Are you having guests coming over and now your indoors smell dusty? Or are you the kind of person who constantly has dust on the furnishings no matter what you do? Does it seem like there is no way to get rid of the dust in your home?
Well you’re in luck, cause we’re about to reveal…
Dust is one of the most irritating annoyances that anyone living in a building can bare. There is nothing quite as gross as hopping onto your favourite couch to relax in front of the telly or catch up on the latest post only to feel that waft of dust float up your nostrils and into your air ways, tickle your throat and make you sneeze and cough.
Keeping dust out of your home can be a challenging task, but with a little bit of work you can find where it’s coming from, minimize it and sometimes totally get rid of it from inside your living spaces.
Generally, dust comes from three sources. It’s either:
- walked in or carried inside:on your shoes, on your clothes, even on your pets, and on the things they and you carry inside, fabric in the mattress, pillows, bedding, curtains, blinds, upholstery and carpeting fibres, dryer lint, building insulation, they all bring dust particles inside.
- blown inside:through open windows and doors, through building gaps and cracks. Organic dust particles are naturally derived from soil erosion, decomposing leaves, pollen and other plant matter, bacteria, viruses, mould, fragmented cockroach and insect parts, bush fires and household fireplaces.
Or it’s likely to have been caused by inorganic sources from mining, smelting, industrial processes, emissions from fuel, coal, gas and oil combustion.
- attracted and trapped: in electronics, on the carpet, on top of your fridge, even in air conditioning and heating ducts, vents, roof cavities and sub floor basements, on wall paper and in the dryer, simply stuck on stuff!
As new homes become air tighter, and more heavily electronic, the dust problem is an increasing one as it becomes trapped, makes the building more dirty and attracts more dust.
I know what you’re thinking. Why can’t I get rid of dust completely?
Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to dust infestations, but by simply taking a few precautions, you can greatly reduce the amount of dust in your home and sometimes stop it from ever entering your indoors again.
Dust Is Good to Go!
Sure, it is a little gross to look at, but dust does serve a very important purpose. If you like your soft furnishings and clothing, you definitely see it around, even more so with pets.
Materials naturally break down to finer particles, float in the air adding to a multitude of other materials and organisms and bacteria and skin and pet hair. If you get rid of the pets and the soft materials in your room, then you will find that you have a lot less work ahead of you with your dusting, I promise you that.
When Is Dust a Problem?
Most of the time you will have to worry about dust bunnies taking up residency indoors, as they settle in quiet undisturbed areas in the building.
We’ve all seen dust swirling around in corners, the nor easterly winds here in Sydney Australia whip up a speed that drives particles from pollens, dust, smoke, agriculture and construction dust to the entry points in your home and if you happen to have doors and windows open, it will blow right in!
Once in, the strong breeze doesn’t seem to have the momentum inside, and dust can often simply float in the air and land on any surface, dust is trapped and can’t get moving again.
Keep That Dust Away
No matter how unsightly it may be for your furnishings, it is a nuisance if you have to try to wipe it off your hard furnishings or vacuum or wash them out of your bedding, lounges and carpets. So what can you do about it?
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all fix that will take care of dust, and you may never be able to totally eliminate the problem. Still, you aren’t left without options. Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use to reduce or eliminate your dust problem once and for all.
- Remove Your Shoes
Outdoor dust is best addressed by wiping your feet at the front door, then mopping hard surface floors with a microfibre or vacuuming carpeted floors with a power head and HEPA filter. Helps the carpets last longer.
First, remove all shoes before entering, that is everyone who occupies this building including guests, to ensure nothing enters the building. Besides, if you leave a pair of slippers for occupants and guests to slip into, just inside the doorway, they’ll get the hang of it. Great reminder.
- Invest in good quality doormats
Choosing the right door mat for inside and outside the entry ways can stop a lot of the dust from ever entering your home. You can use an entry door mat, which collects dirt from your shoes and feet. Or you can use an indoor mat which prevents dust from entering your space.
