Professional fire and water damage restoration businesses
may be a good source of cleaning and restoration of your personal
belongings. Companies offering this service can be located
in the phone directory.
Smoke odor and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing.
The following formula will often work for clothing that can
- 4-6 teaspoons trisodium phosphate (can be purchased in
- 1 cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach
- 1 gallon warm water
Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clean water, dry well.
To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and water.
Then rinse and dry in the sun. If the stain isn't gone, use
lemon juice and salt, or a diluted solution of household chlorine
An effective way to remove mildew from clothing is to wash
the fresh stain with soap and warm water, rinse, and then
dry in the sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon
juice and salt or a diluted solution of household chlorine
Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy
water, rinsed and then polished with a fine-powdered cleaner.
You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt
sprinkled on a piece of lemon, or salt sprinkled on a cloth
saturated with vinegar
Please dont use appliances
that have been exposed to water or steam until you have a
service representative check
them. This is especially true of electrical appliances. In
addition, steam can remove the lubricant from some moving
If the fire department turned off your gas or power during
the fire, call the electric or gas company to restore these
services - do not try to do it yourself. Often a licensed
plumber or electrician must make repairs before service can
Rugs and Carpets
Rugs and carpets should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Throw
rugs can be cleaned by beating, sweeping, or vacuuming, and
then shampooing. Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible
- lay them flat and expose them to a circulation of warm,
dry air. A fan turned on the rugs will speed drying. Even
though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base
of the tufts can quickly cause the rug to rot.
For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call
your carpet dealer or installer or a qualified carpet cleaning
Leather and Books
Wipe your leather goods with a damp cloth, then with a dry
cloth. Stuff your purses and shoes with newspapers to retain
their shape. Leave your suitcases open. Leather goods should
be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry,
clean with saddle soap. You can use steel wool or a suede
brush on suede. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold water
and dry away from heat and sun.
Books can be dried by placing them on end with pages separated.
Then they should be piled and pressed to prevent the pages
from crinkling. Alternating drying and pressing will help
prevent mildew until the books are thoroughly dry. If your
books are very damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talc between the
pages, leave for several hours, then brush off. A fan turned
on the books will help them dry.
Preserving damaged photographs is often very important to
victims of fires, floods and other disasters. If photographs
are not burned they can usually be saved. Never try to peel
apart photographs that have stuck together. Always remember
that photographs were originally developed in water solutions
and then washed.
Soak the photos in clear, clean water and rinse carefully
and thoroughly and let stuck photographs separate on their
own. If they stay damp they can be damaged by mold. If you
have quantities of wet photos, wrap them in plastic wrap and
freeze them, then thaw them and wash them a few at a time.
After washing the photos, dry them image side up on a smooth
hard surface like a glass table or kitchen counter.
Walls, Floors and Furniture
To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors,
use a mild soap or detergent or mix together the following
- 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
- 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach
- 1 gallon warm water
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning with this solution. Be sure
to rinse your walls and furniture with clear warm water and
dry thoroughly after washing them with this solution.
Wash a small area of wall at one time, working from the floor
up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately. Ceilings
should be washed last. If the weather allows, open windows
and use a fan to circulate air.
Do not repaint until walls and ceilings are completely dry.
wallpaper can also be repaired. Use a commercial paste
to repaste a loose edge or section. Contact your wallpaper
dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners.
Washable wallpaper can be cleansed like any ordinary wall,
but care must be taken not to soak the paper. Work from
to top to prevent streaking.
- Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp
and twist out of shape.
- Clear off mud and dirt.
- Remove drawers. Let them dry thoroughly so there will
be no sticking when you replace them.
- Scrub wood furniture or fixtures with a stiff brush and
a cleaning solution.
- Wet wood can decay and mold, so dry thoroughly. Open doors
and windows for good ventilation. Turn on your furnace or
air conditioner, if necessary.
- If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a
mixture of borax dissolved in hot water.
To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with
a cloth soaked in a solution of 1/2 cup household ammonia
and 1/2 cup water. Then wipe the surface dry and polish with
wax or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of
1/2 cup turpentine and 1/2 cup linseed oil. Be careful - turpentine
is combustible. Please remember, oily rags can start fires
by spontaneous combustion. You do not want another fire. Put
all used rags in an airtight metal container like a paint
can and place outside away from your home.
You can also rub the wood surface with a fine grade steel
wool pad dripped in liquid polishing wax, clean the area with
a soft cloth and then buff.