Reducing Dust in the Home

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Dust has frequently been identified in various studies as the number one cause of certain health issues attributed to the household. It has produced a significant number of cases involving asthma, allergies and respiratory problems in both children and adults. So how what can you do to reduce dust in the home?

The unfortunate reality is that even we clean our home on a regular basis, dust is still around us. It can enter the home through an open window and can even travel on the clothing and shoes of those that come into the homes. But the first step to understanding how to alleviate the problem lies within understanding the nature of the problem itself.

The most common form of dust that is found in the home is called dust mites, which are tiny bugs that live in household dust. Dust mites can survive on the skin cells that humans shed. In addition to upholstered furniture, dust mites are also commonly found in rugs, carpets and in the bedroom.

This is by no means a comforting visual, and as much as we cannot eliminate dust entirely, we take some measures and precautions to at least reduce it or keep it under control around our families. Naturally, engaging in a great deal cleaning will help to solve the problem, and there really is no such thing as “too much cleaning” when there is evidence of a severe dust problem in the home.

Keep in mind that closets are a popular location for dust, because of the fabrics of clothing that we keep in there. Fibers accumulated on our clothing then float in the air and come into contact with the dust, spreading it everywhere. If you open your window to allow a little of the sunlight in on a nice day, it is not at all unusual to see the dust tornado floating in the air.

To avoid this, you can start by tidying up the floor of your closets so as not to miss a spot when doing vacuuming. And if you are storing clothing in the closets, consider doing so in a plastic container during your cleaning process. Plastic containers are known to lock in the fibers pretty well and more importantly, they keep the dust out. However, if plastic containers are not readily available during the cleaning, try draping a few thrash bags over the clothing that you do not typically wear often (such as season clothing).

The types of cleaning accessories you use should also be taken into consideration. For example, when cleaning counter tops and surfaces, you may want to use a damp cloth as opposed to feather dusters (which are known to spread dust around rather than eliminate it). A damp cloth is ideal because the electrostatic force will keep the dust steady so that removal is a smooth process.

Your bed may be the most comfortable piece of furniture in your home. But keep in mind beds may contain a lot of dust. Whether it becomes an issue of fiber-shedding or merely the dissemination of your own skin flakes, dust is released in the air every time that you move around on the bed.

Changing and cleaning your bedding materials weekly is a great way to reduce the dust circulation. And if your comforter or blanket will not fit in your washing machine, you can shake them outside before returning them to the bed. The same principle also applies to area rugs and cushions. It is a good idea to beat and shake them outside your home. In addition, you should plan on having them cleaned professional approximately every 6 months to a year.

For the homeowner with large amounts of carpeting throughout, dust can be a significant problem, largely because dust is attracted to carpet like a moth to a flame. Regular weekly vacuuming is absolutely necessary for carpet owners. And although it may be a bit costly, you should think about investing in a vacuum that has an allergen filtration feature. An air cleaner is also another great item you should consider purchasing in your efforts to get rid of dust. In the long run, these relatively small investments can serve to create a healthier environment.

Remember, dust mites are basically derived from dust in the household. They are more prevalent in the colder months of the year when windows in the house are mostly kept closed.

Winter months can contribute to an increase in dust mites, because they can remain active when we use the heater in the home. This is also the time of year when our skin gets dry and cells drop off rapidly. Once they are formed, dust mites attach themselves to fabrics -- mainly bedding -- and are also floating in the air. They can cause allergic reactions in kids, so it’s a good idea to be especially diligent in vacuuming children’s rooms regularly

Children's bedding should be immersed in hot water when doing the laundry and then dried on a high setting. There are also mattress covers and pillow cases on the market that actually help to keep dust mites away and/or reduce their impact on the home.

Another aspect to consider is the type of window coverings used in the home that can trap dust mites. Blinds, which usually catch the most dust, should be wiped cleaned as often as necessary with a damp cloth. And if you have curtains, remember to wash and change them regularly.

Other places that dust mites are attracted to include stuffed animals and children's toys, as well as picture frames and even on your houseplants. Stuffed animals should be washed in hot water to avoid allergies. And be sure to always wipe every surface that you think dirt will accumulate with a damp cloth.

As far as the heating problem goes during the winter-time, turn down the temperature as much as possible so that dust mites are not provided with the opportunity to thrive in the humidity. Even when summertime rolls around, you should eliminate humidity by keeping the air-conditioning on. Reports have shown that dust mites can survive in humidity that are in high levels of 75 -80 percent. You may want to keep your humidity in the house at 35-50 percent. Of course investing in a dehumidifier and air filter system will help solve the dust problem significantly.

You can reduce dust in your home simply be being diligent about keep the surfaces and air clean on a regular basis. While there are a number of great products on the market to help with this problem, in the end, it all comes down to you and how much work you are willing to do in order to deal with the issue.

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