Why Is My House So Dusty?

Seven causes of household dust and how to solve them

Woman dusting a home heater

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If you're struggling to control all the dust in your home, you're not alone. Homes can get dusty quickly, and a dusty home is often not a reflection of your cleaning habits. Rather, a dusty home is often due to other factors like old filters, shedding pets, and even drafty windows.

Keep reading to find out why your house is dusty, and how to stay on top of dust so your space can stay as dust-free as possible.

why is my house so dusty pets

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One of the biggest contributors to dust in your home is unfortunately, your pets. Cats and dogs shed dander (excess fur and skin flakes) all day long, leading to excess dust—and allergic reactions.

But don't worry, it's relatively easy to curb the dust that your four-legged friends produce:

  • Brush your pets frequently, and do it outside if possible. Your pet's hair will be much easier to clean up when it's mostly attached to a brush. Doing this outside is even better, as runaway hair will end up in the grass, rather than your carpet.
  • Keep your pets away from rooms that contain lots of dust-sensitive or fragile items. If you want to ensure your art or antique book collection stays as dust-free as can be, keep your pets out of it.
  • Vacuum your home regularly, especially your carpet. This ensures pet dander can't make its way deep into the recesses of your home's floors and baseboards.

Air Filters

If your return air filters are old, they can be letting lots of dust and allergens into your home, especially in the colder months. Additionally, dust can build up on the filter grills, making them look dirty and unsightly.

Dusty vents and filters are an easy fix. Here are the two things you should do:

  • First, get new air filters and replace your old ones ASAP. And continue to replace them every three months. You don't need to buy the most expensive, allergen-friendly filters—even the budget option will do, as long as they are clean.
  • Clean the metal grill that sits atop your filter. Use your vacuum's hose attachment to suction up the dust, then detail with a damp, soapy cloth to ensure all the dust is gone.
why is my house so dusty windows

Getty Images / Felipe Dupouy

Drafty Windows

If your windows are old, they could be letting in outdoor dust and dirt through barely-visible cracks and gaps. Additionally, keeping your windows open for long periods of time can let it dirt from outside, especially if you live near a busy road.

To make sure your windows don't let in dust, fill in gaps and cracks in your window frame with caulk and sealant. Additionally, try to keep your windows closed on days when the wind will blow dust, dirt, and pollen right into your home.

Dirty Window Coverings

Your window coverings, whether they're thick curtains or flimsy blinds, are hotspots for dust buildup. That's because they're typically not cleaned as often as other spaces in your home, and they sit near windows and the floor, which are also both dust magnets.

Keeping your window coverings dust-free helps the rest of your home remain dust-free too. Here are three ways to do it:

  • Regularly vacuum any thick, upholstered curtains. You can use the brush attachment and work from top to bottom.
  • Have thinner curtains? Consider running them through the washer and dryer every few months or so! Make sure they're dryer-safe first, though.
  • Clean blinds with the hose attachment of your vacuum, and follow behind it with a damp cloth to catch any left behind dust and grime.
why is my house so dusty decor

Emily Henderson Design, Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Decor, Knick-Knacks, and Clutter

Little knick-knacks with lots of corners and nooks for dust to get stuck in, as well as lots of decor and clutter throughout your home, can add to your home's feeling of dustiness. Additionally, they can be difficult to dust around, especially if there are a lot of them on one surface.

To keep your surfaces free of dust, consider keeping any home accents in a covered glass cabinet to avoid dust buildup. If you do keep decor out, make sure you remove them from their surfaces before dusting, and don't forget to dust the decor itself too.


It's no surprise that your shoes bring in tons of dust and dirt from the outside into the home. Even if your shoes don't look dirty, they can still bring grime from dirty streets, sidewalks and lawns.

Dealing with dirty shoes is an easy fix. Here's what to do:

  • Take your shoes off when you enter your home, and make sure they have a place to go that's not the floor, like a shoe shelf or bin.
  • Clean the space underneath your shoe storage regularly, as it can become a dust and dirt hotspot.
  • Place mats on the inside of any entrance to your home, ensuring there's a space to wipe off dirty shoes.
why is my house so dusty cleaning routine

Getty Images / Carol Yepes

Your Cleaning Routine

Unfortunately, your cleaning routine itself can be a source of dust in your home. Dirty vacuum filters can spread dust around, as can hasty dusting, dirty cleaning rags, and paper towels.

Ensure your cleaning routine is actually making your home cleaner, not dustier, with these easy-to-follow tips:

  • Replace your vacuum filter regularly to ensure it's effective and cleaning properly. If you have a reusable filter on your vacuum, make sure to clean it every month or so, depending on how often you use it.
  • Dust your house from the top to the bottom, and try to use a damp duster so that dust will stick to it, rather than fly away to another corner of your home.
  • Don't skimp on clean towels and rags when cleaning. Replace your dirty rags or paper towels when they start to get noticeably dirty to ensure you're not just spreading dirt from the bookshelf to the coffee table.