You can tell a lot about a person based on how they use their garage. The busy suburban worker sees it as an indoor parking spot. And also a place to store gardening tools and disused items that would be worse off in the attic. If you’re a hoarder, then it’s probably impossible to walk from one corner of your garage to another.
Garage spaces offer a haven for hobbyists and professional crafters such as woodworkers. It’s isolated and roomy, and you can customize it to suit your creative pipeline. However, woodworkers churn out loads of wood shaving and sawdust.
Sawdust accumulation may sound like a minor issue. But, fine wood dust particles can be blown by the wind onto every surface. They can even infiltrate into exhaust vents, or you could carry them into other sections of your house on your clothes or footwear.
Brushing sawdust can get tedious as you’ll need to do it several times in a day. This can get exhausting, and you also waste time that you could be spending on other significant things. Thankfully, you can rise to the challenge with a bit of elbow grease and some innovation.
If you’re facing such a recurrent headache, we have the cure! We spent some time scouring web forums, social media, and even obscure websites for the best way to clean up sawdust. So, please read along as we show you how to deal with sawdust more effectively.
- Reasons Why You Have To Clean Up Sawdust As Soon As Possible
- How Do You Clean Sawdust out of a Room (or Garage)?
- How do you Clean Sawdust From Grass?
- Health Precautions to Follow when Cleaning Sawdust
Reasons Why You Have To Clean Up Sawdust As Soon As Possible
1. Sawdust is Harmful to Your Health
It may surprise you to learn that sawdust can harm your health. People wear PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) when sanding and doing other activities that generate sawdust. And it’s also why cleaning sawdust as soon as possible comes highly recommended.
What are these effects? For one, sawdust has fine particles that can cause damage to your eyes and respiratory system if inhaled. Medical experts also warn of the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) present in the wood.
2. Sawdust Contains Toxic Compounds
But, how is wood toxic? Unlike us, plants lack a digestive system to help them flush out toxins. So, they neutralize the toxins into an inactive form and deposit them in their fibers. However, such toxins become active when you sand a piece of wood.
3. Sawdust Can Damage Your Equipment
Sawdust also poses a significant threat to your power tools. Airborne particles can get into your machines via their vents, which can jam rotating parts or short circuit electric components. And, if sawdust can fit through such openings, –What about your car, HVAC system, and other machines with larger parts? We’ll let you do the math on that.
4. Sawdust Can Ruin Your Household Interiors
Last but not least, sawdust poses a threat to your household interior. You can track it onto your carpet, or it can fall off your clothes and land on your couch. This also seems harmless, but sawdust contains resins that can damage and discolor fabrics.
Dealing with the problem as soon as possible is beneficial to your health and the sanctity of household interiors.
How Do You Clean Sawdust out of a Room (or Garage)?
Getting the most use out of every room in your house is challenging. Fortunately, you can always stow things in your garage. You can convert it into a craft room, home gym, or anything you desire.
However, mitigating the spread of dust is essential to keeping your garage clean. This is especially true with workshops that present a unique challenge –Sawdust.
Let’s explore some of the measures you can take to clean up sawdust in your garage and other rooms:
Things You’ll Need
- Household surface cleaner
- Rugs or cloth
- Soft brush
- Hand brush
- Spray bottle
- Waste bags (you can recycle small plastic bags for this)
- Buckets and other containers
- Shop vacuum cleaner or a vacuum with a cyclone dust collector
PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
- Dust mask
- Safety google
- Bandana (for your hair)
Step 1: Safety First!
Sawdust may appear benign, but it contains toxic elements with serious health implications. Sure, you can use a bandana or a medical-grade face mask. But that’s simply inadequate. So, it may be more prudent to get specialized woodworking masks that feature combined dust and gas filters.
Woodworking face masks are essential when cleaning sawdust. They eliminate fine dust particles and latent chemicals from your respiratory system. This prevents aggressive histamine (allergic) reactions that can creep up on you.
It’s also advisable to crack open a window or your door. This lets in the fresh air and allows wood dust particles to dissipate into your home’s exterior. You can also add a pair of safety goggles and a bandana to cover your hair.
You can proceed to the next step once you wear your PPE Armor.
Step 2: Start With by Dusting the Walls
Walls are some of the most neglected household surfaces. We only remember to clean when there’s too much sawdust. It makes sense to start cleaning by removing any sawdust that clings to your garage walls.
Start by giving it a general dusting with a soft brush and a long-handled broom. From there, you can zoom in closer with a smaller hand brush. But, you may start to notice some congealed sawdust deposits even after sweeping.
Fret not! This is natural as debris usually clings to moisture and oil deposits on the wall. So next, you can use a damp soapy cloth or rug to clean sawdust traces.
NB: You’ll need to dust off your cleaning tools as you work. This helps by not transferring the sawdust you picked off the walls onto other surfaces or your clothing.
