After dealing with a house fire, you are going to feel raw and stressed. There is much that you will need to think about including house fire cleanup. KC Dumpster created some of the essential things to consider to get back on your feet as quickly as possible. The following checklist is going to walk you through some of the simplest steps to learning how to deal with the more serious issues you are going to face. 

A Comprehensive Checklist To Recover From A House Fire 

To understand how structurally safe your home is as well as to know what can be salvaged, it is important to go through a checklist and have a professional take the time to inspect the home. 

Inspecting The Home And Understanding The Damage 

It is essential that you have a professional take the time to inspect the home before you even set foot in the door to try and fix any damage. Apart from possible structural damages, the home may be suffering from hidden damages such as the wiring, deck damage, roofing, or even foundation problems.

Once your room has been cleared safe to enter, you will want to wear some form of protective clothing for general cleaning and repairs. It is best that your body is fully covered with long pants and a long-sleeve shirt as well as close-toed shoes. You will also want to be wearing a face mask and heavy-duty gloves.

While the inspector searches out any potential dangers, this is a good time to file your claim with the insurance company and have a representative come and assess the potential damages. In addition, they may be able to assist you with a list of professionals who would be able to help with initial recovery and cleanup like KC Dumpster. KC Dumpster is the rental company you can count on! We deliver a rental dumpster to the right place at the right time. Once you’re finished clearing out the mess, we haul away the trash.

house fire inspection

After a tragedy takes place, hiring the right team to help you get through it is key. Contact us today for more information about Kansas City’s number one roll off dumpster service. 

Deciding What Needs To Be Tossed After A Fire 

While there are going to be items in your home that look fine after a fire, they may be holding more danger than you realize. Instead of consuming food that could have hidden danger or laying on a bed that may not have proper support, use this handy list to decide what should be thrown away after a fire. 

7 Things You Must Throw Away After A House Fire 

What needs to be thrown away after a fire? There are several items that “have to be” thrown away when you are cleaning up after a fire. 

  1. Electrical Equipment 
  2. Burned Clothing 
  3. Large Textiles 
  4. Mattresses and Furniture 
  5. Toiletries and Cosmetics 
  6. Medicines 
  7. Food 
roll off dumpster for house fire cleanup

Throw Away Any Damaged Goods 

When you are ready to focus on cleaning out the home of any affected belongings, you will want to rent out a dumpster so you can focus on getting the home cleaned as quickly as possible. 

All of the items that are placed in the dumpster will be hauled off to the landfill and disposed of as trash. However, due to chemical damage nothing can be recycled even construction debris. 

Starting The Cleaning Process 

Before you begin to actually clean your home, you will want to open all of the windows and turn on a number of fans to keep air circulating. This is going to help remove the smell of chemicals and smoke from the home. Next, you will want to use a shop-vac to remove any standing water from the home and pull up ruined carpet and flooring and dispose of it. If the carpet is only stained with soot and not wet, you can request a professional carpet cleaning company to remove the stains. 

Take all of the wet items from the house and place them outside to allow for a better assessment of the home. You will have the opportunity to inspect these particular items later to see if they can be salvaged or not. 

house fire cleanup shop vac

Look over all of the interior surfaces for soot and try to clean them off. Be sure that you look at the ceiling. Many people miss this important aspect. You will also need to have a professional come to the home to clean out the ventilation systems throughout the home. However, you will want to clean the filters as soon as possible and then on a monthly basis to ensure your air is as clean as possible. 

Removal Of Smoke and Ash 

The following simple solution can be used to clean floors, walls, cabinets, and a number of other surfaces throughout your home. 

  • 2 tbsp of your regular laundry detergent 
  • 1 cup of bleach or a household cleaner 
  • 4 to 6 tbsp of trisodium phosphate 
  • 1 gallon of water 

Always be sure that when you begin to clean the surfaces of your home that you are wearing gloves and you continuously rinse out the sponge with clean water. 

If you are still smelling smoke after a good cleaning, it is essential that the ductwork be professionally cleaned as this is more than likely where the odors are coming from. If you are still smelling some type of an odor, you will want to contact a restoration company about the procedure known as thermal fogging. This is going to help release any odors that might have become trapped within the insulation and attic. This process involves a chemical fog that helps to neutralize any odors. 

Cleaning And Salvaging Items 

The following actions should be taken according to the experts at FEMA

  • All clothing should be washed before being worn. 
  • All items in the house should be washed and/or dusted. 
  • Carpets, drapes, furniture, mattresses, need to be disinfected and deodorized with steam or another form of cleaner. 
  • You do not want to use a spray that is simply going to mask any odors. 

