If you have allergy sufferers in your family, you’ve probably wondered how to reduce dust in your home. According to the makers of one furniture spray, the average home collects 40 lbs. of dust in one year. Forty pounds!
Where does dust come from?
We often hear that dust is mostly dead skin, but that’s not true. Dead skin cells may wind up in your mattress if it’s not properly covered — which is why cleaning your mattress properly is important — but the majority of them get washed down the drain.
According to people who study such things, household dust is a mixture of animal dander, carpet fluff, clothing fibers, and dirt that gets tracked indoors. When we open our windows to let fresh air in, we also let in pollen and airborne debris. Then, of course, there are household sources of dust like flour or makeup powders.
While no amount of cleaning will completely remove the dust in your house, these seven proven ways will definitely help you breathe easier.
How To Reduce Dust In Your Home
Usually, the fix for most household problems is going to the source. When it comes to reducing dust in the home, you really can’t address the source without plastic-wrapping every surface. This guy tried that exact approach and I think we can all agree he’s nuts.
Short of buying a truckload of plastic wrap, the best solution is to keep out as much dust as possible and regularly get rid of the rest through proper vacuuming and weekly cleaning routines. Then follow with these 7 easy steps.
1. Have everyone remove their shoes upon entering.
In some parts of the country, it’s considered good manners to remove your shoes when you enter someone else’s home, but there are always people who balk at the thought of a No Shoe Policy. If they realized that up to 80 percent of the household dust enters on the bottom of peoples’ shoes, they’d probably rethink their reluctance. One solution: keep a basket of washable slipper socks near the door for guests’ use.
2. Use mats, and keep them clean.
Sturdy mats inside and outside of every entrance to your home give people a place to wipe their feet before entering. That practice alone will significantly cut down on the amount of dust tracked indoors even if people take their shoes off inside. Shake the mats outside or clean them with a hand-vac every couple of days and you’ll notice a definite reduction of dust.
3. Change your air filter often
Most manufacturers advise changing your filter every three months, but changing them more often will significantly reduce dust in your home. Use inexpensive, disposable filters and change them every 30 days. Be sure to vacuum the area around your furnace, too. If you have an outdoor HVAC unit, you should also give it a good cleaning in Spring and Autumn. (Here’s a YouTube video showing how.)
4. Keep your bedding clean
We’ve all seen the commercials about dead skin flakes, dander and dust mites building up in a mattress over time. They build up in bedding and pillows, too. Reduce this by vacuuming your mattress every time you change your sheets. Run your comforter and pillows through the dryer on “fluff” regularly, too, and wash your pillows every 4 to 6 weeks. You can and should wash electric blankets, too.
5. Vacuum often and properly
A good vacuum is a great ally in the war on dust. (Here’s the vacuum I recommend.) How often you should vacuum depends on how many people live in your home. The general rule is to vacuum each room thoroughly once a week, then go over high-traffic areas every other day. Most importantly, make sure you know how to vacuum properly.
6. Dump the duster
Sure, feather dusters are cute and retro, but they do a horrible job of removing dust. Even if you follow recommendations to stroke the surfaces with the feathers instead of “tickling” them, the dust will fall out of the feathers as you walk through the room. Use your vacuum’s soft-bristled dusting attachment to clean drapes or curtains, mini-blinds, and baseboards. Switch to a damp microfiber cloth for other surfaces and rinse it repeatedly. Both the vacuum and the damp cloth ensure you’re actually getting rid of the dust, not just moving it around.
7. Do some DIY duct cleaning, or hire a pro
When was the last time you pulled the vent cover off of your floor register and took a peek? If you’ve got kids or pets, chances are you’ll find quite a few things down in the vents. Give your air ducts a good DIY duct cleaning monthly to reduce the junk blowing around in your indoor air. It only takes a few minutes!
Note: This post originally appeared on May 25, 2012. It has been revised and updated for republication.
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