If you find that you were fortunate enough to rescue a lot of your clothes from your home after your house fire was extinguished, you may have a problem of a different sort. Your rescued clothes will smell of smoke and of water, dirt, and/or mildew if left unwashed. Even after you wash them, the smell of a burning house will linger. Fret not; there are ways of taking smoke smell out of smoke damaged fabric.
Even though you have just been through a traumatic and expensive event, it is important to clean everything made of cloth right away. While you should leave furniture and carpet cleaning to the pros, you can manage your clothes cleaning yourself. Take every article of clothing you have rescued from the fire and the soaked remnants of your home to a dry cleaner. They have a special process they use to remove mold, mildew and smoke smell. It will be expensive, but no more so than having to buy entirely new clothes.
Deodorizing and Oxidation
Another option to try is oxidation and deodorizing. Wash the clothes as you normally would. Then hang them up to dry. As they dry, spray the clothes with a laundry oxidizer, which is designed to break up the molecules of tough odors. Then you can spray the clothes with a laundry deodorizer and leave them hanging to dry, preferably in the warm sun.
Running Them Through an Oxidation Room
If you happen to hire a fire damage restoration expert, he/she will bring an oxidation room along for the ride. This is a large box, similar to a walk-in refrigerator, except that there is no cold air involved. Instead, you hang or shelve dozens of items in this portable room with an oxidizing machine. Items remain inside for a set period of time. Then you remove them and wash them as you normally would.
Singed or Stained Clothes
Unfortunately there is not a whole lot that can be done for clothing that is singed or stained from soot and water. Unless you want to recycle these clothes as paint wear or sleep/lounge wear, they are garbage. Really tiny singe marks in places where they cannot be seen may warrant keeping the garments, but that is entirely up to you. They will need to undergo the same cleaning process as the rest of your rescued clothes that are in better shape.