Do's and Don'ts After Experiencing Damage from water, fire and smoke, and vandalism.

Do’s and Don’ts After Experiencing Damage

Author: swartzcontracting April 12, 2017

At Swartz Contracting and Emergency Services, we understand the loss and suffering that comes after experiencing a damage, whether it be from a fire, water or vandalism, to your home or business. It can be a completely overwhelming experience, not know where to start and what tasks you should take on yourself or if a professional should be called. Here’s our list of do’s and don’ts after experiencing damage to your home or business:

Smoke/Fire Damage


  • Discard open food packages (the food could be contaminated).
  • If electrical service is off, clean out your freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open or place charcoal in the unit.
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified professional dry cleaner.
  • Professionally clean Formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.
  • Tape cheesecloth over intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air. This is even more effective if the cheesecloth is damp.
  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.



  • Don’t attempt to touch or wash any papered or flat painted walls without contacting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem and oil from your skin could cause additional damage.
  • Don’t attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Don’t use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked.
  • Don’t attempt to start your computer as it may be subject to additional damage.
  • Don’t use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
  • Don’t touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
  • Don’t eat food that has been exposed to smoke.
  • Don’t wait to call for professional help.


Water Damage


  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans in conjunction with dehumidification equipment to circulate the air and assist with drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off the floor.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors, luggage, etc, to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.



  • Don’t use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don’t use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  • Don’t go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  • Don’t lift tacked-down carpet without professional help. Lifting carpet incorrectly could promote damage and delamination.
  • Don’t disturb mold if it is visible.
  • Don’t wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water can be harmful to your health as bacteria and mold growth can begin within hours.




  • Wash any egg or other residues from the building exterior.
  • Remove any debris or dry food from carpets or interior walls. Scrape or blot carpets and furniture – do not rub.
  • Vacuum glass particles from carpet and upholstery.
  • Save any information about the type of liquid that was spread over surfaces.
  • Make a list of all damage.




  • Don’t attempt to remove chemical stains such as ink or paint.
  • Don’t operate damaged electrical appliances.
  • Don’t throw away damaged wood chips or other small articles. They might be helpful for repair purposes.
  • Don’t use household cleaning products on fabrics, upholstery, or carpet without consulting your professional cleaner.   

If you should ever experience a damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call Swartz Contracting & Emergency Services. For more information about our fire damage, water damage or vandalism restoration services, call 800-462-1024 or 419-331-1024.