Should You Remove Drywall Dust Before Priming? (Explained!)

One of the most frustrating things about painting is the prep work which involves priming. And one of the most tedious parts of prep work is cleaning up drywall dust. It’s everywhere – on the ground, your clothes, your wall. But should you really remove drywall dust before priming?

You should always remove Drywall dust before priming. Not removing it may affect the adhesive qualities of the primer, making it flaky and crumbly. It’s also almost impossible to reach a smooth finish when there is a lot of dust left.

You might have heard people saying that removing Drywall dust is a waste of time or, in some cases, something that should be avoided. We know that drywall dust might make you sick in some cases, so removing it is always a good option. But let’s just say you don’t want to; what would happen if you leave it on your walls?

Does Drywall Dust Need To Be Removed Before Priming?

Yes, you should remove drywall dust before priming. Priming is the first coat of paint applied over drywall to prevent moisture from penetrating the panels in some other cases; you might also want to prime before texturing.

Before priming the surface, you have to sand the old joint compound to get a smooth surface, which can produce a lot of residues that need to be cleaned beforehand.

A sanding process is required to level the joint compound. During this process, a lot of dust and sanding residue will be produced.

Simply put, if you are wondering, should you remove drywall dust before painting or priming? The answer is always YES! To get a smooth finish, your drywall must be free from any traces of dust and debris.

What Happens If You Don’t Remove Drywall Dust Before Priming?

First, not cleaning drywall dust before priming will make it impossible for you to attain a smooth finish. Dust will appear even if you apply multiple layers of high-performance primes, resulting in a shoddy renovation job. 

Remember that dust can also ruin a paint job much faster than usual. It affects the adhesive qualities of a primer, making it flaky and crumbly.   

How Do You Clean Drywall Dust Off Walls Before Priming?

Cleaning is a crucial part of preparing the drywall for priming. Fortunately, removing drywall dust is a piece of cake. You don’t have to be a professional cleaner to prep the drywall for priming. Plus, you don’t even have to have industrial-grade equipment.

To remove drywall dust before priming, you need an air compressor or a vacuum cleaner, tack cloth, denatured alcohol, and some clean pieces of cloth. If you are unsure if your vacuum cleaner is up to the task, check out this article.

Follow this ultimate guide to clean drywall dust off walls before priming the surface:

Step #1 Use a Vacuum Cleaner or Air Compressor

The sanding process can create a lot of drywall dust and sanding residue. To get rid of the debris, you have two options: you can either blow it off or vacuum it! If you want to blow off drywall dust, make sure to use the mask, as drywall dust is quite hazardous to your health!

In our opinion, vacuuming the drywall dust is a better option. With this approach, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the rest of the place. It is fast, convenient, and, of course, mess-free! You can use any vacuum cleaner to vacuum drywall dust from the walls.

Step #2 Use the Cloths to Wipe the Surface

Once you vacuum the drywall surface, you’ll need to use small pieces of clean cloth to wipe off the remaining residue. To notice how dirty is actually your drywall, you should use bright-colored pieces of cloth.

During this step, you need to use clean, dry cloths. As drywall is porous, using wet material to remove the drywall is not actually a good idea. It will affect your drywall’s integrity and make the joint compound wavy!

Step #3 Use the Tack Cloth

Most cleaners use a tack cloth to finish the cleaning process. A tack cloth is a piece of cheesecloth fixed with beeswax. Vacuum cleaners and dry cloths cannot remove all the dust particles. Therefore, using a tack cloth is recommended to get the best results.

To use a tack cloth, you’ll need to cut it into smaller pieces. Also, make sure you are applying too much pressure. Otherwise, you might end up cracking the drywall panel. Once a piece of tack cloth gets filthy, simply change it and repeat the process.

Step #4 Use the Denatured Alcohol

Most of the time, using a tack cloth to clean drywall dust is enough. However, if you are still not satisfied, you can use denatured alcohol and clean pieces of cloth as an additional step. 

Using denatured alcohol instead of water has several benefits. Firstly, you don’t have to worry about moisture damage as the alcohol evaporates at a higher rate. Moreover, it will kill mold particles available on the surface, making your drywall mold-resistant to some degree!

Step #5 Prime the Surface 

If your drywall is wet, let it dry for at least 24 hours. Alternatively, you can also use a blow dryer to speed up the process. Once your drywall is completely dry, you can use a high-quality primer to prime the surface. To do so, you can use a paint roller!

Once done, you can apply at least 2 coats of your favorite paint to finish the drywall installation process.

Alternative Ways To Clean Drywall Dust From Walls Before Priming

The above-mentioned method is undoubtedly the best way to clean drywall dust before priming.

We think you should use a vacuum cleaner instead of an air compressor. Also, using just the tack cloth would be enough if you cannot get your hands on denatured alcohol. A tack cloth works miraculously when it comes to wiping off dirt, drywall dust, and smaller particles.

The one thing you should never do is use a wet cloth. This will make the joint compound somewhat wavy and would make it impossible to reach a smooth finish. 


How To Remove Drywall Dust From Tile Floors?

First, turn off the air conditioners and fans and close all the windows. Afterward, use a bristle brush or broom to remove as much dust as possible. Next, vacuum the surface to remove remaining drywall dust particles and wipe the surface using a mop.

How To Clean Drywall Dust After Sanding?

Sanding drywall can produce a lot of residue and drywall dust. So, instead of blowing it off, it’s recommended to use a vacuum cleaner to remove drywall dust. You should start the cleanup process from the top and then wipe the remaining debris using a damp cloth.

Is Drywall Dust Dangerous?

Drywall dust can be hazardous to your health. As it contains gypsum (Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate), it can irritate your body parts, such as the throat and eyes. Moreover, larger amounts of drywall dust can cause breathing problems, chest issues, and allergic reactions.

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