How to Dispose of Drywall Mud?

Cleaning up after you finish a project feels fulfilling.

But when you see your half-used container of drywall mud, you’re probably wondering—how do I dispose of it? 

How do you dispose of the remaining drywall mud?

You can dispose of drywall mud through your regular garbage service or a disposal center. We’ll show you how below.

How to Dispose of Drywall Mud

How can you dispose of drywall? You can either take drywall mud to the construction and demolition (C&D) drop-off center or put it out with your regular trash.

However, you should do your due diligence to ensure you’re following local disposal guidelines. 

Option 1: Bring It to a C&D Drop-off Center

Drywall mud doesn’t contain hazardous ingredients. So, you can bring your mud to a construction and demolition (C&D) location and drop it off there. 

Most C&D sites charge a small fee. They typically charge a fee based on the size of your bag. You can check your local C&D’s website for details on the fee scale.

If you choose this option, you should put your drywall mud in bags. Drywall mud is heavy, so choose a durable one. 

Depending on how much drywall mud you need to dispose of, you may need to break it up into several bags.

Option 2: Put It with Your Regular Garbage

Is it okay to put drywall mud in your regular garbage? Yes, it’s safe and legal to dispose of drywall mud with your household garbage. 

However, this can turn into a headache for waste disposal workers. Therefore, you can approach it in one of two ways.

The first option is to add small amounts of drywall mud to your household garbage each week. That’s a good choice if you only have a small amount of drywall to get rid of.

Alternatively, you can chat with your garbage truck driver the next time they pass by. That way, they can give you the okay to put all your drywall mud containers outside.

Otherwise, they’ll likely suggest using the C&D route.

Why Is Drywall Mud Safe to Dispose of in the Garbage?

If you’ve used drywall mud in the past, it may feel jarring to learn that you can toss excess mud with your kitchen scraps.

However, new drywall regulations have made it safe for you to put drywall out with your regular garbage. 

Formerly, drywall mud wasn’t an environmentally friendly product.In the past, it contained high concentrations of ingredients such as:

  • Sulfur
  • Mercury
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

These ingredients made drywall mud harmful to human respiratory systems and damaging to Mother Nature.

But in 2016, that changed. The United States put new regulations in place to protect your and the environment’s health. 

Nowadays, when you read the label of a drywall mud container, it should show the following:

  • Greenguard certified
  • Biocide-free
  • No synthetic gypsum
  • Little or no VOC content
  • Free of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde

You can also go one step further and purchase an even better low carbon footprint drywall mud. 

In that case, you’ll receive a product made from 100% recycled material. 

Often, it contains ingredients like milk and food cartons

Furthermore, these environmentally friendly drywall muds have moisture-resistant properties and are 100% free of VOCs.

The Caveat With Throwing Away Drywall Mud

Legitimate businesses no longer sell drywall mud from 2016. 

However, check the label if you find old drywall mud in your garage or purchase containers from a third party.

If it indicates they made the product before 2016, you should toss it. 

However, don’t follow the instructions we shared with you here. Instead, take the container to your nearest household hazardous waste (HHW) center.

How to Dispose of Drywall Mud Dust

Up until now, we’ve talked about disposing of drywall mud in its wet state.

However, as you clean up from your project, you might be wondering how to dispose of drywall mud dust.

Ideally, you should use a broom to sweep up the dust. Then, pour the dust into a plastic bag and throw it away in your regular trash.

That said, if you’re cleaning up drywall dust from before 2016, you’ll need to proceed with more caution. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, you could experience respiratory tract irritation and breathing issues. If the drywall dust contains silica, you could also develop lung cancer.

Using a Vacuum to Dispose Drywall Mud Dust

It’s tempting to pull out a vacuum to take care of your drywall mud dust problem. But we urge you not to do it; you’ll likely ruin your vacuum since it’ll get clogged with dust.

That said, if your household vacuum has a strong HEPA filter, it’s likely okay to use.

