What to Do with Sawdust From Dust Collector?

saw dust from a bag

Sawdust can seem like a nuisance. However, you’d be surprised by all the useful things you can do with sawdust from your dust collector. In this article, I’m going to share some of these secrets with you. 

Sawdust can be used to dry green wood, clean up stains, and mulch your garden. You can also create paths, use it for animal beds, and patching up cracks in your woodwork. 

Stay tuned for explanations on how to capitalize on all these sawdust hacks. Reusing it not only reduces wood waste – this stuff can be really helpful. 

Below we will give you a list of the best ways to use sawdust from your workshop’s dust collector. 

Is Sawdust Safe? 

Before we jump into some of the nifty ways to use sawdust, let’s address safety. 

First, if you’re reading this and don’t have a sawdust collector or other way of dealing with sawdust, I suggest you try to get one. Or, consider making cuts outdoors. 

It turns out that sawdust can irritate the eyes and be harmful to our lungs. For this reason, it’s our advice to at least have a good mask on when dealing with a lot of sawdust. 

Second, not all sawdust is equal. Large chipped sawdust is less likely to irritate the eyes and lungs; however, depending on the type of wood, or the additives in the wood, it can be dangerous in some situations. 

For instance, it’s not recommending to use walnut sawdust around animals. Also, you probably would want to steer clear of using sawdust from treated lumber in outdoor settings. 

Be mindful of the type of sawdust in your dust collector. Some kinds might be good for one use but inadequate for another. For this reason, I recommend you keep track of the mixture of sawdust in your workshop. 

Alright, now that we are all trying to stay safe, let’s get into some of the fantastic ways you can use sawdust. 

10 Ways to Use Sawdust From Dust Collector 

Why throw away something as useful as sawdust? This stuff is like the superhero of the workshop. No matter where you live or what you do, there is some way this stuff can help you out. 

Below I list ten ways to use sawdust: 

  1. Clean up spills in your workshop 
  2. Dispose of old paint 
  3. Fill in cracks in wood projects 
  4. Drying fresh wood 
  5. Outdoor paths 
  6. Mulch 
  7. Compost
  8. Animal bedding 
  9. Smoking food
  10. Fire-starters 

Those are ten things you can do with old sawdust, but don’t let these ten ideas limit your imagination. If you think of another use for sawdust, go at it!

In the sections below, I explain more about each of the ten ideas listed above. 

Use Sawdust to Clean up Spills in Your Garage or Workshop 

Sawdust is like a wooden sponge. Wood is already pretty absorbent; however, when you break it down into sawdust, you allow the wood particles and fibers to grasp even more moisture. 

As a result, the absorbent qualities can be put to good use. Did you spill some oil on your workshop floor? No worries, just sprinkle some sawdust on it and allow the wood to absorb the mess, then scoop it all up and properly dispose of it. Easy. 

Sawdust can Help You Dispose of Old Paint

As you know, most areas don’t want you to throw your old can of liquid paint in the trash. There is always the option of opening the can of paint and waiting for it to dry out. 

However, this takes some time, and many times the top of the paint will dry, but there will still be liquid paint underneath. What’s the fix? 

Good guess. Sawdust. 

Dump some dry sawdust into the paint and mix it into a slurry. Once you’ve filled the paint with sawdust, it will do a much better job of drying out. Now you can dispose of it with no issues. 

Use Fine Sawdust to Fill in Gaps in a Project 

If you have a bunch of extra fine sawdust, you may wonder: what do I do with this? It turns out there are more uses. 

Particularly if you have sawdust of the same wood type, you can use the dust to fill in any unsightly small gaps. 

For instance, if the edges of a picture frame didn’t quite meet, you can make your own wood filler with the sawdust and fill in those little crevices. 

Dry Out Fresh Wood with Sawdust 

On top of being absorbent, sawdust can be very dry. Combine these two qualities, and you get a useful drying agent for freshly milled boards in your workshop. 

If you need to dry out a board before using it for a project, cover the board with a lot of fine, dry sawdust. The sawdust will act like a sponge, sucking moisture from the board and preventing humidity in the air from getting to your board. 

Sawdust Can Create Good Outdoor Paths 

Maybe it’s the middle of winter, and you need some traction over some snow, or perhaps you want to keep a nice path near your garden. Whichever your needs, that old sawdust can help you out. 

