How to Clean Drywall Tools


Drywall professionals refer to joint compound as mud because it's just as sloppy as the real thing. After a long day of taping joints, drywall tools are coated with mud, much of it hardened. Learn how to clean your drywall tools the right way; you'll save time and effort during your clean-up and extend the life of your tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife or drywall taping knife
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • General-purpose scouring pad
  • Rag
  • Rust-inhibiting lubricant
  • Scrape large chunks of dried joint compound from the drywall tools with a putty knife or a drywall taping knife.

  • Fill a bucket with water and place the scraped tools into the bucket. Allow the tools to soak for approximately 10 minutes or longer.

  • Remove the tools from the bucket, dump the water and refill the bucket with clean water. Submerge the tools into the clean water and scrub them with a general-purpose scouring pad. Scour the tools to remove all traces of joint compound.

  • Remove the cleaned tools from the bucket. Dump the dirty water from the bucket. Dry the cleaned tools with a rag or allow the tools to air dry.

  • Spray a rust-inhibiting lubricant to brass and steel fasteners, such as the screws that secure a taping knife's handle. Clean excess lubricant from the tool's surface by wiping it with a rag.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use a metal scouring pad, such as steel wool, to clean tools; the abrasive metal will scratch a tool's surface. Use a synthetic pad, such as a dish-scrubbing pad.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands following contact with wet drywall mud.

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