After the Fire: Restoring What is Inside Your Home

Residential Fire Damage cleanup HoustonHouse fires can strike anytime, anywhere. Brand new Houston-area mansions have been destroyed by accidental fires, as have small, historic homes dating back 100 years. It doesn’t take long after arriving at a scene for an insurance adjuster or restoration company estimator to determine if the structure can be saved, or needs to be completely rebuilt. In the same breath, restoration crews are likely already getting to work getting any salvageable items out of the house, if it’s safe to enter.

It’s common knowledge that the structure of the home may be able to be saved by a restoration company, but did you know the same goes for the items inside your home? Service Master Century does what is called “contents cleaning” – and we do it all. We can clean your clothes, furniture, bedding, electronics, appliances, and so on. Similar to the structure of the home, everything will be processed and carefully inspected. In many house fire incidents, we are able to save a whole lot of the items inside a home. Items that cannot effectively be cleaned will simply be paid out by your insurance company so you can purchase a replacement.

How “Contents Cleaning” Works

As fire damage technicians develop a plan for saving the structure of your home, members of the Service Master Century contents division will carefully pack up fire-damaged items room by room, creating a careful inventory of what items can be restored.

Those carefully packed boxes are then brought back to our facility and evaluated. There are multiple techniques that can be used to clean items, depending on what they are:

  • Ultrasonic Machines. These special machines are essentially wash basins filled with deionized water. That means the water is free of minerals and impurities and works very well to gently clean anything from electronics like computers to jewelry and dishes.
  • Industrial Washing Machines. These machines aren’t something you can find at the nearest Sears. They were manufactured specifically for contents restoration. Special cleaning solutions are used in the wash cycles depending on the textiles being cleaned.
  • Hand Cleaning. This pretty much goes without explanation. Some items, like photos, books, and documents, need to be carefully wiped and cleaned by hand! There are special sponges and other tools a contents restoration team will use to wipe away smoke and dirt residue.
  • Once items are cleaned, those with residual smoke odor are put into a special deodorization chamber that neutralizes the odor molecules.

When the cleaning process is complete, everything is carefully repacked into well-inventoried boxes to be brought back to your home. When you move back into your restored home, the contents crew will be sure to return them to the location from which they were originally packed up.

If an item is not salvageable, those are also photographed and documented on a list that can be given to your insurance adjuster to cut a check for full replacement.

On one final note on contents cleaning, if there is an item in your home that will help you or your child cope with the trauma of a fire, we are happy to clean that first! For many families, that means a child’s favorite teddy bear or blanket. Or for you, that might mean a change of clothing.

We hope you get to know the Service Master Century name and know we are here to help you in even the most difficult situations.

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