Bust the Dust – 10 Easy Dust-Fighting Strategies
Dust. No matter what you do, it just keeps turning up, coating bookshelves, sneaking into your cupboards and making itself at home under your bed.
Dust. No matter what you do, it just keeps turning up, coating bookshelves, sneaking into your cupboards and making itself at home under your bed. It gets everywhere and even with frequent housecleaning, it can feel like an ever-present intruder in your home.
As if that's not bad enough, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences* says that the dust in an average American household is made up of pollen, spores, insect parts, dust mites and skin particles. Even worse, the dust doesn't just sit around on your ceiling fans and door jams—it's airborne and you're breathing it in every day.
While nothing can promise a complete end to this irritant, there's no need to despair over dust. Try these 10 easy dust-fighting strategies to banish your dust bunnies and keep dust in your home to a minimum.
Less dust, more clean
- Cut the clutter. The more furniture, knick-knacks and general accumulation you have around your home, the more stuff there you have to attract dust. Store knick-knacks in a covered display case, which shows off your treasured collectibles while dramatically cutting the dust that builds up on them.
- Keep bedding clean. You shed nearly one million skin cells in a single day—that's more than eight pounds of skin cells every year*! A lot of that sloughed-off skin ends up in your bedding and will become airborne if not removed regularly. Change your sheets on a weekly basis and wash them in hot water. For harder-to-launder bedspreads, comforters and pillows, give them a thorough shaking outside every week and wash every couple of months.
- Ditch dust mites. A common allergen and asthma trigger, dust mites often take up residence in your mattress where they have easy access to a key food source—the dead skin you shed every night**. Drive out dust mites by using allergen-proof covers on mattresses and pillow covers and encase box springs in vinyl or plastic covers.
- Change your furnace filter. Replace your furnace filter every three months to get the best dust fighting performance. The Filtrete Clean Living furnace filter from 3M uses electrostatic technology to trap dust and lint in your air more effectively than traditional fiberglass filters.
- Give dust a beating. Take bulky or tough-to-wash items, such as large area rugs, furniture cushions and decorative pillows, outside for a good beating every few months. Not only is it a great stress reliever, beating the dust out helps remove allergens that can affect indoor air quality.
- Vacuum frequently. Vacuum at least once a week. Use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to cut down on the amount of dust and other allergens thrown back into the room when you clean***. Run your furnace on the fan setting for 15 minutes after you vacuum to trap particles made airborne during your cleaning.
- Reconsider surfaces. To reduce the accumulation of odors, dust and other allergens, consider installing floors and fabrics that more effectively repel dust, pet hair and other particles. Replace carpet with hardwood, laminate or vinyl flooring. Install wood, plastic or metal blinds or hang washable sheers for an alternative to dust-grabbing draperies.
- Put out the welcome mat. Put heavy-duty doormats, such as tightly woven fiber or rubber, at the threshold of all regularly used entrances to catch dirt, pollen and other allergens before you step inside. Leave shoes at the door to minimize tracking dirt throughout the house.
- Clear the air. For heavily used rooms, such as the kitchen, family room or craft/hobby spaces, pull dust and other particles out of the air before they have a chance to settle on surfaces. A Filtrete Room Air Purifier from 3M is quiet yet powerful enough to give you fresher-smelling air.
- Use the right tools. When it's time to dust, make the job easier by using a damp cloth or electrostatic duster, which attracts dust rather than pushing it around. Use an electrostatic dust mop for floors and under furniture; use a fresh cloth for walls and ceilings to prevent dirty smudges.
You may not be able to retire your dusting gear for good, but if you take simple steps to prevent dusty build-up every day, you can keep dust from taking over your home.
* Discovery Fit & Health - http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/anatomy/shed-skin-cells.htm
** WebMD -- http://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20030716/allergy-proof-bedding-not-enough
*** WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/allergies/hepa-filters-for-allergies