Tips for fighting the on-going battle against dust

The average house will accumulate 18 k (40 lb.) of dust a year. The dust film that children love to write their names in is made up of particles of more than 5000 different materials, including skin flakes; human hair; pet hair, skin and saliva; food bits; pollen grains; mould spores; insect parts; sawdust and fibre. So it is important to be diligent and effective when it comes to dusting.

Tips for fighting the on-going battle against dust

1. Don’t just push it around

  • Just pushing dust around is what many methods of dusting do. Feather dusters are great, for instance, for cleaning blinds — as long as you make sure to shake the duster outside frequently.
  • A dry dust cloth just moves the dust or suspends it.
  • Even a vacuum cleaner — unless it uses a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter — redistributes a certain amount of the dust it's supposed to be removing, but it's still the major weapon in the dust war.

2. Why do we dust?

  • Aesthetics are a big reason, of course. But there are some important health concerns related to dust. Dust can be a reservoir for contaminants. Lead and pesticides, for instance, are known to accumulate in household dust.
  • In addition, there are a lot of elements in dust, such as mites, that can cause allergic reactions related to asthma and sometimes to eczema.

3. To dust a room

  • Vacuum everything first — furniture, windowsills, walls, upholstery, the coffee table, it doesn't matter.
  • Vacuuming is the key to dust removal, because it removes a lot of dust without creating a dust storm in the process.
  • Follow up with a damp cloth, and your room should be dust-free for a while.
  • Naturally, you want to truly remove the dust, rather than kicking it up into the air. Electrostatic cloths, dusters and cleaning mitts, for example, hold the dust.
  • A damp washcloth or microfibre cloth will also hang on to the dust.
  • And so will a simple cloth duster impregnated with a few drops of paraffin oil, or an oil-impregnated disposable dust cloth, available from cleaning suppliers.
  • But if you use a washcloth instead of disposables, make sure you wash it after every use.
  • If the damp cloth doesn't seem to be quite enough, mix 15 ml (1 tbsp) of lemon extract or 30 ml (2 tbsp) of vinegar in 1 litre (1 quart) of water.
  • Use the solution to redampen the cloth, and you'll cut through the film.
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