How to Reduce Dust

The War on Dust: Tips to Reduce it All Over your Home

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Tired of wondering why your house is so dusty? If you have allergy sufferers in your family, you’ve probably spent an enormous amount of time trying to eliminate or reduce dust.

I get it. I have allergies, my son has allergies, and just for good measure my dog does, too. So, in addition to all the other cleaning for allergies that I do, here’s how I reduce dust in my home.

Ways to Reduce Dust in Your Home

Usually, the fix for most household problems is going to the source. With dust, we are one of the sources: our skin and hair, the clothes we wear, and even the things we do in our homes.

So, unless you want to wrap yourself and everything in your home in plastic, it makes more sense to focus your efforts on keeping dust out of your home and reducing the activities that cause it.

1. The Sole Solution

When I learned that 90% of shoes worn outdoors have traces of fecal material, I became a big fan of the “No Shoes Policy.” Slipping off shoes when you walk inside also leaves dirt, pollen, grass, and other things that create dust outside where they belong.

To avoid a mountain of shoes near your door, use a boot tray so family knows where to drop off their shoes. For guests, stash a basket of washable slippers they can switch into.

2. Block the Entrance

Sturdy mats at every entrance to your home give people a place to wipe their feet before entering. This one step alone dramatically reduces dust, even if people don’t take their shoes off inside. Remember to shake the mats outdoors or vacuum them every few days.

3. Mind the Gaps

Dust isn’t just tracked in on shoes. If your home is drafty, or your doors don’t fit well, it blows in through gaps. Add weatherstripping around your doors then caulk gaps around trim and windows. Make sure your windows seal tightly, too, and you’ll reduce how much dust blows inside.

4. Fresh Filters

Changing your furnace filter monthly avoids buildup that keeps it from reducing dust in your home’s air. Keeping the area around your furnace clean helps, too.

Then, outside, hose off your condenser unit at least once during the warm season so it’s not sucking pollen and dust into your home.

5. Vent Duty

When was the last time you pulled the vent cover off your floor register and took a peek? All sorts of dust collects down there. Cleaning your home’s air vents and ducts reduces how much dust gets blown around every time your system kicks in.

6. Bed Patrol

Beds are big dust magnets that collect debris on every surface. Washing your bedding on schedule, from sheets to duvet covers or comforters, gets rid of the dust they collect.

7. Vacuum Consistently

One of the best ways to reduce dust in your home is by vacuuming properly, and doing it often. The general rule is to clean your floor wall-to-wall once a week, then go over high-traffic areas every other day. Mop hard floors right after that to get rid of even more dust.

8. Don’t Just Move Dust Around

Dry dusting mostly moves dust around, then it falls on the floor or floats in the air and resettles on the surfaces you just cleaned. The best way to dust is using a damp cloth and rinsing it often, so you’re getting that stuff out of your home not just spreading it around.

9. Add Dust Repelling Layer

Some hard surfaces act like dust magnets because they have an ionic charge that creates static, which attracts dust. Rubberwood and electronic screens are two culprits.

A simple way to help these or any hard surface attract less dust is by wiping them with a used dryer sheet after you clean—the anti-static coating helps keep them dust-free longer.

10. Boost Humidity

The drier your home’s indoor air, the more dust you’ll see as parched skin, houseplants, even surfaces like paint start to shed flakes that turn into dust. Using a humidifier during the cold, dry months helps control dust by keeping things from drying out.

11. Minimize

Clutter doesn’t just collect dust, it makes it harder to clean your home, too. Then, you’ll wind up putting it off since you’re busy, and the dust continues to build. Try minimizing how much decor you have on display, so there’s less gathering dust and wiping off what’s there is a breeze.

12. Dust with Your Dryer

Your dryer is an ally in your battle to reduce dust. Use its no-heat setting to tumble pet dander, dust, and pollen out of throw blankets, sofa cushion covers, even curtains. The tumbling action sends dust marching out of your home through the dryer vent.

13. Refloor

When you’re ready to replace your carpet, a switch to hard flooring can help you conquer dust. Unlike carpeting, hard floors don’t shed fibers that turn into dust floating around in your air, and they don’t trap debris, either.

14. Pet Patrol

Just like people, dogs and cats shed dead skin cells and hair. Regular grooming helps keep pet hair under control, which helps reduce dust in your home, too. Groom them outside for even more impact.

15. Let your System Handle It

Your home’s HVAC system can fight dust with you: run the blower or system fan while you clean and wait another 15 minutes to turn it off. The fan will route the air through your home’s filter, removing the dust you disturbed and reducing it all over your home.

Sweet victory over dust is yours at last!

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21 Comments

  1. We definitely have everyone remove their shoes at the door and it seems to help with not tracking in dirt but with a two year old boy, dirt just kind of finds us. 😛

  2. Melissa-TheHappierHomemaker says:

    Great tips! I feel like I’m constantly dusting. I’ll definitely try anything that could help!!

  3. I love your tips. As an Asthma sufferer I try to do most of these things. I’ve tried the “leaving shoes at the door” thing, but they are all offenders and won’t do it, when I asked why, they said it was because of their smelly feet. Which is totally true! If they walk on the carpet, the carpet then smells like stinky feet. Only one will wear slippers if left by the door. *sigh* Maybe I should install a foot washing fountain by the door!!! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Kristy Tillman says:

      Switch to wool socks. Seriously! My husband wears only wool socks now and we no longer have stinky feet! And no, they aren’t too hot in summer. They have thin ones and are perfect!

