There are many items that simply can’t be saved from smoke damage. Luckily, t-shirts clothing doesn’t have to be one of them. Depending on the degree of smoke damage to an item of clothing, it may be able to be salvaged by giving it some special care.
The first thing to do is to figure out which items of clothing can be salvaged and which ones can’t. There may be a few pieces that are so heavily damaged that no amount of care can save them. If the entire garment is covered in soot and it’s difficult to tell what the item originally looked like, it may be too late to save that particular garment.
Clothing that has light smoke damage may benefit from a spray with a fabric odor spray. These are often made with cornstarch and lift odors out of the fabric and allow them to evaporate along with the liquid in the spray. Try spraying lightly-damaged items and then washing them with a color-safe bleach to remove the odor of smoke.
Some clothing may have a little more smoke damage but may just need a vigorous washing in hot water to make it look the way it did before. A garment that has a strong smoky smell but that doesn’t have a lot of soot on it may be salvaged by washing the item on the fastest washing cycle in hot water. Use a heavy-duty detergent and use a pre-treatment soak before putting it into the laundry.
For items that are in worse condition, try pre-treating the item for a longer period of time and then rinsing the items several times before washing them. It may be necessary to wash these items three or four times to remove the soot and the smell of smoke from them. To help the smell come out of the clothing more easily, add a half a cup of baking soda in with the washing detergent. This will help to absorb some of the smell and to wash it away. Don’t dry the clothing until you’ve gotten out all of the soot that you can.
Chlorine bleach is helpful for whites that have smoke damage. This is an effective way to get both the smell of smoke and the residue of it out of white clothing. Soak the items in bleach in the bathtub or in a sink. After a few minutes, rinse the bleach from the garments and make sure that most of the soot has been rinsed away. After this step, the items can be put into a washing machine with a little more bleach added to the load if needed.
If the clothing has severe damage to it but you want to try to salvage it, try a fire restoration service. These services specialize in restoring smoke and fire damaged items to their best possible condition. There are also some dry cleaners that can provide smoke-damage care to clothing. There is an ozone treatment process that can get small particles of smoke out of clothing without damaging the fibers. Call local dry cleaners and find one that can provide this treatment.