Salvage tips

Professional fire and water damage restoration companies may be a good source for cleaning and salvaging your personal items. Check in the Yellow Pages for companies or ask your insurance representative for companies they have used in the past. Depending on the type of insurance you have, this cost may be covered.

Below are some things you can do yourself to to begin the cleaning process.

To begin, seal off the room you are working in with a polyethylene sheet to keep soot from moving from one room to another. Try to keep windows closed.

  • Vacuum all surfaces
  • Replace furnace filters
  • Thoroughly clean air conditioning and furnace ducts

Cleaning your walls

To remove soot and smoke from walls, mix four to six tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) (available at most hardware and paint stores) with one gallon of water. Keep solution away from children and pets.

  • Use rubber gloves and goggles
  • Wash small area at a time
  • Soot will deposit on the ceilings and upper portions of walls so work from the floor up, cleaning the ceiling last
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • When completely dry apply a smoke primer (available at paint stores) before painting

Cleaning your furniture

  • Do not use chemicals on wood furniture
  • Flax soap or linseed soft soap (available in hardware and paint stores) are the most efficient products to use on wood, including kitchen cabinets
  • Do not dry furniture out in the sun because the wood may warp and twist out of shape
  • Use a shampooer for upholstered furniture
  • Test the fabric for colourfastness before shampooing
  • Rinse out soap by sponging with two ounces of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water

Cleaning your floors

  • Use flax or linseed soap on wood and linoleum floors; apply four or five times, then strip and re-wax
  • Throw rugs can be cleaned by beating, sweeping or vacuuming and then shampooing
  • Make sure rugs are thoroughly dry. Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly cause the rug to rot
  • Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible: lay them flat and expose them to warm, circulated, dry air
  • A fan will speed drying
  • For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call a carpet dealer, installer or a qualified carpet cleaning professional

Cleaning your mattresses

  • Reconditioning an inner-spring mattress at home is very difficult
  • Your mattress can probably be renovated by a company that builds or repairs mattresses
  • As feather and foam retain odours, it is almost impossible to remove smoke odour from pillows

Cleaning your locks & hinges

  • Locks should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene and oiled
  • If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole and turn the knob to distribute the oil
  • Hinges should also be thoroughly cleaned and oiled

Cleaning your appliances


Cleaning your clothing

  • Smoke and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing
  • For clothes that can be bleached, wash with four to six teaspoons of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP), one cup of bleach and one gallon of water
  • Rinse with clean water
  • To remove mildew, wash the stain in soap and water, rinse and dry in the sun
  • If stain is still there, try lemon juice and salt or a diluted bleach solution 
  • Take wool, silk or rayon garments to the dry cleaner as soon as possible
  • Caution: test coloured garments before using treatment

Cleaning your food

  • Wash your canned and glass jars in dish soap and water
  • If the labels come off, use a permanent marker to write the contents on the side of the container
  • Do not use canned food if the cans are bulging or rusted
  • Do not refreeze any previously frozen food that is now thawed
  • To remove any odour from your refrigerator and freezer, wash the inside with a mixture of water and baking soda
  • You can also use a solution of one cup of ammonia or vinegar in one gallon of water
  • Leave an open container of baking soda left in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odour

Cleaning your cooking utensils

  • Cooking utensils should be washed with soap and water, then rinsed and polished with a fine powdered cleaner
  • Polish copper and brass with a cloth saturated in vinegar and sprinkled with salt, or lemon sprinkled with salt

Cleaning your leather items

  • Rinse leather and suede garments in cold water and dry them away from heat and sun
  • Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then with a dry cloth
  • Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to help retain their shape
  • Leave suitcases open
  • When dry, clean with saddle soap

Contact us

Airdrie Fire Department Administration

P. 403.948.8880

F. 403.948.9994


Airdrie Fire Department Administration
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday