How To Clean Drywall Dust Off Wood Floors

After the grueling task of renovating or a new build, drywall dust is everywhere, one of the most frustrating challenges is how do you get drywall dust off of your wood floors? The fine particles seem to settle on every surface, in every crack, and hang around for days in the air. Drywall dust even manages to migrate throughout your home or building despite your best efforts. settling on furniture, carpeted floors, and yes, hardwood floors. 

The gray dust seems to be everywhere. it can be frustrating dealing with the ever-present dust, but with good preparation, preventative steps, and a few tips and tricks, you can clean dust completely from every part of your home, including those hardwood floors. Find out how to restore your shiny, beautiful flooring back to its illustrious sheen after a drywalling project.

how to clean drywall dust off wood floors

Cleaning Hardwood floors

There is no super simple way to go about it. After an initial sweep, you will have to Swiffer, or wipe hardwood floors with a damp cloth. Then you will probably have to do it again. Depending on how well you prepared, it will take several passes with a broom, a vacuum, and a mop. Feel free to add another go around with a special cleaner like Pledge wood floor cleaner or Murphy’s oil soap. These steps also apply to cleaning plaster off floors.

Before you even begin your remodel or building project, you will want to prepare for the dust and mitigate how much gets into other areas of your home. Good prep and cleaning as you go will not only make the eventual full clean up much easier, but it will limit the amount of that fine particle that floats into other areas.

Uses a drop cloth. Plastic drop cloths are a must when you’re installing drywall. Tape the tarps down around the edges to protect your hardwood floor and simply roll them up when you’re ready to dispose of the dust.

Clean everything else first. To minimize headache, save wiping your floors down for last. Wipe walls floor to ceiling, and clean furniture surfaces with a water solution first.

Sweep. Depending on how effective your drop cloths were, you will have to sweep at least once. Vacuuming large piles of drywall dust or plaster dust is a bad idea. A regular vacuum will quickly clog with the fine dust and overheat.

Even a heavy-duty Shop-Vac isn’t designed to handle a lot of drywall dust. Sweep the room, working gently towards the middle. Don’t sweep too zealously – it will kick up dust that will eventually just settle back down onto the floor. Try to sweep with the cracks in the hardwood. Sweep up the piles and dispose of them. You might have to sweep the room more than once – it’s a good idea to wait at least an hour between steps so you can give the dust time to settle.

Vacuum the edges of the room. When the majority of dust has been swept up, use a vacuum with attachment to vacuum the whole room, concentrating on the edges and corners of the room. The best vacuum cleaner is a wet/dry vac, but as long as there isn’t too much dust, you can use a regular vacuum.

Wipe. Luckily both drywall and drywall compound dust is water-soluble. This means you can run a damp cloth over dusty surfaces, and dust will come up easily. Try using one vinegar dissolved in three parts warm water, ring out your cloth well, and wiping down wood floors. It may take several passes to get the cloudy film off your floors. Keep at it, and continuously clean your cloth and ring it out, changing the water/vinegar solution as necessary.

Helpful Accessories.

You can clean drywall dust from wood floors with simple things you probably already have around a broom, a vacuum, and plain water, but there are a few products that might make cleanup a little easier and quicker.


A regular vacuum works on lingering dust in your carpets and upholstery and around the edges of the room, but a Shop-Vac is a powerful way to make sucking up the last of the dust easier. You still cannot vacuum large quantities of drywall dust with a Shop-Vac, it will still overheat and spew fine drywall dust out of the exhaust, but you can add a drywall collection bag to the Shop-Vac to make cleaning the drum much easier.

HEPA filter

A heavy-duty HEPA filter will protect your shop vacuum and keep the drywall dust from flying back into the air. Not necessary, but helpful and protects your air quality.

Dust Mask

You should always wear a dust mask if you’re around drywall dust or compound dust. Drywall isn’t toxic, but the mud can contain Silica, which is dangerous to inhale, and regular drywall dust irritates the eyes and lungs.


A dry dust mop or a Swiffer makes the last couple passes over your wood floor easy. You might find that you need to run the Swiffer over the hardwood a few times over the next couple of weeks to remove any haze that settles back over the wood floors.

Cleaning drywall dust from hardwood floors is time-consuming, but not impossible. The trick to easy cleanup starts with good preparation. Make sure you remove as much as possible from the rooms, block any vents into the room, limit goings in and out of the construction area, cover as much as possible with plastic, and clean as you go.

When it’s time for a thorough cleanup, hopefully, the amount of dust that’s settled and made its way into other areas is at a minimum. Get the majority of dust swept up, vacuum, and then use your damp cloth as many times as required to get that drywall dust up off your hardwood floors. Keep a Swiffer or dry dust mop around and run it over the floor every few days. Eventually, your floors will stay shiny and illustrious. Just keep at it.