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How to Clean Hardwood Floors After a Fire Extinguisher Explosion

Andrea Hermitt

Fire extinguishers use a dry powder or foam chemical that can leave a big mess behind after using it. Cleaning it up, especially from hardwood floors, can be quite challenging. Powder will be all over the floor, in between the cracks and embedded in hidden corners long after the initial cleaning, if you don't do a good job.

  1. Vacuum up all the chemical dust that you can. If you have access to a shop vac, use it for the first pass before switching to a standard vacuum cleaner. Wear a dust mask so that you don't inhale and ingest excess powder. In addition to the hardwood floor, vacuum any furniture or drapes in the room. This will help prevent dust from settling back on the floor.

  2. Use microfiber cloths and a water and vinegar solution to clean the floor. Microfiber cloths pick up more dust than a mop or regular rags. You can clean the floor on hands and knees, or you can attach a microfiber cloth to a flat microfiber mop head to clean the floor.

  3. Flush the floor to remove embedded chemicals on the floor. Put water on the floor and mop it up quickly. This will loosen stubborn areas of fire extinguisher chemicals that may be sticking to the hardwood floor. As the floor is wood, do this quickly so water does not sit on the wood. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up water from the floor as you try to flush the chemicals out of corners and from in between boards.

  4. Finish your floor as usual. After the residue is gone, use your regular floor cleaner to give the floor a final cleaning and bring back the shine.