At Summit Coatings, our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the devastating fires over the last few months. We have been thinking about how we can help those affected as they slowly return to their homes and also how we may be able to help people more locally who have been impacted by all the smoke.

Being a Painter North Shore and Northern Beaches, we realised we could provide advice on how to remove ash from your house. There are many reasons to clean up the ash (including visual appeal) however, ash can also contain carcinogens, cause skin irritations and trigger asthma attacks so it’s vital that we remove this ash as soon as possible.

First things first, if you’ve had to evacuate is it safe to return to your home?

Once you know that it is safe for you to return to your home, it is important to make sure you are aware of potential hazards to look out for when you get there so you know what safety tips must be followed. It is vital to ensure you exercise caution and maintain solid judgement when returning home and assessing the extent of the damage.

Once you have addressed any potential hazards and dealt with cleaning up larger concerns, you are ready to tackle the paint!

Safety first!

For safety, it is vital to ensure you wear a properly fitted face mask and avoid direct skin contact with ash by wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and gloves. Should your skin come into any contact with ash or soot, just make sure to wash it off as soon as possible. Make sure any tools you are using, such as ladders, are in good working order and can be used safely.

As tempting as it may be, it is highly recommended not to use leaf blowers or hose down ash into stormwater drains. This is because leaf blowers simply push the ash back up into the air and, in rare cases, can even spark a fire if there are any embers or smouldering areas. Meanwhile, hosing off ash into stormwater drains can damage the stormwater system and cause more harm to the environment, especially following widespread fires.

remove ash from home north shore painter

Cleaning ash from your home: Exterior clean up

As an experienced Northern Beaches and North Shore Painters, we recommend cleaning the exterior of your home from top to bottom. This ensures that you don’t accidentally relocate the ash to an already cleaned surface.


Starting with your roof, gently use a broom to sweep any ashes and soot into a pile. Place the pile into a bag and throw out in your council rubbish bin. If you notice there is still some ash residue on the roof, use a wet mop or thick sponge to wipe away.

Use a small dustpan brush to remove the ash from your gutters and scoop out into a bag as well. As with the roof, you can use a wet sponge or rag to wipe away any remaining ash.

Exterior Walls and windows

Use a garden hose to wash down the exterior walls and window of your home, ensuring you wash onto your lawn and garden rather than down stormwater drains.

Deck, patio and driveway

As per the roof, gently use a broom to sweep ash and debris into a pile, place into a bag and throw out in your council bin. You can then use a wet mop to finish off.

Cleaning ash from your home: Interior clean up

The first step you should take is to open up all of your windows and blinds to ventilate your home. The fresh air and sunlight will help to remove any lingering smells.

Just like the exterior of your home, start from the top to bottom. Be sure to identify everything that needs cleaning and keep in in mind that ash can stick to virtually anything in your home, including walls, curtains, furniture and floors.

Wipe all indoor surfaces with warm soapy water. If you are considering painting your house in the future, it’s important to make sure you give the walls a really good clean as any stains and odours can seep through fresh paint. For stronger stains and marks, you can also use try to use water with vinegar or household cleaning products.

Get in touch

Cleaning your home from ash can be a time-consuming job however, it is worth the guarantee that you and your family will be free from any nasties. It will also give your house a nice fresh feel after being covered in ash. Should you wish to repaint your home after this period, feel free to get in touch for an obligation free quotation.