Smoke Corrosion: It’s Not Just Your Lungs That Get Damaged


When one thinks of the dangers of smoke, that person reasonably thinks of smoke inhalation and damage to physical health. What most people don’t realize, however, is that the particulate matter in smoke can also damage inanimate objects. This means that, even if damage from direct flame is minimal, smoke exposure can severely damage possessions in the home, as well as the home itself. These are some ways that smoke damage messes with your property.

Odor and Discoloration

The most obvious smoke damage to your home and possessions will be odor and discoloration. Smoke chemicals are resilient, and can linger long after the original fire is extinguished. This often means that smoke-touched surfaces are severely stained or discolored depending on the chemicals in the smoke. It isn’t unusual for black or dark brown staining to occur on wood and other porous surfaces. Fabrics and upholstery will also absorb any smoke order, leaving a lasting odor that might make your home a less-than-idea living space.

Surface Corrosion

Smoke leaves its particles behind on any surface it comes into contact with. This means that various chemicals that show up in smoke can be “left over” on materials, be absorbed by porous surfaces, and lead to rapid decomposition of affected structures and objects. The chemicals involved vary depending on what burned in the fire, such as nitrous oxide and phosphoric acid, and most of them are extremely corrosive and will cause dramatic damage if left untreated.

Electronic Degradation

Smoke corrosion is the most devastating to delicate structures such as the ones found in modern complex electronics. Smoke particles left behind on an electronic device’s internal circuitry can make quick work of sensitive internal components. Many chemicals in smoke are also electro-conductive, leading to smoke residue often causing short circuiting or all out device failure. Devices damaged this way are typically replaced outright rather than subjected to such difficult repairs.

Be Prepared

A fire can put you and your family at risk in a number of both expected and unexpected ways. The most important priority is to ensure that you and your family are prepared beforehand, and safe if one occurs. After the fact, however, it’s time to assess the damage. Working with your insurance company and property restoration service, you can zero in on the smoke damage and restore your property, possessions, and peace of mind.