Create a Dust Free Home in 15 Steps
No matter how clean your home may be, it’s probably still a little dusty. Dust is a pervasive problem that everyone has to deal with every day. It’s more than an annoyance, however. For individuals who suffer from asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems, dust can compromise their health and their quality of life. Dust is composed of many elements, including tiny particles of dirt, pollen, mold spores, dead skin cells, hair, and fabric fibers, as well as airborne pollutants such as wood ash, chemicals, and vehicle exhaust. Minimizing the amount of dust in your home can make a huge difference in air quality and help prolong the life of furniture, appliances, and household electronics. Keeping your home as dust-free as possible requires vigilance and consistency, including establishing a regular weekly cleaning routine. Here are some simple suggestions on how to cut down on the amount of dust in your home.
Invest in Doormats
Every time visitors come in from the outside, they track dirt into the house—and small dirt particles are a major component of dust. Use both exterior and interior doormats—especially the kind with a bristle top—to trap dirt and keep it from traveling farther into your home. Wash or vacuum the mats regularly to prevent buildup.
Improve Pet Care
Dead skin cells and dead hair are a major source of dust—and unfortunately, our furry friends produce a lot of hair! Groom pets regularly to help keep dead skin and hair from accumulating. As a bonus, you and your pets will feel better too. Keeping kitty’s litter box covered will also help hold down the dust.
Keep Windows Closed
It may seem counterintuitive, but opening the windows to get some fresh air actually increases the amount of dust in your home. Dust enters through doors and windows in the form of pollen, mold spores, and airborne pollutants, all of which create a significant buildup that you can see on windowsills. Keeping the windows closed—especially on windy days—will minimize the problem.
Getting rid of carpet might seem like a drastic measure, but carpeting holds an awful lot of dust—and releases it into the air every time you take a step. If you are thinking of redecorating, consider installing some type of hard-surface flooring: wood, tile, stone, or vinyl are all good alternatives to carpeting and much easier to keep dust-free!
Clean Your Pillows
Even if you wash your sheets and pillowcases every week, dust mites can still live inside the pillows. Using a mild detergent, wash them by hand or in the washing machine then dry and fluff. Alternatively, take them to the dry cleaners. Whichever route you choose, you’ll breathe easier at bedtime.
Damp It Down
Never underestimate the power of water. A good damp mopping and dusting will go a long way towards eliminating 90 percent of the dust in your home, and plain water is just about as environmentally friendly a cleanser as you can find. A damp rag or mop captures and holds dust, which can then simply be rinsed down the drain.
Give It an Old-Fashioned Beating
Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways. Case in point: One of the best ways to get rid of dust and dirt on area rugs is to take them outside and beat them, just like in the old days. Rug beaters, which come in rattan, wire, or plastic versions, typically remove more dust than vacuuming—and can double as a good cardio workout at the same time!
Get Rid of Static
Static electricity, which builds up inside your home when the rooms are dry, actually attracts dust and makes it cling stubbornly to surfaces. The solution? Install a humidifier either a whole-house model or a room-size version. Ideally, you should aim for relative humidity levels of 40 to 50 percent throughout your home to help eliminate static and keep dust levels down.
Vacuuming isn’t just for floors. How often do you clean your curtains? Or vacuum your couch? Your lampshade?The soft fibers in these places draw a lot of dust. Whether you opt for steam cleaning or a dry vacuum, regular cleaning of your textiles is a must for a dust-free home.
Blinds Need Cleaning Too
Don’t think that you’ve solved your dust dilemma just because you’ve exchanged fabric window treatments for blinds. Dust is drawn to blinds like moths to a flame, so you should clean them on a regular basis.
Install an Air Purifier
Air purifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from whole-house units to small, portable single-room models. The most common types consist of a fan that circulates the air and a filter that captures dust and other pollutants.
Vacuum Right (and Regularly)
A good vacuum cleaner is the best weapon in a home’s dust-busting arsenal. A thorough vacuuming once a week, or even once a day, will go a long way towards eliminating dust. Many new bagless styles come with built-in HEPA filters, which trap even smaller particles of dirt and help freshen the air.
Stray cotton and polyester fibers from clothes, bedding, and pillows can be a major source of dust. The solution to both closet clutter and drifting dust particles is to put things in bags. There are a variety of space-saving, vacuum-seal bags available in home specialty stores, but even some good old-fashioned garment bags will help cut down on dust from clothes and fabrics.
Replace Furnace Filters
One of the most important ways to minimize dust buildup in the wintertime is to change the forest filter monthly. Furnace filters are an inexpensive means of cleaning the air and preventing dust from blowing back throughout the home. There are many types of furnace filters on the market, from inexpensive pleated paper filters to reusable electrostatic ones.
Clear the Clutter
If they remain untouched, even the most attractively displayed items on shelves and in curio cabinets will just collect dust. Do some editing if you can, or be vigilant about giving books, bookcases, and objects of beauty a frequent dusting.