What to Do if You Have Smoke Damage

In this comprehensive post, we'll go over;

Everything you need to do if you have smoke damage in your home.

You'll also learn;

  • How to tell if you have smoke damage.
  • The smoke damage cleaning process.

So if you've ever asked yourself any of these questions, you'll love this post!


Smoke damage from a fire can cause serious and costly damage throughout your home. In 2019 in the U.S. alone, there were $14.8 billion in losses. That's a 74.5% increase from 2010. 

If you've experienced smoke damage, you're not alone. While it might seem overwhelming, there's hope.

This article will take a look at what to do if you experience smoke damage. Read on to explore this guide and have a better idea of what to do to have your home like new again.

What Is Considered Smoke Damage?

grease fire

Smoke damage is when there's physical property damage due to a fire. It's not from the actual flames. 

Check with your insurance policy to see if smoke damage is covered. Most insurance policies include smoke damage. 

The smoke can cause damage, but it can leave the smell of smoke, which can be difficult to clean. Fire and smoke damage restoration professionals will be able to use the right chemicals, special equipment, and washing regimens to restore your items leaving them cleaned and deodorized!

First things first...ACT FAST!

The sooner you act when it comes to smoke damage, the less likely you are to face permanent damage. You might wonder what to throw away after smoke damage, this includes items you're not able to salvage. 

Items such as porous materials or those with synthetic fibers need to have an intervention within minutes. This can include flooring and painted walls.

Metal surfaces can corrode and rust when soot or smoke particles sit for too long. You'll want to reach out to a smoke damage restoration company like Rock Emergency right away to assess the damage.

How Do You Know if You Have Smoke Damage?


Since smoke tends to drift with air currents, check the areas of cooler temperatures. As you go around your home, check for smoke odors and look for any signs of discoloration. 

Check Ceilings and Walls

You'll first want to check out your walls and ceilings. Since the smoke will rise, there's a good chance that your ceiling has damage. 

You might find yellow or black discoloration on your ceilings or walls. Smoke and soot can permanently discolor surfaces in your home. Along with peeling paint, it can also impact the structure of your ceiling or wall. 

Check any exposed nail heads as well. Smoke can also go into crawl spaces and attics. 

Outside Doors and Windows

Since smoke follows the air currents, it easily winds up in different crevices and cracks throughout your home.

Once this occurs, it heads outside. You might find smoke residue that goes outside of the windows and doors. 

Enclosed Spaces

Check enclosed spaces such as drawers and closets. This is because once smoke cools, it falls. These spaces tend to be cooler than other areas of your home which attract smoke. 

Your Lungs

If you, your pet, or a family member are exposed to smoke, you'll want to seek medical help immediately. This is because more than half of deaths related to fires are due to smoke inhalation. 

When you inhale smoke, it can lead to a worsening of different lung and heart conditions. This can include chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and asthma. 

Some symptoms from smoke inhalation can include headaches, cough, or shortness of breath. You might also experience eye damage, skin changes, or noisy breathing. Chest pain or soot in your throat or nose can be symptoms as well.

The Cleaning Process

If your bedding or cloth clothing is damaged with odors and soot, you'll want to use special alkaline cleaning chemicals. For laminate, PVC, or plastic furniture you can wipe it down with a mildly alkaline cleaning solution. 

For hardwood flooring, you'll want to resurface and deodorize the area. Porcelain items will be wiped down with a mildly alkaline cleaning solution.

Honestly, it's best to leave the cleaning to professionals. Professionals will know how to clean the different items to keep you safe, get the smell out, and restore your salvageable items. 

What You Can Do

After professionals finish, you can cover the upholstery with clean sheets before you use them again. Make sure that you change the furnace filter each day until there's no soot. 

Use cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape. Make sure that you open windows to ventile the different areas of your home. Turn on fans throughout the home to circulate the air. 


  • Never use upholstery cleaners or do-it-yourself home carpet cleaners.
  • Don't enter the property before a professional heads in.
  • Don't clean smoke damage from the walls or ceilings yourself. 

Why Hire a Professional? 

If your home isn't properly maintained after smoke damage, you can wind up having more costly expenses over time. Smoke damage cleaning is complicated, and professionals can help. That’s where Rock Emergency comes in, offering years of experience in fire restoration and the full restoration process.

If dirt, corrosive substances, and soot has been left untreated, they can embed into your carpet, wooden furniture, and upholstery. This can lead to odors, items becoming discolored, and your items being unsalvageable. 

Smoke can also cause electrical damage as well. This can lead to various health hazards and leaks resulting in other water-damaged areas.

Call Your Insurance Company


You'll want to submit a claim and see what your insurance will cover. Coverage for losses might be included in your claim as well. This is because you won't be able to live in your home while it's being cleaned from smoke or fire damage. 

Now that you've explored this guide on what to do if you have smoke damage, you should have a better idea of what to expect. Not sure what to do next? 

Don't delay in getting your home treated. Contact Rock Emergency today, and we'll come up with an action plan that meets your needs. 24-hour services are available for your convenience!

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