The Best Solutions to Clean Sheetrock Dust off Ceramic Floor Tiles

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Repairing your walls can result in a mess to your tile.
Repairing your walls can result in a mess to your tile. (Image: drywall worker image by Sherri Camp from Fotolia.com)

The natural shine and often slick finish of polished ceramic tiles can be compromised by drywall dust during remodeling or repairing walls. Drywall (or sheet-rock) dust is a very fine powder that is difficult to clean off many surfaces, but it can be particularly challenging when it comes to the slick surface of ceramic tiles.

Spray and Sweep

If you begin by sweeping the drywall dust, you will find that the motion of the broom simply stirs up the dust and aggravates the situation further, often coating furniture, a wider area of the floor or even the walls themselves with the dust. If you spray the floor with a light mist of water before sweeping, this will significantly reduce the dust. This is a good option if you have a lighter covering of dust, or as a preliminary cleaning step.

Sponge Mop

While a regular strip mop will often create more of a mess when dealing with drywall dust, a sponge mop is an excellent option. A lightly dampened sponge mop, rung out thoroughly and rinsed often, will effectively collect dust and push it to one part of the room while simultaneously cleaning the floor it passes over. This is particularly effective when coupled with a preliminary cleaning step, such as spraying and sweeping.

Shop Vacuum with a Drywall Dust Filter

Vacuuming is a good solution for the clouds of dust produced by drywall; however, a regular vacuum, even a regular industrial shop vacuum, does not have the capacity to deal with such a fine dust effectively. You can purchase a drywall dust filter from your local hardware store and use this in your shop vacuum. According to the website "The Old House" these filters, HEPA filters, can catch particles smaller than 1 micron. The filter allows the vacuum to handle and process the fine dust, as well as collect it more effectively. This option works well for heavy clean up with a significant amount of dust.

Sweeping Compound

A sweeping compound is a dry, course mixture that you add to the floor you're sweeping to reduce dust. Spreading a sweeping compound over a floor coated in drywall dust will protect you along with your furniture, floors and walls by reducing the spread and amount of dust stirred up when you sweep. This is similar to the spray and sweep method, but a sweeping compound can save you from the messy liquid that results when you mix water and drywall dust. Many sweeping compounds are oil-based which you should not use on glazed ceramic tile. Check with your local hardware store for a brand that is not oil-based or is safe to use on ceramic tile.

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