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
- A face mask
- Dust mop or towel
- Dust mop treatment
- Soft towel
- Used dryer sheets
- 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.
- 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.
- If the dust is still heavy in the air, you can rent an air scrubber from a major hardware store to remove the bulk of the dust. This can be helpful while cleaning as well to remove the dust that you kick up.
- Wearing a face mask is important to prevent inhaling the dust. These can be purchased at a hardware store.
- Vacuuming is the first step for removing the dust. It will remove the most amount of dust and is the easiest to do. Put an upholstery brush on the vacuum wand. Start at the top of a room and work your way down. That means to vacuum the top of the wall first. Work in sections, moving the wand sideways across each section. (If your vacuum has a filter, be sure to monitor it and clean as needed.)
- If there are vents present, remove the covers and vacuum inside of the vents as thoroughly as possible.
- Vacuum the top ledges above window and door frames.
- Don’t forget to do shelves and light fixtures.
- Vacuum carpets using the beater brush if your vacuum has that option.
- For hard floors, use a treated dust mop. If you don’t have a pre-treated dust mop, you can buy dust mop treatment online or in some supermarkets and spray your dust mop or spray the treatment on a cloth and wrap the cloth around a push broom or Swiffer. Green World N dust mop treatment is advertised of having 0% VOCs.
- After vacuuming, wipe all surfaces with a damp cloth to remove the remaining dust. Again, start at the top and work your way down.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. An alternative is to use a flat sponge mop. If you don’t have one of these, you can get one at a dollar store. Just don’t soak the mop sponge, it only needs to be damp.
- 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.
- 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.
- As a final step, mop all hard floors.
- After cleaning, check the air filters again to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Do not try to mop hard floors before removing as much dust as possible with a dust mop or vacuum. The fine grains of dust can scratch your new floors while mopping.
- For steps to clean other areas of your home after construction, see these related articles:
- Construction Cleanup by Don Aslett
- Ultimate Guide to Masonry and Concrete by Creative Homeowner
- The Queen of Clean’s Complete Cleaning Guide by Linda Cobb