How to clean drywall and construction dust
No job is complete until you clean drywall and construction dust and debris created by the project.
To be sure you clean drywall and construction dust your work generated, you need a plan. Follow these expert tips to be sure the cleanup is done efficiently, cost effectively and completely.
Isolate the work
Whether the work you’ll be doing will generate a lot of dust or a little, take the time to contain the dust by isolating the work area.
After removing everything possible from the work area, establish one door as the entry and exit point. For the designated entryway, cut two layers of plastic 12 inches larger than the opening on all four sides.
On the work side, where the most dust will be generated, tape one sheet of the plastic across the top of the doorway. On the other side of the door, tape the second sheet of plastic at the top and sides, but slit it down the center. Thoroughly seal any other doorways with plastic sheeting and tape.
If the entry point to the work area isn’t an exterior door, you need to protect the floors leading to the exterior door. Depending on the type of work you’re doing and the amount of time the job will take, you can use rosin paper, foam, Masonite or a temporary flooring protection system, like Ram Board. Whatever you use, it should not only protect the floor from dust, but from water, paint, mud, heavy foot traffic, and dropped tools and supplies.
Minimize dust daily
If HVAC ducts are in the work area, turn the system off during construction or divert air away from the work area. Cover registers with Kraft paper and tape. If the system can’t be turned off, change the filters weekly during the project.
Anything that can be done outside – cutting, sanding and planing wood, in particular, create an abundance of dust − should be done outside. Use dust-collecting systems on any tools that can accommodate them.
At the end of each work day, sweep the area thoroughly to clean drywall and construction dust with a heavy-duty broom made for the job or use a wet/dry vac. Misting the wet/dry vac filter with a little water will trap more fine dust.
After the work is complete
The project is done. Now it’s time to remove, all your tools, the plastic sheeting and tape you used during the job, any trash, and clean drywall and construction dust that remains.
To clean your jobsite faster, before you dust or sweep collect as much dust as possible using damp towels or used dryer sheets.
Now it’s time to dust all the surfaces, working from the top down. Starting with the ceiling will ensure that as you clean, the dust will fall, leaving the area you just cleaned clean.
Some cleaning experts suggest wet-dusting walls and other surfaces with a damp towel duct taped to the head of a broom or paint roller. Rinse the cloth frequently and only use this technique if the walls are thoroughly dry and cured. Others prefer to clean drywall and construction dust by dry-dusting with a product like the Swiffer duster with extendable handle. The duster material efficiently collects the dust and you can use it on any surface. Another dusting tool is a paint brush, which can be used to clean out cracks, around cabinet doors, on window sills, etc.
Once all remaining dust is at floor level, sweep up the larger dirt and debris. Then vacuum floors and any other surfaces where dust remains. A good-quality vacuum with a HEPA filter should capture the remaining dust. Depending on the type of filter it has, a wet/dry vac used this late in the cleaning could redistribute dust in the area and onto the surfaces you just covered.
For a really thorough job, vacuum inside wall and floor vents after removing the covers. Wash the covers before replacing them.
Clean or replace the filter on the vacuum and vacuum it all again.
−By Pam Sturgess
Where you’ll find drywall and construction dust
- Ceilings and ceiling fans
- Window and door frames
- Mantels and other woodwork
- Interior masonry (brick, rock, marble, etc.)
- Carpet, especially around the edges
- Light fixtures and bulbs
- Electrical switches and outlets
- Floor vents
- Inside closets and cabinets, and on shelves
- In drawers
- On blinds/shutters
- On kitchen countertops and backsplashes
- On kitchen appliances