- After a Storm Check the Outside of the House
I know this isn’t always possible, after all we are all busy. However, if you can, after the storm has passed go ahead and give your pathways, porch and balcony areas a quick check and a clean if need be.
You can buy a broom to sweep outdoor surfaces, which usually comes with a dust pan if you live in a unit.
If you can get to it soon enough after the heavy rains, you may be able to capture that debris and dirt before it has had a chance to reach your front and back doors and maybe before being dried by the sun and becoming dust. Pick up and move debris to garden beds or compost so it can, well, decompose.
- Landscape Your Landscaping
Who doesn’t love great looking gardens, clean paths, manicured lawns around their property. In many ways it really makes your home natural, brings nature in touch with buildings.
You may try to reconfigure your landscaping away from your building entrances and pathways. This will increase the distance any pollen and dust that drifts, will make it before its dried by the sun and decomposes outside.
Plant plenty of trees with lots of foliage, captures dust particles, and washes off with the rain, and drops right into the ground below, nowhere near your indoors.
Some dust will inevitably manage to make it, despite the odds, so don’t expect this solution to put a stop to it. But it will reduce the quantity of dust that reaches your home meaning you will have less to clean out.
- Hard Surfaced Pathways
Try adding hard surfaced pathways, not so much the concrete or tar type, which can lead to water runoff issues, more like unique stepping stones or pavers around the building perimeter.
You can even add them just on top of the soil where the concrete meets the ground. This hard surface will reduce decomposition of the soil around your home, something that can be swept away really easily.
- Screen to Block!
If dust and debris are a problem, or you’d love less dust indoors, and just need more help, you could always try screening.
By screening the landscaping and grassy areas around your home will deflect any dust present in that area and capture dust from going into the home.
You can also screen doors and windows with fly screen materials, this will capture larger dust particles at the entry as well stop flies and mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies visiting when you least expect it. I feel you should consider this option carefully where air flow may be compromised, as fly screens will also reduce the ventilation that is very beneficial to your indoors and air flow.
Pay attention to what’s going on outside when you open windows to avoid letting extra dust and pollution in. Dust or vacuum screens with the brush attachment before wiping with a dampened microfibre cloth to help cut down on what blows in when you’re simply trying to get a little fresh air.
- Seal up Your Home
Check doors and windows to make sure seals are working well and have not deteriorated.
Check for holes and splits in the exterior surfaces, sub floor and roof cavities, to ensure that dust blown into these areas doesn’t pull into living spaces.
When wind hits these exterior surfaces, the materials will take the big hit. That means, your indoors will be protected over time and might see a more drastic change in dust levels, which is a good thing — thank you, maintenance.
- Dusty Handling Systems
No matter how much you tidy, dust, or vacuum, if your HVAC system or air purifier filter or dehumidifier is dusty, your air is dusty.
The method you use to clean your air purifier filter will depend on whether it’s a HEPA filter or an Activated Carbon filter, Mechanical or electrostatic filter. Regardless of the type, clean or replace your filter on a regular basis, and keep an eye out for dust build up between cleanings.
You’re Ready To Be Your Own Dust Pro!
Dust in your home won’t really hurt your home, it’s just kind of dusty. There is no set cure for dust in your home, however there are many options for you to try to reduce or eliminate your dust problem once and for all.
Experiment with the different solutions and maybe even use a combination of more than one for the best results.
Now that you know what you need to keep your indoors and outdoors clean, you can make sure you have the right tools and methods on hand so your home is always clean, ready, and waiting for you.
Towards healthier living,
About the Author
Carol Parr is a consultant, healthy home wizard, and building biologist. Through mentoring, she teaches families the pure necessity to live natural, healthy lives, create truly healthy homes, and contribute to human well being. Drawing on her experience of more than two decades, she consults in the home, integrates health, natural living and available, sustainable and effective practices that are pleasing to the senses. Her collection of modern day living resources is freely available on blog, video, and Mitey Fresh Australia. Carol seeks to contribute to human well being and preservation that determines the future health of our children and their environment tomorrow.