Preventing dust is a near-impossible task. However, reducing the amount of dust in your home is very doable. By making some decorating choices and diligent cleaning, you can prevent dust from overtaking your environment.
Dust may seem innocuous, but within those particles are dust mites, tiny spider-like arachnids that feed off the dead skin cells we shed every day. It is the dust mites, allergists say, that cause approximately 30 percent of the population to suffer from one or more allergic disorders.
If you or anyone in your household suffers from asthma or allergy symptoms, preventing dust from accumulating and removing items that harbor dust are worth the effort. (It will also make your regular cleaning routine a lot easier.) Here are 10 ways to reduce dust in your home.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
While fresh air is great, it's a dusty world out there. Even using window and door screens will not keep out pollen and small dust particles. Keep windows and doors closed to reduce dust inside.
Use Doormats and Remove Shoes
Placing washable or easily cleaned doormats inside and outside entrance doors will reduce the amount of dust that is brought into your home on shoes and furry paws. Removing shoes at the door will help even more by leaving most of the dust in entryways.
Update and Maintain Floor Coverings
Carpets and rugs are much more likely to trap dust and allow it to scatter into the air than hard surface floors. If you can't remove the carpet, frequent vacuuming (daily) is the best way to keep surface dust levels as low as possible. Carpet removal lowers dust levels; however, hard surface floors should still be cleaned with a damp dust mop at least weekly.
Change and Wash Bedding and Towels Weekly
Since dust mites feed on dead skin cells, the bedroom and bathroom are prime locations. Bed linens, towels, and bath mats should be washed weekly to kill dust mites and remove allergens. Encase pillows and mattresses in dust mite protective covers. This won't prevent dust, but will reduce the number of dust mites.
Clear the Clutter
Take a look at the stack of papers on your desk or your grandmother's collection of teapots proudly displayed on open kitchen shelving. Are they dusty? Every item on display or openly stashed in our home is collecting dust. Get rid of items that you don't use or need by donating them. Display collections behind glass doors and be judicious about how many dust collectors you must clean each week.
Don't forget to check your clothes closets. If you have hanging clothes with dust on the shoulders, it's time to purge. If you want to keep the garment, place it in a proper breathable storage bag that can be washed frequently.
Identify Dust Traps
There are certain surfaces in homes that are more prone to trap dust. While you probably can't or don't want to get rid of all of them, it is important to identify them and make a choice to clean them frequently or change them.
- Fabric upholstery traps and releases dust much more easily than leather or non-upholstered furniture.
- Heavy window coverings and blinds trap more dust than lightweight curtains that can be washed frequently.
- Faux plants hold onto dust much more than live plants, which can be rinsed off in a quick shower.
- Plush, faux fur throws will trap more dust than silky, lightweight throws.
Use the Proper Cleaning Tools
Using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will reduce the amount of dust that escapes back into the air while vacuuming. Choose an electrostatic disposable duster or microfiber cloth rather than a feather duster that just scatters dust rather than trapping it while cleaning. Make sure that all of your tools are cleaned regularly so they perform at their highest level.
Take Care of Your Furry Pets
They are part of our family, but pets contribute significantly to the dust levels in a home with both their dander and the particles they bring in on their fur. Bathe pets frequently and consider keeping the number of pets low if someone has a significant sensitivity to dust.
Change Air Filters
Whether you have a central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system (HVAC) or individual units, the air filters should be changed regularly. As air circulates, dust is trapped in the filters to prevent it from returning to the living areas.
Some systems have filters that can be cleaned, while others require a fresh filter monthly. Using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter can remove at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns. In addition to the air systems, clean or change the filters in range hoods, clothes dryers, and oil diffusers.
Add an Air Purifier
Air purifiers do more than remove odors from the air: They also capture dust. Most use a fan system that pulls in air from the room, captures dust particles in a filter, and recirculates the cleaner air. Air purifiers like the ones from Blueair are available in a variety of sizes and price ranges. Use one regularly and clean it frequently to reduce dust levels.
Sheikh A, Hurwitz B, Nurmatov U, van Schayck CP. House dust mite avoidance measures for perennial allergic rhinitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev., vol. 7, 2019. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001563.pub3
Becher, Rune et al. Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 184, 2018. doi:10.3390/ijerph15020184
Dust Mite Allergy. The Mayo Clinic, 2021.
Pet Dander. American Lung Association, 2022.
What is a HEPA Filter? United States Environmental Protection Agency.