Even with thorough housekeeping, it seems that some homes accumulate dust faster than others. Here are some of the main culprits — and how to combat them.
Summer is here, and that means windows and doors will be open wide — and dust will be making its way inside. Just when you think your house is clean, a beam of sunlight comes across the living room, highlighting all those dust particles dancing in the air, just waiting to settle on every available surface.
Even the tidiest homes accumulate dust, which is a collection of tiny but solid particles from the surrounding environment — hair, dirt, dead skin, decomposing insect carcasses, and other nasties. One of the big contributors to household dust is the dust mite, which feeds on organic debris such as dead skin cells and decomposing insects. Dust mites and their excrement are highly allergenic.
Some homes have more of a tendency toward dust build-up than others. Here are some of the contributing factors:
DIME-STORE FEATHER DUSTERS
Synthetic feather dusters just disturb the dust, making the surface appear clean, but it quickly settles again as if you’d never dusted. If you love traditional dusters, get a good quality ostrich feather duster and maintain it properly so it stays in top shape. Otherwise, use a microfiber cloth, which leaves no traces of dust behind.
OPEN WINDOWS AND DOORS
This is an obvious one — and it’s hard to avoid in the summer, especially if you’re averse to air conditioning — but If you leave your home open, it is more likely to collect dust. Pet dander, insects, pollen and dirt all come in from the outdoors. If you’re a sucker for fresh summer air, you might have to learn to live with dust.
DIRTY DUCTS AND FILTERS
Construction is very dusty business. Some builders have the ducts cleaned before the home is sold, but others don’t, meaning that drywall dust, fiberglass and other construction debris might be trapped in the air ducts. Even older homes that are surrounded by new construction are likely to experience this to some degree as debris makes its way inside the house. Duct cleaning is arguably unnecessary unless the home has recently been under construction, because the actual ducts should be a dust-free environment. Still, many believe that regularly cleaning them will improve air quality as dust particles may have become trapped inside. Change or clean furnace and air conditioner filters regularly because if they are dirty, they will blow dust into the home. Many people opt for hypoallergenic air filters to further maintain the air quality in their homes.
DOGS AND CATS
Pet dander is a big dust contributor. Pets are also more likely to track in dirt and pollen, contributing further to the dust accumulation. Brush and bathe your pets regularly to limit the amount of shedding.
OLD FURNITURE UPHOLSTERY AND HEAVY CURTAINS
Broken down fabric fibers and dust mites feeding on organic debris in couches and chairs cause these old furnishings to attract dust. Wash all household fabrics (curtains, bedding, couch covers, cushions etc..), regularly, depending on their use, with bedding being washed once each week. Heavy curtains attract and trap dust; replacing them with lighter, airier ones will significantly reduce dust buildup.
CARPETING AND RUGS
Wall to wall carpeting is a dust magnet. Make sure to vacuum at least once a week, and empty your vacuum bag each time. Even a partially full vacuum bag can blow dust back into the room. If you’re thinking of remodeling, consider replacing carpeting with tile, wood or laminate flooring, and use an area rug instead. Area rugs can be easily cleaned by beating them regularly outdoors. Also, wipe down baseboards, which quickly accumulate dust. This will keep the floor dust-free almost twice as long.