Cleaning Textiles After A Fire

Category Advice

One research study on the effectiveness of home-cleaning solutions suggests that home laundering of washable items with commercially available products may eliminate the need for more costly methods of removing smoke damage. In the study, four smoke-damaged fabrics were laundered by using one of four cleaning solutions. For all four fabrics, the liquid detergent and the combination of powder laundry detergent and bleach were most effective in removing smoke damage.


Results obtained from laundering with powder detergent alone or with dry- cleaning solutions were less consistent.

Vacuum curtains and draperies thoroughly, then launder in plenty of suds or have them dry-cleaned-- according to fabric.

Some heavy smoke odor and discoloration may be removed from sheets, pillowcases and towels by pre- soaking in warm suds for several hours, or dry cleaning first to loosen heavy oil-based soot.

Source: MSU Extension

About The Author: This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with references from Missouri Extension bulletin After the Fire is Out.

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Home and Garden Cleaning AdviceApril 1, 2005
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