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How To Clean Volcanic Ash Debris From Household Surfaces

Vacuum cleaners, feather dusters and wet cloth will help you get it done

A close examination of volcanic ash will reveal sharp, jagged edges of its particles.  These crystalline edges are prone to cling to surfaces, especially ones that are covered with textiles or fiber. 

It is quite tricky to wash off or wipe off volcanic ash from household surfaces.  When brushed from porcelain, enamel, glass, painted finishes, hard flooring, lacquer and acrylic, the ash particles’ rough edges may scratch the piece of furniture or appliance. Care must be exercised in order to avoid damaging them.

This guide on how to do it right will help:


1.      Vacuum fabric upholstery to take out as much volcanic ash debris as possible.  Adjust the settings of your vacuum cleaner to its maximum in order to get the full strength needed.  In some cases, a shampooing vacuum cleaner will help.  Use detergent or shampoo for this.

2.  For rugs and carpets, vacuuming is also the solution for proper clean-up.  Use a high-powered, upright vacuum cleaner for this purpose.  Large carpeted areas may require vacuums with suction for removal of ash debris from heavily affected areas.  It may take a couple of runs with the vacuum cleaner until the ash is sufficiently removed.

3.      For glass, acrylic and enamel finishes, be careful not to scratch the surface with the ash particles while cleaning them.  It is best to use a feather duster for this purpose.  Make sure that you are wearing a mask when you do this so you don’t inhale the sharp particles.  After dusting, go over the surfaces with sponge or cloth soaked in detergent.  Remember that a dabbing or blotting action, rather than wiping is best for this to avoid scratching the surfaces.

4.      For wood surfaces, follow the above procedure.  Instead of dabbing or blotting with regular cloth, do so with a tack cloth.  It is very important to vacuum the surface first to take off the ash from high shine wood surfaces, those that are lacquered or painted in a duco finish, in order not to scratch them.

5.      For appliances, all filters need to be replaced, and regularly maintained for the next few months after they have been contaminated with ash fall.  Your air conditioning units need to be vacuumed before they are turned on.  Refrigerator intakes, vents and stove fans also need to be cleaned thoroughly by vacuuming and then wiping with a moist cloth.

Banner Photograph by The Creative Exchange