How to Clean Up Fire Extinguisher Residue

Did you recently use a portable fire extinguisher to extinguish a small fire? You’re probably relieved to have the incident behind you, but before you can return to business as usual, you must clean up the fire extinguisher residue.

The recommended cleaning methods depend on the type of extinguisher you used. Follow this guide to get your building back to normal.

Clean Up Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Residue

Dry chemical fire extinguishers use firefighting agents such as monoammonium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium bicarbonate. These leave behind a corrosive powder, so it’s important to clean up dry chemical fire extinguisher residue quickly, especially if it has come in contact with metal surfaces.

  • Vacuum or sweep up loose debris.
  • Spray stuck-on residue with isopropyl alcohol diluted 50 percent with warm water. Let the solution sit for several minutes, and then wipe with a damp rag.
  • To neutralize sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate residue, apply a solution of 98 percent hot water and 2 percent vinegar. After several minutes, wipe the area with a damp rag.
  • To neutralize monoammonium phosphate(MAP) residue, apply a baking soda and hot water paste. After several minutes, wipe the area with a damp rag.
  • Give the affected area a final wash with soap and water, and then rinse clean. Use fans to help the spot dry quickly.
  • If dishes, cookware, or clothing have dry chemical fire extinguisher residue on them, wash as usual in the dishwasher or washing machine.

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