Step 3: Deal With the Garage Floor
Now it’s time to put your back into cleaning the garage floor. You can start by sweeping every part with your soft broom. Use gentle back and forth motions to gather as much sawdust as possible without it going airborne.
Alternatively, you can give the garage floor a light misting with a spray bottle. This measure compacts the debris so that the fine particles don’t fly when sweeping. Check every corner and under your furniture to ensure you get all those dust devils.
Pick up all the sawdust and debris with your trusty dustpan. Then you can wrap it up in a small waste bag and deposit it into your trash can –Happy hunting for your garbage collector!
Step 4: Vacuum Cleaning
Sawdust can be too bulky for a regular vacuum cleaner’s waste holding unit. So you may be forced to empty it several times during your clean-up drill. You can circumvent this by opting for a specialized vacuum cleaner like a shop vac. Or, you can improvise a cyclone dust collector if a shop vac isn’t at your disposal.
Here is how to go about it:
Step 4 A: Build a cyclone dust collector
- An airtight bucket (20-liter capacity or more)
- A knife
- A lighter
- An extra vacuum hose
- Duct tape
- Heat your blade with a lighter to make it glide effortlessly through the plastic.
- Cut a hole in the center of the bucket’s lid.
- Curve another hole on the edge of the lid’s diameter.
- Take the hose that connects to the vacuum cleaner inlet and place it on the center hole.
- Connect the other hose to the hole on the edge of the bucket lid.
- Secure both hoses with duct tape.
- Put cover the bucket and ensure it’s sealed airtight.
Now, you’re ready to roll to the next step!
Step 4 B: Vacuum the Garage Floor
Now, you’re ready to vacuum your garage from top to bottom. It’s advisable to start from the bottom as wood particulates can float and cling to the walls. That way, you avoid doing the job twice. Feel free to switch to different brush attachments to help you get into hard-to-reach spots.
Some people call it quits after this step because you’ll notice your garage already looks presentable and hospitable for human activities. But, let’s move to the next step since we want to eradicate all traces of dirt and grime!
Step 5: Use a Treated Dust Mop on the Garage Floor
The previous simple steps are effective at removing large (macro) sawdust particles. But, it still leaves loads of small (micro) particles on your surfaces. A bottom-to-top approach is critical to addressing this invisible menace with surgical precision.
Start by adding some multi-surface cleaner to a bucket of clean water. Throwing in a bit of anti-septic to the mix isn’t overkill –It’s the right step toward a sanitary garage. Dust mop treatment helps you get rid of microscopic or fine sawdust particles.
Although, a regular dust mop treatment with water and soap won’t do the trick. For that, you’ll need to improvise a treated dust mop out of soft towels or used dryer sheets. You can attach them to an old handle to create your special treated dust mop.
Then, you can run your mop over every inch of your garage floor. Give the garage floor about 10 minutes to dry before addressing your walls, counters, and other surfaces.
Step 6: Go Over Every Surface with a Damp Cloth
All that’s left is your walls, tabletops, and other surfaces. This doesn’t call for any special tools. A clean cloth or towel and a bucket of suds will do the trick. Drop your damp cloth into your soapy water and squeeze out the excess water to leave it damp.
Go over your surfaces with gentle circular motions. Ring out the wet cloth in soapy water when it gets soiled. Switch out the water when it gets murky for some clean water to prevent you from re-applying the sawdust on your surfaces.
Your garage should look sparkling clean at this point. But it may still feel stuffy. Let’s address this in the final step.
Step 7: Deploy an Air Purifier
Sawdust is effective at absorbing liquids and gasses. These elements lay dormant beneath caked the stuff. The cleaning process helps you get rid of these chucks. But, it releases fumes and microscopic particulates.
We recommend using an air purifier to filter out these elements. Leave it on for 1 hour or more, depending on the size of the garage. The air in your garage will be more breathable by the time you come back to switch off your air purifier.
How do you Clean Sawdust From Grass?
Some woodwork operations like applying wood-vanish require an outdoor environment. It’s also hard to resist the temptation to work under the sun on a beautiful summer day. These activities are fun, but they can hurt your curb appeal.
While sawdust is an excellent additive for organic mulch – It’s an organic herbicide. So, be gone, weeds!
However, sawdust has lighter particles than soil. So it causes erodes and leaches all the nitrogen and minerals that nourish your lawn until it turns a sickly yellow. So, the key to a lush green lawn is using sawdust sparingly and removing excessive amounts as soon as possible.
You can clean sawdust from your grass with the following five simple steps:
Things You Need
- Garden hose with spray attachment
- Shop vacuum cleaner or a vacuum with a cyclone dust collector
Step 1: Wet Your Grass
Give the grass a light watering with your spray attachment at its lowest setting. This measure ensures you don’t soak it and compact the sawdust. This can also make it sink the grass into the soil. We don’t want that since you’ll need to rake it all up, you may also track in some mud.
