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Home Improvement--General/After drywall mudding/sanding


I'm fixing up a few rooms that had nail holes and gouges etc.  I went around spackling and sanding.  So with the powder residue and all on the walls, should I wipe them all down before painting?  If so, what cleaning product or just plain water should I use?  And should I just use old rags or is there some better way to do the job?

Hello Art,

Cleaning the dust from the wall is an important step prior to painting.  Not only will dust impair the paint's adhesion, it can also affect the finish, leaving a course and patchy appearance once the paint has dried. Additionally, be sure all repaired areas are sanded completely smooth before paint is applied.  It is much more difficult to sand uneven areas after painting.

To prep the walls for painting, first vacuum excess dust from the walls and floor .  Next use clean rags or for even better results use a micro fiber cloth, lightly dampened with water, to wipe down the walls.  Rinse the cloth often in a bucket of clean water and change the water often as it becomes milky.  

A pole sander with the cloth clamped in place or secured with rubber bands or twine may be used to reach higher areas.  Depending on the amount of dust it may require multiple passes to remove all the dust. Wipe over the cleaned walls, after they have dried, with a black or dark color cloth to test for dust residue.  If dust is visible on the dark cloth repeat the cleaning process until no dust is evident.

Good luck with your project,


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Tony Wood


I can answer a wide range of home improvement and maintenance questions. My expertise is in carpentry, painting, framing, siding/boxing, doors, windows, decks and screen and glass enclosures. Wood's Home Maintenance Service


I am a life time resident of North Carolina with over 30 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 23 years I have owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service , providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina.


Several Home improvement articles published on Angie's List and other online forums.

High School graduate ~ proficient in CAD (computer aided design), Open Office program suite.

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