Boise house fire burnt table chairs and burned out kitchen

Items To Throw Away After Fire Damage

As a disaster restoration company in Boise Idaho, fire damage restoration is one of the most shocking a nerve racking events a home or business owner will ever have to deal with. Fires are one of the biggest home disasters, and unfortunately, some are a total loss. There are still a lot of small-scale fires that only cause partial structural damage, though. In this case, some items in the house can still be salvaged. What are they?

Determine Which Items You Need To Clean

Go through the items that you were able to salvage from the fire and check which ones can be cleaned and which ones to discard. Keep in mind that soot can further damage your items in just a matter of hours, depending on the material.

You can keep items that have not been damaged directly by the fire.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when cleaning some of your things at home:

  • Clothes and Sheets – Clothes and sheets may seem perfectly okay, but unburned chemicals are invisible to the naked eye. Use special washing chemicals to remove all harmful chemicals and odor in clothes and sheets.
  • Curtain and upholstery – You might be tempted to vacuum away the soot on your drapes and upholstery. That is not recommended because it can force the soot deeper, which will make cleaning it more difficult. Cleaning curtains and upholstered furniture requires the right tools, so consider hiring a professional.
  • Plastic surfaces and synthetics – These items collect more smoke compared to other materials. Wipe them down with a mild alkali cleaning solution.
  • Appliances – Washing machines, fridge, and other appliances must be cleaned immediately to prevent permanent staining. You can wipe them using cooking oil.
  • Wood surfaces and furniture – Address the issue right away by using dry chemical sponges to prevent soot from seeping into surfaces that can lead to permanent stains.

Here are some of the items that you must throw away immediately:

  • Non-Perishable food – Non-perishable foods that have been exposed to heat, smoke, and other firefighting chemicals must be discarded right away. While sealed foods may seem okay, if they were exposed to the heat of the fire, they might no longer be edible because the high heat can activate bacteria that can result in food spoilage.
  • Perishable food – Even though some foods that are inside the fridge are still salvageable after a fire, if you smell smoke when you open the fridge or you see soot, then it’s best to throw away all of its contents. If the refrigerator lost power after the fire, then you might want to toss away the contents in the bin.
  • Medicines and cosmetics – Inspect medicines and cosmetics for signs of soot, heat, or other damage. If they warped from exposure to high heat, throw them away.
  • Burned clothing – There’s no point holding onto burnt clothing, so it’s best to throw them away instead of trying to salvage them.


These are the items in your home that you can still salvage and throw away. Keep in mind never to attempt retrieving items that could put your health at risk, regardless if it’s expensive or a favorite. A good rule of thumb to follow when going through your stuff is when in doubt, throw it out.  Check out our Fire Damage Action Plan for more information on what to do.

Fire damage can be stressful and cleaning up can be a tedious task. Contact an experienced fire damage restoration contractor in Boise! We provide a complete disaster cleanup solution for fire, water, mold, and many more.

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