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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Smoke Residue and Removal

10/10/2016 (Permalink)

Draperies and couches can be treated for smoke damage rather than replaced. Call SERVPRO to assess your damage ASAP!

Different Types of Residues Call for Specific Approaches in Removal

Most of the property loss from a fire is due to smoke rather than the actual heat. More draperies, curtains, clothing and furniture is thrown out every year due to discoloration and soot damage than is ever lost to flames. Depending on the type of smoke residue, however, it is possible to save many items from the trash.

SERVPRO has the expertise and training to restore items covered in smoke residue from fire damage in Calabasas. For purposes of cleaning, smoke residue is considered either dry or wet. It is determined by three things in a fire: The rate of combustion, the amount of oxygen present and the type of material or substance that burned.

Fast burning, oxygen-rich fires with natural materials (dry wood, paper, and natural fibers) create dry smoke and residue. Specifically, that means it is powdery and doesn't leave a residue that smears and feels 'greasy' if you touch it. Slow burning, oxygen-poor fires leave a wet smoke, especially if the material burned is synthetic (e.g. foam rubber and plastics).

Dry smoke is easier to clean up and items covered in dry smoke residue such as furniture are much simpler to restore. Since the smoke is generated from natural materials, there are fewer aerosols to deal with. Dry smoke also does not stain surfaces as thoroughly as wet smoke, and the odor from dry smoke is not as strong as the odor generated from the wet smoke. Thanks to all this, our technicians can use less aggressive techniques, tools and cleaners with dry smoke.


Wet smoke always has at least one liquid component; often some solvent or varnish. This gives it a higher amount of aerosol which makes the smoke residue harder to remove. Since this is a slower burning fire, air is not circulated as quickly, and the wet smoke has more time to work itself into crevices and discolor plastic materials and furniture finish. Because of this, our technicians will need to use more aggressive tools and cleaners to try and restore furniture and other property. If the wet smoke has soaked into property for 24 hours, then it may not be possible for us to recover and restore any of it.

Rain is finally coming to California now, but the threat from smoke damage is still present. As a locally owned franchise, SERVPRO of Agoura / Calabasas / Hidden Hills stands ready to help our neighbors with their needs. If you need our services, call us today at (818) 991-6292.

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