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Salvage DOs + DON’Ts


  • Wear protective gear.
  • Bring environmental conditions under control: 70º F and 45% relative humidity. Use dehumidifiers to lower humidity, and fans to keep air circulating.
  • Move items away from windows and damp walls.
  • Deal with your priority salvage items first.
  • Deal with wettest items first.
  • Deal with organic materials before inorganic materials.
  • Freeze wet and moldy items that you can’t air-dry in 48 hours (see Freezing and Air Drying).
  •  As soon as possible, remove soot and ash from dry items using a hand vac or nozzle attachment (not the brush!). A “dry cleaning” soot sponge (see Useful Supplies & Equipment) can then be used for further cleaning.


  • Wipe off ash. It’s very abrasive and will scratch the surface.
  • Turn objects or unfold textiles or paper before vacuuming them. The soot will disperse.
  • Rinse moldy, sooty or ash-covered pieces.
  • Stack wet items.