Portable fire extinguishers can really come in handy in the event of a small fire. But before you can go back to business, don’t forget to clean up the fire extinguisher residue!
Because there are different types of extinguishers, a different cleaning method must be used for each.
Cleaning Fire Extinguisher Residue from a Dry Chemical Extinguisher
Dry chemical extinguishers are the most common and versatile fire extinguishers as they can put out class A, B, and C fires. They’re typical in industrial and commercial buildings, but they contain fire fighting agents like monoammonium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium bicarbonate, which leave behind a corrosive powder. The corrosive powder can damage electronics and metal surfaces when they come in contact so it’s important to act fast.
Note: The chemicals inside Dry Chemical Extinguishers can be hazardous so don’t forget to use a dust mask, goggles, and gloves.
- Vacuum or sweep up as much of the excess residue as possible
- Mix together a solution of 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% warm water then spray the area to break up the leftover silicone. Let the solution settle for about five minutes then rinse the area using warm water.
- To treat sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate based dry chemicals, mix together a solution using 98% hot water and 2% vinegar and wash the area with it. Let the solution settle for about five minutes then rinse the area using warm water.
- To treat monoammonium phosphate based dry chemical, mix together a solution using hot water and baking soda. Let the solution settle for about five minutes then rinse the area using warm water.
- Wash and rinse the area with a solution made of soap and water.
- Use a fan to spot dry the wet areas.
Cleaning Fire Extinguisher Residue from a Wet Chemical Extinguisher
Wet chemical extinguishers are perfect for putting out class K fires that involve grease. That’s why they’re often used in commercial kitchens and restaurants.
Note: Protect your hands and eyes from the wet chemical residue by using goggles and gloves.
- Turn off all fuel sources connected to your cooking equipment.
- Use gloves to clean up any residue using hot water mixed with soap. Scrub the area using a sponge or cloth.
- Rinse the surfaces and affected areas.
- Allow the area to dry before you turn back on any of your equipment.
Cleaning Fire Extinguisher Residue from a Dry Powder Extinguisher
Dry powder extinguishers are ideal for putting out class D fires involving combustible metals such as magnesium and titanium found in machinery used in warehouses and factories.
Note: Protect your hands and eyes from the dry powder residue by using goggles and gloves.
- Clean up the powder residue by using a vacuum or a brush.
- Place all the powder from the vacuum cleaner or that has been swept up into a plastic bag and seal it. Dispose of the bag in the trash can.
- Use a damp cloth to clean any residue of powder off affected surfaces.
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