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The Dangers that Smoke and Soot Can Cause on Electronic Devices

Fire is one of the greatest threats to a person’s life and property. However, the threat does not just come from the fires that can burn everything in its path. Soot and smoke, its byproducts, can also cause significant damage to electronic gadgets that would be otherwise be untouched.

Here’s how soot and smoke can harm equipment:


  1. Soot is acidic and hence, can degrade metals over time. Even when it’s on top of a coat of paint, the acidic nature of soot can lead to discoloration until it’s removed.
  2. If soot is left untreated or left wet while inside electronics, it can be the start of a future fire or can electrocute the user of said equipment. Soot can cause electrical shorting.
  3. Smoke, meanwhile, has a magnetic charge. It contains metallic elements that can lead to short circuits.
  4. Due to its metallic nature, smoke can also become an insulator, causing electronics to overheat.


With these dangers posed by smoke and soot, how can one mitigate these risks? Here are some steps property owners can take:

  1. Use furniture and cabling that help prevent the spread of flame or emit less smoke and soot when burned. For example, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) cabling creates less smoke in case of a fire; it can help to replace traditional cables with this kind of cables. Meanwhile, it is also advised to get furniture that have a Class A flame-spread rating.
  2. Utilize smart interior design. Smoke spreads easily in a large area. To minimize the spread of smoke, it can help to subdivide or compartmentalize a huge space.
  3. Make sure firewalls are sealed properly. Check if there are holes or gaps where smoke and soot can pass through.


And what can property owners can do with their electronics after a fire?

  • Other than simply throwing them out, you can use high-pressure air to remove all dust and soot. These air cans are usually available in aerosol cans. If unavailable, just wipe, vacuum, or lightly brush the particles away. 
  • Put equipment in an alkaline solution at a raised temperature to dislodge additional particles. Solutions can be in the form of methylene chloride, methyl isobutyl ketone, and methyl ethyl ketone. High-pressure sprays and solvents, or steam/water blasting with detergents, may be also used.
  • Other substitutes to an alkaline solution are vapor degreasing and ultrasonic cleaning.



Of course, sourcing the materials to thoroughly clean smoke and soot from electronics can be a hassle. Hence, it’s best to just contact us at Titan Restoration. We offer a complete set of services to help residents and businesses in the Greater Phoenix area of Arizona recover from water or fire damage. Call us at 888-267-1924 for 24/7 emergency service.