There’s no doubt about it – the worst part of drywall installation is cleaning up drywall dust.
Because sanding drywall produces so much dust, clean-up is often tedious. The tiny particles float through the air, coating just about everything in the room.
To top it off, since the dust is so fine, it can ruin standard vacuum motors.
Luckily, if you take the right steps in the right order, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble when it comes to cleaning up.
Here’s how to clean up drywall dust.
How To Clean Drywall Dust On The Wall
Even if you use a vacuum attachment when sanding, chances are, your wall still has a good amount of dust on it. And before you can move on to any other step, you must clean it off.
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Vacuum The Wall With A ShopVac
Put on your goggles and dust mask, and pull out your ShopVac. It’s imperative to use a ShopVac for drywall dust clean-up and NOT a household vacuum.
The superfine dust particles will clog a regular vacuum and destroy the motor.
Using a wide nozzle or the brush attachment, turn your ShopVac on and gently run it down the wall from top to bottom. Continue until you’ve vacuumed the entire wall.
Step 2: Wipe The Wall Down With A Tack Clock
Now, take a black tack cloth and gently wipe down the wall from top to bottom. If there’s still a lot of dust build-up on your cloth, repeat this step.
Note: Any lint-free rag (like a microfiber cloth) will work if you don’t have a tack cloth. Dark-colored cloths or rags are best since you can see the dust on them.
Step 3: Damp Wipe With A Drywall Sponge
For the last step, dampen a drywall sponge in cool water. Make sure to squeeze out the excess water thoroughly. It will feel almost dry.
Take your sponge and wipe the wall starting at the top and moving toward the bottom. Repeat until you’ve washed the entire wall.
Make sure to dampen and clean your sponge as needed.
Your wall is now ready for paint.
How To Clean Drywall Dust On The Floor
If your floor has become soiled with drywall dust, it’s time to clean it up. Start by opening up a window for ventilation and putting on your dust mask and goggles.
Step 1: Sweep The Dust Into A Pile
Grab a broom and start sweeping all of the dust into a big pile. A large push broom will work best, but you can also use a regular household broom.
Step 2: Vacuum The Dust Pile With A ShopVac
Once the dust is in a pile, vacuum it with your ShopVac that has a HEPA filter. If you don’t have a ShopVac, you’ll need to sweep your dust into a dustpan and empty it into a trash bag.
Step 3: ShopVac The Floor
This might seem like an unnecessary step, but since drywall dust is so fine, it’s hard to get it all the first go around. By now, you’ve swept up the large majority of the dust.
So, you need to go around the room with your ShopVac one more time.
Lightly go over all of the flooring with your wide nozzle ShopVac attachment.
Step 4: Mop
For the final step, use a mop to clean up any remaining dust. You can use your typical mop cleaner or a little dish soap mixed with water.
I prefer microfiber mops because they’re excellent at trapping dirt particles. However, if you rinse your mop as needed, any type will work.
How To Clean Dry Joint Compound
If you dropped drywall compound on the floor or on random sections of the sheetrock, you’ll need to clean it up.
If the joint compound is wet or slightly wet, you can wipe it off with a damp rag.
If the compound is already hard, you’ll only have two methods for removing it: sanding or scraping. For drywall mud on the wall, try gently sanding it just like you did to finish the joints and corners.
If you’ve found drywall mud on the floor or another delicate surface, you’ll need to scrape it off. Your best bet is to chip away at the compound with a plastic scraper, so you don’t ruin the surface underneath it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you prevent drywall dust when sanding?
The best way to prevent drywall dust when sanding is to use a sander with a vacuum attachment. These vacuum attachments can reduce airborne dust by up to 95% and save you a ton of time cleaning.
How do you clean drywall dust off of plywood?
To clean drywall dust off of plywood, start by using a broom to sweep the dust in a pile. Then suck up the accumulation of dust with a ShopVac.
You can also run the ShopVac over the plywood once again to pick up any missed dust particles. Finally, run a damp rag or sponge over the plywood.
How do you clean drywall dust off of furniture?
The best way to clean drywall dust off of upholstered furniture is to vacuum it with a ShopVac. You’ll likely need to ShopVac the furniture several times to thoroughly remove the dust.
For hard surface furniture like a table or chairs, you can ShopVac and wipe it down with a wet rag.
Will Swiffer pick up drywall dust?
For a smooth surface, using a Swiffer may help clean up drywall dust. This is especially the case for hardwood floors.
After ShopVaccing drywall dust, you can run a Swiffer mop or dry cloth over the floor to trap the rest of the dust particles.
Cleaning up drywall dust is up there with sanding in terms of home improvement enjoyability, but it’s something you can’t get around. Luckily, you can dramatically reduce drywall dust particles by using a sander with a vacuum attachment.
For easy clean-up, use your ShopVac or broom to remove as much dust as possible. Afterward, move on to wiping down your wall with a damp cloth or mopping your floor.