I was reading a tread about how little air holes appear in drywall mud. There were multiple suggestions of adding a little ivory soap and water to drywall mud to make it as smooth as a baby's butt. How much soap to water to mud would all you pros out there recommend?

  • soap reduces the surface tension of water ... soap allows water to flow into smaller spaces
    – jsotola
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


It has been a while since is did it but it did have an impact on the air bubbles.

How much soap ? Very little, much less than you think.

I have done the soap, maybe a half tablespoon for a gallon or two of mud, but i do not use any water.

I remember adding too much the first time and it was a little thin/loose, hard to work with.

I used generic dish soap.

You can always add more but you can not take it out. ( I have cut this board twice and it is still too short )

  • c/two/too/ unless you intended that as an "error within the error". Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 19:06
  • 1
    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact i hit the post button 2 quick, ;) should have proof read. Two, To, Too, 2
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 19:11
  • Times like these make me feel 50% better than my peers: I cut it 3 times and it was still too short! Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 0:11
  • I don't understand, once you realize it is too short why wouldn't you cut the other side?
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 3:19

The issues with air holes is mainly when you are using the premix joint compound.

What my crew does is:

  • start with empty bucket (left over).
  • Scoop in about 1/3 of a new buck of joint compound.
  • add joint compound powder
  • add water (of course)
  • add a squirt of dawn (for bucket - about as much as you would use to wash your hands after you work on a car)
  • the mix should come out less thick than peanut butter or Nutella
  • the key is the mixing it hard with a good mixing paddle on an old drill.

If you are going to use premix good luck mixing it in the bucket it comes in. It for sure needs a bit of water and a dab of soap but you probably won't have the power to mix it or the space. You will need to mix a little at a time with just a tiny bit of soap and maybe 1/2" cup water to gallon. (if you put too much water in, add more compound)

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