Like New Again

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

How to Get Soot Out of Clothes

Putting the pieces back together after a fire may seem impossible, but there are many small steps you can take to help get things back on track. We understand clothes are a part of your identity, so taking immediate action to restore your clothes after a fire is one way to find comfort in a time of despair. 

Searching for immediate clothing restoration services? Contact CRDN 24/7 at the number at the top of your screen or click the submit a claim button for a quick response.

How Soot Impacts Your Clothing

Even a small fire incident can leave your clothes stained and smelling of smoke. However, soot doesn’t just impact your clothing, it can also impact your health. 

Below are several ways that soot and ash can impact your home or business after a fire:

  • Ash and soot stains
  • Odor from embedded soot
  • Metal corrosion (zippers, buttons, etc.)
  • Toxic contaminants
  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Respiratory illnesses 

How to Get Soot Out of Clothes After a Fire 

It’s important to treat soot and ash stains before you toss them in your washer and dryer. If you put all of your damaged clothing in the washer immediately after a fire, you risk dispersing soot throughout all of the fabric. You should also avoid using any air fresheners on clothing, as they will only mask odors. 

If your items are severely damaged and filled with soot or there are many affected items, we highly recommend having them professionally cleaned by our textile restoration experts at CRDN. Not only will this help ensure the safety of your items, but also the safety of your health.  

However, if there is minimal damage and you have only a few items that have been affected, you can follow the steps below to get soot out of your clothes after a fire:

  1. Remove as much soot as possible. Take your clothing outside and shake out as much soot and ash as possible. You can also try using a handheld vacuum outside to pull the soot out of clothing. 
  2. Eliminate the smoke odor. To remove odors, similar to placing an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator, seal items in bags with baking soda overnight. If the smell persists, try a vinegar pre- soak by combining a cup of distilled, white vinegar with warm water in a sink or washbasin and submerge the garment for 30-60 minutes. If that doesn’t work, CRDN provides specialty fire restoration dry cleaning services to attempt to remove the smoke odor.
  3. Clean your clothes. After removing the soot and eliminating the odor, the next step is to wash the clothes. First, review the garment care label guidelines to ensure the item is not dry-clean-only.  Handwash the clothes with heavy detergent two to three times to help ensure soot oils have been extracted. Make sure to wash soot-damaged clothes separate from undamaged ones.
  4. Let your clothes air dry. After cleaning, air dry the clothing items to help remove any smoke smell remnants. Ensure items are fully dry to reduce the possibility of mold spores developing. If you no longer smell smoke or see any stains embedded in your clothes, you can utilize a normal dryer (always check the garment care label to ensure the item can be dried in this manner).

How to Spot Clean Soot Stains Embedded in Clothes 

If your clothing has minimal soot stains with no present smoke odor, we recommend spot cleaning the stains before washing. 

  1. Remove excess soot. Take the soot damaged clothing item outside and shake out as much soot as possible. You can also use a handheld vacuum to extract soot from the stain.
  2. Rinse the clothing item. Flip your clothing item inside out and run the soot-stained spot under cold water. Do not touch the soot stain as it could embed it further into the clothing item (be sure to observe all garment care label instructions before cleaning).
  3. Soak and rinse the clothing. Add laundry detergent, warm water and the soot-stained item into a bucket and let it sit overnight. Once it has soaked, rinse it in hot water. Repeat as necessary to remove the stain, observing all care label instructions 

Full Suite Fire Restoration Services

The tips listed above are for minor soot stains and smoke damage. If you are unsure if your item is safe to be worn or you are unable to remove the stains or odor yourself, it’s time to call the professionals. The restoration experts at CRDN provide a full suite of fire restoration services to help ensure the contents in your home are restored to their pre-loss condition. 

We can support you with everything from soot stain removal to electronic restoration services to help you get back to a sense of normalcy. Find your local CRDN to view the fire restoration services near you. 

Find Soot Restoration Services Near Me

CRDN is here to support you with soot restoration services. With more than 150 locations across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, our teams are on standby 24/7 to help you recover after a disaster. Call us at the number at the top of your screen or submit a claim to get started.