Will I ever get the dust out of my furniture?

gardenwebberNovember 2, 2008

Hi guys - I am a frequent poster over at the decorating and remodeling forums because we are just closing up a large scale renovation in our home that included gutting plaster and drywalling generating TONS of very fine dust.

Despite our best efforts to section off rooms with tape and plastic, we still are dealing with tons and tons of dust.

This weekend I have been having panic attacks. We have our furniture in our sunny DR because our carpet is getting put into our FR this week, and all you can see is DUST in the sunlight. You should see the dust puffing out of our sofa and loveseat every time someone sits down. Yesterday, I actually put one piece in front of a box fan blowing out of the window and banged on it for about 30 minutes hoping to rid it of the dust - today, it is still puffing away every time someone sits down.

Is it hopeless? Is there anything I can do to get the dust out? I am willing to have it professionally cleaned, or buy myself the very best vacuum on Earth. But one thing I don't want to do is buy new furniture at this time. (But I will if I have to.)

Am I going to ruin our brand new carpet by moving this old dusty stuff back into the FR once its laid??

Any advice would be highly appreicated.

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What a mess! Drywall dust is the worst, and it gets everywhere, as you have noticed.
I would call a professional cleaning service for advice. Try ones that specialize in cleaning up after construction, or after some sort of disaster. Drywall and plaster dust will ruin a home vacuum, because the particles are too fine for the filters and will clog up the innards of the machine, and blow back out into your house again. They also don't do your little lungs any good. Wear a mask when you are working on it.
For hard surfaces, a damp microfiber cloth followed by a dry one will pick it up..rinse and wring out the damp one frequently. You are essentially making a fine mud that you can then wipe up.
But talk to the professionals first...if they can get the bulk of it up for you, you won't be chasing the durn stuff all over your house for the next three months.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 10:00AM
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Yep....seems as if it will never get clean....but vacuum and vacuum some more....and keep as much as you can covered while they are finishing up. And every day EVERY DAY vacuum up as much of the crud as you can....and empty the vacuum bag. And perhaps be prepared to sacrifice the vacuum....that fine dust gets into the motor and wears it out quickly.
And if you can turn off the heat/ air conditioning system...and change that filter very often.
Just keep after it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 2:14PM
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So, I guess right now is not the time to invest in the Dyson Animal which I have been drooling over for about a year?

I could use my older vaccuum every day every day every day for a few months, then invest in the Dyson after I (hopefully) get most of the dust taken care of.

And I'll call around tomorrow and look into some professional cleaning.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 6:55PM
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WHOA!! Don't use any good vacuum on Drywall dust. Buy a cheap wet/dry and if it dies no big deal. Don't use a Dyson with drywall or even those Carpet freshening powders. We get them in every week to clean out. The dust chokes 'em out and they won't start.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 4:30PM
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Lucky - let me be very clear that I do NOT intend to clean up after a night of drywall work with my home vacuum!

What I am asking is, is it safe to buy a Dyson and begin using it on furniture that has seen a bit of drywall dust from work that was done months ago - if I first attempt a few passes with my older vacuum?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 11:34PM
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I have had a Dyson since they came on the US market in early 2003. The vacuum is a workhorse. I have cleaned up lots of drywall dust with it. And then we lived in a rental apartment for eight months and the rental company used a chem-dry type powder to clean the carpeting. For eight months I was pulling powder out of that rug with my Dyson with no ill effects.

Dyson recommends you wash the sponge-y filter every 3-4 months. If you are concerned, just wash it more often.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 9:05AM
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If the vacumn has a sponge filter, get an extra one and keep one in vac and one washed/drying for next day.

You might be able to use quilt batting over the filter, that is, if it would not put too much a drag on the vacumn.

Think they make stuff similar to quilt batting to put over heat/ac registers.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 8:36PM
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The short answer is, yes, you can get it out. But it's going to take some work.

One way to tackle it if your cushions are removable is to get yourself some big, thick garbage bags, go outside with a wet/dry vac, put the cushion in the bag and suck all the air out of the bag until the cushion is entirely flat as a pancake.

You need a good strong vacuum to get it super flat. I'd use something like a ShopVac. You'll want to do it outside b/c you don't want to be bothered with the expense of the super fine dust clogging up a HEPA filter on a fancy vacuum.

You may have to repeat the garbage bag trick a few times to make a dent in the dust. The problem with furniture is it uses fine cell foam as the cushioning material. That is the same stuff they use in the vacuum pre-filters to trap dust. So you're basically cleaning one big filter. Every time someone has sat on the furniture they have forced the dust deeper and deeper into the foam. It will take some work to bring it all back to the surface where it can be sucked away.

For the rest of the piece of furniture, you're probably going to have to punt to some form of wet cleaning - i.e. 'steam' cleaning to get all the dust out. As a previous poster mentioned with the wet microfiber cloth for cleaning hard surfaces, basically you're going to have to make fine mud and suck it out. The trick will be to use a machine that flushes as much water through the fabric/foam as possible. I personally use a Hoover SteamVac for our furniture and dining room chairs. It would be a good place to start but it doesn't have the best suction. Remember you have to get as much water back out as possible and dry it quickly or else the foam will mold/mildew.

Think of the drywall dust as embedded dry mud and that should give you a good handle on what it's going to take to get it back out. Wet cleaning is the fastest road to cleanliness for these kinds of issues.

- IT Geek

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 1:32PM
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Lots of high end furniture is not padded with foam but rather down, dacron and cotton batting.
And if you start flushing water through foam padding, you will have a moldy mess if you don't get it totally dry.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:17PM
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I agree with Linda on not adding water to this problem. I think the answer - if there is one - is vacuuming repeatedly over time (weeks, even months) until you get the dust out - slowly going over each area to give the vacuum the opportunity work.

They say that most people vacuum their carpeting too fast and the machine doesn't have a chance to work.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 10:08AM
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