It may not look like much at first but just start by sprinkling what little sawdust you have over the path. Then, as you accumulate more sawdust, your path will slowly become more robust. 

To accentuate the path, you can outline your path with rocks or garden liners. 

Note: just be mindful about placing sawdust from treated wood anywhere your animals might dig into it. 

Create Mulch From Old Sawdust 

saw dust in a plant

Need to keep some weeds from springing their ugly heads? Sawdust to the rescue. 

Sawdust can be sprinkled around hedges or trees to keep them looking clean. Sawdust mulch can also be used within your garden. However, you want to be mindful about your sawdust creating a nitrogen deficiency in the soil. 

Lack of nitrogen can help keep weeds down, but you don’t want it to stunt your good plants. 

How to Use Sawdust for Compost 

If you have sawdust from natural, untreated woods, then you can usually compost it. Just like any form of compost, place your sawdust in the compost pile and stir it every so often. 

When you allow sawdust to sit for a while, you will find it giving you fewer problems with leeching nitrogen from your plants. 

Sawdust compost also works best when combined with other forms of compost, like plants and leaves. 

Sawdust Makes Great Animal Beds 

If you have animals, they will love stirring around some sawdust to make themselves a custom bed. You can use larger woodchips for animal beds as well. 

One thing to keep in mind is how some animals can react to different types of wood. As we mentioned previously, walnut wood chips should not be used with horses, and you should probably avoid them with any animal. 

Also, some animals, like bunnies, can react negatively to pine chips. Every animal is a little different, and wood chips vary as well, so be sure you do a little research before using sawdust for animals. 

Use Wood Chips for Smoking Meat

We’ve all indulged in some overly expensive smoked beef jerky from time to time. But what if you could smoke some of your own food at home? 

Depending on your setup, you can place some types of woodchips over the coals of your grill to give your food a delicious smoky flavor. 

This works best with none resinous woods, like applewood. Also, you probably don’t want to place any harmful woods like walnut over the fire.

Create Your Own Firebrick For Starting Fires 

We’ve all had that awkward outdoor moment where no one could get the fire started. Sometimes the wood is wet, or the wind isn’t cooperating. Don’t fret because you never need to be that guy or girl again who can’t get the fire going. 

With some leftover sawdust, you can solve this problem fairly quickly. To make homemade fire starters, all you need is the sawdust and some old candles. 

Take a muffin tray and place some liners in the containers. Then add your sawdust to each compartment. Melt your wax in a pot, and pour the melted wax over the sawdust. Allow everything to dry, and voila! You’ve got yourself some quality, recycled sawdust fire starters. 


There are almost infinite uses for old sawdust. Be creative and see what you can do with your old sawdust. 

Remember, sawdust can be hazardous and should be contained within your workshop. Also, not all sawdust is suitable for all uses. Be sure to use common sense when sprinkling sawdust around your yard. 

Sawdust can be used to mulch your garden, create paths through a forest, and clean up spills in your workshop. Sawdust can fill in gaps in a project and be used for numerous crafts. 

If you have any clever things you do with sawdust, be sure to share them with a friend and with us. 

3 thoughts on “What to Do with Sawdust From Dust Collector?”

  1. Hey Viktor, another great article, right to the point. I use wood chips from the chainsaw. The best is what’s called noodles, it’s when you cut a round and then cut again from the bark side all the way through the saw throws out what’s called noodles, I pack an ice trey full of said noodles and fill trey with melted wax. When hard I cut each cube in half with a hatchet and hammer and have enough starters for almost a month! 👍🏻✌🏻️☮

  2. Sawdust contains tree sap and resins and if it contains varnish, say from sanding floor, etc can have an exothermic reaction and combust without an external ignition source. This particularly the case in enclosed spaces like collection bags on sanders, or even just in a pile. I am not an expert on this subject, but have read about this and it was in official reports and articles published back in 1899. The Spanish Courthouse (The Cabildo) which was built in the 1700s in New Orleans was being renovated in the 1980s and a worker left a sander with attached dust collector on the staircase . Overnight the sawdust containing sap and varnish spontaneously combusted. The entire building burnt. Be really cautious with sawdust and rags that are oily or used to apply stain, etc.


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