things that can be salvaged after a fire

What are The Things That Can Be Salvaged After a Fire?

Recovery after a house fire is possible. Call Restorerz Emergency Services at (323) 997-4978 to request fast, professional fire damage restoration. 

Fires are highly destructive. Each year, property owners lose billions of dollars to fire accidents. A house fire can destroy the property and all the possessions inside it within minutes.

When house fires occur, recovering properties often feels like an impossible task. However, it’s possible to salvage some of your personal belongings as you set out on the path to recovery. This article will look at things that can be salvaged after a fire and things you can’t salvage.

Homeowners who choose fire damage restoration by Restorerz experience a faster return to normalcy. We make the home livable again, and we help recover some of your personal items. 

Things That Can Be Salvaged After a Fire

The items that can be salvaged after a fire falls into three categories: hard materials, washable fabric materials, and electrical appliances. We’ll look at them below:

Hard Materials

These materials are the least likely to burn or melt in a fire. They are not completely fireproof, though. They can melt or crack with prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Still, they are the items you will most likely recover from a house fire. Some examples include:


Glass objects are highly likely to survive house fires. The material can withstand high temperatures and won’t soak up the water or chemicals used in quenching the fire.

Cleaning soot off them is also easy. Soaking the glassware in a solution of vinegar or baking soda and dish soap is all you need to eliminate any soot stains following a fire.


Metal will melt at extremely high temperatures, but most house fires don’t reach that point. Metal can also withstand water and smoke damage.

As with glass, you can remove stains from any metal objects with vinegar and dishwashing soap. Once the metal is clean, you can return it to almost new with a little sanding and a splash of paint.

Hardwood Floors

You can salvage hardwood floors after a fire because they have a protective coating that keeps smoke and water from reaching the porous wood underneath.

You can wash the floor with dishwashing soap if the floor is not heavily charred. With the floor properly cleaned, you can sand and refinish it.

Washable Fabric Materials

Fabric materials that don’t catch fire during house fire accidents are generally salvageable because they are easy to wash. These materials are any options you can toss into the washing machine, such as:

  • Furniture covers
  • Curtains
  • Clothes

To salvage these materials after a fire, put them into your washing machine and pour a cup of chlorine bleach and five to seven tablespoons of Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP) into the mix. Add some vanilla extract and start the wash cycle.  

At the end of the wash, you’ll get clean, nice-smelling fabrics you can put back into use.

Be sure to dry them properly before storage to avoid mold growth.

Now you know the things that can be salvaged after a fire, but what about the things that can’t?

Electrical Appliances

You can salvage most appliances if the fire did not burn or melt important components. If the fire damaged wiring or controls, you might have to repair the affected parts to use the appliances again.

Check with an electrician before you reuse salvaged electrical appliances. Without confirmatory checks, hidden damage in the appliance may cause issues down the line.

Things That Can’t Be Salvaged After a Fire

Any items that don’t appear damaged may look like they are salvageable, but that’s not always the case. Below are some products you should discard after a fire accident:

Stained or Melted Plastic

Plastic undergoes significant change during house fires. Plastic items can absorb smoke and soot even when the fire doesn’t melt them. This property of plastic means you’ll have to throw out your food containers or water bottles after a house fire.

Canned or Boxed Foods

If you find any open boxed or canned foods after a fire, don’t put them back into the pantry. The foods will absorb toxins and chemicals from the smoke during a fire. Similarly, you should throw out any canned or boxed foods with stains or burn marks on their body. The high heat will most likely change the food’s composition.

Perishable Food Items in Your Refrigerator

If the fire cut off power to your refrigerator and the foods stored inside stayed without power for more than six hours, it’s best to throw out everything. Bacteria colonies start to form on frozen foods after a few hours without power. If the fire burnt through the refrigerator door, don’t attempt to salvage items in the fridge.

Cosmetics and Medicine

The high heat from house fires can alter the chemical composition of medicine and cosmetic products. The smoke and soot can also make them toxic. It’s best to throw them away after the fire. Call your doctor immediately to order a replacement if you have to throw away your prescription medication.

Request Expert Help from a Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Knowing what items to salvage after a fire is not always straightforward. The chemicals firefighters use to put out fires can leave residues, making certain items unsafe to use without professional cleaning.

Unfortunately, that fact may go over your head as you become overwhelmed with emotions after the fire. You may end up saving things you should discard.

It’s why we recommend working with the professionals at Restorerz Emergency Services. We’ll come in with a clear head to sort any belongings not burnt in the fire.

We know the things that can be salvaged after a fire, and we have a process for collecting them and making them usable again.

Call Restorerz Emergency Services at (323) 997-4978, and we’ll arrive at your location in the shortest time possible. Check out this post to find out why you should remove soot from your home after a fire.

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