  4. You’d be shocked at how much dust is attached to walls and ceilings.
    We got rid of carpet. Wash walls then keep either a long handled duster or microfiber towel tied onto a broom to wipe walls. We found a bigger return for constantly wiping walls and washing any reachable wall and molding than from dusting flat surfaces. Dustmop daily and daily wipe and wipe constantly on surfaces. Eventually you will get dust down. Run cordless vac on door mats and if you run out of time , get the entrances kitchen and bathrooms. 20 minutes a day max. I have kids pets and a full time job. House always looks pretty clean.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh, I’m not shocked at all by how much dust gathers on walls and ceilings — especially “popcorn” or textured ones!

    2. NorCalGal says:

      @Katie,

      Do you happen to know a good way to clean popcorn ceilings?

      Some day, I’m going to go on a week long vaca and when I return, they will all be gone…but for now, I am horrified to think about the dust. Sort of afraid to disturb it!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      I use a dry paint roller on an extension pole to clean mine. Just roll it in one direction and brush it off now and then. Works like a charm!

  5. Hi Katie,

    Searching for help with dust is what brought me to your sight! I live in Arizona in an area that has wind 90% of the time. I have an old house (1925) that has been added on to and remodeled over the years but the one thing that none of the owners have touched is the windows, I think that most of them are the original. I kid you not the dirt blows in like there aren’t any windows at all! Everything is covered all the time, even inside the cabinets, it is maddening! I can’t replace the windows, there are 13 of them, all weird sizes and have to be custom made so very costly. I have considered covering all of them with plastic but that is very ugly. I never open them, most of them won’t open anyway, should I use clear caulk to seal them all around from the inside? I am bewildered and befuddled any ideas would be welcome.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Carol,
      I wouldn’t recommend covering the windows with plastic since that’s supposed to be a short-term solution in cold weather climates. Plus, as you noted, it looks ugly.

      Caulking gaps will help keep dust from entering your home, as will adding weatherstripping around your doors. Pay particular attention to the bottom of doors and install a “sweep” if there’s a gap. Of course, placing mats inside and out, so people don’t track dust inside, will help enormously, too.

  6. Another way you might not think is create a sort of vacum in your house, do you ever see the way you open a back door and a front door same time and then one slams, hold them open after you dust down, the vacum will suck out dust, even try it with windows

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You may have a good idea there, Colin, assuming nothing gets in the way of that cross-breeze!

  7. We do not have pets

    We do not have carpet or rugs

    We had ducts cleaned March 2019, which is also the date we purchased this perpetually dirty home, which I dry then wet swiffer weekly.
    We have no children and with covid we no company EVER.

    The endless dust is a nightmare. The house was built in 1993, is 2-story, 2 separate heating/cooling units, 4-bdrm.

    In 2000 we got a new roof & new windows.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      How frustrating! Be sure to check your home’s humidity levels, since dry air makes paint and varnish flake, along with skin. Those contribute to dust. You might want to try a cordless vacuum and washable microfiber mop, too. Swiffers are convenient but I don’t feel like they really get dirt up and out.

  8. Live in a rural area with two large dogs. Unfortunately the yard in certain areas are down to no grass. (Planning on taking care of that this spring)
    I have rugs inside and outside doors to collect what dirt they do track in. But still my house is full of dust and dirt. I also do not have ac or heat. So no ducts or filters. Any other ideas to help cut down on everyday sweeping, dusting and mopping???

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It sounds like your best bet is to keep the doors and windows shut as much as possible until you get a chance to grow grass in the bare areas. You should also make sure you’ve got good weatherstripping and that you’ve caulked gaps.

  9. Elizabeth O'D says:

    I run my vacuum (with the hose end open, zip tied to handle so it is pointing up into the air) while I dust.
    I also have a new robot vac which collects an amazing amount of dust, fuzz and pet hair. Endust on swiffer dust cloth helps. I still have to dust every 2 – 3 days. I live in Orlando, so the sandy soil creates a lot of dust.

  10. Barry Fowler says:

    A rather traditional friend suggested leaving a bowl of water in a/every room with the idea that this attracts dust and removes it with the water. I haven’t noticed the water getting any dirtier. Is this a variation on the `hydrate your house’ point?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re right about it helping with proper humidity, and it’s specifically recommended for that purpose during colder months when heating systems leave homes parched. But there’s nothing about water in and of itself that attracts dust.

  11. Connie Pugh says:

    Your dusting tips are great. I use most of them. We wear washable slippers in the house now. It took only 36 years of marriage to get my husband on board. I still am not comfortable asking guests to take off shoes, any tips on that?
    Also my cordless Dyson is my favorite cleaning tool. I use it daily now and has helped greatly with dust and dog fur. We have 2 pugs so pet hair is a real struggle. Since your book, I shake out the throw blankets we snuggle on with the dogs every morning outside. Talk about flying fur! I also brush the dogs daily and bath them at least monthly. Dog fur is still the biggest culprit but with the 5 minutes a day routine it has made a huge difference especially with the peace it brings me.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      So glad you like the dusting tips! I know what you mean about the flying fur on the blankets, too. It’s a constant struggle with my dog and cat (and another dog on the way!) too.

      As far as getting guests to take off shoes, a basket of washable slippers at the door — maybe with a little sign about “No Shoes in the House” — might help.

      Honestly, it’s a generational thing. At some point, the “polite thing” changed from making guests comfortable by not bossing them around to recognizing that being a guest in someone’s home means not making a mess.

      So don’t hesitate to speak up and ask guests to shuck their shoes in favor of slippers. It’s your home to make the rules in and clean, it theirs.

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