Dust is certainly something to sneeze about, but you can cut it down with a few simple tricks
If it seems like you’re constantly cleaning dust out of your home, you’re definitely not alone. No matter how frequently you clean, sure enough, your home is acquiring dust every moment of the day, thanks to unassuming things like your shoes, clothing, and pets. However, you can take a few steps to trim down the amount of dust that builds up in your home and save yourself some precious cleaning time.
1. Don’t Wear Shoes Indoors
While you may not actively think about it (or want to think about it), your shoes come into contact with all kinds of things during the day, from your office’s carpeting to the city streets. All of this activity can lead to dirt, bacteria, and germs coming home with you via your favorite sneakers. Taking your shoes off when you enter your home will prevent you from tracking these harmful substances in with you, since 60% of the dust in the home comes in from outside, according to a study from the American Chemical Society.
Using doormats is another way to combat external grime, especially if you have guests coming in who aren’t removing their shoes.
2. Vacuum Frequently
Vacuuming at least once a week—more often if you have family members with allergies or pets in the home—will keep your rugs and flooring from collecting as much dust and dirt. Upright vacuums work well for rugs and carpets, while canister vacuums are better for hard floors because they produce stronger suction.
Also, make sure you regularly clean your vacuum by emptying out the canister and wiping off the vacuum itself with an antibacterial cloth.
If you have area rugs, taking them out for a good beating three or four times a year is also a good idea. Hang your rugs over a clothesline or fence and beat them with a sturdy object, such as a bat, broom handle, or tennis racket.
3. Steam Clean Your Floors
Although vacuuming is an excellent way to keep your floors dust-free, steam cleaning is also a must. Steam cleaning your carpets and rugs every four to six months can drastically reduce the amount of dust, dirt, and dander hanging around in your home. Steam cleaning also kills dust mites, which are a common allergen and can aggravate asthma. Hire a carpet steam cleaner near you to keep your rugs in tip-top shape year-round.
4. Use a Damp Cloth to Clean Surfaces
Dry dusting with a feather duster or cloth keeps dust off of furniture and picks up some debris, but generally, dry dusting just pushes dust around instead of picking it up. Using a damp cloth or a furniture polish spray to wipe off furniture once a week is a more effective way to pick up the dust.
5. Clean Vertically
Don’t forget about your curtains, blinds, lampshades, and furniture. These items collect lots of dust, especially the soft surfaces. Wash your curtains regularly, at least every three months, and vacuum your blinds and lampshades. Vacuuming your furniture regularly and having it steam cleaned with your carpets will keep the dust level in your home manageable.
6. Change Furnace Filters Regularly
If you have central heating and air conditioning, all the air that’s pumped into your home passes through your furnace filter. Replacing your filters is a low-cost way to keep dust from entering your home, and there’s a large variety to choose from, including disposable and washable options. Change your furnace filter (or clean it) at least once every 90 days, and more frequently if you have pets or allergy sufferers in the home.
7. Run Your Furnace Fan While Dusting
Another way to manage dust in your home is to run the furnace fan while you’re dry dusting. Dry dusting kicks dust up into the air, and the fan will help air circulate through your home and push those particles into your furnace filter. Leave the fan running for a few hours after you’ve finished to ensure that any dust hanging in the air is pushed into the filter.
8. Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers collect dust and particulates from the air, helping to keep dust off your surfaces. They come in a wide variety of sizes, from whole-home options to small room units. Using an air purifier with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter is best because it can trap up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and allergens, according to the EPA.
9. Wash Your Bedding Weekly
Washing your bedding at least once a week is essential for keeping a low-dust home. When we sleep, we shed skin cells and hair that ultimately ends up as, you guessed it, dust. Dust mites can also grow in unwashed sheets. Ideally, you should wash your sheets in hot water to kill bacteria and mites. Also, be sure to wash your pillows every three to six months.
10. Clear Your Shelves
Knickknacks, figurines, and other keepsakes you put on shelves may look nice, but they may be difficult to clean around, and they can also attract dust. Set yourself up for dust-free living by minimizing the amount of clutter on your shelving—your future self responsible for cleaning those shelves will thank you.
11. Don’t Neglect Your Closet
Closets are huge lurking grounds for dust and often get neglected when cleaning time rolls around. Remember to clean inside your closet when you’re dusting and vacuuming, and keep clutter to a minimum by storing your off-season clothing in clear plastic tubs.
12. Wash Your Pet Beds
We all love our furry friends, but pet dander is a huge contributor to dust in the home. To prevent dust, fur, and dander from overtaking your home, wash their beds and soft toys once a week.