20 Tips To Prevent And Reduce Dust In Your Home
It’s well past time to dust that dust away—and we’ve got 20 expert tips to help you.
Household dust is persistent, frustrating and also incredibly common. We all have it. And we all hate it.
First things first, what exactly is dust? The short answer: it’s basically a collection of tiny particles from outside (think dirt, pollen, etc.), human skin cells, pet dander, decomposed bugs, lint ... you get the idea. In addition to being kind of gross and just generally irksome, dust—and dust mites—are some of the most common household allergens, which means you really don’t want them hanging around in large quantities.
But how on earth do you deal with it? Don’t worry, as intractable a problem as dust sometimes seems to be, there are some tried and true ways to keep the dust in your home under control. And while we can’t promise you a completely dust-free home forever (no one can, sorry), we do have 20 tips that will go a long way toward preventing and reducing all that household dust so you and your family can breathe easier.
Ready? Read on.
Tips to prevent and reduce dust in your home
1. Dust. Frequently.
We know, we know. This is what you came here to avoid. But as a living, breathing human with hair and dead skin cells who goes outside and brings the outside in with you ... there’s just no avoiding that you will create some dust, and the best way to keep it from becoming a problem is, well, dusting. Luckily for you, we have a lot of guides for how to dust. First tip? Go top to bottom so you don’t create more work for yourself, and use tools to make it easier—like the Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender. That thing even makes cleaning the ceiling fan a breeze. But read on for our best tips for keeping dust at bay to make the dusting part a little easier every time.
2. Don’t just vacuum. Vacuum correctly.
Vacuuming regularly (translation: once or twice a week) is one of the most important things you can do to keep the amount of dust in your home from spiraling out of control, especially if you have pets, are in the habit of keeping your windows open and/or wear shoes indoors.
Another great option? The Swiffer Sweep + Vac, which combines the power of a vacuum and a Swiffer. That dust will never know what hit it.
While we’re at it, there is a correct way to vacuum. Vacuuming with quick motions tends to stir up more dust than it traps, so use slow, long passes to go over each area several times. It’s also a good idea to use certified true (make sure the label says “true”) HEPA filters with a vacuum that has an airtight, sealed filtration system; this will help ensure that all that dust you vacuum up doesn’t just end up leaking back into your home through gaps in the body of your vacuum.
3. Break out the bucket and mop while you’re at it.
Vacuuming weekly is a GREAT place to start. Start? Yes, start. Because even the most powerful vacuum is going to miss some of that dust. Enter the trusty ol’ mop, which is a pretty unbeatable second line of defense. Opt for a wet mop; a dry one will do an excellent job at pushing dust around, but a much poorer one at actually trapping it.
4. Give your rugs a little extra attention.
Your rugs, like your floors, see a lot of dust. The difference with rugs, though, is that all those fibers are exceptionally good at trapping that dust. This means that you’re going to want to go over your rugs (especially those that see a lot of foot traffic) a few more times with the vacuum than you do with your hard floors. It also means you might want to vacuum high-traffic areas more than just once per week. Taking your rugs outside to shake and beat them once every month or 2 is another good idea, as is getting them professionally cleaned annually. Trust us, it’s worth it.
5. Deep clean your carpet.
If you have carpet, you really want to have a professional properly deep clean it once a year (maybe twice a year if you have pets). Carpet is a dust magnet, and no matter how much you vacuum, it is truly difficult to remove all the dust that gets caught in its fibers. If it’s been a year (or several) since you had your carpet steam cleaned and/or shampooed, it’s definitely time to call in the experts.
6. Consider, too, whether it might be time to say goodbye to your carpet altogether.
This tip’s not as easy (or cheap) to implement, but if you have the energy and funds, consider switching out that carpet for hardwood or some other type of floor you can more easily clean and maintain—especially if you have allergies. And if the thing that’s stopping you is that lovely plushy feel beneath your toes, an area rug is a great alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting (just make sure to clean it regularly—see Tip #4).
7. Don’t forget all the other surfaces in your home where dust likes to accumulate.
You vacuum and mop your floors weekly (hooray!), but somehow you still have dust everywhere. What gives?
Well, are you dusting all the other surfaces in your home as often as you’re tackling your floors? No? Well, yeah, that could be the problem.
The solution? Add surface dusting to your weekly cleaning checklist, too. A Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender is a great tool for this job; its specially coated fibers are uniquely designed to trap and lock dust instead of just spreading it around, and its handle extends up to 6 feet so you can get all those hard-to-reach places (hello, ceiling fan!). A microfiber cloth or slightly damp rag are also great options.
