Cleaning wildfire smoke, soot and ash from your home.
Wildfire soot and ash has blanketed our homes in the BC Interior. It collects on any and every surface, and can even enter your home when windows and doors are shut.
Before attempting to clean up ash, you need to consider your health. Ensure you wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce inhaling ash.
Without proper protection, cleaning up ash and soot from a wildfire can be hazardous. Ash contains both large and small particles of dust, dirt, and soot. It can cause health effects when inhaled. When you’re cleaning up, ash particles can easily be swept up into the air, so we have outlined a few cleaning guidelines below:
Exterior of your home-
- Start by cleaning away ash that may cover your exterior walls or siding with a pressure washer or pressure nozzle attached to your garden hose.
- Windows and windows sills. Use a mixture of gentle dish soap (such as Dawn), and water with a microfiber towel.
- Yards; including bushes, flowers and tress should be sprayed down with clean water. DO NOT wash ash down your storm drains! (Ash is highly acidic, which can be harmful to people and the environment. Reducing the amount of ash that our local water systems need to filter is key to ensuring safe drinking water for all. TAKE CARE TO CONSERVE WATER). Instead, direct water to low traffic grassy areas. Sweep ash gently with a broom, bag and place in your trash. Using a shop vac with a HEPA filter with a disposal filter bag is also an option.
DO NOT USE LEAF BLOWERS! They will just blow the fine particles around and create more mess
Interior of your home-
- Uses a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Dispose of loose ash and debris in the garbage. Fabrics should be shaken out or vacuumed and washed in a washing machine.
- Furniture like couches, carpets, and curtains should be vacuumed and if needed can be sprinkled with baking soda to help deodorize the fabric.
Lastly, replace your furnace filter. You may need to do this more often than usual this summer and fall. Check your filter regularly.
Stay safe and once again THANK YOU to our amazing BC Firefighters!