Cleaning and maintenance

This section has been compiled with guidance from the Health Department of Western Australian Environmental Hazards Unit.


When cleaning and maintaining asbestos materials it is necessary to follow similar precautions as for asbestos removal. Avoid processes that will cause dust, and use wetting to minimise dust release.For example, when cleaning weathered external asbestos like an asbestos cement roof, do not dry scrape, use a high pressure water hose or hard brush to remove debris from the surface.Instead, apply a biocide (diluted with water) to the surface, using a soft bristle/hair brush that does not scour the surface or just applying the solution liberally, over the surface. Allow a contact time of at least 20 minutes then rinse the surface with clean water. In order to minimise further deterioration, lichen growth etc, you may consider sealing or painting the surface.

Care should be taken when cleaning guttering to asbestos roofing. There is likely to be some deposition of asbestos fibres in guttering  and some basic precautions should be taken when cleaning guttering. Some importants point to consider include:

  • Wear sturdy gloves, a Class P1 or P2 disposable face mask and overalls  (preferably disposable type),
  • Make sure the section of guttering to be cleaned is wetted down first,
  • Remove debris carefully and place into a durable  plastic  bag (200 micron thickness plastic),
  • All waste should be treated as asbestos containing  and bags sealed and  labeled,
  • Waste needs to be taken to an authorized waste facility.

It is not necessary to seal internal asbestos walls on health grounds if they are in good condition, though painting can extend their life. It must not require vigorous cleaning of the asbestos surface. All that is required is a light wet scrub taking care not to break through the painted coating, making sure the surface remains wet at all times.

Asbestos around the home should be monitored regularly for any changes. Asbestos exposed to the elements is more susceptible to damage and trees should be pruned away from asbestos roofs and fences to prevent aggravating the material and dislodging any fibres. Click here for links to state and federal publications on handling asbestos.