Construction dust is more than just a pesky nuisance that gets in the way. More than that, construction dust can get on just about every surface and, if left uncleaned, it can be hazardous. Health hazards associated with construction dust can range from minor irritation to asthma, or even cancer. This is why it is incredibly important to thoroughly clean every surface following construction. 

If you are concerned about the best way to clean up after construction, don’t worry. Professional cleaning crews have the expertise and equipment to ensure a safe and reliable cleanup after any construction project. To learn how to clean construction dust like a professional, continue reading this step-by-step guide.

Health Risks Associated with Construction Dust

First, let’s briefly cover why cleaning up construction dust is so important. As mentioned, certain types of dust are associated with a range of potential health complications. These range in severity, but they can often be life-threatening if individuals are over-exposed to certain particles.

Construction dust can be made from any materials that are used during construction. Wood, stone, metal, and concrete building materials can all leave behind traces of construction dust. Not all dust is hazardous, but even “clean” construction dust is unpleasant and irritating. Here is some more information about the most common types of construction dust and their associated health hazards.

Types of Construction Dust

Silica Dust

Silica dust is a naturally-occurring mineral that is found in several common types of stone and concrete. In addition to concrete, silica dust can also come from common building materials like mortar and sandstone. Excessive exposure to silica dust can lead to the development of silicosis, a long-term lung disease that impairs breathing.

Wood Dust

Wood dust comes from a variety of both softwood and hardwood building materials. Health risks associated with wood dust exposure vary depending on the type of wood being used and the severity of the exposure.

Low Toxicity Dust

Materials like limestone, marble, or gypsum might create a lot of construction dust. However, these materials contain little or no silica or other harmful chemicals. While breathing in dust of any kind can be irritating, these types of dust are generally less toxic. However, even low-toxicity dusts are tedious and require deep cleaning.

Health Risks


Silicosis causes long-term breathing complications and increases the risk of other types of lung infections. Silicosis takes a long time to build up with frequent exposure to silica dust. The main symptoms include chronic coughing and persistent shortness of breath. These symptoms may be slow to develop and grow worse over time. Silicosis cannot be cured, but symptoms can be treated to reduce the risk of further complications.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can arise as a result of exposure to silica dust or certain types of wood dust. Coughing, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood are symptoms of lung cancer. Lung cancer is treatable, but the success of treatment depends greatly on early detection.


Asthma can develop as a result of long-term exposure to construction dust. It is a chronic condition that affects breathing and leaves individuals at greater risk of other lung infections. Although asthma cannot be cured, symptoms can be treated and managed with daily care.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is actually a range of various lung diseases that can all be triggered by prolonged exposure to construction dust. These diseases are most commonly associated with silica dust but can be triggered by other forms of construction dust. Some COPD cases are fatal, while other cases are treatable.

Why Is It Hard to Clean Construction Dust?

As you can tell, cleaning up construction dust is a very important job. Silica and wood dust can remain a problem even after construction is done if they are not cleaned properly. For this reason alone, it is usually best to hire a professional post-construction cleaning crew. 

But another reason why it’s important to hire professional cleaners is that cleaning up after construction projects is not easy. Post-construction cleaning crews need to be extremely thorough, while also observing strict safety precautions to minimize their exposure to construction dust. This requires a lot of specialized protective equipment and cleaning materials, on top of the work itself. Construction dust makes its way into unseen places like light fixtures, ledges, and other hard-to-reach places.

Here are some of the unique challenges cleaners face when cleaning up after a construction or renovation project.

Purchasing Protective Gear and Materials

Post-construction personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for cleanup crews on construction sites. Dust masks are just one piece of equipment that every cleaner should wear while cleaning up a construction site. Cleanup crews must wear, at a minimum, a dust mask with an air filter for filtering out dust particles.

Other essential equipment includes eye goggles, rubber-soled shoes (to protect against exposed nails on the ground), and rubber gloves.

