Refurbishing fabric items after they have been damaged by fire, smoke or water requires special cleaning. Prompt fabric restoration procedures may be able to return clothing to their pre-loss condition with little or reduced damage.
Fire / Smoke Damage
Fire creates visible soot and the invisible smoke odor damage. Typically fires produce hundreds of noxious chemicals, which saturate the items. Some clothing may require dry cleaning because of fiber content or dyes used in the fabric. These articles may be subjected to a careful wet cleaning process, even though they are labeled dry clean only. Also, smoke odor could remain in clothing unless it is properly deodorized. Professional fire restorers and some dry cleaners use a deodorizing process that breaks up the smoke molecule to eliminate the odor. This process is called the ozone treatment. Clothing should be deodorized before they are cleaned, otherwise, the smoke odor could be set in the fabric.
Clothing immersed in water can cause serious damage if not treated immediately. Damage can include faded colors, dye transfer (bleeding) between articles and distortion of fabric. The key to successful restoration after a flood is to deal with the clothing immediately. If the damage is from a natural disaster, the clothing will require stain treatment, as the water contained dirt. First, separate clothes by color and keep delicate garments, like fur, separate from other clothing. Mold growth is another critical issue that needs to be addressed immediately. After separating the clothes, either air dry them as soon as possible or take them to a professional laundry for cleaning. Never store wet or even damp clothes in plastic bags or containers! Mold grow quickly in 24 to 48 hours. As heart-breaking as a fire or flood is to deal with, all may not be lost regarding your clothing if you take quick action by getting immediate professional help to restore your damaged clothing.