How to Pass a Dust Swipe

Cleaning Tips

  1. Lead dust is chemically sticky. You need a cleanser to break the chemical bond. Don’t use bleach or Windex.
  2. Get the lead dust up off the floor. Most failures occur because the person cleaning just ‘moves’ the dust from one side to the other. Whatever you use to clean the floor, start at one side of the floor and ‘push’ all the dirt/dust to the other side and then pick up and walk back to the original side and start again.  This ‘pushes’ all the lead dust towards one spot where you can get it up off the floor.
  3. If you use a vacuum, use a HEPA vacuum.  A HEPA vacuum has a special filter to filter out the lead paint dust so that the vacuum doesn’t release the dust back into the air.
  4. To guarantee the floor will pass, ensure that it is spotlessly/white glove clean.  If there is no dirt/dust, there can’t be any lead paint dust.

Preparing Wooden Windows

When there are wooden windows in the property we are required by law to take two swipes per room, one from the floor and one from the window well.  The window well is NOT the same as the window sill.  The sill you can reach without opening the window. To get to the window well, you will need to open the window. The window well is the area that the window closes down on top of. It is the spot where the sash hits bottom when the window closes.

The window wells can be very challenging to get passed.  Please do the following:

  1. To pass, the window well NEEDS to be white glove/spotlessly clean.  It only takes 1/2 of one grain of salt of lead dust per square foot to fail.
  2. Ideally wooden windows are prepared in the morning for an afternoon inspection.
  3. When preparing windows in advance, use a paper towel to cover the window well and then remove it prior to inspection.
  4. If the window well is already painted then probably the best method to pass is re-painting.

Preparing Basement Floors

Basement floors of unfinished concrete are very difficult to get passed as any lead dust that has been down there for the last 50 years is probably still there and even if you clean it really well, it can still fail.  If the swipe only fails by a little bit, then cleaning is fine.  If the swipe fails by a lot, then our recommendation is to paint the basement floor (I can give you a recommendation). Painting the basement floor seals in the lead dust and makes the floor easier to clean for future inspections, but if the paint starts to peel you’ll need to paint again. Some clients cover the paint with a sealer which works well but is also more expense.