Cleaning Materials and an Industrial Vacuum Cleaner

Cleaning up after construction projects also requires a lot of heavy-duty cleaning equipment. An industrial vacuum cleaner or a wet vacuum cleaner is often a basic necessity. Other common equipment needed for construction cleanup includes power washers, carpet cleaners, and floor polishers.

Performing a Second Clean Up

Sometimes, construction dust takes time to settle. For this reason, many cleanup crews will need to go through the area a second time several days later. The amount of work alone is enough to require a professional cleaning crew. Given the seriousness of post-construction cleaning, it would also be hazardous to leave this task to anyone else.

post construction cleans up

4 Cleaning Areas for Construction Dust

Another reason construction dust is so troublesome is that dust particles can cover just about any surface. Dust particles are extremely light, meaning they can be dispersed over a wide area and settle anywhere around the site. Construction dust isn’t just on the floors and counters. Here are some of the areas you should focus on when cleaning dust particles.

Walls and Ceiling

Yes, dust particles can stick to both the walls and ceiling. This can be one of the most challenging aspects of cleaning construction dust. Cleanup crews typically need to vacuum the ceiling multiple times to remove all of the dust. Walls and wallpaper can be cleaned using a damp cloth soaked in warm water.


Floors tend to become heavily coated in construction dust during any construction projects. Some construction crews might lay down a tarp or protective surface to cover parts of the floor. But this seldom prevents all construction dust from reaching the floor.

Cleaning methods for the floors after a renovation project will depend on the type of floor. A powerful vacuum cleaner is always an essential piece of equipment, however. Some types of flooring can also be scrubbed with warm water or floor polish to soak up dust. For carpeted floors, using a steam cleaner or another type of carpet cleaner is recommended.

Air Vents

One of the peskiest places for construction dust to become lodged is in air vents. If left uncleaned, this can cause construction dust to continue filtering through the building long after construction. For this reason, it is extremely important to make sure all air vents are cleaned thoroughly after construction.

A vacuum cleaner with an extendable hose is the best tool for cleaning air vents. In addition, you should also replace all air filters after construction as a safety precaution.


Ledges, counters, and baseboards also tend to be coated in dust particles following construction. These can be cleaned using a variety of common cleaning materials, including dusters, damp cloths, or even dryer sheets.

Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans

Other smaller surfaces around the home or building can easily become coated in construction dust. Cleaning crews should also be sure to sipe down any light fixtures, ceiling fans, door handles, and other such fixtures. Warm water, cloths, dusters, and vacuums can all be used to remove dust particles from these types of surfaces.

House post construction

How To Remove Construction Dust From Surfaces

Construction dust cleanup is no small task, as you can see. Dust particles are difficult to contain and can stick to any surface. Despite the challenges, thorough and responsible cleaning habits can totally remove all construction dust from the area. Here are some essential tips for how to clean dust after construction.

STEP 1: Keep the Area Clean and Well-Ventilated

You can make the cleaning job easier by reducing the amount of dust in the area. This can be done by keeping the area well-ventilated and working to keep dust from dispersing too much indoors. Leaving windows open or using an air filtration system while working is a basic step to reduce the amount of dust buildup. However, no amount of preparation will prevent construction dust completely.

STEP 2: Prepare Cleaning Materials and Protective Gear

Once construction is complete, make sure you have all of the necessary tools and equipment for cleaning. Most importantly, make sure you have all of the post-construction cleaning PPE outlined above. Cleaning up construction dust is not just about the safety of the building’s occupants after the fact. Cleaning crews also must prioritize their own safety. That begins with being properly equipped for the job.

STEP 3: Start Cleaning from the Ceiling

When you clean construction dust, it’s important to work from the top down. This is because the cleaning process will dislodge a lot of construction dust. You will not get all of the dust on the first sweep. If you start from the floor and work your way up, the floor will become coated in a new layer of dust. Of course, a second sweep through the area is always required. But working from the top down reduces the amount of work required during the second cleanup.

STEP 4: Use a Vacuum

A vacuum cleaner is one of the best tools for removing construction dust quickly over large areas. Using an industrial vacuum cleaner, or shop vac is highly recommended. Using the extendable, heavy-duty hose on these vacuums is the best way to clean the dust in hard-to-reach places like the ceiling or air vents.

