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 learn how to eliminate dust to trim down the amount that builds up in your home and save yourself some precious cleaning time.
Why Do I Have Dust in My Home?
Dust is the accumulation of tiny debris, like skin cells and dirt, and dust mites, which are tiny pests that feed on old skin cells. Where there is dust, humidity, and warmth, there are likely dust mites. These pests can cause allergy symptoms and are a trigger for people who have asthma, according to the American Lung Association.
How to Eliminate Dust in Your Home
Grab a vacuum and some microfiber cloths and get ready to send the dust mites packing. With these regular cleaning tasks, you get rid of dust around your house.
1. Clean Your Home Frequently
When you’re wiping down surfaces and vacuuming daily, you’ll collect dust particles and other small debris. That means it won’t have a chance to accumulate on dressers and floors. Consider following a house cleaning checklist with rotating tasks each day so all parts of your home stay clean and dust-free.
2. 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.
3. Use Door Mats
Using doormats is another way to combat external grime, especially if you have guests coming in who aren’t removing their shoes. Keeping a microfiber cloth by the door to wipe your pet's paws off as they enter the home is another way to keep dirt and debris from filtering through the home.
4. 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.
"Vacuuming is a crucial step in the process of keeping your home clean and free from dirt, debris, and other sources that may allow bacteria and mold to grow to create an unhealthy living environment," said Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. “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.
5. 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 is a common allergen and can aggravate asthma. Hire a carpet steam cleaner near you to keep your rugs in tip-top shape year-round.
6. 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.
7. Clean Top to Bottom
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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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 end 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Don’t Forget to Clean Your Pillows
Be sure to wash your pillows every three to six months. While you can launder your pillowcases weekly to minimize dust mites, they can still make themselves at home inside the pillow. To wash your pillows, you can put them in the washing machine with a mild detergent, warm water, and a gentle cycle, or follow the instructions on the tag.
If you’re worried about ruining your favorite pillow, you can also dry clean it every few months to keep it fresh.
Why Eliminating Dust in Your Home Is Important
A dusty house might be a little embarrassing when guests come over for dinner, but there’s more at stake. Dust and dust mites can affect your health. If someone in your household has asthma, dust and dust mites can trigger an asthma attack. You may also experience uncomfortable and ongoing allergy symptoms, like sneezing, sniffling, or coughing, even when springtime pollen is months away.
DIY Dusting vs. Hiring a Pro
To keep your home dust-free, you’ll need a well-stocked cleaning supply closet and at least a few hours each week to dedicate to cleaning. Daily vacuuming and dusting are key to keeping dust and dust mites away.
But if you’re short on time, you may consider hiring a local cleaning service to help with household chores like dusting. Depending on your budget, you can hire cleaners to come by daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly to keep the house tidy. Hiring a cleaning service costs around $0.07 to $0.20 per square foot or around $50 per hour, while DIY house cleaning costs around $40 to $50 in supplies per month.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sunlight is filtering through your window at golden hour, but all you can see are the specks of dust floating around the room. To minimize dust in the air, make sure to change your furnace filters at least every three months and consider placing air purifiers throughout the house.
All homes get dusty from time to time, but if it seems like your house is excessively dusty, there are likely some contributing factors. Smoke, fireplaces, and pets can increase the amount of dust in your home. Book-lovers may find their beloved novels contribute a little more dust, and if you frequently forget to change your HVAC filters, you may see more dust.
But you don’t have to leave the fireplace off on a cold winter’s night or donate all your books to eliminate dust in your home. Instead, keep up with your cleaning checklist, consider higher-quality furnace filters, and set up air purifiers to minimize dust.