How To Clean Up Ash

Thursday 21st December 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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A house on fire CONTENTS 

Ash is a gritty, unsightly, and harmful substance that must be cleaned up properly and quickly. If left behind by a house fire or introduced into your home by a wildfire, fire restoration professionals should be brought in to clean it up.

At ICE Cleaning, we have fire damage cleaning experts stationed across the UK who are ready to carry out our fire restoration services. Our technicians can remove soot and ash, collect waste, and neutralise any lingering smoke odours. If it's an emergency, they can be on site within hours of your call. 

Keep reading to learn more about how to clean up ash after a fire and find out the best way to clean up fireplace ashes. 

The dangers of ash

Ash is a powdery residue that is left behind after a fire has consumed material. It can be as fine as talcum powder or as coarse as sand. 

Exposure to ash can be harmful because it may contain toxic substances like asbestos or heavy metals that were burned. Inhaling these particles could cause respiratory issues. When wetted by water, such as rainwater or even sweat, ash creates caustic alkaline compounds that can irritate skin and eyes.

Ash's acidic nature means leaving it on surfaces can lead to corrosion and result in permanent damage to your property. Immediate clean up after a house fire is critical to protect both people’s well-being and your home.

You can learn more about the broader dangers associated with fire damage, such as soot and smoke damage, in this blog

Why ash is so difficult to clean up

Removing ash is not as simple as sweeping up dust and debris. Ash clings stubbornly to surfaces due to its fine particle size and often greasy nature. The wrong method can even cause it to spread further. 

As it's a potentially toxic substance because of the chemicals released when materials burn, cleaning it up could put your health at risk if done incorrectly, too. To clean ash up effectively and safely, specialist cleaning methods and protective gear are required. 

Ash is also not the only substance that needs to be cleaned up after a fire. Soot, for example, is just as tricky and dangerous to remove. To give you peace of mind that your property will be made safe again and restored as close to its original condition as possible, always bring in the professionals. 

Why you must leave fire damage clean up to professionals

Fire damage professionals have the training, specialist equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to tackle all the fire damage in your property. They will know exactly how to clean up ash from a fire rapidly and thoroughly. 

To protect themselves against the fine particles that can easily be inhaled or irritate the skin and eyes, they will wear masks, gloves, and goggles. 

They will also have the tools for an effective clean, like industrial-grade vacuums with HEPA filters that trap those tiny ash particles other cleaners might miss, or chemical sponges that can tackle stubborn stains and odours. 

Without this gear, you could end up spreading contaminants rather than removing them, or may even leave some behind which could continue to endanger people's health and may damage surfaces. You can find out more about why you should not try to tackle fire damage yourself in this blog

How to remove ashes from your fireplace

Although fire damage clean up should be left to professional cleaners, you can clean ash out of the fireplace yourself. 

Before you start, make sure that the embers are cold. Ash retains heat so touching them too soon could lead to burns.

Next, put on protective gear including gloves and a dust mask to ensure you don't inhale or touch any ash during clean up. 

Then, use a metal scoop or shovel to transfer the bulk of the ash into a metal container. Always use metal tools and containers for ash as opposed to plastic.

Ash vacuums are also available if you prefer gadgets over manual labour. They suck up even the most stubborn remnants hiding out on ledges and in crevices. You can learn more about why you should not use a regular hoover to clean up ash here

What to do after a house fire

After the shock of a house fire, it's crucial to act swiftly and safely. Dial emergency services straight away to make sure everyone is safe. Once the flames are extinguished, secure your property; this could involve boarding up windows or tarping over damaged roofs.

Should you require any support or advice, organisations like Red Cross can offer immediate help. Then contact your insurer to begin the reimbursement and restoration procedure.

The clean up must be handled with care because ash and soot from fires contain harmful substances that pose health risks if not managed correctly. It’s wise not just for peace of mind but safety, too, to leave this job in the hands of professionals who specialise in fire damage cleaning services. 

Get in touch

We operate nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year. Our technicians have been accredited by a number of organisations including IPAF, BICSc, and Dewpoint Professional. 

Contact our team today on 0208 066 0360 or at to find out more about our fire restoration services


Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

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