We tend to underestimate dust–we’ve all been guilty of letting dust pile up in our homes, especially in harder-to-reach surfaces. Failing to keep the dust in our homes under control, however, can have more consequences than we realize.
Dust is disgusting–one speck of dust is packed with items that you don’t want in your home. This can include (but is not limited to) pieces of dead skin, mold spores, dead insects and their droppings, pollen, pet dander, soil, particulate matter from smoke, food debris, and, of course, dust mites.
What’s worse is that we tend to underestimate the resiliency of dust, and the fact that, if not removed properly, dust can be in homes for a very long time–and particularly “old” dust can contain especially harmful ingredients. For example, traces of lead and DDT–a pesticide banned in the U.S. in 1972–are still being found in recent dust samples.
With ingredients like these, it isn’t a surprise that dust can be irritating, even without a formally diagnosed dust allergy. Other factors, such as dust particle size, can also contribute to how irritable the dust in your home may be. Larger dust particles typically get trapped in your nose and mouth, but they can be breathed (or sneezed) out. Smaller particles, typically referred to as fine dust, float in the air and can easily travel to your lungs and even be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
Staying on top of dust is important for our health, but some of the most notorious dust magnets in our home are also the spots we forget to clean the most. Give your home a dust cleanse by making sure you dust these 15 spots in your home this weekend:
- Tops of bookshelves
- Tops of cabinets (in kitchens and bathrooms)
- Tops of door and window frames
- Bed frames
- Light fixtures
- The top of the refrigerator
- Any decorative items (like vases or picture frames)
- Underneath your furniture
- Ceiling fans
- Light bulbs
- Plant leaves and fake plants
- In-closet shelves
- TV and computer screens
Before you take on this list though, make sure you’re dusting properly with our two dusting tips:
- Don’t use a feather duster. Feather dusters actually make the situation worse by pushing dust into the air instead of eliminating it. Opt instead for a damp cloth, which will trap dust on contact.
- Be careful vacuuming. When you vacuum, dust and hold that has settled in your carpet can be uprooted and blown around your house–and can take hours to settle back down. Try to wear a mask when you vacuum, and look into buying vacuums with a HEPA filter built in to catch dust.
Staying on top of the dust in your home can be overwhelming. Luckily, there’s air quality monitors, like Awair. Awair tracks toxins and chemicals in your air and gives you actionable insights and tips to help you stay safe and healthy.