When was the last time you dusted your home? If you haven’t lately, a peek at what dust is compromised of, and the effects it can have on your health might make dusting your new cleaning priority.
Vacuuming the floors, doing the laundry, washing the dishes, and even cleaning the windows seem to get more time than dusting does when it comes to cleaning the house. If you’re guilty of skipping the duty of dusting, here are some things that may convince you to add this task to your regular cleaning schedule.
What’s in Dust?
You’ve probably heard at least once that the dust in your home is full of human skin. While there is definitely some human skin in that dust, there are far more things making up the majority of it.
Dust is a result of both indoor and outdoor particulate settling on surfaces in your home. When you open your doors and windows, dirt and pollen can drift in, and when you use things like flour in the kitchen, not all of it makes it into the bread you’re baking. It can come from your various pets and from insects too. While the composition of your household dust can vary significantly depending on how often you have your windows open, whether or not you have pets (pet dander is a significant component of dust in pet-owning homes), and other factors, the bottom line is that dust isn’t just an unsightly annoyance.
Dust is home to bacteria and fungi, among other things. By not dusting regularly, you’re not just leaving things untidy; you’re decreasing the air quality in your home and increasing the chance of respiratory problems and infections.
Dust and Your Allergies
While you may experience an initial spike in your allergies when you kick up dust while cleaning it out of your home, letting it sit and never cleaning it is worse for your health. Dust can have a variety of adverse effects on your body and your health, and these issues can be worse if you have underlying respiratory problems like asthma.
Dust causes the basic allergic reactions you get to pollen, like sneezing and itchy eyes. While dust in your home doesn’t directly cause asthma, it makes symptoms worse. It can also make symptoms from emphysema and other lung and breathing illnesses worse. Prolonged exposure to dust, over many years, can lead to lung issues and even bronchitis.
So, How Often Should You Be Dusting?
You don’t have to dust weekly unless you have a house full of pets. For the general public, a once-a-month dusting in the areas that are easiest to get to is enough to reduce allergens and keep your house looking cleaner.
Every three months or so, do a deep dusting. This means moving furniture around and getting into all the nooks and crannies where dust hides. If you are extra sensitive to dust or have asthma, do a deeper dusting once a month in common areas (including under the bed and the living room furniture).
How to Dust to Lessen the Allergens in Your Home
When you get ready to dust, make a plan. You don’t want to move the dust around; you want to get rid of it. Open windows and doors and have a fan running that’s facing out one of those open areas, or many fans at windows and doors. The fans help blow the dust outside, so you’ll breathe easier while you clean. If the outside conditions (whether that’s because it’s freezing outside or the peak of pollen season) prevent you from airing out the house while dusting, you can always turn the blower on your furnace on and let the furnace filter trap some of the dust in the air.
Dust your home from top to bottom. This way you’re not missing spots or getting dust back into areas you already dusted. You may want to use a product like Pledge to help remove dust and allergens. This is ideal if you’re cleaning using rags or paper towels. You can also use a lightly damp cloth if you don’t have any Pledge on hand.
If you’re purchasing a duster, you want one that attracts dust using electrostatic charge, which cuts down on the need for additional sprays. You can find great microfiber options if you’d like a synthetic solution or more traditional feather dusters. If you get a feather duster, be sure to buy a feather duster that uses genuine ostrich feathers. The cheap ones use chicken feathers which are ineffective at capturing dust and will just push it around, whereas ostrich feathers generate an electrostatic charge. Whether you use a duster, microfiber or feather, you’ll need to take it outside and shake the dust off when you’re done.
Make sure you dust ceiling fans, tops of shelving, and all the way down to the floors. Once you’ve dusted, you’ll need to sweep and vacuum. When vacuuming your home, consider investing in a vacuum cleaner with a Hepa filter. This ensures you get rid of all the allergens and bacteria living in your carpet, which come from dust and food particles.
Want to protect your home even more? You can do some things when you’re not dusting to ensure better air quality. An air quality monitor will help you keep track of particulate in the air and see what effect your dusting and other changes have. An air purifier may also help keep the air in your home cleaner in between dusting, but it shouldn’t be a replacement for regular dusting.