Tips for Salvaging Your Belongings

A house fire in Pensacola can happen at any time. Unfortunately, homeowners often throw belongings away that appear to be unfixable when really, they can be restored. There are professional restoration companies that specialize in salvaging and restoring your damaged items. Complete is your one stop shop for all your restoration needs! Below are a few tips on how to salvage items such as clothing, all the way to books! FEMA also has some pointers.Some items that can possibly be salvaged are; clothing, cooking utensils, electrical appliances, food, rugs and carpets, leather and books, walls, floors and furniture (including wood), and money. (Yes, money!)

Tips for Salvaging Your Items


pants full of sootWhen trying to restore and clean clothing, ALWAYS follow your manufacturer’s instructions. When doing so, it is a good idea to use a substance containing Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP). This is a substance that of course, is used as a cleaning agent, but must be used with caution when children or pets are present.  This is useful to aid in the removal of smoke odor and soot. Although, depending on the severity of the damage it may not always work.The proper formula should be mixed as follows (permitting the clothes are able to be bleached): 4-6 tbsp. of TSP, 1 C of chlorine beach or household cleaner, and 1 gallon on warm water.Once it is mixed, add the clothes, and rinse with clean water.

Cooking Utensils

burnt panIf the utensils have been affected by fire, you should wash them with soapy water, rinse, and polish with a fine-powder cleaner. (To polish, you may use a special cloth for copper and brass. If it is any of type of metal you may use salt on a piece of lemon or salt on a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Electrical Appliances

burnt applianceIn order to see if your appliances are salvageable, you should call the appropriate company to check them for safety. DO NOT do it yourself.


soot on canned goodsFor some people, it makes them feel better just to throw all of the food away. BUT, it can be salvaged. Canned goods should be washed in detergent and water (do the same for jarred food). If the labels come off, just mark what the contents are with a grease pencil. DO NOT use canned goods that have bulged, warped, or rusted.  Also, DO NOT re-freeze food that has already thawed. If there is a lingering odor in your fridge and/or freezer you have a few choices. You may wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon water, or an open container of baking soda or charcoal.

Rugs & Carpets

smoke damaged rugRugs and carpets should be allowed to dry all the way through. Throw rugs can be beaten or vacuumed, then shampooed. Dry them ASAP in a warm, circulated air. For better information a carpet dealer, cleaner, or installer should be called.

Leather & Books

soot covered leather bootsLeather goods should be wiped with a damp cloth, and then wiped with a dry cloth. Purses and shoes should be stuffed with newspaper to maintain shape. Suit cases should be left open. ALL leather goods should be left to dry away from the heat and sun.Wet books should be dried immediately. The best way is it freeze them with a vacuum freezer, it takes the moisture away without damaging the pages. If you cannot locate a vacuum freezer, place your books in the freezer instead. If all else fails, call the library!

Walls, Floors, and Furniture

soot on brick wallTo remove soot from walls, floors, and furniture use the following solution: 4-6 tbsp. of TSP, 1 C of household cleaner or chloride bleach, and 1 gallon warm water. When cleaning with this solution, wear rubber gloves and work from the floor up. Also be sure to rinse your walls and furniture with clean warm water and dry thoroughly. DO NOT REPAINT UNTIL THEY ARE COMPLETELY DRY.

Money Replacement

money half burntHandle burned money as little as possible. You should try to put each bill or portion in plastic for preservation. If your bill is less than half burned, you may take it to your local Federal Reserve Bank for replacement. You may ask your bank for the nearest one or you may mail the bills by registered mail to: Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing Office of Currency Standards P.O. Box 37048 Washington, DC 20013 If you have melted coins , you may mail them to: Superintendent U.S. Mint P.O. Box 400 Philadelphia, PA 19105 If you have just suffered from a loss due to fire, give us a call at Complete! You may reach us at 850.CALL.DKI.

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