Around 20 million Americans are allergic to dust mites. If your home frequently becomes dusty, you may feel as if you have a cold year-round. And dust is just unpleasant, even for those who aren't allergic. While you can't remove all particles from your home, you can prevent some from accumulating.
Instead of dealing with the dust when it comes, prevent it from appearing. Swapping out your duster or buying a doormat can drastically change your house. Here are easy techniques to minimize dust in your home.
Don't Sweep--Vacuum Hardwood Floors Instead
Many people associate vacuuming with carpeted areas only. But did you know that you can vacuum hardwood floors? Melissa Homer, the chief cleaning officer for MaidPro, advises people never to sweep their floors. Sweeping kicks dust around, while vacuuming removes it.
If you're worried about scratching your floor, get a vacuum with a hose. Many hoses have a horsehair brush attachment that will trap dust and protect your hardwood. Plus, it's easier to handle than a broom!
Invest In A Doormat
Even if your home has a no-shoe policy, you should invest in a quality doormat. Allergist Stephen Kimura says that doormats trap dust and pollen before you enter. Quickly brushing your shoes against doormat will reduce the amount of dust littering your home.
Joy Cho, an interior designer, recommends two doormats: a thick one for outside and a thinner, softer one in your entryway. Leave your shoes on the indoor mat to keep your home as clean as possible.
Why Bed Sheets Collect Dust
People toss and turn in their beds every night--so why do sheets collect dust? Researchers at Penn State say that dust mites live off of skin cells. Particles often come from skin cells, and the body sheds skin every night.
To get rid of dust, wash your sheets at least once every two weeks. Shake out your bedsheets when you make your bed. If possible, lower the humidity in your room. Low humidity destroys dust mites, according to allergist Myron Zitt.
Fans Get Dusty Even When They're Moving
If you keep your fans on all the time, you may think that you're free from dust. But that's not the case. According to Science ABC, moving fans generate electricity that attracts dust to the blades. Hence, moving fans collect and spread particles throughout your room.
Even ceiling fans can get dustier than some people think. Every few months, make an effort to clean your fans. Wipe the blades down with a damp cloth; your allergies will thank you.
Many People Don't Dust The RIGHT Way
You can dust as many times as you want, but it won't matter if you don't dust correctly. Pro home stager Tori Toth tells people to dust from top-to-bottom. Think about it: when you dust upper shelves, you sweep particles to the lower shelves.
If you dust bottom-to-top, you'll have to dust the bottom again. Start with high surfaces; brush ceiling fans and blinds first. Vacuum or mop last. This will ensure that you pick up as many particles as possible.
Does Dust Come Through The Windows?
It's an age-old question: does closing the windows increase or decrease dust? Paloma Beamer, an environmental policy professor at the University of Arizona, says that 60% of dust comes from outside. But dust is a combination of both outdoor and indoor particles.
That said, where you live determines how much dust comes through your windows. If you're struggling with a pollen problem, try closing your doors and windows (if you can). Don't open your windows during windy days.
Don't Use Just Any Duster
What do you use to wipe away dust? An old shirt or towel? If it's anything other than a microfiber cloth, you won't pick up much dust. "Nothing beats [a microfiber duster]," says Donna Smallin, the author of The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple: 500 Tips for Cleaning Smarter. "It attracts dust like a magnet."
Microfiber cloths are designed to pick up dust and trap it. You don't need to drench it in cleaning solution, either; just keep it slightly damp.
Why Pillows Are Filled With Dust Mites
Pillows are like dust sponges. As you sleep on them, pillows absorb dead skin cells, bacteria, and of course, dust mites. In 2011, researchers estimated that a third of a pillow's weight could be made up of dead skin and dust.
While most people wash pillow sheets, few wash their pillows. The director of the Sleep to Live Institute, Robert Oexman, advises replacing your pillow every six months. Otherwise, you can wash your pillow two to four times per year.
Yes, Houseplants Remove Dust
Some people may hesitate to get house plants because the pots contain dirt. But research indicates that houseplants actually remove dust from the home. Several controlled studies found that houseplants attract dust to their leaves, taking the particles out of the air.
Oddly enough, it doesn't matter if the plants are real or not. Fake plants can reduce particles in the air. However, certain live plants, such as ivy, date palms, and rubber plants, tackle dust better than others. Just remember to wipe down the leaves!
