Five Smart Strategies to Get Rid of the Dust in Your House
Of all household tasks, dusting is right up there with laundry as one of the most frustrating. That’s because, like laundry, the dusting is never done. By the time you are done dusting one room and have moved on to the next, the dust is already in the air behind you, slowly resettling on the furniture that you just dusted.
Dust is never completely gone, but there are some helpful tips to minimize the fall of dust in your home and to get rid of most of the dust on your surfaces, and help it to stay gone for longer periods of time.
What’s the Dust?
While it’s commonly believed that dust is mostly human skin, that is an urban myth. While dust does contain some skin cells, about three-fourths of the dust inside a home comes from the outside. Dust from outdoors is a mixture of floating dirt particles, pollen, and soot. The rest is carpet and clothing fibers, pet hair, mold spores, pet hair, pet dander, insect parts, and dead dust mites from inside the home. (yuck)
The dust found inside a home may be more than just messy-looking. It can also trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
Keeping Up With the Dust
When dust contains common allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and mold spores it can trigger allergies. Using household appliances for air quality, such as an air purifier, can help to filter these triggers out of the air inside your home, especially those that use HEPA filters. HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filters the air by trapping airborne particles so they don’t return to the air circulation inside a home.
Using one of the best humidifiers can also help to reduce the number of airborne particles. Studies show that keeping an optimal home humidity level of 40 to 60 percent can reduce the amount of time that particles remain in the air, causing dust to settle more quickly where it can be vacuumed or dusted away.
Refurbish Your Filter
One of the best ways to keep the dust out of your house is to have a good filtering system on your heating and air units. Be sure to keep all your filters clean and replaced on a regular basis. Pleated filters remove more dust from the air than flat fiberglass filters. Pleated filters should be changed every three months, or at the end of every season. It’s especially important to replace these after any high-pollen months.
If possible, upgrade to an electrostatic filter to keep dust out of your home. These must be professionally installed, but if dust is a problem for your health, or if you live in a particularly dusty area, these can be worth the expense.
You can also hire an HVAC crew to come in and professionally vacuum out all your vents and ductwork to get rid of built-up dust, dirt, and allergens.
Declutter to Reduce Dust
One of the biggest keys to keeping the dust at a minimum in your home is to get rid of clutter whenever possible. If there are piles of things on the floor, such as jackets, backpacks, shoes, and toys, they collect dust quickly. Cleaning and vacuuming around them won’t remove the dust from on top of them.
Keeping knick-knacks and decorative items at a minimum can also help to minimize the number of surfaces that can collect dust inside your home. If you have a lot of these kinds of items, keeping them in glass display cases can help. Keeping clutter at a minimum also makes your dusting job easier. Flat clear surfaces are much faster to dust than shelves full of figurines, knick-knacks, and decorative items.
While no one wants to dust their house every day, if you pick just one room to dust per day and do this five days a week, you can greatly reduce the amount of dust in your home. Plus, this eliminates the once a week, or once per month, major dusting project that you have to do otherwise if you don’t keep up with it.
Some good daily dusting tips are to dust from top to bottom, meaning you should begin with higher surfaces and work your way downward. Disturbed dust from higher places in your home will settle to lower surfaces and floors while you work.
Tools like microfiber dusters on extension sticks are really helpful for dusting hard to reach heights like fan blades and the tops of curtains and drapes. Alternatively, you can place a microfiber cloth on the end of a mop or broomstick and secure it with a rubber band. A dryer sheet works well also to collect dust and pet hair. Plus, they leave the room smelling fresh. Your dust cloth or dryer sheet on a mop stick can also be used as a quick clean-up method for baseboards and dusty corners and room edges.
When you’ve dusted all surfaces including electronics with microfiber dust cloths and used furniture polish where needed, you can run your vacuum cleaner. A good cordless vacuum is great on stairs and other difficult to reach areas.
A clean, dampened sponge mop is perfect for dusting walls, which should be done about every six months or once per year in less dusty areas.
Change Sheets and Bedding Frequently
Because dust mites love skin flakes and your bed is chock full of them, sheets should changed at least once per week. Sheets and bedding are big dust collectors. They are often placed right under dusty ceiling fans, and they tend to gather clothing fibers, pet hair and dander, and more. Keeping your sheets clean and laundered not only feels great but also greatly reduces the amount of dust and allergens in the home environment. And it’s especially important to reduce dust in a sleeping area.
Any bedding that can’t be washed can be taken outside and shaken and aired. Doing it the old fashioned way and hanging up these items and then beating the dust out with a tennis racket or something similar can even help to remove dust particles from pillows, comforters, and stuffed animals.
Area rugs, small carpets, and throw pillows can also be dusted and aired using this tried and true method.
With these helpful hints for keeping down the dust, your home should remain relatively dust-free, or at least this will keep it at a minimum and prevent it from building up inside your home to present a bigger problem for your next spring cleaning.