How Not Spread Dust When Drilling

Need to update your bathroom with new fixtures? Dreading of making a mess with your drill? Want to reduce your cleanup time?

​​Dust is everywhere, all the time. But during a remodeling project, it’s particularly abundant — and potentially hazardous.

“Construction can produce inhalable respirable particles that are regulated pollutants; they’re unhealthful, so it’s entirely appropriate to do some kind of mitigation when doing construction activities,” says Brett Singer, an indoor air quality scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Do you know enough about dust?


Dust is a common air pollutant generated by many different sources and activities.

​Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.


The type and size of a dust particle determines how toxic the dust is. However, the possible harm the dust may cause to your health is mostly determined by the amount of dust present in the air and how long you have been exposed to it.

Dust particles small enough to be inhaled may cause:

  • irritation of the eyes
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • hayfever
  • asthma attacks.

People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure.


When drilling a hole in the wall or in the ceiling, things can get a little bit messy. Instead of worrying about trying to pick up all the dust that falls everywhere (your hair, the floor or even your eyes), stop it in its tracks with this simple trick courtesy of Lead Carpenter Jeremiah Kossow.

Here are 4 easy steps to prevent spreading dust everywhere when drilling:

  • Find a small cardboard box (or even make one using some cardboard or thick paper)
  • Stick a piece of tape to it and stick to the wall below your ‘drill here’ mark on the wall
  • When your drill spits out a pile of dust, it gets caught neatly in the ‘shelf’ below
  • Remove and repeat at all places you are planning to drill into the wall

Jeremiah explains and demonstrates his trick in a simple Facebook video you can watch HERE.Would you like to learn more tricks and tips so you can become more efficient with your DIY tasks around the house? Subscribe to our blog updates and receive the latest articles directly into your inbox.

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​If you have any questions about remodeling, healthy and sustainable building design or not sure how to get started with your project, feel free to get in touch!

About Paul Kocharhook

Paul Kocharhook, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, (CAPS), MCGP and Owner of Pathway Design & Construction, based in SODO Seattle. Download your Remodel Reality Check quick sheet and walk through the main points in a remodel project.