Removing Interior Construction Dust


Question: “My husband and I just finished building a house and now I’m tasked with cleaning up the construction mess. Any tips on how to get all that dust off the floor and window sills? We’ve tried sweeping, swiffering (both wet and dry), and a big soft floppy mop. Our hardwood floors are an engineered product – maple wood with an amber finish. They are hand-scraped. Any other construction clean-up tips you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!”

Construction projects make wonderful changes to our homes, but leave a blanket of dust that is more of a challenge to remove than one may expect. Patience and perseverance are key with this post-construction task. Here are some methods you can use to get rid of the dust for good.

You Will Need:

  • Air filters
  • Soft towels
  • Broom
  • Tape
  • Used dryer sheets
  • Vacuum
  • Mop
  • Cleaner for specified flooring type
  • Plenty of patience

Methods for Removing Dust:

Dust needs to be trapped rather than spread into the air or it will just land in a new location. With the high levels of dust produced during construction, it will take several cleanings to remove it all. Here are a couple of methods to get rid of dust for good.

  1. One of the first lines of defense against dust is the air filters in your home. They trap dust, but they can also add it to the air if they are not cleaned and replaced regularly. Check your air filters first and replace as needed. For more information, see How to Clean Your Homes Air Filter.
  2. Shelves and ledges are an obvious target when dusting, but remember to include the walls and other vertical surfaces as well.
  3. To easily remove dust from walls, moisten a soft towel with water and wrap it around the bottom of a broom. Secure with tape if necessary.
  4. Push the towel around the wall to collect any dust and wipe it away. The broom handle will help to reach the tops of the walls.
    Warning: If the walls have been recently painted, avoid using anything too moist on them as it can damage the paint. Most paints require 30 days to cure completely.
  5. For baseboards and ledges, used dryer sheets make great dust collectors. Bounce dryer sheets, which have already been through a cycle in the dryer, will collect dust like a magnet. Simply wipe them along ledges and baseboards then toss them in the trash.
  6. For floors, sweep/vacuum (if your vacuum has a filter, be sure to monitor it and clean as needed) and mop regularly using normal cleaning methods for your type of floor. It may take several cleanings, but eventually the dust will be under control.
  7. If there are vents present, remove the covers and vacuum inside of the vents as thoroughly as possible.

Additional Tips and Advice

For steps to clean other areas of your home after construction, see these related articles:


  1. KB says:

    Professionals will take dampened sawdust, sprinkle it around (even on the windowsills), sweep off and most of the fine dust will be trapped in the larger particles and you can pick up the sawdust, then vacuum or Swiffer up the balance. It works really great in the shop too.

  2. J H says:

    Get a wet/dry vac and the brush/floor attachment at your local home improvement center. Buy an extra filter or two. The amount of dust and dirt collected compared to sweeping alone will amaze you.

  3. Paul says:

    I was blessed going through your teaching.
    Thank you so much.

  4. Pete says:

    We just went through this on my in-laws’ kitchen facelift. We changed the floor from tile to wood and ripped the backsplash off the drywall so there was a TON of dust, and in everyone’s gusto to get going, we did not enclose the dust area.

    The best single product to help remove the dust was TACK CLOTH. It is like a sticky dust rag that painters use before painting cars, fine trim etc. It can be found in the paint aisle in two or three packs at your local hardware store.

    Also, get about three cheap furnace/AC filters and change them out regularly. Avoid running the AC/heat/fan during the project if possible. That filter catches a ton of the dust which may cause damage or reduce efficiency, not to mention potential air quality problems.

    Good luck. It can be done . . . You will have your house back.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    These tips are helpful. I clean houses as a side job. I like to vacuum as much as I can in every room, then go back with a damp Swiffer (throw away dirt). The tacky cloths work well on small areas. I like to use the used dryer sheets to remove lint from the tray or to pick up crumbs in kitchen. Works well on hair around toilet and baseboards. Recycle!

  6. Nanette says:

    Recently there was construction done in my apartment. All of my belongings were placed in my bedroom, a front hall closet and bathroom. Concrete was taken out of the living room and kitchen and then re-laid. There was also some drying out water damage and sanding or replacing areas that were damaged. Upon my return to my apartment, there was a fine white dust on everything. Clothing, dishes, medicine cabinet – all items in each room. So all of my belongings. After attempting to clean, I developed a very bad sore throat and my face began to burn like a sun burn. I am worried about whether this is 1) effecting my health and 2) if I can truly get this all out of my belongings. Apparently construction workers are told not even to clean up at home or bring their clothing in, as it can affect their household and family members. How much silica is too much silica? Should I just throw away all my belongings? Am I really getting them clean?

  7. Rob says:

    Any luck with silica research? I would think one exposure would not be bad, and the face burning may be an allergic reaction. I would be interested if you’ve heard from anyone with experience in the area.

  8. Laurie says:

    I moved into a newly remodeled apt., and now have a white powder-like substance coming up through the newly laid tile floors throughout entire apt.; I cannot get rid of powder. I’m now getting sore throats, nasal congestion, headaches; is it from the powder? How do I get rid of powder? What causes it? Any help would be greatly helpful.

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