How to Clean Drywall Dust Off Painted Walls [4 Fast Methods]

To remove drywall dust from painted walls, use a damp microfiber cloth or a large sponge. These non-abrasive cleaners will wipe up the dust without damaging your paint. If you are cleaning a large room, try using a vacuum equipped with a very soft brush head to clean the dust from the walls. Alternatively, you can use a tack cloth to clean up stubborn drywall dust from walls and other surfaces without damaging the paint.

How to Clean Drywall Dust Safely

Whenever you are sanding or cleaning drywall dust, it’s essential to wear a NIOSH/MSHA approved mask. A good mask will prevent you from breathing in drywall particles. It’s also a good idea to wear goggles, to keep the dust out of your eyes.

  • Wear a NIOSH/MSHA approved mask, like this one, at any time you are cleaning drywall dust.
  • Wear eye protection to keep your eyes safe from drywall dust irritation.
  • If the room is extremely dusty, consider additional safety measures.

When working around very high levels of drywall dust, take extra precautions to prevent the dust from spreading. This includes closing any air conditioning or heating vents. Open vents may spread drywall dust throughout your home.

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Can Drywall Dust Make You Sick?

Inhaling drywall dust can lead to throat and lung irritation, cough, sinus trouble, and a lung condition known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis. While drywall dust can make you sick, you can prevent all of these medical issues by wearing a NIOSH/MSHA approved mask whenever you are working around drywall dust.

  • Drywall dust can cause a number of medical conditions, from throat and lung irritation, to cough, to hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
  • Prevent sicknesses caused by drywall dust by wearing an approved mask.
  • Do not use a non-approved face covering as a mask when working with drywall.

Do not settle for a non-approved mask when working with drywall dust. N95 and N99 masks are manufactured to block 95 and 99% of particulates, respectively. A handkerchief, neck gaiter, or old t-shirt won’t afford an adequate level of protection.

4 Methods to Remove Drywall Dust From Painted Walls

Whether you’re patching a ceiling or a wall, the process of repairing drywall requires sanding and produces a lot of dust. At the end of the project, it’s common to find your room covered with dust. To get drywall dust off the walls quickly and completely, use the following tactics.

Damp Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth that has been dampened in warm water and thoroughly wrung out is great for cleaning drywall dust off painted walls. A microfiber cloth not only picks up small particles of dust, but it’s also soft enough that it won’t damage your paint.

  • Dampen this microfiber cloth in warm water, then use it to clean drywall dust off your walls.
  • Microfiber is gentle enough to clean walls without damaging paint.
  • Drywall dust is very fine—non-microfiber cloths won’t clean thoroughly.

Drywall dust is some of the smallest, finest particulates you’ll run into during home improvement. A standard rag or cleaning cloth won’t do a good job picking up drywall dust. A common rag will just move the dust around. Use a true microfiber cloth for best results.

Damp Sponge

A large sponge dampened with warm, clean water will make short work of an entire wall covered in drywall dust. Choose a large sponge used for grouting tile. These sponges are big enough to clean the wall with a few swipes and fine enough to pick up all the dust on your painted wall.

  • This large grouting sponge is perfect for cleaning drywall dust off your painted wall.
  • Dampen the sponge in warm water before cleaning the wall.
  • Wring out and clean the sponge frequently.
  • Always dampen the sponge with clean water before wiping the wall.

Keep a bucket of water with you at all times as you clean. Once the face of the sponge becomes whitish-gray from picking up drywall dust, dunk the sponge in the water and wring it out. Change out the water as needed to ensure you have a clean sponge at all times. This will make your dust cleaning much more effective and remove all the drywall residue from the walls.

Vacuum with a Soft Brush

If your vacuum has a long hose and a soft brush head, you can use it to clean drywall dust from your walls. This method works excellently for rooms with high ceilings, since it can allow you to avoid using a ladder. Test the vacuum in a small area to make sure the brush bristles do not scratch the paint.

  • When cleaning a large or high-ceilinged room, use a vacuum with a soft brush head.
  • Make certain the brush head will not damage the paint.
  • Equip your vacuum with a filter to ensure the dust is contained.

An extremely fine filter must be used to capture drywall dust. Many industrial vacuums, such as shop vacuums, do not come standard with filters that can capture fine dust. Vacuuming without an adequate filter can actually spew drywall dust out as part of the vacuum’s exhaust.

Tack Cloth

Tack cloth is another great tool for cleaning drywall dust off your wall. Because it contains a gentle adhesive, tack cloth can be used dry. It will collect drywall dust and doesn’t require water or a damp cloth.

  • This tack cloth includes a gentle adhesive that captures dust.
  • Use a single piece of tack cloth until it collects enough dust that it is no longer sticky, then replace the cloth.

When wiping your wall, check your tack cloth periodically. Once the cloth has collected a large amount of dust, it will no longer be as sticky. This will reduce the cleaning effectiveness. At this time, toss out the tack cloth and use a new one.

How Do You Remove Drywall Dust From Painted Walls?

The best ways to clean drywall dust off painted walls without damaging the paint are:

  • Use a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Wipe the walls with a grouting sponge dampened in warm water.
  • Equip your vacuum with a soft brush head and a fine filter to vacuum dust off the walls.
  • Use tack cloth to clean dust from the walls.

Each of these solutions is low-cost and will clean drywall dust off the wall safely. Make sure to avoid using abrasive materials or scrubbing the wall, as this can damage the paint.

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