Alternatively, you can use a shop vac to remove drywall mud dust. 

Provided that you don’t use the same vacuum to clean up hazardous materials, it’s okay to throw the vacuum bag in your regular trash once it’s full.

Protecting Yourself As You Dispose of Old Drywall Mud

If you’re handling drywall mud made before 2016, there are precautions you should take when disposing of it. They include:

  • Wear gloves
  • Use a respirator
  • Put on close-toed shoes
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt and pants

Of course, if you found an old unopened drywall mud container in your garage, there’s no need to follow these steps. Simply leave the container closed and bring it to an HHW center.

Disposing of Dried Drywall Mud

If your newest project involves breaking down old drywall mud, disposing of it is similar.

To remove your dried drywall mud, simply use a masonry hammer to chip away the mud.

From there, disposing of the dried mud depends on its production year and whether you need to dispose of the chips or large bricks with the drywall mud.

In either case, if the dried drywall is from before 2016, you should bring it to an HHW center.

Otherwise, if the dried mud is from after 2016, you have the same two options as earlier—dispose of it in your regular trash or take it to a C&D drop-off center.

If you need to dispose of dried drywall mud attached to chunks of material, a C&D drop-off center is likely your best choice.

Reusing Drywall Mud So That You Don’t Have to Dispose of It

Many projects using drywall require more than one day of work. And if you’ve used drywall mud in the past, you know that mixture starts drying if you’re not careful.

That’s even more true if you’re using fast-set 20-minute drywall mud.

So, instead of wasting your time and money on purchasing more gallons of drywall mud, try following the steps below.

Step 1: Clean the Container

You’ll want to leave the remaining drywall mud in the container it came in. Once you finish using the mud for the day, scrape the sides of the container. Let the excess mud fall to the bottom.

Step 2: Level it Off

Your drywall mud likely looks clumpy at this point. So, using your drywall mud knife, level it out until it has a smooth surface.

Step 3: Add Water

An open can of drywall mud will dry out even if you close the lid well. Therefore, slowly pour water on top of the mud. 

You should continue pouring until there’s about ½-inch of water on top. 

Step 4: Store It Properly

Preparing your drywall mud for storage is only half the battle. If you store it incorrectly, it’ll dry out. 

Therefore, keep it in a cool, shady place. Never let the container meet sunlight. Furthermore, move it inside if the weather gets too hot or cold.

Step 5: Reusing It

Using your drywall mud again after storing it is easy. Simply dump out the half-inch of water, and it’s ready to go.

How Long Does An Opened Container of Drywall Mud Last?

You might be wondering—what’s the lifespan of drywall mud once the container is open?

Assuming you follow the steps here, you can expect it to last around nine months.

So, if you’ll need your drywall mud again for a current or future project within that time frame, storage is worth it. 

Otherwise, it’s likely not worth the space in your garage to store the container. In that case, it’s best to follow the disposal methods we covered here.

FAQs About Disposing of Drywall Mud

Do you still have lingering doubts about getting rid of your drywall mud? Read on for answers to common questions.

Is Drywall Mud Bad for the Environment?

Before a 2016 regulation crackdown in the United States, drywall was harmful to the environment. Now, drywall mud meets high environmental standards. 

Therefore, it’s safe to throw it away in your regular garbage.

What Will Dissolve Dried Drywall Mud?

If you get dried drywall mud on your clothes or furniture, soak it in warm water. Then, wipe the mud away with a cloth. 

If there’s a lot of drywall mud on the fabric, don’t put it in your washing machine. Instead, you can safely dispose of the cloth in your garbage. 

Can you use a household vacuum to remove drywall mud dust?

No, not unless it has a heavy-duty HEPA filter. Using a shop vac is ideal for this situation. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage.

Wrap Up

Disposing of your drywall mud is simple as long as manufacturers made it after 2016. 

Whether you choose to throw away your drywall mud in the trash or drop it off at a C&D center, you’re on your way to a less cluttered garage.

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