If it seems like you’re always dusting, you may wonder how to get rid of dust. Unfortunately, you can never fully get rid of it. As long as we keep shedding our skin, clipping our toenails and opening doors and windows, dust and dust mites will be the houseguest that overstays its welcome.
Dust bunnies are clumps of dust that form in places not often cleaned (under beds and large furniture, and in corners). They form over time as icky air particles settle on surfaces—particles like pet dander, skin, hair, cooking exhaust, candle soot and the stuff that gets kicked up when you sweep or vacuum all band together to create layers of dust. Yuck.
Now that you understand what you’re dealing with in all that dust, you know why it’s so important to keep it at bay. So take a deep breath and get ready for combat, dust buster.
Dust mites are tiny spider-like animals that live everywhere we do. Our dead skin cells and our pets’ dander are pretty much their version of a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet, so they thrive in places where you and your pets hang out. That’s not all: when we have allergic reactions to dust mites, what we actually react to is the mites’ decomposing bodies and fecal pellets (ewww!).
Win the battle: Clean up crumbs, clutter and spills, and make sure to vacuum upholstery frequently. Use a high-quality air filter in your heating and cooling system, such as a Filtrete™ Healthy Living Filter, to help capture household dust, dust mite debris and other airborne particles.
Your car, for example, is another ’mite mecca—even though it’s a smaller space, there are lots of spots for mites to set up camp. Generally, if an item is touched frequently, it’s likely to harbor some unwelcome guests. That makes your steering wheel prime real estate, along with door handles, shopping carts and magazine racks.
Win the battle: Vacuum your vehicle regularly, and use disinfectant wipes on the steering wheel and console. Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it after you run errands.
Pet allergies are common, but your pet’s fur isn’t the problem. The real culprits are the proteins found in pet saliva, urine and dander (dead skin cells) that disperse in the form of dust.
Win the battle: Keep animals clean and well groomed. If possible, brush fur regularly and sweep or vacuum up stray hairs before they turn into indoor tumbleweeds.
If you wear your shoes indoors, you can track animal feces, pollen, fertilizers, motor oil, construction materials, toxic compounds and miscellaneous organisms into every room of the house. All that stuff that gets tracked in eventually ends up settling alongside—you guessed it—dust.
Win the battle: Make yours a shoe-free dwelling. Sweep or vacuum floors every other day, and wash hardwood or tile flooring with hot soapy water weekly.
Upholstered furniture provides a particularly cozy refuge for dust mites. Same goes for poufy comforters, plush toys and luxurious bedding. Basically, if it’s got fibers in which the little terrors can hunker down, they won’t hesitate to join the love fest.
Win the battle: Vacuum furniture regularly, or opt for leather, vinyl or other smooth surfaces. Steam clean bedding that’s too large or delicate to blast in the washing machine at scalding temps (at least 130°F) on a regular basis.