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Did you ever feel like dusting was one of those thankless tasks? You dust, and then it seems like five minutes later, you have to dust again. And that whole thing about dusting first and then vacuuming? I’m not sure about that.
Sometimes when you vacuum after you dust, you stir up more dust – especially if you don’t have a vacuum with a really good filter on it – and then you need to dust again.
For me, here’s one thing I know for sure: the upstairs hall and staircase have to clean before I dust the living room downstairs. I have a table that sits against the staircase wall and our upper hallway is open to the downstairs.
So if I dust the table and haven’t cleaned the upstairs floors and staircase, before I know it, there will be dust and dog hair all over my freshly polished table.
What is Dust Made Of?
Are you sure you want to know? To be honest, dust is pretty gross.
Now I know there are lots of us who don’t dust as often as we should, or we do one of those “just wiping around the edges” things so we don’t have to move anything. You may rethink that in a minute.
Dust is made of dirt particles, skin shed off of anyone in your home (that would include that yucky guy who came to fix your sink), pet dander, pollen, mold, hair, decomposing insects, bacteria, fibers from your clothes and furniture, dust mites and their excrement, dryer lint, insulation, and pollutants.
Ready to grab the dust cloth now?
Maybe you should hold off for a minute.
That is probably something you didn’t want to hear either, but dust is everywhere.
In addition to showing up on your pretty wood surfaces, it’s also in your blinds, carpets and rugs, furniture, mattresses and bedding, pillows (decorative or not), and even on your window screens.
Your laundry room is full of dust. Every time you clean the dryer filter (which is every time you put a load in the dryer, right?), you’re also filling the air with dust. You should also move your dryer now and then so you can clean under and behind it. And don’t forget to get one of those long brushes that you can use to really clean out the filter. (Affiliate link.)
Did you ever do a load of laundry and find out someone left a tissue in their pocket? More dust.
And if you have an especially dusty home, even your walls might be dusty. (Some homes are dustier than others, depending on a lot of different factors.)
Where Does it Come From?
In addition to the laundy I just mentioned, there are other ways that dust gets into your house and on your surfaces.
If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, then you are most likely spreading more dust every time you use it. The cheaper the filter, the larger the holes in it, and the more dust that it will let back out into the air.
The same is true of furnace filters. If you’re using the cheap ones you can get for a few bucks (we used to find them for a dollar), you’re wasting money and time. The filters are doing next to nothing to keep the dust out of the air and you end up breathing it in and cleaning it up.
Yes. You are breathing all that wonderful dander and bug excrement into your lungs. Cough, cough.
By the way, did you know that your electronics – especially your TVs – attract dust? Well they make those special cleaners and sprays to keep your screens clean for a reason. The electronic charge they emit attracts dust!
Pets have dander and if they go outside, they bring stuff in with them. So do the humans. Stuff like dirt, a bug or two now and then, pollen, mold, whatever’s floating in the air. On their coats, in their hair, on their clothing, and their shoes.
And if you have your windows open, it will blow in that way too. No use keeping them closed, though, because then you’re recirculating the dust in your home. Might as well let some fresh air in.
Have you ever lived in a house and felt like it was dustier than others you had lived in? You’re not wrong. Our home here in Indiana is much dustier than the one in Michigan was, but we live near lots of open fields and farmland. Harvest season gets mighty dusty! And even though we’re not in Chicago, we’re close enough to get the wind, which contributes to more dust too.
So What Can You Do?
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to help keep dust to a minimum in your home. Here are some ideas:
- Use good filters in your vacuum cleaner, furnace, and even your return air vents. Change them often.
- Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter if you can.
- Use microfiber cloths for dusting. They pick up a lot more dust than just a rag or paper towel, and they hold onto it.
- Clean your dryer filter with every use and also clean around your dryer frequently.
- Make a policy of no shoes in the house.
- Wash curtains, bedding, throw pillows, and rugs on a regular basis. For pillows that can’t be washed, put them in a plastic bag; a garbage bag will do. Insert your vacuum hose into the bag and hold the bag tightly around the hose. Turn the vacuum on. It will pull all of the air and dust out of your pillow and into the vacuum. Once it is completely flat, you can turn the vacuum off.
- Vacuum or sweep the floors as needed. If you’re using a broom, make sure its clean, then use a small spray bottle with water to dampen it now and then. This will cut down on the amount of dust it stirs up into the air.
- If you have pets, brush them regularly; outside if possible.
- Vacuum your furniture and blinds regularly. Consider leather for new furniture purchases.
- Wash your window screens before you put them in for the season. You may want to hose them off now and then, especially after the worst of the spring pollen is done.
- If someone in your home has severe allergies or breathing problems, consider investing in an air filter for your home.
How Do You Keep It All Clean?
So now you’re probably overwhelmed, wondering how in the world you’re going to defeat this dust monster.
Relax. It’s not as bad as it seems. And hey – maybe if you picked up your FREE copy of Sarah Titus’s Household Binder (discount code: HOMEBINDER20) – you’d feel even more in control! Just sayin.
First, do what you can as far as putting systems in place to keep your home as dust free as possible. If you’re a knick knack person, make a habit of cleaning them often. That’s probably true of anything you have a lot of in your home.
I do my dusting with a microfiber cloth and Method Daily Wood Cleaner. (Affiliate link.) I love the way it smells and it does a great job of cleaning my wood surfaces. I dust once a week and do the whole house. That sounds like a lot, but it really doesn’t take a lot of time. Other than my desk, most of the surfaces in my house don’t have a lot on them so there isn’t a lot of moving things around to dust.
I vacuum almost every day because our dog doesn’t know she’s not supposed to shed. This happens to be a dusty house, so I don’t really know if the vacuuming makes a difference in the amount of dust we have or not.
The bottom line for those of us without the clean gene is to do the best you can. If you see a really dusty table, take a minute and clean it. Once in a while when you think about it, give the lamps a good dusting. Slap the shades a few times to shake the dust out, then do the lamp base and table.
You’ll get there. There are better things in your life than a spotless house. We ain’t Martha, you know.