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Household Dust

Declare War on Household Dust

Dust is a real problem for every household. Worse still, dust seems to be a growing problem. If that’s how you feel, it’s not your mind playing tricks on you. Weather patterns are more extreme with winds bringing more and more dust. Houses are increasingly more energy efficient, making them dust traps that collect and hold the dust. And, in this electronic age, we are putting more and more electrical elements into our homes, and all that heat and electricity pulls and draws dust like nothing else can. So, if you thought your house is getting dustier, you are not imagining it. It is getting worse.

So, what can you do to stop the deluge of dust? Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help keep dust down and lessen your housework – and maybe even help yourself breathe a little easier. Because all that dust takes a toll on our health and it's just plain dirty.

To curtail dust, pay special attention to these areas:

Doormats. Invest in good quality doormats inside and outside the doors. This can stop a lot of the dust from ever entering your home.

Remove shoes. Just by removing shoes at the door before entering the house, you will cut down the amount of dirt, germs, and pollutants from entering the house and carpets will last longer.

A/C filters. Use good quality air conditioning and heating filters and change them regularly.

Check seals. Doors and windows should be checked to make sure seals are working well and have not deteriorated. You should also check seals to the basement and attic to make sure the access to these areas seals tightly and that you aren’t pulling in squirrel droppings from the attic every time you open the front door.

Check the dryer. Sometimes dryer vents are filled with lint causing them to pour lint into the air instead of venting out the house. Check the hose to make sure it’s clear and blocked. Make sure you pull the lint trap out of the dryer and clean it with each and every load.

Replace carpet in traffic areas. If you have carpeting at any door openings, you have a dust trap. Consider replacing entry and traffic walkway areas of your home with hard surface flooring that won’t attract and trap dust.

Have A/C ducts cleaned. Every other year or so it's a good idea to have A/C and furnace ducting cleaned to remove any molds, insulation, or dust.

Wash plants. Make sure plants are kept clean by washing them in the shower or yard. Both real and silk plants should be washed at least once a year to remove dust and keep them clean.

Pets. If you have indoor pets, you have animals losing hair and skin cells in your house all day long – something dust mites love to eat. This makes vacuuming especially important. People with indoor pets should vacuum three times a week to keep dust down and pay special attention to vacuuming upholstered furniture.

Dust walls. Yes, dust walls – especially those surrounding electronics or TVs. With media rooms becoming more and more popular, the heat and electricity pull dust in around the appliances. Use a Swiffer Max (extra large Swiffer; see below) to “mop” the walls of dust.

Wipe as you go. Keep a damp towel with you to wipe down baseboards, handrails, sills, and door tops as often as possible as you are cleaning your house.

Use the whole vacuum. While this may seem silly, most vacuums are like icebergs: only 1/10 of them is appreciated. Most of the time, the vacuum is run down the middle of the floor and that’s it. However, the best part of the vacuum is usually with all the attachments. Use the edge and crevice tool to get in between and under and to run down the edge where the wall meets the floor – a serious dust collection area. You should also use the brush to vacuum electronics, blinds, and lampshades, the upholstery tool to go over mattresses, drapes, and upholstered furniture.

Vacuum regularly. Once a week is a minimum and twice a week is excellent.

Change the vacuum bag/empty the canister. A full vacuum bag has no suction power and won’t pick up as much dirt and dust. Change your bag when it is more than half full. If you have a canister on your vacuum, empty every time you vacuum. Why leave that dirt in there if you don’t have to?

Add landscaping. If you have any dirt or dry patches in the yard, cover these over with grass, plantings, or mulch. Blowing dirt is a big source of dust.

Your vacuum is one of the best defenses against dust
Nothing can replace the value of a good quality vacuum in the war on dust. A good quality vacuum will provide you with the suction and onboard tools you need to get the dusting and cleaning job done. An old, poorly maintained vacuum, with an over-filled bag is no help to anyone and can actually put dust into the air, making the house dirtier, not cleaner. Make sure you have extra bags or that you empty the dust collection cup each and every use.

My personal favorite are Dyson vacuums. These vacuums don’t lose suction and have tools that are actually easy to use, extra long hoses and cords, and no bags required. The ball vacuum allows you to turn off the beater brush with the touch of a button. They have heavy HEPA filters and don’t require you to buy bags (which are big suction reducers). In short, if you need a new vacuum, this should be the one you buy. I personally recommend them.

Household Dust -- What It is, Where It Comes From, and What to Do About It
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