How to Dust the Right Way

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There’s more to dusting than running a cloth across a surface. Here’s the order to work in, the tools to use, and how often to dust things to keep your home clean.

Hand holding an electrostatic duster reaches through a portal to dust things the right way

If you’ve tried all the steps to reduce the amount of dust in your home but still feel like it’s a constant battle, chances are you need to brush up on your technique. (No pun intended.)

Dust Top to Bottom

You may have heard the advice to clean your house from top to bottom. That doesn’t mean starting at the top floor of your home and working down to the basement. It means you dust from the top of a room or surface to the bottom, so you’re moving dust down and not onto surfaces you’ve already cleaned.

Dust Before Vacuuming

Always dust before vacuuming, not the other way around. Once you’ve moved the dirt off of other surfaces to the floor, vacuuming or sweeping gets it out of your home. That’s why you’ll get your home cleaner if you go room-by-room rather than dividing different tasks throughout the week. If you’re dusting your home one day and vacuuming the next, the dust is just going to resettle on surfaces.

Use the Right Equipment to Dust

Feather dusters were great in their day when the only real alternative was using a rag. But they mostly scatter dirt from one surface to another. To properly dust things in your home, you need to use the right equipment.

Long-handled dusters for high spots

For standard-height rooms, a long-handled duster is usually enough to reach the ceilings. If you have vaulted ceilings or taller rooms, look for an extension cleaning kit with a duster attachment. (I use this one.) In high corners, use the long, flat microfiber attachment to remove cobwebs, then bend it at a right angle for flat ceilings and ceiling fans. Finally, switch to the fuzzy electrostatic attachment and go over the walls.

A damp microfiber cloth

A microfiber cloth is the best choice to clean dust from most surfaces, and that’s why they’re one of the 10 cleaning tools everyone should own. The split, tightly twisted fibers that give microfiber cloths their name create more surface area for cleaning than regular cloths. That’s why they can hold up to ten times more dirt. Dampen them with water to wipe furniture, baseboards, and countertops and rinse them repeatedly to wash away dirt.

Vacuum attachments

Your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment is the best tool for cleaning dusty fabric furniture like upholstered sofas, chairs, and even mattresses. Use the crevice tool to remove dirt hiding at the base of walls or heavy furniture. Finally, the dust brush attachment can clean dust from baskets, carved furniture, or other intricately detailed decor even better than a microfiber cloth.

Lint rollers

A lint roller easily removes dust from lampshades. It’s also a good way to remove dust from delicate fabrics like embroidery, or needlepoint, which may not be sturdy enough for the vacuum or laundering.

Dust mops

Vacuums are perfect for carpeting, and most can clean hard floors, too. But some electrostatic dust mops do an even better job. Look for dust mops with fuzzy, electrostatic heads. This texture grabs onto dust and traps it in the fibers, then you can pop it in the laundry and reuse it again. (I use the Bona Microfiber Mop, which comes with both a dusting pad and a mopping pad that works wonderfully with my homemade floor cleaner. Both pads are washable and last for months.)

How Often to Dust Things

This schedule prevents dust from collecting in crevices and becoming stubborn grime.

Weekly

  • Ceiling fan blades
  • Tops of door frames
  • Windowsills
  • Tabletops
  • Dressers
  • Nightstands
  • Shelves
  • Tops of books
  • Picture frames
  • Sofas and chairs

Every Other Week

  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Doors
  • Wall vents and cold air returns
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Tops of cabinets
  • Top of fridge
  • Stair railings
  • Houseplants
  • Baseboards

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Wesley says:

    Hi there 👋, I love your website ❣️ I have a question about dusting and vacuuming.? My sister always told me to vacuum first, then dust! She said when you vacuum everything will get dusty again. So which way is the best way? 😂 Thank you for all your help and handy tips!!!
    Sincerely,
    Kim

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Kim,
      Before HEPA filters became a standard feature on vacuum cleaners, they’d often send a lot of dust into the air while you vacuumed your floor. So, the old-school advice was to dust after vacuuming. With modern vacuums, which have HEPA filters and sometimes several layers of filtration, the best practice is to dust first.