With regard to patching, sawing, or drilling into/through drywall that is already installed (adding some outlets and ceiling fans), where dust control is a priority (the owner is very tidy), can anyone offer some tips and/or advice for keeping the dust to a minimum?

3 Answers 3


Use a vacuum to suck up the dust as you make it. This will likely require an additional set of hands depending on what you're doing.

As cumbersome as it may be, a vacuum will collect not only the large dust particles that fall down, but also the fine dust that's thrown into the air.

If you're using a hole saw to cut the ceiling, a dust bowl (or similar product) could be used.

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You use masking tape to adhere some lightweight poly/plastic sheeting onto the wall directly below your work area, which will catch dust and/or channel it directly into a collector bin. This will reduce dust on the floor/carpet.

Some people like to use an oscillating cutting tool to cut holes in drywall for outlets rather than a traditional drywall saw. In combination with a shop-vac, it can make dust management easier.

If using a shopvac, be SURE you use a bag for fine particulate. The fine drywall dust will just exhaust out of the vacuum if you don't, creating an enormous mess.

  1. Here's one small tip: use a sticky note to catch dust from drilling- (courtesy of: http://rebrn.com/re/lpt-use-a-post-it-note-to-catch-dust-when-drilling-2615252/)

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  1. Another tip (for cutting into the ceiling) might be to use a piece of paper or a styrofoam cup to create a cone- taped around a drill or sawzall- (How to avoid dust when drilling in the ceiling)

  2. Of course attaching a vacuum hose to the tool might work, or it might be so cumbersome that it's not really worth the struggle. Many sanders have a vacuum attachment built in.

  3. It has been suggested in a few places that a bit of shaving cream or toothpaste can be applied at or near the area to collect dust.

  4. Making cuts with a razor or box cutter is less dusty than a key-hole saw or a sawzall.

  5. Obviously, a drop cloth will be necessary, especially for sanding.

  6. Open two or more windows (so that air can flow through the house) and set a box fan in the window closest to the area where dust will be generated, blowing outward.

  7. Many vacuums will not have fine enough filters to capture all of the dust. So a dust collector might be handy to use in conjunction with a vacuum.

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  1. Wetsanding is a technique where you use a damp sponge or damp towel to sand patches.

  2. And there are low dust drywall compounds (muds).

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  • The water method can rendered highly ineffective if the bubbles are not dispersed into small bubbles. Essentially having one big tube in a bucket of water does not do much; the bulk of the dust just travel in the big volume of air in the big bubble.
    – Damon
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 13:09
  • @Damon indeed, it was a simple design. But since a diffuser would get clogged, the answer would need to be an impeller, stirring the water to break up the bubbles. Such a device would be nice, but not DIY friendly (I've actually tried this). Now, I would like to direct your attention to this $350 device which would work. Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 14:47

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