7 Tips for Fighting Dust
If there is a surface in the known universe, it will collect dust. It’s more than just a nuisance, studies have indicated that dust can contain everything from lint and soot to arsenic and lead. So how in the world do you combat this tiny enemy? Here are a few tips:
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Closets collect a surprising amount of dust. They amass tiny clothing fibers as well as fibers from towels and bedding. Opening the closet door agitates that dust.. You can’t stop your clothing’s fiber shedding ways, but keeping your closets clean can dramatically cut down on dust.
Change your A/C filter. Here in Florida, almost every house has central air conditioning. The filter is the most essential part of that system in terms of dust spreading. Most visible dust settles on floors and furniture before it can enter the heating/cooling system, so no filter will eliminate dusting chores. Nonetheless you should follow this quick guideline to ensure you are changing your filter regularly.
- Vacation home or single occupant w/o pets or allergies: 6-12 months
- “Average” suburban home w/o pets: every 90 days
- Add a pet: every 60 days
- Add more than one pet or have allergies: 30-45 days
It’s hard to think about, but your bed is dust’s home planet. Bedding collects skin flakes, sheds its own fibers and sends out a puff of dust every time you roll over. A weekly washing of all of your bedding will vastly improve this situation. Have non machine washable items? Just give them a good shake out and you should be fine.
Don’t give dust a free ride! Feather dusters and dry rags do pick up some dust but for the most part they just relocate it. Use damp rags or disposable cloths that attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge (like Swiffer or Grab-it) to capture dust. Vacuum attachments should only be used on surfaces that are hard to dust with a cloth, like rough surfaces and intricate woodwork. The exhaust from a vacuum agitates dust so use it sparingly.
In many homes, carpets are dust chooses to reside. It soaks up dust and so does the padding underneath. Some people even wind up tearing out their carpet and going with a hard surface floor due to allergies. Vacuuming pathways and high traffic areas at least once a week is a huge help to those of us who keep the carpet. Don’t forget those are rugs! Vacuum them regularly, but also take them outside every few months for a deeper cleaning. Drape them over a fence or clothesline and beat them with a broom or tennis racket as if they just called you or a loved one a foul name. A good beating removes much more dust than vacuuming. Smaller rugs just need to be shaken weekly.
Since we are already beating up some of the other furniture, don’t forget about couch cushions. They also absorb a lot of household dust due to the size and mostly horizontal stature. Take them outside every few months as well and see if you can’t physically escort dust from the premises with a broom or tennis racket.
By itself, suction is not very good at getting dust out of carpet. What you need is a vacuum with a powerful agitator. Upright vacuums are usually best for carpet, although some canister vacuums with agitators work well, too. Quite the opposite for hard surface flooring. Agitators do more harm than good on hard flooring because they blow dust into the air.
With these few tips, you can fight the good fight against one of the tiniest enemies in your house. A less dusty house means better quality air for you and your family. Those with dust allergies have to be especially aware of the dust in their home.
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