Wish you had a dust-free bedroom so you could sleep easier? We’ve all admired the sight of sunlight streaming through a window with tiny particles of dust dancing in the light. But, in our own rooms? Not so much.
I get it. Dust and my allergies? They don’t get along. But despite being a cleaning expert, I don’t actually enjoy spending all of my time cleaning. So, I’ve developed practices that help reduce dust in my room without making a full-time job out of it. And today, I’m sharing those tips with you.
First, though, let’s talk about where that dust comes from and how it affects you, so you understand what you’re dealing with and why the effort is worth it.
What Is Dust?
Some amount of dust is an unavoidable reality in every home. It’s a mixture of tiny particles from different sources. Some of it comes from outdoors in the form of airborne dirt or pollen. Most of it’s made right at home, though. We shed skin cells and hair, and so do our pets. Our clothes give off lint and small bits of fibers. Our houseplants drop dead leaves. Even paint dries and flakes.
So, those particles in that sunbeam may be a beautiful blend of the indoor and outdoor world, but they’re still dust. And if we’re not careful, they can cause all sorts of problems in the bedroom.
Health Effects of Dust
The average person spends a little over 8 hours every day in their bedroom, most of them asleep. Not surprisingly, inhaling allergens like dust for that amount of time can lead to many health issues:
- Asthma flare-ups
- Skin irritations
- Sinus congestion
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Chronic cough
Even more concerning than allergies, however, are the ties research has discovered between dust and things like heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. This new research makes it clear that keeping a dust-free bedroom can be essential to good health.
Why Do Bedrooms Get So Dusty?
Our bedrooms, like everywhere else in the home, can get dusty for several reasons. Here are the top causes for dusty bedrooms most of us have to deal with.
Fabrics and textiles
Bedspreads, sheets, curtains, and even the rug on your floor, they’re all textiles. These materials are all woven, which means they’re under constant tension, and like anything under nonstop tension, they eventually break down. When that happens, they release tiny fibers that float around and settle on surfaces, creating dust.
Skin cells and pet dander
Believe it or not, we’re constantly shedding tiny bits of skin and strands of hair. If you have eczema or psoriasis as I do, that’s not news. Your pets shed, too: not just fur but skin cells, known as pet dander. This combination of hair and dead skin cells join the dust layer on your bedroom surfaces.
When your bedroom’s air is dry, it contributes to dusty surfaces in several ways. For one thing, it will lead to dry skin for you and your pets, which increases the skin cells floating around. Also, dry air leads to static electricity which makes fabrics and soft furnishings collect more dust. Finally, dry air causes paint to crack and flake, and this gets ground to bits that float around in the air, too.
Ironically, though, adding too much moisture to combat dryness creates an ideal breeding ground for dust mites, so you’ve got to carefully monitor humidity levels if you want to get control of a dusty bedroom.
Dirty fans and vents
Fans and HVAC vents help circulate air in your home, but when they’re dirty, they circulate dust, too. The more dust that’s in your bedroom air, the more it collects on your fan blades which fling bits of it around your room. Likewise, dust and dirt trapped in your vents get blown around when your furnace or air conditioning kicks on, contributing to the problem.
Opening windows daily is important to maintaining good indoor air quality, but it can also let in things like pollen, dirt, and other debris that turns into dust. This is particularly true if you live in an arid climate or one affected by wildfires, or if there’s construction nearby. And, of course, we track in plenty of those things on our shoes. Even our pets bring it into the house on their fur after they’ve been outside.
6 Steps for a Dust-Free Bedroom
With all these sources of dust in our bedrooms, and the miserable symptoms it can cause, it’s important to use good cleaning habits so we sleep better and wake feeling rested and well. Here’s what you need to do to achieve the dust-free bedroom of your dreams.
1. Vacuum soft surfaces.
Those textiles we discussed don’t just contribute to dust, they also collect it. Your carpet, rugs, even that chair in the corner where you toss dirty clothes—they all hold on to dust. Regular vacuuming of the soft surfaces in your room sucks up dust and any damaged, loose textile fibers that are about to contribute to it.
2. Dust hard surfaces with a damp cloth.
Hard surfaces like shelves, nightstands, and dresser tops aren’t safe from dust, either. Rather than pushing it around with a dry duster or cloth, use a slightly damp one to wipe hard surfaces. A damp microfiber cloth traps the mess, instead of sending it into the air. Rinse the cloth often and you’ll actually get the dust out of your room.
3. Wash your bedding.
Airborne dust settles on our bedding, which is an excellent reason to make your bed daily to minimize how much of it lands on your sheets. Of course, your body doesn’t stop shedding skin cells or hair when you’re sleeping, nor does your pet’s, so your bed will get dusty no matter what. That’s why it’s important to change and launder your sheets to keep them fresh. Doing so weekly helps keep your bedroom dust-free.
4. Minimize open decor.
While knickknacks on floating shelves look nice, they’re also dust collectors. Ditto for books and framed photos. For a dust-free bedroom, minimize how much decor you have on display. Or, choose closed storage options like glass-front cabinets to reduce the places where dust can settle.
5. Use strategic ventilation.
Letting in fresh air is important, since it helps reduce odors, germs and contaminants, and improves oxygen levels in your room. But opening windows can also introduce dust or pollen. Try to open your windows when the air outside is clean, like after a rain, and avoid the high-pollen times surrounding dusk and dawn. Also, make sure your window screens fit tightly to keep out mosquitoes and airborne particulates.
6. Add an air purifier.
Adding an air purifier can provide sweet relief from allergies and help keep your bedroom dust-free. Air purifiers pull in and trap dust particles, so your air stays cleaner and feels fresher. And that means you’ll reduce dust throughout your bedroom. I use a purifier with a washable screen that goes over the air filter which I rinse every week when cleaning my bedroom. It always stuns me how much of my cat’s hair it collects.
How Often Should You Clean Your Room to Minimize Dust?
Dust doesn’t sleep, so you need to stay vigilant if you want a dust-free bedroom. Here’s a handy guide to how often to clean things to reduce dust in your bedroom:
- Pick up clutter and clothes daily.
- Vacuum floors and soft surfaces at least once a week.
- Wash bedding weekly.
- Dust furniture weekly.
- Dust ceiling fans, walls, and baseboards monthly.
- Deep clean your mattress every 6 months.
- Wash pillows every 6 months.
Keep in mind that if you share your room with several pets, or you live in a dry or dusty environment, you’ll need to clean more frequently to eliminate dust in your bedroom. But with routine, consistent effort, you can get it under control and let those floating particles of dust stay out of the picture.