If it feels like you just cleaned, and that ugly layer of dust is back on your shelves and tables, you might be asking yourself “Why is my house so dusty?” Well, there isn’t any one definite reason, but here are some good ways to manage dust and dust related problems.
What is dust?
Dust is made of particles that include more than just dirt – dead skin cells, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, fabric fibers, insect waste, food waste, fungi, and bacteria. Dust isn’t just that layer you see on surfaces at home or work. Dust particles are airborne, and when they’re in the air they are mostly invisible to the human eye, except sometimes in the sunlight. But as dust settles and accumulates, you easily see the result.
Where does dust come from?
Now that you know some of the sources of dust, you can see how something as simple as opening and closing doors and windows, or running a fan, can move dust throughout your home. Besides doors and windows, outdoor dust gets in on shoes, clothing, and pets. Once outdoor dust gets inside it mixes with your (inevitable) indoor dust.
How to get rid of dust?
Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to completely eliminate dust from your home, but you can reduce dust in the house and keep it to a minimum. Some of the most important steps to take include:
- Cleaning Smart – Using damp dust trapping microfiber fabrics.
- HEPA-rated Vacuum Cleaners – These do not blow any dust back out into your air.
- Grooming Your Pets – Pet dander and the other allergens they can carry inside should be brushed and washed away more often.
- Address the Dust Mites – Dust mites thrive on some components of dust and their growth increases above 60%RH. They cannot survive below 50%RH. A dehumidifier can help here.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are microscopic, allergenic creatures that feed on the dead skin cells found in all indoor dust. They live in carpets, bedding, curtains, and even fabric couches or chairs. Dust mites burrow into any cloth fibers in your home. These miniscule critters live in the thousands to millions in homes all over the world and contribute to allergy sufferer’s symptoms.
How to get rid of dust mites
Want to get rid of dust mites?
Some steps to efficiently and effectively remove them:
- Wash Your Bedding Often – Dust mites live in fabric fibers so it’s important to wash bedding at least once a week. A myth you often hear is that dust is mostly composed of skin cells. Actually, most of your dead skin cells are washed away during a shower, but the remaining cells tend to accumulate in your bed, where dust mites thrive.
- Clean Fabrics – Don’t forget to dust the tops of curtain rods, and blinds. Keep fans and fan blades clean so they don’t spread the particles that dust mites feed on. While you’re washing bedding, add in your curtains, and blankets. Also make sure you vacuum thoroughly. If you have open flooring and plan on adding rugs, it may be better to purchase washable rugs. Steam mops and cleaners can help get rid of dust mites on the floor, while carpet cleaners can help with any dust mites in your carpet.
- Don’t Skip the Closet – It’s tempting to throw everything in the closet and close the door, but your dust mites will thrive off this reservoir of fibers from clothes, towels, shoes, and clutter. You can use plastic storage bins for out of season clothing, wire racks for shoes, and clothing bags for any clothes that aren’t worn often.
- Upgrade your Air Filter – Air filters play a vital role in keeping your indoor air clean. Different MERV ratings filter out different ranges of particles—from dust mites, to mold spores, lint, and pollen. To filter out the smaller particles that come from virus clumps, allergenic dust mites, and pet dander, it’s most economical to choose a MERV 13 filter (HEPA is MERV 16). AC units don’t pull in outside air; rather they recycle your indoor air and with good filtration they can make a big difference in household dust levels since their filters trap dust. Higher MERV filters, such as HEPA, remove allergens as small as 0.3-μm which can really ease those irritating symptoms.
Now that you know where dust comes from and how to get rid of dust mites, it is easy to see how following these steps can help manage the dust levels in your home. Measure your air filter and upgrade as soon as possible to start seeing and feeling the benefits of cleaner air.
If you're interested in learning more about protecting your indoor air quality, check out the rest of our Helpful Tips.