Step 2: Rake Your Lawn
Use gentle back and forth motions to rake up as much sawdust without pressing into the soil. Work straight, so you don’t comp over the same area twice.
You can either collect the piles of sawdust with a shovel. Or, sweep the floor towards the sidewalk so you can pick it up with a broom and dustpan. Safely deposit it into your trash can. Alternatively, you can add it to your compost heap or mulch pile.
Step 3: Skip Watering Your Grass
Don’t water your lawn for 2 to 3 days. This ensures that the remaining dust particles are compact and thus easier to remove cleaned sawdust.
Step 4: Vacuum Your Grass
After a few days of drying, you’re ready to vacuum clean all remaining dust from the grass. It may have traces of dust. But, a shop vacuum is designed to work in both dry and damp conditions.
However, you may need to improvise if you want to use a cyclone dust collector. You can duct tape a used dryer sheet or a dried wet wipe to the opening of the inlet hose of your cyclone dust collector. This effectively prevents moisture from infiltrating into your regular vacuum cleaner.
Go over each inch of your grass with your vacuum cleaner until you’re satisfied with your endeavors.
Step 5: Safely Sweep & Dispose of the Sawdust
Collect all the dust and throw it in a green trash can. Alternatively, you can repurpose it as glue filler for your future projects. In that case, it may be wise to stow it in an airtight container. This reduces its contact with moisture which can cause rot or fungal growth.
A little sawdust comes in handy if you live in the countryside and keep chickens or other livestock. It’s an excellent flooring media that soaks up animal droppings –Making it easier for you to sweep the garage floor come cleaning time.
You can also add a little to your compost heap. But, moderation is critical since too much will leach the soil as it takes years for sawdust to bio-degrade.
You’ve enhanced your curb appeal while doing something good for the environment!
Health Precautions to Follow when Cleaning Sawdust
Wood contains toxic resins, glues, and formaldehyde, among other processing chemicals. When cleaning, you may get exposed to such airborne particles. This may lead to allergic reactions and even lung damage in the worst-case scenario.
Other health risks associated with sawdust cleaning initiatives include:
- Inhale fine dust particles can scar your lungs, which leads to breathing difficulties. It can also be a precursor to lung cancer and asthmatic conditions.
- Specks of sawdust can come into contact with your eyes, causing irritation and damage.
- It’s also not fair on your skin. Sawdust can be irritating, lead to dermatitis or worsen any pre-existing skin condition you may have.
So, it pays to take all the proper preventative measures to avoid exposure to sawdust as you clean your house. Here are a few suggestions to tide you through:
Using Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
Even the thickest surgical mask is unsuitable for this task. For one, it only filters out the dust, but micro-particles and toxic fumes may still infiltrate. And, you can be used only once.
Opting for a multi-use gas mask is the safest option. It features gas filters that can even suppress spray paint fumes. You can replace the gas cartridges once they are full of fumes, sawdust, or other debris. But, even the cheapest gas mask cartridge can last for weeks.
Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Layering some PPE such as safety goggles, a jumpsuit (or dustcoat), and latex gloves protect your eyes and skin from contact with sawdust.
Covering Your Hair
Covering your hair with a bandana is highly advisable when cleaning sawdust. The last thing you’d want is to use an entire shampoo bottle to get the dirt off your hair.
And, Yes, the same rules apply even if you’re bald –The key is protecting your skin from contact with airborne sawdust.
Working In a Well Ventilated Room
Dust makes air thicker, which can cause asphyxiation in the absence of RPE. Open the doors and windows to let the dust out so you can operate in a well-ventilated garage.
Dust Off Your Clothes
Some sawdust granules may stick to your clothes as you clean. This makes it easy for you to transfer it to other rooms in your house. So, beating off the dust with a cloth before leaving your garage prevents this. Alternatively, you can take off your jumpsuit or dustcoat outside.
Take a Shower after the Task
Your skin may be covered in micro-particles that you can spread everywhere when cleaning your garage. Therefore wind down your cleaning exercise with a hot bath or show. This rejuvenates you and cleanses your skin and hair of all toxic elements. Throw your clothes in the washer while you’re at it!
Using a mop and some water can help you get rid of sawdust in your garage – or at least stay ahead of the problem. Cleaning up sawdust is a cakewalk once you understand the tools and technics needed. We’d be remiss if we forgot to request you to be patient while managing your expectations. Such operations need precision and can take you a while to finish depending on the size of the room.
We’ve armed you with the knowledge you need. So, we hope you have an easier time on your next cleaning exercise. Get a shop vacuum cleaner or improvise a cyclone dust collector if you do a lot of woodwork in your garage.
Please consider sharing this article on social media if it helps finally clean sawdust from your home.