Household dust can run the gamut from a nuisance to a hazard. For those with allergies, there are filtering and cleaning steps you can take to increase safety. Below is some data on what dust is, what it isn't, and how to safely reduce dust in your home.
What's In Dust?
Dust is comprised of inert particles, living beings, and chemicals.
Many of us were taught that dust was primarily dead skin cells. Per experts at Live Science, this is not quite accurate. Showering actually sends most of the skin cells shed by humans down the drain.
The inert particles that make up dirt do contain some skin cells from the people and animals in the home, but a large percentage of inert dust particles include pet dander, sand or dirt, and insect waste.
Household dust contains both bacteria and fungi.
While the bacteria come in with living creatures that occupy the home, including pets, people and unwanted visitors like rodents, bats and bugs, the fungi tend to enter the home as spores through opened windows and doors.
While pets can have the largest impact on the living microbes in your household dust, it's interesting to note that household containing only males and households containing only females have different bacterial populations.
It should be pointed out that for healthy inhabitants, nearly all of these microbes are not hazardous. If they live in your house, they likely came in on your skin and pose little risk to your health.
Dust is characteristically dry and highly absorbent. As plastics in your home outgas, your household dust absorbs it.
Thus, your dust bunnies may be loaded with:
- Phthalates, used to make plastic items softer and more flexible.
- Flame retardants, used to treat bedding and other household products per required flammability standards.
- Fragrances, such as those found in laundry products.
Plastics are all around us. However, if you or a family member suffer from environmental illness due to chemical exposure, being vigilant about removing dust at regular intervals is critical.
How To Get Rid Of Dust
When engaging in manual dusting, it's critical to work from the top down. Cleaning experts at HGTV.com recommend working with a microfiber dust cloth to truly collect dust, not just move it around.
The age of your home and the number of occupants will help you determine how often to dust. Start with the top of door frames and ceiling fans, then work down to bookshelves and tabletops. Finally, clean your floors via vacuum and wet or dry mopping as needed.
A vacuum with a HEPA filter is critical to successfully capture dust and prevent it from being returned to your environment. When considering how to get rid of dust, keep this in mind when it's time to replace your vacuum.
If dust allergies trouble anyone in your household, consider investing in a robotic vacuum with a HEPA filter and make sure it can easily access spaces under furniture and inside closets. These little workhorses can spend hours cleaning up spots that can capture and hold dust.
However, when vacuuming up dust it's important to avoid the insides of electronics. If you see dust clinging to the vent holes of your entertainment electronics, remember that vacuuming provides an inherent electrical charge and may cause damage. Use a microfiber cloth on these dust magnets.
Why is my house so dusty? It may be your HVAC system. If you notice a dark mark on the wall above your heat vent, the system is likely dusty.
If you're not certain about vent cleaning services, consider adding vent filters for dust. You can purchase this material in sheets and cut it to fit. You'll need to get on a regular replacement schedule for the most efficient HVAC output.
A Word About Carpet
Carpet captures and hides dust very effectively. If anyone in your household suffers from severe allergy or asthma, consider ultimately replacing your carpet with a solid surface flooring for easier dust monitoring and removal.
Dust is omnipresent, and most of it is harmless. Vacuum frequently with a HEPA filter enabled vacuum and use microfiber cloths to pick up dust, rather than rearranging it. Be aware that pets will increase your dust level, and be ready to engage in extra cleaning to overcome this.