When cleaning drywall dust off concrete, it’s essential to wear a protective mask. Once you are ready to begin work, wipe down any surfaces above floor level using a damp microfiber cloth or sponge. Then, spread sweeping compound on the concrete floor to stop dust from spreading through the air. It will then be possible to sweep and bag the bulk of the dust. Follow up by vacuuming the concrete using a vacuum equipped for fine dust. Finally, mop the floor to remove any drywall dust residue.
Table of Contents
Is Drywall Dust Toxic?
While drywall dust isn’t toxic, it contains gypsum and silica, which can irritate your airways and lungs. Working around drywall dust can cause throat and lung irritation, cough, sinus inflammation, and a lung condition known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The best way to prevent these conditions is by wearing a NIOSH/MSHA mask to filter out drywall dust particles.
- Drywall dust is capable of irritating your airways and throat, leading to lung and sinus inflammation, as well as cough.
- Keep yourself safe from harm by wearing this NIOSH/MSHA-approved mask.
- Do not substitute a NIOSH/MSHA-approved mask for a non-approved mask.
Drywall dust particles are extremely fine, which requires you to wear a mask rated to protect you against fine particulates when working with drywall. A bandana or non-approved mask will not adequately protect you from drywall dust, whether working on concrete, wood, or even painted walls.
7 Steps to Easily Clean Drywall Dust Off Concrete
Cleaning drywall dust off concrete requires a few specialized steps to get the job done quickly and easily. Because drywall dust is so fine, it can easily be thrown into the air by standard sweeping and vacuuming. This can spread the mess throughout a room and make you feel like you’re making no progress. Follow the tips below to get all the drywall residue off concrete without a hassle.
Wear Protective Gear
Before cleaning drywall dust, don your protective gear. In addition to a NIOSH/MSHA face mask, it’s a good idea to wear goggles. A close-fitting pair of safety goggles will protect your eyes from drywall dust, preventing irritation.
- Wear a NIOSH/MSHA-approved face mask at all times while cleaning drywall dust.
- These safety goggles will protect your eyes from drywall dust irritation.
- Drywall dust is not harmful to skin.
Although you should always protect your airways and eyes from drywall dust, your skin won’t be harmed by the dust. It will come off easily when you shower.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Before cleaning concrete floors, it’s best to clean drywall dust off all surfaces above floor height. This will prevent drywall dust on windowsills and counters from drifting down onto the floor later, ruining your hard work.
- Wipe any surfaces above floor level to prevent drywall dust from migrating from these surfaces to the floor.
- A damp microfiber cloth or this large grouting sponge are great for cleaning drywall dust off walls and windowsills.
- Use tack cloth as a dry option for cleaning drywall dust.
It’s also a good idea to clean drywall dust off walls at this point. Drywall dust is so fine it can cling to walls, creating a longstanding mess if it isn’t cleaned properly.
Spread Sweeping Compound
Drywall dust is so fine that sweeping or vacuuming often leads to a cloud of white dust that fills the air and settles all over your newly cleaned surfaces. To prevent this, spread the sweeping compound on your concrete floor before you reach for the broom. Sweeping compound controls dust, so you can sweep up the drywall mess without spreading it throughout the space.
- Spread this sweeping compound on the concrete prior to sweeping.
- Sweeping compound prevents dust from rising into the air and settling in new places.
- A thin layer of sweeping compound spread over the concrete will control dust.
When spreading the sweeping compound, it’s best to use gloves to prevent it from sticking to your hands. You don’t need to use a lot. A light sprinkle of the compound across the concrete floor will work wonders for dust control.
Sweep Drywall Dust
Use a push broom to sweep the entire concrete space. Sweep the drywall dust and sweeping compound into a few piles. A stiff-bristled, wide broom is best for this job. You’ll cover a wide area quickly and further minimize the amount of airborne dust.
- Use a stiff-bristled push broom to collect the drywall dust and sweeping compound into one or more piles.
- Push the broom in long strokes to keep airborne dust to a minimum.
Use the push broom to make long, low strokes. As much as possible, prevent lifting the head of the broom high off the ground as you sweep. This method will help prevent drywall dust from flying up into the air.
Bag the Dust
Once the dust is collected, bag it in airtight plastic bags. Rather than using a dustpan to lift the dust, consider using a trash funnel so you can sweep the dust directly into a trash bag. This both reduces the work you have to do and keeps drywall dust from becoming airborne.
- Gather drywall dust into airtight plastic bags.
- Use this trash funnel to sweep dust directly into the bag without scooping.
- Tie a knot into the trash bag to close it. This ensures a better seal than using the drawstrings included on some trash bags.
Once the dust has been bagged, twist the top of the trash bag closed and tie it in a knot. This ensures an airtight seal. Drawstrings on trash bags often do not offer an airtight seal. When you move these bags, some drywall dust may escape into the air.
With the bulk of the drywall dust swept and bagged, it’s time to get the stubborn remnants. A good shop vac can do the trick. However, drywall dust is very fine. If your shop vac isn’t equipped with the proper filter and bag, the dust can escape from the vacuum. Even worse, fine dust can enter the vacuum motor, destroying your vacuum. To prevent this:
- Install a HEPA filter, such as this one, in your shop vac to properly collect drywall dust and avoid venting it out with the exhaust.
- Use this specialized dust bag to capture drywall dust completely.
A shop vac equipped with a standard filter and bag will not contain drywall dust. Instead, dust will pass through the filter and be blown out of the vacuum with the exhaust. Once your vacuum is properly outfitted, use a bristle vacuum head to clean the concrete floors in your space.
With the floor swept and vacuumed, very little drywall dust should remain. For the final cleaning, use a sponge mop and warm, soapy water to clean the floors. This should collect any remaining dust residue.
- A sponge-type mop and warm water with detergent will collect the last remnants of drywall dust.
- If you’d prefer a dry solution, attach tack cloth to a pole sander or Swiffer in order to clean up drywall dust.
As an alternative to mopping, try tack cloth. This sticky cloth works wonders at collecting fine dust. You can attach it to a pole sander or Swiffer-style mop meant for disposable cleaning. Use the dry tack cloth to collect dust. Just remember to check the tack cloth often. Once it’s no longer sticky, switch to a new cloth.
Can You Use a Shop Vac for Drywall Dust?
You can use a shop vac to clean up drywall dust, but only if the vacuum has been outfitted with a specialized filter and bag. Standard vacuum filters and bags are not rated for small particulates, such as drywall dust. If you try to vacuum drywall dust without the right equipment, the dust will pass through the filter and blow out the exhaust port of your vacuum. This will fill the air with dust and create an even worse mess.
- A shop vac can only be used to vacuum drywall dust if it is equipped with a HEPA filter and dust bag.
- An improperly equipped vacuum will allow drywall dust to pass through the filter and blow out the vacuum’s exhaust port.
To prevent a larger mess, install a HEPA filter in your shop vacuum. Then, equip your vacuum with a dust bag for fine particulates. This will allow you to vacuum up drywall dust easily.
How Do You Clean Drywall Dust Off of Concrete Floors?
To clean drywall dust off concrete floors without throwing dust into the air and thwarting your efforts, you should:
- Always wear an approved dust mask and goggles.
- Clean tall surfaces and walls with microfiber cloth or sponge.
- Spread sweeping compound on the floor.
- Sweep the dust and compound together.
- Bag the drywall dust securely.
- Vacuum the concrete with a shop vac outfitted with HEPA filter and dust bag.
- Mop the floor with a damp sponge mop.
This process will get rid of drywall dust in the most efficient, cleanest way. Once you’re done with these steps, your space will be spotless.