Dusting can seem like a thankless task. By the time you’ve finished the weekly dust, that annoying grey layer is already making a comeback. The truth of the matter is that the air in your home is full of dust particles, ready to settle and replace all those that you’ve just spent hours getting rid of. And that’s just the big dust!
Dust comes in all shapes and sizes, and a lot of it isn’t even visible to the human eye. So, how do you know it’s there? Well, if you suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions, you will know. While larger particles of dust are generally caught by the nose and mouth, smaller allergens can trigger sneezing, coughing, irritation to the eyes, asthma attacks and hay fever.
In this article, you will learn what causes dust, how to get rid of dust and how to prevent dust, leaving your home environment spotless and healthy.
What Causes Dust in Homes?
There’s no getting away from it, you are the biggest contributor to dust in the home. Human’s constantly shed dead skin cells; the more people that live in your house, the more dust there will be. And the more dead skin cells there are, the more dust mites there will are.
These little critters like nothing more than dead skin cells for their dinner. Dust mites also produce debris which adds even more dust into the mixture.
Then, there are fibres from clothing, upholstery, curtains and carpets; hair – your own and your pet’s; and if you have any mould or mildew, tiny airborne spores.
So, that’s the dust created indoors, however, some dust is brought into the home from outside. In the great outdoors, the main component of dust is eroded soil and rock. Plant matter (including pollen) and animal material also contributes.
Man-made dust in the environment is produced by industrial processes and motor vehicles. These dust particles cling to clothing and stick to shoes, meaning that they are easily carried inside.
How to Get Rid of Dust From Rooms
By sticking to a weekly dusting regime, you can dramatically reduce the amount of dust in your home. Before cleaning, make sure that you have taken steps to protect your health, especially in areas where a lot of dust has been allowed to build up.
Using the right tools for the job will not only make your life easier, it will lead to a more effective clean, too. Get equipped with this checklist:
- Microfiber Cloth – Containing millions of tiny fibres, these clever cloths sweep up and trap dust particles. A long-handled duster, with a microfiber cloth attachment, is useful for hard-to reach places.
- Mouth Cover Mask – A cheap paper mask will prevent large dust particles entering your nose and mouth, making dusting a more pleasant experience. However, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, it may be worthwhile considering a mask with a HEPA grade filter, to trap smaller allergens.
- Protective Eyewear – If you are sensitive to dust, protective eyewear can prevent irritation to your eyes. The most effective goggles are those that form a complete seal, rather than having open sides.
- Rubber Gloves – Even mild detergents can cause dry and sore skin, so protect your hands from cleaning products with these household classics.
- Water Bottle Spray – A practical dispenser for your cleaning solutions, whether that’s mild detergent, vinegar preparations, or simply water.
- Vacuum Cleaner – While cylinder vacuums are great for the weekly clean, handheld vacuums offer an easy way to keep on top of dust in between times. Look out for vacuums with a HEPA filter (to trap smaller dust particles) and a range of attachments to suit your home, for example, if you have a dog, a pet hair tool is useful.
- Steam Cleaner – Not only do steam cleaners make light work of hard floors, but they can also kill dust mites. If you want to use steam on a variety of surfaces, opt for a cleaner with a detachable pod and range of attachments.
- Step Ladder or Stool – Don’t balance precariously on units or the edge of the sofa, to reach dusty areas. Using a stool or step ladder is much safer and will make the job so much easier.
Now you’ve gathered together the cleaning equipment, here are some top tips on how to remove dust from different areas of the home.
For most hard, smooth surfaces, wiping with a dry microfiber cloth alone is sufficient. If there is a thick layer of dust, spray the cloth with water to dampen, before use. Stubborn dirt may need a solution of mild detergent, such as washing-up liquid.
This should be safe to use on most surfaces, but always test a small area first to check. However, only ever use the detergent to dampen the cloth, especially on wooden furniture which can be damaged by water. Glass surfaces can be cleaned using a solution of one part white vinegar and four parts water, to give a shiny finish.
