After the renovation work is complete, the cleanup begins -- and if your renovation included wall repair, you'll be cleaning up drywall dust. The fine dust comes from cutting the core of the drywall as well as sanding the joint compound used to tape and finish the seams. You can get most of it with a vacuum, which also helps to prevent spreading the fine dust into cracks and gaps in the flooring.
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Filters for Drywall Dust
Your vacuum doesn't have to be equipped with a HEPA filter to properly contain drywall dust -- a standard filter bag will do, as long as it has no holes. It's best to empty the bag or vacuum before you begin vacuuming and, if the job is a large one, to check it often and empty it as needed.
Vacuum and Brush
Once you have a working vacuum with a proper filter, cleaning drywall dust and residue from a hardwood floor is easy. Your vacuum accessory shouldn't have a beater bar, and if it does, make sure you turn it off, or it might redistribute as much dust into the air as it picks up. Run the vacuum over the whole floor, and concentrate on picking up dust from cracks and grooves between boards, where it is likely to have collected. After a once-over with the vacuum, use a brush to clean dust out of the grooves. If you're sensitive, you should probably wear a dust mask while vacuuming.
Scrape, Vacuum and Wipe
A good time to remove the inevitable blotches of hardened joint compound left on the floor during the mudding process is while you're brushing dust out of the cracks. Use a plastic putty knife to remove dried mud -- it won't scratch the floor the way a metal one might. You'll be able to scrape up most blotches by hand, but if any are stubborn, give the putty knife a tap with a hammer to dislodge them. After you've finished brushing and scraping, vacuum once more. Then wipe the floor down with a slightly dampened cloth or towel to remove the fine layer of dust that the vacuum couldn't get. Rinse the cloth frequently, and wring it out to make sure you're not adding too much water to the floor. Once it's clean, dry the floor with a dry cloth or towel.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker and Family Handyman.