Break The Dust Cycle

Does your business have a plan to minimise dust? We all know the result of excessive dust particles in refinish paintwork – wasted labour time de-nibbing and buffing which is a significant business cost. Unfortunately, some bodyshops don’t make that connection back to dust.

The fact is, if dust isn’t physically removed from the work area, via dust extraction systems, sweeping, etc, it doesn’t go away.

Blowing it off with compressed air won’t get rid of it – dust particles get picked up by currents of air and end up settling in all sorts of strange places, including the spray booth. However, some simple but effective workshop processes can assist your team in becoming accountable for their actions and help stop your shop’s profits from biting the dust!

Tips and recommendations: 

  • Don’t get lazy when sanding – ensure dust extraction is plugged in, switched on and working efficiently. 
  • If you’re not using hi-tech abrasives, such as Mirka Autonet and Abranet which extract virtually 100% of dust, you should finish with a grey Mirlon disc to vacuum dust off the panel after sanding. Follow up by wiping with a water / methylated spirits mix, then a wax and grease remover. After that you can blow off the panel if you have to.
  • Avoid sanding operations close to the spray booth. If sanding anywhere near the booth, ensure the doors are closed.
  • Follow a booth maintenance schedule. This includes recommended filter changes – blocked filters cause overspray mist and particles to circulate around the booth. It also slows paint curing which gives more time for dust inclusions to settle onto the surface. 
  • Don’t let overspray build up on booth walls. Often, the overspray ends up like dry sand-like particles which aren’t stuck fast to the walls. Painting parts too close to the walls not only generates a lot of overspray, it can easily dislodge existing overspray particles which end up in paintwork.
  • Don’t blow off your overalls using compressed air – it’s preferable to shake them or wash them if they’re washable. If you must blow them off, do it outside. Hang overalls in a place where they’re not going to collect dust.
  • Schedule time to clean the workshop – including, moving cars and equipment to clean underneath. 


Dust inclusions cost money because de-nibbing and polishing are considered a re-work and, therefore, not paid for by work providers. To maximise profit per job, the aim should be to minimise dust inclusions and spend the shortest possible labour time on detailing. 


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