How Smoke Damage Affects Contents in your House

by | Aug 29, 2020 | Fire Damage, Fire Damage Repairs | 0 comments

An uncontrollable fire within any residential property can cause serious damages in a matter of minutes.

Did you know that the local fire departments in the US responded to an average of 37630 home fires from 2012 to 2016?

Even small fires can damage your personal belongings and cause unforeseen structural damages. While cleaning up the ash and soot is the immediate concern, it is best to consider some preventive measures to ensure that you have covered such mishaps from all the possible angles.

This post features some consequences of smoke damage to the contents in your house:


Furniture, especially upholstered ones can behave differently based on the chemical composition involved. The fire spread on to furniture can progress through the following four stages:

  • Spread: Includes ignition to the complete burnout of the property’s seat, back, and arms
  • Burn through: The burn through the state is marked by elevated and steady heat release
  • Pool fire: the melting of the upholstery of seat marks the pool fire, where the melted fuel usually spills onto the floor and marks maximum heat release
  • Burn out: this is where the heat release reduces and the rate of burning drops marking the ending phase of the burning

Smoke from a fire if not serious damage, can cause discoloration to your furniture. The smoke particles combine with the atmospheric gases to trigger a reaction which results in discoloration. On most occasions, the stain marks the deposition of harmful chemicals on the furniture surface.

A careful and detailed analysis of the property as a whole is necessary to determine the type of cleaning agent to use. Using normal cleaning methods including vacuum can have drive the smoke particles and soot deeper into the furniture material causing adverse effects.  Using a wrong chemical for cleaning can result in the stripping or staining the varnish on wooden furniture.

Bedding and clothing:

Bedding and clothing commonly develop a musty burnt odor after exposure to smoke. The discoloration is visible in some cases depending on the type of fire and the atmospheric condition. Clothes and bedding can house chemicals from unburned substances. These are usually invisible and should be treated with proper chemicals to alleviate any odor concerns.

Industrial level detergents are needed to ensure that the soot and smoke particles are completely removed from bedding and clothing materials.

 Floors walls and other surfaces:

A mixture of smoke, water, and ash can contribute towards a corrosive element. This conglomerate can eat away walls, floors, and ceilings.

If not attended to immediately, untreated smoke can start decolorizing your walls and other surfaces. A common scenario is the walls turning yellow and corrosion of metal surfaces.

One main factor to consider is fire smoke always creates Carbon Monoxide which can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. This is why it is recommended to get the professionals to assess the situation in your house after the mishap prior to jumping headfirst into the act of cleaning.

The early signs of CO poisoning are usually mild and ignored, which makes the CO a silent killer. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms if you have spent a considerable amount of time in your fire-damaged house:

  • Headache,
  • Dizziness,
  • Weakness,
  • Upset stomach,
  • Vomiting,
  • Chest pain, and
  • Confusion

There are several Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to cleaning up smoke damage. Knowledge about the 4 types of smoke residue and the differential factors is critical for an effective fire damage cleanup process. This is where experienced fire damage personnel can be a godsend. Know what you are dealing with to ensure that it is taken care of even from the most unexpected angles.


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