always work, especially when there has been extensive smoke damage and strong odors were present before repairs were done or if there was significant structural damage done. 

Contents cleaning and storage

Once the fire damage has been assessed and removed by a professional, it’s time to start thinking about cleaning up your home. If your insurance company has assigned you a contents cleaner, they will help you with this as well.

Knowing what can be salvaged in the aftermath of a fire will help ease some of the troubles of fire restoration.

In the aftermath of a fire, it's important to know what can be salvaged and how to make sure that your belongings are saved.

If you have items that were damaged by smoke or water in your home, it's important to get them cleaned as soon as possible. The longer they sit around, the more likely they'll start smelling like smoke or mildew. If you're not sure how to clean these items yourself, hire professional cleaners who will know exactly how best to clean them out of their original condition before restoring them back into good use.

We hope we’ve given you a better understanding of what salvage is and how it can help you in your home after a fire. If you need more information or feel like we didn’t cover something that may be important to you, contact us today for more information about our services.

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