Tips for Water, Fire, and Smoke Damage

If you’re in the midst of a water, fire, or smoke disaster, know that ServiceMaster by Alpha Restoration  will be there when you call 305-899-1600. Our network within the South Florida area has more than enough personnel, equipment, technology, trucks, and expertise. In the meantime, here are some ways to mitigate the damage yourself.


  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available. 
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying. 
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting. 
  • Wipe furniture dry. 
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod. 
  • 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, and luggage to enhance drying. 
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location. 
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature. 
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry. 
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available. 


  • Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water. 
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors. 
  • Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on. 
  • Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage. 
  • Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.


  • Blow off or brush-vacuum any loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets. 
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling. 
  • 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 that specializes in smoke damage. 
  • Clean Formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing. 
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching. 
  • Wipe the leaves of houseplants to remove smoke residue. 
  • Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air. 
  • 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.


  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem. 
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Again, incorrect procedures could increase damage. 
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction. 
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result. 
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage. 
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke. 
  • Do not wait to call for professional help.