If you are the recent victim of a house fire, you may be in the middle of sifting through your belongings, determining what to keep and what to claim as a loss. It might make sense to throw away even slightly damaged possessions that your insurance company will pay to replace, but what about sentimental or irreplaceable items?

With the help of a smoke and fire damage restoration company, you should be able to salvage many of your belongings, as long as they didn’t come in contact with the flames. Follow these tips to determine if it’s safe to keep items made of certain materials.


Clothing, towels, bedding, and upholstery may be salvageable if they are not burned. Just be aware that smoke easily penetrates these porous materials, leaving an unpleasant odor behind. Even laundering smoke-damaged fabrics multiple times with detergent and vinegar doesn’t always remove the smell. When that’s the case, you may need a professional odor removal service to restore your textiles after a fire.

Glass, Metal & Ceramics

These materials are surprisingly resilient and may be easier to salvage than you think. In fact, non-porous glass and metal may simply need to be cleaned with vinegar or dish soap. Ceramics are more porous and might require a deeper professional cleaning. Just remember, if your glass, metal, or ceramic belongings have melted, warped, or cracked under the fire’s heat, it’s best to throw them away.

Hardwood Floors

Wood may be porous, but hardwood flooring is often salvageable after a fire. First, check for charring. This degree of damage usually means replacing your floor is best. Otherwise, focus on drying the hardwood quickly and thoroughly to remove any water firefighters used to extinguish the flames. For the best results, schedule fire damage restoration services with a licensed company as soon as possible.


Even if they escape the flames, electronics aren’t always safe to use after a fire. Corrosive, insulating, magnetized soot can shorten a device’s lifespan or cause short-circuiting if you attempt to turn it on before it has been cleaned thoroughly. Leave the job to a professional restoration company to increase the chances of salvaging your electronics.


Food in commercially sealed, unopened, uncontaminated metal cans may be salvageable after a house fire. Then again, heat from the blaze can spoil food in jars and cans, even if the heat doesn’t rupture the packaging. Refrigerated and frozen food may also be safe, but only if the food is still cold and smoke hasn’t penetrated the fridge or freezer. The bottom line is when in doubt, throw it out.

During the fire damage restoration process, it’s worthwhile to hire a contents restoration team to carefully assess your belongings and confirm which items are safe to keep. The professionals at DKI can assist with this process, along with every other aspect of restoring your damaged home or business, including smoke and soot removal, deodorization, and building reconstruction. Contact us today at 844.345.2255 to request restoration services near you.