How to Get Rid of Drywall Dust

A pile of drywall dust and scraps.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-150

For the first time in my adult life, I now understand the stubborn battle with drywall dust. Our basement recently underwent a major renovation where old walls were removed and news ones were built. With all of the changes, our basement quickly filled with layers of drywall dust—and if it weren't for these few tips, it would have been a major hassle. Drywall dust is bound to happen when you do a remodeling project in your home and removing it can be a difficult process, but there are a few things you can do to get the job done without too much stress.

Turn Off Furnace/Central Air

Before you start any big remodeling project, there are a few things you should do to prepare for the war against drywall dust. The first one is that you need to turn off your furnace or central air (depending on the time of year). This is the best way to reduce the amount of dust that gets in your vents. If you want to circulate the air while you work, try placing a fan in the window, facing outwards. This will also help to remove some of the dust.

Remove Furniture

You're already going to have to clean up the room, so to make it easier on yourself make sure you remove whatever furniture you can, especially any upholstered furniture. Trying to get rid of drywall dust on upholstered furniture is not a task you want to undergo.

Cover Remaining Furniture

Furniture covered with plastic sheeting.

Whatever furniture you can't remove from the room you will be working in should be covered in plastic. You can use the same kind of plastic that you would use to protect your furniture from paint, but make sure to secure it with tape or bungee cords. Drywall dust blows around and can easily get in places you thought were safe, so cover things well. This should also include any carpeting you have in that room.

Block Openings

If you don't want drywall dust traveling from room to room, make sure to block off the room you're working on from the rest of your house. To do this, you can hang a heavy plastic screen from floor to ceiling in the doorways. Once that is done, make sure you cover all ductwork and vents with plastic too and tape them closed.

Wear a Mask

A woman sanding a wall with a dust mask on.

Make sure you wear a dust mask at all times. This includes while you're working with the drywall and during cleanup. Drywall dust can easily get in your nose and eyes, causing damage, which can be especially harmful if you have asthma or allergies. Wearing safety goggles isn't a bad idea, either.


When it's time to start removing the dust from your well-covered, closed-off room, start with sweeping the floor. Gently stroke with the bottom of the broom from the walls to the center of the room. Don't do it too quickly, or you will actually stir up the dust. Once you have a pile in the middle, sweep it into a dustpan and put it in the trash. You'll probably have to do this at least a couple of times, if not a few, to get rid of most of the dust.


Once you've swept up the room you can move on to using the vacuum. However, do not use your regular house vacuum because drywall dust can clog and ruin it. You should instead use a wet/dry vac that has a good filter. In fact, you should look for vacuum bags that are specifically made for drywall dust because they will collect and hold drywall dust a lot better than the standard variety. Make sure you get in every corner and crevice of the room with the nozzle.

Wipe Down

Now that you have swept and vacuumed all of the dust you can, it's time to wipe everything down with a damp cloth. You should use cool water and either a sponge or microfiber cloth. Before you use it, wring it out well because too much water can ruin your new drywall. When wiping down the walls, make sure to go from top to bottom, and to rinse and wring out the cloth or sponge regularly. Once the water looks dirty, toss it out and get clean water. Wipe down everything in that room including baseboards, molding, windows, light fixtures, and even the floor.

Clean Regularly

A pair of hands sweeping up drywall dust with a small broom and dust pan.

To make the process of removing drywall dust even easier, clean up regularly while you work. This will keep the task less overwhelming by the end of the remodel.