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What Is Smoke Damage?

January 12, 2024
Fire Damage

Where there’s smoke, there’s damage.

Learn what smoke damage is and why you should entrust it to a pro.


Losing your home and belongings to a fire is devastating, and it is one of the most difficult disasters to recover from.

Containing a fire before it engulfs your residence is a win, but the fire and smoke damage left behind can be just as harmful and difficult to remediate.

Smoke damage is unavoidable after a fire, but the level of damage cannot be determined on looks alone. The effects of smoke particles and soot can infiltrate porous materials, cause hardwood flooring to become permanently stained, and settle onto metal surfaces. That’s where we come in with smoke damage restoration.

At Axel Works, we’re committed to helping you recover quickly and wholly from the worst disasters. Read on to learn more about what smoke damage is, fire damage do’s and dont’s, and how we can help you rectify it.


What Is Smoke Damage and How Is It Different from Fire Damage?

Smoke damage is any physical or structural damage done by smoke rather than the flames themselves. It is a combination of soot and smoke that can affect your possessions as well as your residence’s air quality.

Some of this damage is visible to the naked eye, such as black soot-covered walls and floors or a greasy residue on surfaces. However, because smoke particles creep into small cracks and crevices throughout your dwelling, most of the damage is much more difficult to detect. For example, items like furniture. painted walls, and clothing may be damaged beyond repair, though they might not look different to the naked eye.

Smoke coming out of roof

Smoke odor is very strong and leaves behind a lingering smell as well as harmful particles embedded inside the walls and deep inside fabrics. If left untreated, it can lead to damaged ventilation systems, compromised air quality, permanent discoloration, and pipes that rust and corrode.

It is crucial to have certified professionals like Axel Works check for smoke damage after a fire to avoid major problems down the road.


Is Smoke Damage Dangerous?

The dangers of a fire last long after the flames have gone out.

The gravest dangers from smoke damage concern your health. Inhabiting a space with lingering smoke particles can cause lung problems, skin damage, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Although everyone should be extremely cautious when it comes to entering a place that may have sustained smoke damage, people with certain underlying health issues must be particularly careful.

The elderly, people with heart or lung issues, people with diabetes, and children whose respiratory systems have not yet fully developed have a higher risk when it comes to smoke damage. No matter how mild you think your smoke damage may be, it is vital to call professionals as soon as possible to determine the presence and level of smoke damage.

Wallpapered wall obscured by smoke

Is Smoke Damage Covered By Insurance?

Fortunately, smoke damage is covered by basic home and business owners insurance policies.

You should never assume that just because the flames have not affected your residence, that the smoke has not either. Smoke damage can come from a neighbor’s home as well as wildfires and the fire does not have to originate in your residence for you to be covered.

When filing a smoke damage claim, it’s important to provide all the pertinent evidence as quickly as possible. Take photos, note the date of the fire, all rooms and items impacted by it, and work with a licensed and vetted restoration company when removing the damage.

At Axel Works, we’ve been through a strenuous vetting system, including insurance and license checks, making us an approved vendor for the leading insurance companies. They trust us to do quality work for you and for them.


Removing Smoke Damage

Because smoke particles seep deep into your walls, clothing, and more, removing the damage is an exhaustive process.

That process depends heavily on the size and length of the fire as well as what started it. For example, fires caused by burning plastic release a more toxic odor that is harder to remove.

Airing out your home is the first step in removing smoke damage. Opening doors and windows, removing screens, and turning on fans can help circulate fresh air and hopefully direct free-floating smoke particles outside.

You should always wear rubber gloves when handling anything with soot residue, and all upholstery and fabrics that may have been damaged must be thoroughly cleaned.

Bathroom with smoke damage

Ultimately, smoke damage is not something that can or should be removed on your own. In order to clean smoke damage a person needs industrial tools, chemicals, and personal protective equipment not readily available to civilians.

Plus, professional cleaning is covered (and recommended) by insurance companies, so why stress yourself out? Not only can it be detrimental to your health to attempt to remove smoke damage, but common household cleaning products can actually make the damage worse, leading to problems with your insurance adjuster later on.

If it is safe to enter your home or office, airing out the affected area is an important early step to hopefully mitigate any damage and help make the cleaning process more effective. After the cleaning process is finished, make sure your AC filters are changed as well, and have your ventilation system inspected by a professional to remove any lingering particles.

It is important to remember that the majority of smoke damage is invisible. The most detrimental damage is what is inside your walls and deep in your carpets. Leave the cleaning to professionals to save yourself literal, metaphorical and insurance headaches down the road.



While you may think you’ve been spared if you managed to contain your home fire to a particular area, checking for and properly removing smoke damage is a crucial step in ensuring your future health.

A fire is devastating no matter how big its impact, and at Axel Works, we’re here to help you through your toughest moment. With our Rapid Emergency Response, we’re available 24/7 and our licensed and certified staff will be with you as quickly as possible to get the restoration process underway.

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