I've been playing Fallout 4 for a while and have noticed that some locations are marked as 'CLEARED' when I hover over them on the map. I remember seeing this type of note in Skyrim too, but I never learned what exactly makes a location 'CLEARED'.

I have some location cleared where I still have to pick a lock (Hardware Town). Other places I have ransacked and it still doesn't say it is CLEARED (Vault 111). Can every location become CLEARED or only certain ones and what is the criteria?

  • 1
    Once you've killed the main "Boss" enemy of the location, a location is generally cleared. If there is a quest associated with that location you will have to finish that first. Settlements for sure cannot be "cleared". Most buildings that you can enter can be given a "cleared" sign it seems, though I'd have to look at my map in-game to see what other locations there could be. Nov 17, 2015 at 2:33

7 Answers 7


Fallout 4 uses the Creation Engine, previously used in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. (source)

In Skyrim, an area became cleared if you killed the boss in that area or most of the enemies in the area. (reference)

This behavior appears to have stayed the same for Fallout 4.

  • 1
    I've come across some characters that have a skull icon to the right of their name and health bar. I just defeated one at Shaw High School, looked at my map, and see that it is cleared (I wish I would have checked before killing it). I'll try to remember to check that next time as that skull icon may indicate, or at least help indicate, the 'boss' of an area.
    – Weezle
    Nov 19, 2015 at 2:23
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    The skull icon means the character is higher level than you are. While that will probably be true of a boss, it might be true of other characters too.
    – boomstick
    Nov 22, 2015 at 21:33
  • This answer is incorrect and based on assumptions. I have heard the 'cleared area' music often being played after getting the main loot of the location, not after killing an enemy.
    – Thorsal
    Feb 12, 2016 at 8:32
  • AIUI the "cleared" trigger in Skyrim (and thus likely Fallout 4) was defined by the data for the area; it usually meant killing either a boss, or some % or all the enemies, but it could be defined as something else if desired.
    – KutuluMike
    Mar 9, 2017 at 18:37

In Skyrim, an area became cleared if you killed the boss in that area or most of the enemies in the area.

Don't see why it should be any different in Fallout 4.

  • This answer is correct.. unsure why it was down-voted.
    – drudge
    Nov 17, 2015 at 0:35
  • 1
    @drudge Probably due to the fact that it uses Skyrim as a source, and not the actual game/game wiki.
    – RavenM
    Nov 17, 2015 at 0:42
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    I didn't vote on it but I'm guessing it's because the answer is saying its "probably" like in Skyrim
    – Aequitas
    Nov 17, 2015 at 0:42
  • Whoops. I rejected instead of accepted - I thought this was the OP.
    – aytimothy
    Nov 17, 2015 at 1:49
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    @drudge, I down voted this answer due to the fact that it says "It should be this, becase it was like that in another game". It might be correct, but it is incredibly poor quality. I have also rejected your edit, as it makes a big impact on the answer, itself. Rather then doing all the research to fix a poor answer, I suggest you simply post your own version.
    – user106385
    Nov 17, 2015 at 2:30

I have cleared areas on missions and also just by stumbling into them and exploring. I have found if your on a mission or not, after killing most enemy's, the area will show as cleared on the map. Not all enemy's need to be dead for the area to be clear which is misleading as I have been tricked by that before (false sense of security). Some places that don't have a boss like the supermarket still read as clear when most enemy's are dead or wounded.

It would be nice if areas remained clear as it really ruins immersion when you have played a part of the story where you have to clear an area and you fast travel there later and the people are back. It's also ANNOYING because it's clears on the map and is presumed safe. I dropped into the ironworks today and was attached by the forged who I killed on a story mission. As soon as I spawned in I got a Molotov to the face!

I am wondering if there are one or two left over somewhere, the area may not stay clear. Has anyone observed similar occurances?


I also have varied situations. I have returned to certain locations on my map which aren't labelled " clear" . Some after re killing enemies a second time it " cleared" . Some areas in which you need to return to for a quest won't " clear" until all enemies are killed and quest completed. Some areas just cannot be " cleared" after returning multiple times, most original enemies remain dead however a small amount respawn. Even after killing them it still won't " clear" and I have searched every inch in that location.


First, Settlements can in fact be cleared. Both my husband and I both have cleared Red Rocket which is a settlement. So lets just put that myth down.

From my experience, you can get an area marked as cleared if you kill everything the first time you engage an enemy in a location. This does not count if they shoot you and you run away. But as soon as you land a hit (from what I have seen) you have to clear the area before you leave. I am doing further tests to prove this theory.

  • It may be possible to have a potential Settlement location marked as 'Cleared' prior to accessing the Workbench. From my experience, there's no "first engage" rule for Clearing an area.
    – drudge
    Dec 6, 2015 at 9:02

So killing the boss does not clear the area. Killing most of the most of the enemies does not clear a location. You must kill all the enemies in a given location before it will be marked clear and prevent enemies from respawning. If an area isn't cleared some of the loot will respawn too so sometimes it might be a good idea to leave a location uncleared and come back later for an extra helping of loot.


Killing the final boss, as others have stated, would make sense, except that it doesn't seem to hold completely true. I ran through the Corvega Assembly Plant, killed the final "boss," Jared, and my map never told me it was Cleared. However, after a second trip to the area, after some time had passed, enemies had respawned and I got to kill all the Raiders again, this time, however, the map told me it was "Cleared."

Personally, I hope they leave certain locations in the game un-Clear-able, it's always fun to go back and fight more Raiders. If every location is cleared, there are no more fight-clubs to go and fight in. So far, Corvega and Ironworks are two locations I've explored that never said they were "Cleared" even after killing the final boss.

As a possible theory, it might have to do with the number of missions pertaining to a location. The first time I "Cleared" Corvega was for the quest: The First Step. The second time I went there was for the quest to plant the MILA device at the top for Tinker Tom. After that mission was done, my map told me the location was "Cleared." So it's possible that the locations are labeled Cleared when you've completed all quests that involve the location, but that's just a theory. Highly flimsy at that, as I understand there's a BoS quest that involves Corvega as well.

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