Firstly, make sure that the light is off; bulbs get very hot and can cause a nasty burn. Then, position a step ladder or stool, so that you can safely reach the light, without over-stretching. Next, use a microfiber cloth or the dusting tool on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the light shade. For stubborn dirt, switch to a damp cloth. Don’t forget to clean the bulb, too.
To tackle ceilings, a long-handled duster will save a lot of effort going up and down a step ladder. Pay particular attention to corners and coving where dust can collect.
Even if a garment does not look dirty or smell, dust particles get caught within the fibres. When you change clothes or move about, these are released into the air. Therefore, wash your clothing regularly.
Remember outer garments, too – coats, hats, gloves and scarfs all carry dust into your home.
By drying clothes outside, loose fibres are shaken from the fabric. Although tumble driers are convenient, they tend to collect a lot of lint which can end up back on your clothing. Once clothes are dry, use a lint roller to remove any remaining loose fibres.
Sofas and Chairs
If your sofa and chairs have removable cushions, take them outside and give them a good shake. Next, use the upholstery tool on your vacuum to clean all the cushions, arms and back. For seating with fixed cushions, a crevice tool attachment should be used to remove dust and dirt all around. Furthermore, a steam cleaner can be used to kill dust mites from deeper within the upholstery.
Remember to move furniture out to vacuum underneath. Dust collects under sofas and chairs and can prove to be a haven for dust mites.
Curtains and Blinds
Many curtains are machine washable, so take them down and wash them regularly. Curtains which cannot be washed, can be cleaned using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum.
As they come in many different styles and materials, it is important to know how to remove dust from your type of blind. Roller blinds and vertical blinds should be wiped with a damp cloth. However, roman blinds are best cleaned using the upholstery tool on your vacuum. Unless there is stubborn grime, stick to using a soft, dry cloth on venetian blinds and those with wooden slats.
Carpets and Floors
Vacuum carpets at least once a week, using the crevice tool to thoroughly clean corners and edges. For hard floors, such as laminate, tiles and hardwood, use a vacuum or steam mop.
Regular dusting with a dry microfiber cloth is the best way to keep these items clean. However, if there is a thick layer of dust or stubborn dirt, lightly spray a cloth with water and gently wipe over.
Before dusting your television, computer or DVD player, make sure that it is unplugged. Wipe over using a dry microfiber cloth and then use the crevice tool on your vacuum to clean the vents.
Top 5 Tips to Prevent Dust in Rooms and the Air
Eliminate Mould and Mildew
Not only are mould and mildew a danger to your health, but they contribute towards dust, so they need to be eliminated. Wipe down mouldy surfaces with a solution of mild detergent or bleach. Once the source of airborne spores has been removed, take steps to prevent recurrence – this involves reducing moisture levels in the home.
Clean the Cleaners
If your cleaning equipment is saturated with dust, cleaning will be less effective and may even transfer dust back into the home. Microfiber cloths can be washed in warm soapy water or the washing machine (just don’t use fabric conditioner).
Vacuum cleaners should be emptied after each use and the filters cleaned on a regular basis. Also, check that the rotating brush is free from hair and carpet fibres.
Avoid Using a Feather Duster
Flicking particles into the air, the feather duster serves no purpose other than to move dust around your home. Instead, swap for microfiber cleaning cloths that trap the dust.
How to prevent dust getting into your home from outdoors is easier than you might think. Simply wiping feet on a doormat and removing shoes significantly reduces the amount of dirt that makes it into the main living areas. Shake doormats outside and vacuum areas near entrances frequently, to stop this dust being transferred further into the house.
So, you know how to get rid of dust from furniture, clothes, and various surfaces and objects around the home; but decluttering means less dusting and less dust in the first place. Why?
Firstly, by using storage boxes and display cabinets, there are fewer places for dust to settle.
Individual items require infrequent cleaning, while box lids and cabinet tops are easily dusted each week. And secondly, if you minimise the number of soft furnishings (such as rugs, cushions, throws and even stuffed toys), there are fewer hiding places for dust mites.