House Fire Cleanup – Walls and Windows 

With the cleaning solution we have provided, you want to wash away the ash and soot from windows and walls to help eliminate the smell of smoke. When you are cleaning walls, be sure that they are fully dry for up to 48 hours before they are repainted. 

You can use the above solution on washable wallpaper, just be sure you do not get the wall behind the paper wet as this can lead to mildew and mold. It is always possible to use a paste to ensure all of the edges are firmly on the wall. 

Clothing and Fabrics 

How do you go about cleaning fabrics and clothing? How is it possible to get the smell of smoke out of clothing? The best solution is to treat them as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to clean these items, the more stubborn the smell will be. 

How To Remove Soot 

In order to remove soot, you will want to use the crevice attachment of the vacuum before clothes are wet. This is going to remove a good deal of the ash without it getting embedded into the fabric. While the fabric is dry, use baking soda to help absorb more of the soot and vacuum after 15 minutes. Continue this process until the majority of the stain has been removed. 

How To Remove The Smoke Smell Out Of Clothing 

For any items that are able to handle bleach, you can use the following formula: 

  • 1 cup of bleach 
  • 4 tsp of TSP 
  • 1 gallon of water 

Be sure to stir all of the ingredients completely and mix the solution to your clothing or simply use a sponge on larger items such as mattresses and furniture. Rinse the item or items in clean water and allow them to dry. It is best to allow them to air dry and allow enough time for larger items to fully dry before being used. You may want to place a fan on larger items and open the windows. 

If you are unable to use bleach, it is possible to soak items in warm water with white vinegar or detergent overnight. Continue this process until there is no longer a smell. 

removing soot from clothes

If the soot-stains or smell will not come out of the clothing, you may wish to take them to a dry cleaner and they can treat them with unique dry-cleaning techniques. For any other items, you will need to contact a professional cleaner or a restoration company. 

Furniture and House Fire Cleanup

If the furniture in your home was not burned and can be used, it is possible to salvage it. Hardwood furniture is typically the easiest of home furnishings to save. You will want to use an oil soap, which is typically sold for hardwood floors. For any stains that go deep into the wood, you will need to sand it and refinish it. While it may be possible to remove the stains, you will want the furniture brought to a professional to ensure all of the chemicals have been removed.


You may be wondering if you are going to be able to use your favorite dishes after a fire. As long as all of the plates, utensils and pots can be fully cleaned, they will be safe to use once again. However, if you have any wood or plastic dishes, they will need to be thrown out as they can generally absorb smoke and chemicals. 

How To Clean Your Dishes After A Fire 

The dishes should be placed in hot water with soap and rinsed in a mixture containing the following: 

  • 1 gallon of water 
  • 2 tbsp of bleach 

Floors and Non-Porous Surfaces 

While materials such as metal and glass are easier to clean as opposed to fabrics, it is wise not to keep anything that has been melted, charred or burned. 

Glass can usually withstand a fire and be cleaned with dish soap and vinegar. 

While metal may get stained, it can usually withstand any damage. You will want to wash it with dish soap and vinegar then sand and paint it. 

Hardwood floors can usually be salvaged, unless they have been burned and shared due to the fire. They can be cleaned with oil soap and eventually sanded and refinished. 

How To Clean The Exterior Of A Home 

As the interior of the house becomes a home again, you will need to start focusing on the outside. You will want to start at the top and look over the gutters and the roof. In many cases, the gutters can collect a bit of debris which will clog them up. You can take any piles of ash and toss it in the garbage, just be sure to double bag it to prevent dust clouds. In addition, try not to wash ash down the storm drains if at all possible. 

Next on the agenda is going to be the windows and walls. While cleaning, you will want to work from the top to the bottom, allowing the water and debris to run into the areas which have not been cleaned. You can use a power washer to remove soot, chemical residue, and ash from the house. If the damaged area is small, you may actually only need a good brush and some borax to fully clean the area. If the firefighters had used a Class A foam in the fire, it would be able to be removed with a paint scraper. Tile cleaner is also exceptionally good to remove any leftover remnants. Simply use a glass cleaner for the windows. 

cleaning home exterior after fire

Take away any debris that is left on the driveway or walkways and use the power washer to remove the soot from these areas. Using your water hose, lightly water the ground for about a week to help the ash recede into the ground. 

Getting Life Back To Normal After House Fire Cleanup

You now have all of the tools you need at your disposal to clean up your home after a fire. The worst is going to be behind you. We hope the information in this guide will bring life back to a sense of normal. Remember, KC Dumpster is here to help. Contact us today for more information about our dumpster rentals, and we will help you decide which dumpster size is best for house fire cleanup.