Post-Construction Clean-Up Tips
The job’s not over until you’ve cleaned up your mess. Use these tips to limit the mess in the first place, and make clean-up a breeze.
Stand-Up Trash Bags
“Bags so thick, they stand on their own.” At least that's what Gorilla Glue says. And they do, but you can't just throw stuff in there like you would with a garbage can. Gorilla Glue engineered the bags with a square base and super-heavy-duty plastic, and if you fold a little cuff at the top and treat them gently, they do stand up. These 42-gallon bags are incredibly tough—just the thing if you have heavy-duty trashing to do. Gorilla Glue Self-Standing Bags are sold online or at home centers.
Forget about all of the homemade concoctions using washing soda, bleach, etc. Pick up some Concrobium Mold Control, which is formulated to treat mold and mildew on just about any surface. The manufacturer claims that, unlike homemade solutions, Concrobium kills the mold completely and leaves behind an antimicrobial barrier to prevent new growth.
Apply Concrobium with a brush, cloth, roller or sprayer, even a pump sprayer. Let it dry, then scrub away any remaining stains and reapply the product to form a protective barrier. You can treat large infested areas, such as crawl spaces, by using the product with a fogger from a rental store.
Unlike bleach and other treatments, Concrobium is odorless. You can find it in 1-qt. spray bottles, 1-gallon jugs or 5-gallon pails at most home centers or online.
Rethink Floor Protection
When most people think “floor protection,” they think rosin paper or canvas drop cloths, but there are other choices. Clean & Safe drop cloths roll out like rosin paper but lie flat on the floor and don't need to be taped down. Like canvas, the cloth provides rugged protection, but its skid-resistant bottom keeps it from sliding around. It's reusable and made from postconsumer recycled products. Your customers will know you're not messing around when you roll this stuff across their hardwood floor. You can buy Clean & Safe drop cloths online or at home centers.
Brush with a Drill
Got a big scrubbing job on your list? Chuck a brush into your drill and save the elbow grease. You'll find drill-ready brushes for all kinds of scrubbing from Drillbrush.
Throw Together a Junk Station
As soon as the major demo is completed, make yourself a junk station. Bring extra sawhorses and throw a couple of boards or a piece of plywood on them. It's smart to have a central location for your tools, fasteners, batteries and chargers, radio, beverages and whatever else it takes to get the job done. Having items scattered all over the job site floor makes cleanup harder, and wandering around looking for the stuff you need is a waste of time.
Be a Smart Packer
Renting a trash bin isn't cheap, so take advantage of every square inch of it by strategically placing the debris in the container instead of tossing it in willy-nilly. Long boards should always run the length of the container. Set in large, hollow items like bathtubs or sinks open side up so you can fill them in instead of creating a void.
Use small pieces to fill in and around large ones. Think of the debris as puzzle pieces, each with its own proper spot. If your trash bin has a door, don't park the bin so close to the house that you can’t open it. Walking in heavy items is a lot easier than lifting them over the side. Also, make sure you order the proper size. If you explain your project to the sanitation company, the staff should be able to suggest a bin size that’s right for your project.
Toolbox and Shop Vacuum in One
Shop-Vac's Tool Mate combination toolbox and wet/dry vac makes life at a work site a lot easier. Being able to grab all your tools and your vacuum in one hand is huge—less trips means more money. Any tradesmen who do small, dedicated jobs in finished homes could use one. The Tool Mate is available at Lowe's, tool suppliers and online.
You can't help but create dust at a job site or in your workshop—but you don't have to breathe it in. Shop-Vac makes a portable air cleaner that's perfect for clearing the air in small shops or near the cut station at your job site. It filters out particles down to 5 microns and recirculates the air in a 290-sq.-ft. room every 10 minutes. It weighs 15 lbs. and is about as loud as a box fan. This system won't replace your dust mask, but it's a cheap way to reduce your risk of chronic respiratory problems. Heck, one trip to the doctor for a sinus infection will cost you more than this air cleaner. Buy a Shop-Vac portable air cleaner online or at tool suppliers.
Lazy Man's Dustpan
Unless you really like bending over, get yourself a lobby dustpan. Better yet, get four — one for your house, one for your garage and two for your shop. Get them at a home center or, if you want a higher-quality model, check out a janitorial supply company.
Don't Forget Sweeping Compound
Sweeping compound has been around forever, and that’s because it works! The product here is not the same spill-absorbent stuff your janitor used to clean up after your upset stomach incident in the third grade. This sweeping compound is designed for one purpose only, to prevent clouds of dust when you’re pushing a broom. We use it in our own shop to protect our expensive camera equipment.