How to Dust the Right Way

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Constantly dealing with dust in your home? Try this method to get rid of it properly.

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

Did you know there’s a right way to dust? 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.)

The Right Direction to Dust Your Home

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 and Then Vacuum

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 don’t do a very good job of trapping dust and mostly scatter it from one surface to another. To properly dust things in your home, you need to use the right equipment for dusting.

For High Spots, Corners and Walls

What to use: For standard-height rooms, a long-handled duster is usually enough. If you have vaulted ceilings or taller rooms, look for an extension cleaning kit with a duster attachment. (I use this one.*)

How to use it: In high corners, use the long, flat microfiber attachment to “tease” cobwebs out of hiding, then wipe them off the duster with a microfiber cloth. Bend the top third of the microfiber attachment at a right angle for flat ceilings and ceiling fans. Finally, switch to the electrostatic (fuzzy) attachment and sweep it in arcs along the wall from top to bottom, left to right.

For Most Surfaces

What to use: 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 mean more surface area for cleaning than regular cloths. That’s why they can hold up to ten times more dirt.

How to use it: To make microfiber cloths even better at cleaning dusty surfaces, get them slightly damp. Plain water works well enough for most surfaces, or you can spritz the cloth with a little homemade all-purpose cleaner to remove stubborn grime.

For Fabric Upholstery

What to use: Your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment is the best method to clean dusty fabric furniture like upholstered sofas, chairs, and even mattresses. The upholstery tool is wide with a flat cleaning surface that sometimes has a fuzzy fabric strip designed to collect lint.

How to use it: Use this attachment in overlapping strokes to remove dust fabric upholstery and cushions, but don’t press down too hard, or you’ll reduce your vacuum’s suction while overburdening its motor. (Need to clean other upholstery messes? Here’s how to remove sofa stains.)

Special Dusting Tools

Curtains and window blinds: Window treatments spread dust every time you open or close them. You can launder very dusty curtains then keep them clean with your vacuum’s dust attachment. You can also clean window blinds and use the attachment to stay on top of them.

Lampshades and other delicate fabric surfaces: A lint roller easily removes dust from lampshades. Or, if pet hair is a problem, this tool from ChomChom* is my go-to. Either way, make sure you’re working with a clean tool, or you’ll leave dirty streaks.

Floor Cleaning

Use your vacuum to clean hard flooring as well as carpets. (Brooms mostly stir up dirt that floats around and settles on your furniture again.) Using the velvety roller attachment for hard floors or the rotating brush attachment for carpets and area rugs, be sure to vacuum the right way. At least once a season, turn your area rug over and vacuum its backing and the floor beneath it, too. It’s surprising how much hidden dust collects there.

Mop hard floors immediately after you’ve vacuumed them. This gets rid of any fine dust particles that escaped your vacuum cleaner. But never mop without vacuuming first, or the dirt on your floors will turn into mud and leave streaks.

How Often to Dust Things


  • 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

This schedule prevents dust from collecting in crevices and becoming stubborn grime. If you have a hard time remembering what to clean and how often to clean it, grab one of my free cleaning checklists and follow their easy steps.

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  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!!!

    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.