Sometimes no matter how clean you try to keep your home, dust still manages to build up. Having too much dust in your home can not only make things look dirty, but it can also cause people to have an allergic reaction. In this article from Enviro Maids, you are given some tips on how to keep your home as dust-free as possible.
What is dust?
Dust is a combination of bits of human skin, animal fur, dandur, decomposing insects, food debris, lint and fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics, tracked-in soil, soot and pollen. The main reason why it’s impossible to completely rid your house of dust is because our bodies are constantly shedding tiny flakes of skin, while our clothes, bedding and furnishings constantly shed barely visible fibers. These particles constantly rise and settle as people pass by, walk around and doors swing open, settling on every surface in your house.
Getting rid of the dust in your house doesn’t only make your house look clean, it can keep you healthier, especially if you suffer from asthma or allergies. While it’s impossible to remove all the dust in your house, there are steps you can take to keep it at a manageable level and to prevent it from growing out of control in the future.
Choose the right tools
While old-fashioned feather dusters seem to do a fair job of picking up most of the dust on hard surfaces, all they’re really doing is scattering the particles around. These particles become airborne and when the “dust finally settles,” your furniture is once again covered in a layer of dust. Not all feather dusters are bad, however. If you prefer to use a feather duster, opt for one made of ostrich feathers. Ostrich feathers are soft and flexible and dust tends to naturally cling to them. A lambswool duster is another effective tool for cleaning venetian blinds, ceilings and chandeliers — the oils in the wool work together with static cling to trap dust. Rags or disposable cloths that attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge (like Swiffer) work much better than a dry cloth. The electrostatic charge attracts dust particles rather than just moving them around.
Always work from the top down
Start with ceiling fans and light fixtures and work your way down. If you clean the floors before dusting shelves and furniture, you’ll stir up dust that’ll settle back down on your floors.
Match the vacuum to the flooring
Suction alone isn’t enough to pull most of the dust out of carpet. For good results, you need a vacuum with a powerful agitator. Upright vacuums are usually best for carpet, although some canister vacuums with agitators work well, too. When it comes to wood, vinyl or tile flooring, your best choice is a canister vacuum without an agitator (or with an agitator that can be turned off). An agitator on hard flooring blows dust into the air, causing more harm than good. If you suffer from allergies, use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. HEPA vacuums differ from conventional vacuums in that they contain filters that are capable of trapping extremely small, micron-sized particles. A good HEPA vacuum cleaner sucks up dust, pet dander and tracked-in pollen from bare floors, rugs, and carpeting and prevents trapped particles from escaping back into the air. A true HEPA filter can trap 99.97 percent of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns.
Upgrade your home filters
If your home has a forced-air heating or cooling system, it can help control dust by filtering the air. While no filter will completely eliminate the chore of dusting, an upgrade in the type of filter you use can make a noticeable difference. Look for filters that are made from pleated fabric or paper. Most pleated filters also carry an electrostatic charge that attracts and holds dust. A pleated filter can capture virtually all the visible dust that reaches it. Manufacturers usually recommend that you change these filters every three months, but you should check them monthly, especially if you have cats or dogs. Dirty pleated filters can restrict airflow and damage your furnace.
Get rid of clutter
The more clutter you have around your house — knickknacks, books, magazines, etc… the easier it’s for dust to build up. Get rid of the clutter and you get rid of some of the dust.
Beat and shake area rugs
Carpeting is by far the biggest dust collector in your entire house. Carpets are loaded with fibers that attract dust like a huge magnet. Even the padding underneath carpeting holds dust, which goes airborne with each footstep. While tearing out wall-to-wall carpeting is the best solution, many people aren’t ready for this drastic step. The next best solution is to vacuum regularly. Vacuum once a week, paying extra attention to high traffic areas. Be sure to regularly vacuum large area rugs too. For best results, take them outside 3 or 4 times a year for a more thorough cleaning. Drape them over a fence or clothesline and beat them with a broom or baseball bat. A good beating removes much more dust than vacuuming. Don’t forget your smaller rugs; they should be taken outside for a vigorous shaking every week.
Get rid of the dust in your sofa cushions
Upholstery fabric not only sheds its own fibers but also absorbs dust that settles on it. Every time you sit down, you send a puff of dust into the air. Remove trapped-in dust in sofa cushions the same way you would your area rugs by taking them outside and using a tennis racket to beat out the dust.
Cleaning slipcovers for chairs and sofas is as easy as pulling them off and taking them outdoors for a shaking. Better yet, if they’re machine washable, throw them in the machine and launder according to the instructions on the label.
Clean bedding regularly
Your cozy bed is a major dust hoarder. Your bedding collects skin flakes, sheds its own fibers and sends out a cloud of dust every time you move around and roll over. Wash your sheets, pillowcases and mattress pad weekly, preferably in hot water (to kill dust mites and remove allergens). Take items that aren’t machine washable such as bedspreads outside and shake them to remove the dust. Don’t ignore your mattress and box spring. Vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum once a month.
Control the dust in your closets
Every time you open the door to your closet, you send up an invisible dust storm of countless tiny fibers shed from your clothes, towels and bedding. You can’t prevent clothes from shedding fibers, but you can make closets easier to keep clean and vastly cut down on dust by doing the following:
- Store items on shelves in clear plastic containers (with a lid). Clear plastic containers are ideal because they lock fibers and particles in and prevent dust from getting inside. Clear plastic also lets you see what’s inside. When you need to dust, they’re easy to pull off the shelves and wipe clean.
- Enclose the clothes you rarely wear, such as winter coats and formal wear, in garment bags. Those coats you wear only in the winter shed fibers year-round, adding to your year-round dust problem. Garment bags not only help to contain fibers from shedding they keep the clothes themselves from becoming coated with dust.
Clean the air while you clean your house
All vacuums whip up dust with their “agitator” (the cylindrical brush that sweeps the carpet) or blowing exhaust stream. That dust eventually settles on the surfaces you’ve just cleaned. But if your forced-air heating and cooling system is equipped with a good filter, you can filter out some of that dust before it settles. Just switch your thermostat to “fan on.” This turns on the blower inside your furnace and filters the air even while the system isn’t heating or cooling. Leave the blower on for about 15 minutes after you’re done cleaning. But don’t forget to switch back to “auto.” Most blowers aren’t designed to run constantly.
Other Dust Hot Spots To Watch:
- Drapes & Curtains: If these aren’t laundered regularly, they can hold a lot of dust (that gets released into the room as they’re brushed against or touched). If you don’t have the time to launder them regularly (or get them dry cleaned), shaking them outside helps remove a lot of the buildup.
- Pets: Keeping them well-groomed helps reduce hair and pet dander.
- Walls & Ceilings: If you don’t regularly wipe them down, walls and ceilings can hold an amazing amount of dust. Use damp mops for easy cleaning, they also do a good job of getting into high corners.
- Refrigerator and Appliances: Regularly clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator and clean behind other appliances. Many people neglect to clean these areas, yet they’re often filled with dust, debris and food particles.
- Electronics: Electronics such as TVs and computers are major dust magnets. Make sure to pull out electronics and vacuum behind them frequently. Just wiping them on the surface isn’t enough.