Ways Of Reducing Dust In Your Home
Like it or loathe it, dust is everywhere. Let’s find out what it is, and how best to cope with it in your home.
Why Is There So Much Dust In My House?
Dust is made up of particles which, we’re sorry to say, mainly fall from hair, skin, and the feces of dust mites. House dust mites are microscopic entities that emit feces and allergens, which generally get disturbed when lots of walking or movement occurs and can take up to 2 hours to settle back down again. They love nothing better than to hang out in mattresses (best air mattress), carpets, sheets, pillows, and other upholstery. There is no cure for this, only management of it, and so we must adopt certain strategies such as vacuuming, cleaning out your home’s air ducts, regular cleaning, mopping (best mop, best spin mops), dusting with microfibers, and purchasing a large room air purifier or two, to have a fighting chance.
Should I Dust Or Vacuum First?
Dusting is the prelude to vacuuming; one shouldn’t be done without the other. If you haven’t dusted for quite some time you’ll see a build-up of dust in particular areas of your home, especially on tiled or wooden floors and other hard surfaces, eg. mirrors. It also accumulates less visibly on rugs, carpets, and even curtains. It can be a huge problem for those with asthma, hay-fever, or pet allergies.
The golden rule is to dust before vacuuming. Why? Because dusting removes the first round of dust particles but not all. Vacuuming then finishes the job. If you vacuum first it tends to disturb many of the dust particles, which then settle everywhere and are that much harder for a duster to remove. Ironically, vacuuming only, without first dusting, can end up making a home dustier than it was in the first place!
What Removes Dust From The Air?
Your duster and vacuum cleaner are not the only weapons of choice to be employed in this ongoing warfare against dust. Air purifiers are also a great option to have, and there is a whole range from which to choose. Smart air conditioners allow you to monitor the quality of the air within your home. HEPA air purifiers capture even those very small particles that regular air purifiers don’t manage to catch. Not all HEPA filters are the same, though, and so it is important to go for a ‘true’ HEPA rather than just a standard HEPA filter. Filter types are where it’s at.
HEPA? you might ask. Yes, it is an acronym for High-efficiency Particulate Air or High-efficiency Particulate Arrestance. A HEPA filter is effective but not as much as a ‘true’ HEPA filter, which is a mechanical filter with 99.97% effectiveness at capturing the smallest of particles such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen, and mold. Premium filters can even push this to 99.99% effectiveness. A regular HEPA filter can only arrest around 90-99% of the particles swirling around your home, and various finer particles like germs manage to evade capture. Some air conditioners offering HEPA filters but most do not because it really restricts their air flow. Some types of air conditioners offer a hybrid approach, a split system in order to trap some of the microscopic airborne dust particles. To find out more about this, check out our blog about all the different types of air purifier filters.
On a practical, day to day level, you should ensure that your clothes are as clean as possible. As well as hair and skin droppings, and dust mite feces, dust also comes from clothing fibers. Carpets fall into this category; its fibers annoyingly can actually lock in dust particles, so that the room is far dustier than it looks at first glance. Bedding is another source of dust. Dust mites love it; they lay eggs and breed there as much as possible. You can wash your bedding each week in order to disrupt the cycle, but it will still go on so it’s a constant battle. Cleaning or beating duvets and pillows outdoors is also a good idea, so that the dust mites are expelled into the fresh air and can’t get back in.
Does Opening Windows Reduce Dust?
Counter-intuitive though it may seem, opening windows can actually be bad because outside lurks an abundance of almost microscopic waste, from the general dirt which is in the air, to animal hair, insect droppings, spores, sand and much more. It can also encourage airflow so that outside dust is attracted in!
Your best strategy is to vary the ways in which you combat this near-invisible fiend; some opening of windows to exchange the air, some air purifiers, the regular washing and changing of clothing and bedding, dusting before vacuuming, possibly replacing carpets with hard floor surfaces. Sadly, in our modern world the amount of pollution and sheer quantity of fabrics and fibers in our possession, as well as a tendency to welcome pets into our homes, make the battle against dust harder than ever. Fortunately, there are plenty more ways to engage in the battle, and for your and your family’s health, for cleaner air, for less harmful, dust-filled air, the battle is worth waging.
- Reducing Allergens at Home – Cedars Sinai
- Control Indoor Allergens to Improve Indoor Air Quality – AAFA