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How To Clean Up After Drywall Installation?

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You recently finished installing drywall. But your moment of marveling at your finished work becomes interrupted upon seeing the mounds of dirt and dust in the immediate surrounding. So how can you clean up this mess? We search for an answer to this concern and here's what we found.

Cleaning an area after drywall installation is a relatively DIY-friendly job. You only need a few things for this process, such as a water-filled spray bottle and a wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner. Once you have the necessary items, continue this process by following these steps:

  1. Spray a small area with water.
  2. Wipe the wet area with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Repeat the previous steps until the room is relatively clean.
  4. Use the wet/dry shop vac to remove leftover dust from the area.

Take note that some cleaning procedures might be different depending on the surface. So keep reading as we talk about tidying up a space after installing drywall in greater detail. We’ll also tackle some ways to help you prevent drywall dust buildup.

Man mudding drywall during home renovations, How To Clean Up After Drywall Installation?

How Do You Clean Up After Drywall Installation?

workshop industrial vacuum in an empty room

Before cleaning up after drywall installation, it’s important to stay protected. Wear a respirator or face mask so you don’t breathe in dust and other airborne particulates as you’re tidying up the place. Also, wear proper eye protection, such as safety glasses, to prevent the dust from hurting your eyes.

After equipping yourself with the appropriate safety gear, it’s time to clean up after the drywall installation by following these steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Broom
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Wet/dry shop vac

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Fill the spray bottle with water. Then, spray one section at a time.
  2. Sweep the wet drywall dust and other particulates into one corner of the room.
  3. After cleaning the floor, spray one part of the wall with water.
  4. Wipe the wet area on the drywall with a microfiber cloth.
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 for the rest of the room.
  6. Suck up leftover dirt from the space with the wet/dry shop vac.

Don’t use a standard vacuum cleaner for this process. If so, water might enter its motor, which may cause irreparable damage.

Also, think about purchasing or renting a high-powered wet/dry shop vac for this task, particularly if drywall dust latched onto the room’s furniture and upholsteries. Take note that drywall dust can be incredibly fine and can be quite challenging to clean with a low-powered vacuum cleaner.

Check out this wet/dry shop vacuum on Amazon.

You might also be wondering what you can do if it was your contractor that left drywall dust after construction. Read our post on that concern to know the answer.

How Do You Prevent Dust From Drywall?

A new home under construction; drywall is being installed.

Preventing dust from a drywall installation job can help reduce the time and effort needed to clean the space. So think about following these tips to prevent dust and other dirty substances from accumulating in the space:

Place Plastic Sheets

Putting plastic sheets on different surfaces within the space can make cleanup jobs easier than usual. The sheeting will act as a catch-all for the dust and other particulates generated from installing drywall. Then, you can simply remove the plastic sheets from the area, which should also bring a significant amount of dust outside the area.

Check out these plastic sheets on Amazon.

Turn Off The Fans

Although it can be a good idea to install drywall in a well-ventilated space, it’s often not ideal to turn on the fans or other parts of the HVAC system for this process.

Keeping the fans turned on throughout the drywall installation procedure can send the particulates throughout the rest of the house. So open the doors and windows while you work. It also means that it’s not typically a good idea to install drywall on a windy day.

Install Box Fans

Despite it being unwise to use standard electric fans as you’re installing drywall, it might be a good idea to use box fans surrounding the space. These fans can direct the generated dust outside your working area. However, it also means that you’re spreading the particulates to another location, which may require extra effort to clean later.

Check out this box fan on Amazon.

Use An Air Purifier

Air purifiers function by continuously cleaning the air to remove harmful substances like allergens and toxins. But these machines can also suck up other small objects, such as drywall dust. However, keep an eye on the air purifier's filter as it can become full quite fast because of the amount of dust produced in the area.

Check out this air purifier on Amazon.

Apply Low-Dust Drywall Compound

Reduce drywall dust from being created during the drywall installation by using a low-dust joint compound. Certain options may also allow you to use them for patch jobs, which can be useful in repairing cracks and holes in drywall.

However, low-dust drywall compound is often more expensive than its standard counterpart. It can also be more laborious to sand down than the typical joint compound.

Check out this low-dust joint compound on Amazon.

Wet Sand

Wet sanding is a method used to control dust generated from sanding a surface. This preparatory procedure often requires you to apply water on an abrasive material like sandpaper.

It’s also important to note that wet sanding generally uses different directions than dry sanding. With dry sanding, you’d normally sand a surface using circular motions. On the other hand, wet sanding typically demands you to move the abrasive material in straight lines.

If you want to learn more about preventing dust buildup in a room, read our post on that subject matter to gain insight on some great tips.

How To Remove Drywall Dust From Tile Floors?

Take note that the items needed to clean drywall dust from tile flooring is roughly the same as the typical tidying session after installing drywall. But the steps for this procedure have some slight differences from the typical drywall dust cleanup operation:

What You’ll Need

  • High-powered shop vac
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber towel

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Suck up the loose and large clumps of drywall dust from the tile floors with the shop vac.
  2. Spray water on one tile. Then, wipe it with the microfiber towel.
  3. Repeat the previous step for each dust-filled tile.
  4. Do an extra pass with the shop vac to remove leftover dust.

You can also watch the video below for additional information on how to complete this task:

Is Drywall Dust Toxic?

Home renovation project with new sheetrock that has been taped, finished and textured. Dirty tarps are covering the floor.

Drywall shouldn’t be toxic if breathed in fairly small amounts. But direct contact with sensitive areas, such as the eyes and nose, may cause some irritation. However, long-term exposure to drywall dust without the proper protection may lead to health concerns like asthma attacks.

How Long Does It Take Drywall Dust To Settle?

Drywall dust will usually appear almost immediately while you’re working with drywall. But it typically takes 24 to 48 hours for the dust to settle on surfaces. It’s optimal to clean the area once the drywall dust settles rather than trying to catch the airborne particles with a vacuum cleaner.

Do I Need To Clean Drywall Before Painting?

You need to clean the drywall before painting it. Failure to do so can cause the paint job to become uneven, especially after sanding the material.

Remove dust and other filth from drywall before painting it by following these steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Black towel
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Large bucket

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Vacuum the drywall to remove loose dust.
  2. Wipe the vacuumed drywall with the black towel. If you see a white or gray streak on the towel, go back to step 1 and repeat until you don’t see residue on the fabric.
  3. Mix a cup of white vinegar with about a gallon of water in a large bucket.
  4. Soak the sponge in the mixture and wipe the drywall with it.
  5. If the vinegar-water mixture turns dark, dispose of it properly and create a new batch.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until all drywall surfaces in the area are clean.

Check out this vacuum cleaner on Amazon.

Doing the cleanup before painting can also help reduce the effort it requires to get rid of drywall dust in the area. You can also watch the video below to see an alternate method to prepare drywall before painting:

Final Words

Man mudding drywall during home renovations, How To Clean Up After Drywall Installation?

Cleaning up after drywall installation can be a tedious process without the right tools. So prepare equipment like a high-powered wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner to help reduce and control dust after installing drywall.