The Best Ways to Dust

Woman dusting tall window frame with extendable duster on brick wall

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Made up of shed skin cells, pet dander, insect droppings, pollen, lint, and soil particles, dust is everywhere. (The average home produces about 40 pounds of it every year.) Dust can cling to vertical surfaces, fabrics, and every imaginable surface. Unless you like your home to look like you're ready for a Halloween haunted house, dusting is key—and removing dust will help keep your respiratory system healthier and reduce allergic reactions.

Take a look at the best ways to dust areas and surfaces in your home and tips to make dusting easier and more efficient.

  • 01 of 07

    6 Golden Rules for Dusting

    With these general tips, your dusting efforts will never go awry. For more specific ways to dust surfaces, crevices, and more tips, read on.

    1. When dusting a room or an object, always start at the top and work your way down so you won't have dust resettle on a freshly cleaned area.
    2. Dust first, then vacuum a room to capture all that has fallen to the floor.
    3. Close windows and turn off fans while dusting to prevent the particles from scattering.
    4. Regularly clean your dusting and vacuuming tools. A dirty duster and a full vacuum will not remove dust well.
    5. Change the HVAC system or unit filters often. They capture dust circulating in the air but when they are full, the dust will land on surfaces.
    6. Declutter, declutter, declutter. Fewer dust trappers mean easier dusting.
  • 02 of 07

    Use the Best Duster

    Using the right type of duster for the task will make dusting easier and more effective. The best duster is one that will capture and trap the dust so it is not spread around as you work.

    • Electrostatic disposable dusters (Swiffer) do a great job and are available with extendable handles to reach high places. Offered in different thicknesses to handle light to heavy loads of dust, even on floors, they can become expensive to use for every task.
    • Microfiber dusters come in a variety of designs, from hand-mitts to slatted window blind dusters to floor dust mops. The fibers are made from nylon and polyester and create an electrostatic fabric that attracts and holds onto dust until the duster is washed with laundry detergent. These dusters can be reused hundreds of times.
    • Feather and wool dusters can be reused for many years but can scatter dust unless they are cleaned after every use. If you want a natural fiber duster, opt for a lambswool duster that can be hand-washed with a gentle soap.
    • Many people swear by old cotton t-shirts for dusters. They are soft, won't scratch surfaces, and can be washed and reused. However, they don't trap the dust as well as microfiber unless you use a dusting spray or dampen the cotton slightly.
    • The worst product to use for dusting is a paper towel. Some brands can scratch surfaces, and all paper towels leave lint behind.
  • 03 of 07

    Keep a Dusting Schedule

    Every room in your home should be dusted at least once a week. This doesn't mean that you have to do the entire house in one day. Make a schedule and dust one or two rooms each day. It will take only a few minutes and prevent excessively heavy buildup of dust that is more difficult to capture.

    During your weekly dusting, don't forget vertical surfaces like mirrors and the tops of picture frames and bookshelves.

  • 04 of 07

    Tackle Heavy Dust Buildup

    If you haven't kept up with your dusting, removing a thick layer of buildup can seem daunting. Rather than going through multiple disposable dusters or microfiber cloths, start with a vacuum that has a hose and an upholstery brush attachment.

    Work slowly and keep the brush just slightly above the surface of the dusty area to prevent scratching. Empty the vacuum cup or bag often to maintain strong suction. Follow up with a microfiber cloth or disposable duster to trap the small particles that are left behind.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Get to Hard to Reach Places

    With the right tools, dusting high or low spots isn't difficult. If you have ceiling fans, invest in a microfiber or disposable duster with an extendable and bendable handle. Change the angle to fit the blades and dusting is simple. This tool works great for light fixtures, tops of cabinets, and door and window moldings, too.

    To dust baseboards, use a clean microfiber mop or use a rubber band to secure a microfiber cloth to the end of a broom handle so there's no bending. Use the same technique to clean and dust the tracts of sliding doors and shower stall enclosures.

  • 06 of 07

    Learn to Dust Upholstered Furniture

    The simplest way to dust upholstered furniture is to use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment. However, if you don't have a vacuum with a hose, put on a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves. Start at the top of the furniture and rub down in one direction. The gloves will attract pet hair and dust. Rinse off and dry the gloves and continue until the entire piece is cleaned.

  • 07 of 07

    Dust Electronics Properly

    Dust is an enemy of electronics. It can cause them to overheat and malfunction, so keeping dust away is essential. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for your computer, television, or gaming system, but most can be cleaned with an electrostatic disposable duster or microfiber cloth. Just don't use any water or dusting sprays.