If you’re like many people, you’d like to know what you can save – and what you should throw away – after a house fire. Our team can give you guidance after we’ve evaluated the whole situation as part of our fire cleanup and restoration efforts, but in the meantime, this guide explains four things you should throw away after a fire (and why).
4 Things to Throw Away After a House Fire
After a house fire, some of your items may still be salvageable. Items made from glass or metal are typically easy to salvage, even if they’ve become stained from fire. You may even be able to salvage clothing, fabric and upholstered items, depending on how much smoke, soot and water exposure they sustained.
But there are four things you most likely need to throw away after a house fire, and they are:
- Medicines, cosmetics and personal hygiene products
- Perishable foods that were exposed or were in the refrigerator when you lost power for more than a couple of hours
- Nonperishable foods that aren’t canned
- Melted or stained plastic items
Here’s a closer look at each.
Item #1 to Throw Away After a House Fire: Medicine, Cosmetics and Personal Hygiene Products
Sadly, medicines, cosmetics and personal hygiene products are easily contaminated by soot and smoke. Many of them can absorb toxins, and the last thing you want to do is put them on (or in) your body.
Related: House fire stats for homeowners
Item #2 to Throw Away After a House Fire: Perishable Foods
Perishable foods that were left at room temperature, or that were in the refrigerator when your house lost power for more than two hours, should be thrown away. And if fire actually got into your fridge, you’ll need to throw everything out; foods can easily absorb toxic smoke and soot particles.
Related: Information on fire and smoke damage
Item #3 to Throw Away After a House Fire: Nonperishable Foods That Aren’t Canned or Sealed
Nonperishable foods that were exposed to smoke or soot have to be thrown out. If you eat them, you’re ingesting whatever contaminants and chemicals they were exposed to. The exception: You can typically keep foods that are canned or sealed, provided that they weren’t open and they don’t show obvious stains or burn marks.
Item #4 to Throw Away After a House Fire: Melted or Stained Plastics
Melted and stained plastics pull in smoke and soot – and that means you have to get rid of them to reduce your risk. Food containers are especially vulnerable, and you should replace all your damaged plastic items.
Do You Need a Disaster Remediation Expert in Washtenaw County or Jackson County?
If your home has already been damaged, we can help. Check out our services and call 734-352-9183 for your free disaster remediation quote today. We offer: