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 how we may help people more locally who all the smoke has impacted.

Being a Painter in the North Shore and Northern Beaches of Sydney, we realised we could provide advice on removing 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
  • trigger asthma attacks

So we must remove this ash as soon as possible.

Is it safe to return to your home?

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

Once you know that it is, it is essential 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 cleaned up more significant concerns, you are ready to tackle the paint!

Safety first!

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

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 push the ashes small particles 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

How to clean ash off the exterior of your house

As 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 ash and soot into a pile. Place the pile into a bag and throw it out in your council rubbish bin. When placing ash in your regular trash, ensure that none of it is smoking as you don’t want to start a fire.

If you notice some ash particles or residue on the roof, use a wet mop or thick sponge to wash the ash away.

Use a small dustpan brush to remove the ash from your gutters and scoop it 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 it into a bag and throw it out in your council bin. You can then use a wet mop to finish off.

Cleaning ash from the interior of your home

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 remove any lingering smoke or ash smell and improve your air quality.

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

If you are considering painting your house in the future, it’s essential to make sure you give the walls a really good clean as any stains and odours can seep through fresh paint. Wipe all indoor surfaces with warm soapy water. 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.