8. Clean your pillows and upholstery.
2 other places that dust likes to hide out? Pillows and upholstery. Your cleaning approach here will depend on the kind of material you’re dealing with. If you have leather furniture, try wiping it down with a slightly (and we do mean very slightly) damp cloth and/or specially formulated leather cleaner. For fabric pillows and furniture, check any instructions available from the manufacturer. Oftentimes, a vacuum will work wonders, and in the case of cushions and pillows, you might also be able to remove their fabric covers and either throw them in the laundry or dry-clean them.
And, as with rugs, taking your cushions and pillows (and, if you can manage, your furniture) outside and shaking and beating them once every month or 2, will go a long way toward keeping household dust at bay.
9. Check on your plants, too.
Dust doesn’t even spare your houseplants (how rude!). Try to give your plants’ leaves a light once-over with a damp paper towel or cloth once every week or 2; doing so will help your plants (and you) breathe more easily.
10. Wash your bedding every week.
You (hopefully) spend a lot of hours in your bed every night, which means that your bedding is covered in sweat, skin cells, hair and whatever run-of-the-mill dirt or grime you bring into the bed with you when you crawl in for the night. All that stuff is basically dust in the making. (Not to mention your bedding’s fabric fibers can also contribute to your household dust.) So yeah, wash your bedding weekly.
11. Use the right tools for the job.
Using the right tools in your battle against household dust makes a big difference. Invest in a good vacuum that actually has enough suction power to give dust a run for its money. A mop and/or Swiffer Sweep + Vac are also invaluable, as are microfiber cloths (which trap dust way more effectively than rags made from old T-shirts). And make sure you have something to help you reach those high-up places; we love the Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender, which extends up to 6 feet.
12. Work top down.
Even if dust particles are tiny, gravity still applies to them. You don’t want to spend all that time and energy cleaning your floors only to find they’ve been covered in a new layer of dust after you clean your bookshelves. We’ve got plenty more dusting tips where that came from.
13. Get an air purifier.
If you clean your floors and dust weekly, shampoo your carpets and basically do everything right but still find you can’t quite tame your household dust problem, it might be time to get an air purifier. As much as routine cleaning really does help prevent dust from mushrooming into a giant problem, some amount of dust is bound to sneak by your vacuum, mop, microfiber cloths, etc. If you have allergies or just can’t bear to keep your windows closed when it’s nice out, an air purifier can be a total game changer.
14. Invest in a better furnace filter.
When your heating system circulates air throughout your home, it also circulates dust. A high-quality filter will help trap that dust and take it out of circulation. (Woohoo!) Remember, too, to change your filter out according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
15. Get a doormat.
It might seem like a small thing, but seriously, doormats really do help minimize the amount of dirt and dust that get brought into your home.
16. Make your home a no-shoes zone.
Shoes see a lot of dirt and dust. And that means they track a lot of dirt and dust into your home. If you don’t already have a no-shoes-inside-the-home policy, consider trying one out. An added bonus? You can finally justify buying those cozy slippers you’ve had your eye on.
17. Groom your pets regularly (outdoors if possible).
We love dogs as much as more than anyone, but unfortunately, pets are often major household dust contributors. Bathing and brushing your furry friends regularly can do wonders for your home’s air quality. Try to groom Fido outdoors to keep all the dander and dust you shake loose out of the home; if that’s not possible, put some old towels or newspaper down so you can contain the mess and easily clean up afterward.
“Hey,” you protest. “I thought this was an article about dusting, not decluttering!” You’re right ... and wrong. Because decluttering is key to helping prevent dust. Why? Because the more things you have (particularly if they’re, ahem, strewn about your home instead of tucked away in their proper places), the more surfaces there are for dust to accumulate on. So consider this a friendly reminder to put away all your books and papers and clothes. You’re welcome.
19. Think twice before getting another throw for your couch.
Textiles don’t just trap and hide dust; their fibers actually help make it, too. So instead of buying that really cute decorative pillow or throw blanket to add to your collection, consider whether it might be time to try out a more minimalist aesthetic.
20. Move things around every once in a while.
Those little tchotchkes that have been sitting forgotten in the corner of your spare room for ages? Definitely magnets for dust. Take the time every week or so to check on, dust and move any objects you have sitting out in your home; it’ll help keep dust from gathering on them.
And if you happen to find that you don’t really care for all of those knickknacks? Consider them prime candidates for decluttering (see Tip #18).
Bottom line: dust is one of those problems you’re never going to totally solve (boo), but it’s definitely possible to keep it under control by sticking to a regular cleaning routine and following the above advice (amazing).