Dust is a guarantee in every household. You can't stop your bookshelves from getting dusty, but you can limit the amount of accumulated dust. If you have fewer knick-knacks on your shelf, you'll have less dust, explains Maid in America.
Decluttering not only makes your home look neater, but it also reduces the amount of dust in your home. So take a few minutes to put things away. Remember that books can collect dust mites, too, especially on the pages.
Time To Whack The Rug
Rugs attract dust like nothing else, but removing dust is easier said than done. Most vacuums are too aggressive on rugs, says Lisa Wagner, who teaches rug-cleaning to professionals. To save your rug, either use a canister vacuum or shake out your rug. You can't go wrong with slapping a rug outside to remove dust.
Even if your rug doesn't look dusty, it can still get dirty, Wagner says. She recommends washing your rug every two to three years. Don't put shoes or a plant on a rug; that'll accumulate more dirt.
Get An Air Purifier, Not A Humidifier
Some people claim that humidifiers remove dust from the air, but this isn't true. According to Molekule, humidifiers only add moisture to the air; they don't impact dust or pollen. But some air purifiers "deactivate" air pollutants, resulting in less dust.
If you're going to buy one of these, get an air purifier. A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter should be enough to reduce particles. People who have asthma will greatly benefit from an air purifier.
Did You Forget Your Curtains?
Dust doesn't only gather on tables and floors. Look up--dust mites can gather on curtains, and many people forget to clean them. Whenever you open your windows, the wind will blow that dust further into your home.
Fortunately, it's easy to dust curtains. Shaking them out or vacuuming them should make an impact, according to Consumer Reports. Wash the curtains every three to six months. Washing is the best way to remove all dust mites from the fabric.
Ditch The Feather Duster
Although feather dusters are popular, they don't adequately clean your furniture. Ideally, feather dusters create static electricity that attracts dust. But most housecleaning experts do not recommend dusters, says Encyclopedia. Instead of collecting dust, they scatter it.
Most people don't know that you have to build up electricity for dusters to work. If you want less dust in your home, ditch the feather duster. Opt for a microfiber cloth that's slightly damp and use it with a cleaning solution.
If You Can, Forgo Carpet
It's no secret that carpets attract dust. Researchers from Ohio State University discovered that carpets not only bring in dust, but also mold. Because carpets are porous, they trap moisture. In fact, a dusty carpet can remain moist for up to six hours.
The more carpet you have, the more dust and mold your home will get. Of course, not everyone can afford to replace their carpet. If you have carpet, aim to vacuum it twice a week.
Watch Out For Certain Textiles
Did you know that certain fabrics attract more dust than others? A study in the Journal of National Fibers discovered that fabrics with large pores collect more dust. This is why some textiles, such as wool, make your home dirtier.
So how can you remove fabric dust? Limit the amount of large-pore textiles in your home. A fabric with a pore size under ten micrometers won't absorb dust. If you have thick textiles, you may need to clean more.
The Best Techniques To Handle Pet Hair
Pet owners tend to have fur around their homes, which contributes to dust. The American Cleaning Institute offers some tips to tame fur. Most importantly, brush your pets regularly, especially while they're shedding. The more fur that falls off, the more dust balls you'll see.
If you see fur around your home, use a microfiber dust wipe to pick it up. Vacuum your furniture and carpet regularly. And remember to clean your pet's habitat and toys; all of these create more dust.
Line Surfaces With Newspapers
Many people rarely dust tall surfaces, such as the tops of bookshelves. Instead of waiting for those surfaces to collect dust, line them with newspaper. The newspaper will collect the dust, and you can throw it away and replace it occasionally.
Another option is to dust with rubber gloves. Wear a rubber glove and swipe it across the surface. It will generate static above the furniture, which should pick up dust more efficiently than a feather duster.
It May Be Time To Replace Filters
When is the last time you replaced your heating, ventilation, or air conditioning filters? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these filters should be swapped every two months. Otherwise, your home will become dusty within a short amount of time.
Direct Energy says that once you see dust on your vents, you should clean and change your filters. Otherwise, the clogged dust will prevent your home from getting adequate airflow. And who wants more dirt in their home?
Clean Your Blinds In Less Than A Minute
Blinds can be hard to dust, but if you know the right technique, you can knock them out quickly. One method uses an old sock. Create a solution of half water and half white vinegar, and dampen the sock. Put it on like a sock puppet and wipe the blinds with your hand.
Another method is to close the blinds. Clean them with a microfiber cloth, and vacuum them on low. Flip the blinds and do it again.