Dust isn’t just annoying (how does it accumulate so quickly?)—it can also be hard on your family’s health. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that dust is composed of things such as dirt, pollen, mold spores, insect parts and dust mites and their feces. Some of these particles contain proteins that are small enough to become airborne and inhaled, turning them into common allergens. Eeeew is right!
But there’s no need to despair over dust. While nothing can promise a complete end to this pesky irritant, these nine easy dust-fighting strategies will help keep dust in your home to a minimum.
Dust loves to collect on stuff—so try cutting back on your trinkets and doo-dads. The more furniture, knick-knacks and general accumulation you have around your home, the more places there are for dust to settle. Store your prized collectibles in a covered display case, which dramatically cuts dust build-up, and give the rooms in your home regular “edits” to banish clutter.
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. Harder-to-launder bedspreads, comforters and pillows should receive a rough shaking outside every week and be tossed in the washing machine every two to three months.
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.
A filter upgrade can capture more household dust. Filtrete™ Healthy Living Filters use exclusive 3-in-1 technology from 3M to pull in and trap dust, lint and other unwanted particles while letting cleaner air flow through. Don’t forget to replace your Filtrete™ filter at least every three months.
Take bulky or tough-to-wash items—large area rugs, furniture cushions and decorative pillows—outside for a good beating with a tennis racket every few months.
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.
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. Smart swap-outs include replacing carpet with hardwood, laminate or vinyl flooring, and installing wood, plastic or metal blinds or hanging washable sheers for an alternative to dust-grabbing draperies.
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.
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.