How to Clean Up Fire Extinguisher Residue

When it comes to portable fire extinguishers, portable ones are extremely effective when putting out smaller fires. However, many fire extinguishers leave a lot of residue to clean up and if this is not done quickly, it can cause more damage. If you want to know how to clean up fire extinguisher powder, there are several tips you can follow.

Cleaning Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Residue

It’s essential to know the type of fire extinguisher you are working with to know exactly how to clean the residue that remains after use. Dry chemical fire extinguishers use a pressurized spray of a dry chemical that will blanket a fire and extinguish it. Monoammonium phosphate and sodium or potassium bicarbonate are the two more common chemicals used in dry chemical fire extinguishers.

Monoammonium Phosphate Residue

This chemical is used to put out Class ABC fires. The type of residue that remains can only be cleaned up by hand since it can cause irritation to the eyes and skin if it is released into the air with a vacuum cleaner. If you want to know how to clean fire extinguisher residue from the floor, you can do this by wet sweeping or sweeping with a dust suppressant.

Sodium and Potassium Bicarbonate Residues

These chemicals are used to put out Class B and several Class C fires. The residue that is left behind does not cause as many issues or as much damage as monoammonium phosphate residue. This means that it can be cleaned safely using a vacuum, or using a clean, dry brush or cloth.

Cleaning Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher Residue

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are mainly used to put out cooking fires in commercial kitchens. These fire extinguishers contain a wet mixture of alkaline chemicals including potassium acetate, potassium citrate, and potassium carbonate. They turn into foam which is used to blanket a fire.

Since this type of extinguisher is mainly used in commercial kitchens, you must remember to turn off all power prior to cleaning it. Furthermore, everything should also be completely dry before turning the power back on for any appliances.

The residue that remains from Class K fire extinguishers can be cleaned up using soap and hot water. Do not spray the foam with water, since it will create a much bigger mess. The best thing to do is use a pump, vacuum, or absorbent materials to clean up the foam. If any absorbent materials are used, they should be properly bagged for disposal.  

Clean Agent Fire Extinguishers

Depending on the type of fire extinguisher you use, some may not seem to leave any residue behind to clean up. If this is the case, you may have used a clean agent fire extinguisher. These extinguishers are non-volatile and electrically non-conductive. They don’t leave any residue behind, which makes them perfect to use in areas with electronic equipment or other materials that can easily become damaged by wet chemicals or water.