STEP 5: Wipe with Soap and Water

After vacuuming, you can also wipe down some surfaces with soap and warm water. This method can be used to clean smaller surfaces or difficult crevices, such as baseboards, ledges, and room corners.

STEP 6: Check If There is Residual Dust

Construction dust always requires more than one cleaning. After you’ve finished cleaning up, check again for any leftover dust. Repeat all of the above steps until you’re certain there are no harmful amounts of residual construction dust left. Be sure to carefully inspect all surfaces, including door frames, light fixtures, and ceiling fans.

Average Costs for Construction Dust Cleaning

Construction dust cleaning costs vary based on the size and scope of the construction project. Most cleaning companies will charge by square feet or a flat rate. Other factors that affect cleaning costs include the type of equipment and materials required for cleaning. Typically, post-construction cleaning services will handle all aspects of cleaning, not simply removing construction dust. This includes removing large debris, detailing baseboards, door frames, accents, and deep cleaning surfaces.

The average rate of an initial construction dust cleaning is about $0.10 to $0.15 per square foot. For a second pass-through, the rates increase to anywhere from $0.15 to $0.50 per square foot.

Why Should Construction Dust Be Professionally Removed?

Construction site cleanup is a job best left to professionals. This is a matter of both safety and performance. Professional cleaners are better equipped to deal with the hazards of construction dust cleaning, and can also be counted on to do a great job. Here are some of the primary reasons why you should always hire professionals to remove construction dust.

Ensures Everyone’s Safety

As mentioned, construction dust can present major health hazards. Professional cleaners are fully aware of this, and take all of the necessary precautions when cleaning up. This means wearing PPE, including dust masks with proper air filters. In addition, hiring professional cleaners ensures that the job gets done right. This means that the area will be safe to occupy following your renovation project.

Professional Knowledge and Experience

On top of the safety concerns, professional cleaners simply offer better results. Professional cleaners can work through messy construction projects quickly and efficiently. They will be equipped to handle all of the unique challenges that come with cleaning up after construction.

Saves Time and Money

Lastly, it’s simply more cost-effective to hire a professional cleaning crew. Cleaning up construction dust requires a lot of heavy-duty industrial equipment. Commercial cleaning companies are already equipped with all of this costly equipment. All you need to pay for is labor. And, while the cleaning crew clears out the area, you are free to move on to your next renovation project.

construction worker
Young happy manual worker cleaning sawdust from his protective gloves at the construction site.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to get rid of construction dust?

A wet-dry vacuum is the fastest tool for removing construction dust. However, when cleaning up construction dust, it’s better to be slow and meticulous than to rush through the job.

How do you eliminate dust in the air after renovation?

Proper ventilation, containing the mess, covering air vents, replacing air filters, and proper cleaning techniques are the best way to eliminate construction dust following construction.

Do air purifiers get rid of construction dust?

Air filters and purifiers can help remove dust particles from the air. However, air purifiers alone are not sufficient to remove all construction dust from the air following renovations.

How to clean up concrete dust in a garage workshop?

Using a vacuum cleaner is the best way to clean up concrete dust in your garage.

How do you remove construction dust from the floor?

Using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or steam cleaner for carpets is the best way to remove construction dust from floors.

How long does it take construction dust to settle?

Construction dust particles can take anywhere from three minutes to four hours to settle. For this reason, it’s always important to clean up multiple times, leaving several hours in between cleanups.

Do You Need Help With Post-Construction Cleanup?

Every construction project requires knowledgeable professionals every step of the way. This includes post-construction cleaning. Cleaning up construction sites is a matter of both safety and practicality. The health risks associated with silica and other forms of construction dust are no joke. The best way to clean up dust after construction is to leave it to a professional crew.

If you are looking for an experienced and reliable cleaning service for construction dust removal, Dallas Janitorial Services can help. DJS is one of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s most trusted professional cleaning companies by clients across several industries. To learn more about our construction cleanup services,  please contact us to discuss your options and receive a free quote.

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