Ok, so dust is nasty, icky, gross. And a lot of people nowadays are allergic to it. Even if you arent allergic, its still gross and can irritate your breathing. Now, I know most of you HATE dusting. Its a common thing to dislike. Why? Because dusting usually just kicks the dust up into the air where it gets in your eyes, nose and throat. Not fun. Especially when you consider what dust is made of... dead skin cells, pet dander, hair, dust mite carcasses and feces, dirt, pollen, plant fibers, old spider webs and a whole host of other yucky things. Dust can also be a carrier of chemicals that are harmful to the lungs, liver and thyroid that can ultimately lead to neurological defects in unborn children.

So how do you get rid of dust? Well, there really isn't any easy answer for it. And you can never completely rid your home of dust... unless you're willing to deep clean everything, get rid of anything that is made of plant fiber, then hermetically seal the house and never live in it... But that's a little unreasonable. Considering that option...it doesn't seem so burdensome to do the number one thing to cut down on dust. And that is to dust your house regularly.


I know, you're thinking duh Jacquie, anyone could tell you that. But, how many of you know the right way to dust? Or how to do a good job? Or have ever even done a thorough dusting job? The answer probably is not many of you. So enlighten me, you might be thinking. Ok, first things first. Choose appropriate dusting tools. Those Swiffer duster things are pretty cool and do a great job, so I would recommend those. The only issue is that they are a little pricey and you have to be sure to switch them out frequently to make sure you're picking up the dust rather than just spreading it around. Barring that or an ostrich feather duster, these are great because they pick up static really easy to attract and hold onto dust, you should use a soft cloth that is slightly damp with your chosen cleaning agent. This helps grab the dust and cut through any greasy residue that might make dusting difficult (this is particularly important when dusting fans and the kitchen). A vinegar solution is great. It cuts grease pretty nicely and also, as I have been told, helps repel dust. I don't have any idea how that might work but that's what I have been told. It might be an old wives tale but it might be true, who knows. But fact is that vinegar as a cleaning solution is a great idea, see the article about homemade cleaners in Home Remedies under Home Care for more information on it.

Top to Bottom
Next, you need to know how and where to dust. You want to dust top to bottom. So start with air vents, ceiling fans, tops of shelves and cabinets, tops of large appliances like the fridge and work your way down. This helps prevent dust from getting kicked back up onto surfaces you already cleaned. This also means that all that dust is eventually going to settle into anything that is soft or cloth covered, and on the floor. So immediately after dusting be sure to vacuum all carpets. For hard floors be sure to mop thoroughly WITHOUT sweeping. If you have a dust mop, use that first, but DO NOT use a broom. A broom will move the dust around, sending some of it flying back into the air. So DONT sweep. Mop the floor a few times to remove the dirt, or use a dust mop first to cut down on how many times you have to mop. Also, an don't forget this, vacuum off the couches, throw pillows and blankets. Wash all bedding too if you were dusting in the bedrooms. Cloth holds on to dust really well, and when you sit down on it or move it, that dust gets sent back out into the air. So be sure to wash or vacuum those things regularly. Also, be sure to dust under appliances and furniture. Dust LOVES to collect there, along with many other things ranging from toys to food.

Cut Down on Dust

Air Filters
I know what you're thinking, dusting is a really hard, really annoying job. You also don't want to have to do this very often, maybe once or twice a year at the most. So how can you cut down on how much dust accumulates in your home? The first and most important thing to do is make sure you have a high quality, preferably HEPA, air filter in your home air system. A good filter can really help cut down on dust in the home. Be sure to replace the filter as frequently as the packaging states it should be. Trust me, you don't want to skimp on your air filter. If you buy a cheap one you can guarantee that your house will be dusty. Also, make sure your vacuum has a good filter in it too. Most new vacuums have a HEPA filter in it, Dyson in particular is a good one for cutting down on dust. Old vacuums, especially those that work on a bag system, catch a lot of dirt and debris when you vacuum but the finer dust particles don't get trapped and just end up back in the air. If you find yourself coughing a lot after vacuuming, chances are your vacuum is contributing to the problem or you need to wash or replace its filter.

Air Ducts
If your house is old, or you have never had this done, you might want to get the air ducts cleaned, especially if you have noticed that air vents in your house collect dust. This is a sure sign that your duct work is dirty. You can vacuum these out yourself but its worth it to have it professionally done. 

Upholstery, Bedding, Clothes and Rugs
Wash all bedding once a week and steam clean, or at least vacuum, upholstered furniture once a month. As stated above, fabrics hold on to dust and easily re-introduce it into the air when its moved. So try to keep clothes off the floor too, hampers not only keep unsightly piles of clothes off the floor, it also helps cut down on places dust can hide. Keep up on your laundry too. Whatever dirt, allergens or skin cells are on your clothes can add to the dust in your home, so be sure to not let it pile up. Also, when shaking out slip covers, blankets, or rugs, be sure to do this outside. If you've ever shook out a slip cover in the house, you've probably already learned your lesson. If you don't know what I am talking about you will when you make that mistake. It's messy. Also, whenever possible, eliminate carpeting. Carpet collects the majority of the dust in your home and every step you take sends dust back up into the air. If you do have carpet in your home, or would like to KEEP the carpet, be sure to vacuum regularly. Once a day is ideal, but once every other day will do just fine too. 

Clean and Organize
Keep your house organized and clutter free. The more surface area there is in your house, the more places dust has to settle. A tidy home is the enemy of dust.

You may not have thought about this but your pet actually contributed quite a lot to the dust in your home. If they aren't tracking dirt in from outside then they are contributing to the dust in your home by shedding and adding dander. Be sure to regularly wash and groom your pet to help cut down on how much they are adding to the dust in your home. If possible, keep a rug or cushion in front of whatever entrance they use to go in and out of the house to help collect some of the dirt they track in. Wash pet beds and vacuum cat trees regularly.

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