How to Clean Your Furniture after a Fire

While many furniture pieces can be replaced with insurance money after a fire or other disaster, family heirlooms and unique items that you’ve collected over the years have special meaning and are worth a little time and effort to try to keep them. 

Many furniture items, such as wood tables, chests and chairs, are good candidates for restoration after a fire. Soot and water from the fire department’s efforts to extinguish the fire are the biggest causes of damage after a fire.

Fortunately, in many cases, these pieces can be cleaned up to (almost new) condition. 

1. Act quickly.

The quicker you act after the fire, the greater your success rate at restoring your furniture. That’s because soot, combustion byproducts and water will continue to seep into porous wood after exposure. Removing these elements quickly is important to curbing any further damage. In addition, avoid unnecessary handling until you are ready to begin the restoration process. Handling can push soot down into the grain of the wood where it is more difficult to remove.

2. Remove the soot.

Soot can generally be removed from wooden furniture using dry cleaning sponges. It’s also advisable to wear gloves while you are removing the soot. The next step is to use a cleansing agent and buff it out with a sponge to help prevent any additional discoloration.

3. Use a vacuum for those small, carved spaces.

If your piece has an intricate design with small carved spaces, use a small handheld vacuum to suck the soot out of these areas.

4. Remove odors.

Odors can also be a problem after a fire and can seep into the wood. You can remove and seal the wood with a professional oxidizing agent.

5. Send out any upholstery or seat cushions to be cleaned.

Upholstery is especially vulnerable to water and smoke damage. Frankly, it may necessary to have that part of your furniture replaced. However, quick intervention will increase the possibility that a professional will be able to restore the fabric.

6. Sand, polish and refinish the furniture if necessary.

Sometimes, the soot and water damage is too extensive to simply clean off and the piece will need to be refinished. You can find a variety of products designed for your particular surface at big box home improvement stores.

To learn more about recovering and restoring your home and possessions after a fire, contact Zona Restoration. We’ve been helping home and business owners in the Tempe area with fire and water damage for more than a decade.