There are thousands of ingredients that make up dust. Dust mites feed on the skin cells that we and our pets shed every day. Tiny particles of soil and sand join fibers from clothing, carpet, drapes, and furniture. Add in mold spores, pollen, bits of plants, and insects and you have an allergy aggravating air around the house. There are air cleaning machines on the market, but the most effective ones are pricy. Here are a few things you can do on your own to keep the dust down.
When dusting furniture, stay away from older feather dusters that only push dust around. The Swiffer types are better, but it’s still a good idea to use a dusting spray to really catch all the dust, instead of releasing it into the air. I often dust with a slightly damp microfiber cloth to really trap all the dust and clean up rings. Don’t forget lamps and shades; they are great dust holders.
Old carpets shed fibers and hold onto dust. Consider replacing old carpets or even better, replace with hard surface flooring. Every time you walk across a carpet, your feet knock particles into the air. With forced air heating, these particles float on the air currents throughout the house. Carpets and padding will deteriorate over time; they become brittle and break into fine particles which contribute considerably to dust.
Replace your old furnace filter with a high efficiency pleated one. Change it once a month. Vacuum often but make sure you use a HEPA filter, otherwise you’re just spreading around the dust. Duct cleaning is not necessary, unless you’ve just remodeled or if they have never been cleaned.
We all love our pets, but like it or not, they are a source of much dust. Launder their sleeping areas frequently. Bathe and groom animals regularly. Brush them outside (if you can) to keep the dust and allergens out of the house. Wipe off their feet after walks.
Always use a sturdy mat with a rough surface outside the door, so everyone can clean their shoes before entering. Put outdoor clothing in a closet and keep the door shut.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO