9 Ways You Can Reduce Dust and Allergies in your Home

Did you know that 90 percent of dust comes from people and fabric?  We constantly shed tiny flakes of skin from our bodies and our clothes, bedding and households constantly shed barely visible fibers.   These flakes and fibers settle on the surfaces of your home and float from place to place as people pass by and doors open and close.

All of these little particles can trigger allergies because up to 500 dust mites can live in just 1/2 teaspoonful of dust.  They live in pillows, bed covers, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpeting, even clothing.

You can’t eliminate dust but here’s how you can reduce dust and possibly reduce allergies.

1.     Vacuum floors and upholstered furniture once a week.  Use a vacuum with a powerful agitator on carpet.  Turn the agitator off when vacuuming wood, tile or vinyl flooring because it blows dust into the air.  Take upholstered cushions outside and beat them with an old tennis racket.  This will remove dust better than vacuuming.

2.     If your forced-air heating/cooling system is equipped with a good  filter, switch your  thermostat to “fan on” when you vacuum.  This will filter the air even while the system isn’t heating or cooling.  Leave the blower on for  about 15 minutes after you’re done cleaning to filter out the dust the vacuum agitator whipped up while vacuuming.  Don’t forget to switch back to “auto.”

3.     Keep your closet clean and the floors clear so you can vacuum easily & regularly.  Closets are full of tiny fibers from clothes that get whipped up every time you open the door or walk through.  Use garment boxes, bags, and clear plastic containers to store items on shelves to lock fibers in and dust out.  Dust the top of them and the shelves during your weekly cleanings.

4.     Capture dust by using a damp rag or an electrostatic cloth to wipe down furniture.  Use the rag to wipe down tops of doors, window frames and window sills too.

5.     Wash your sheets and blankets weekly.  You shed skin and the bedding sheds it’s own fibers every time you roll over.  Launder in the hottest water tolerable according to the care label.  Dry clean only items can be shaken out outside in between professional cleanings.

6.     If your comforters are filled with feathers or down or if you have wool blankets and comforters have them professionally cleaned often.

7.     Shake out area rugs regularly, professionally clean them once or twice a year and opt for hardwood or tile on your floors.  Carpet is the the biggest dust reservoir & absorbs dust like a giant sponge.  Hardwood, tile, or linoleum flooring are easiest to keep clean.  Shag carpeting is the worst type of carpeting for a person allergic to dust mites.

8.     Control the humidity by keeping it below 50% throughout your house.  Ensure good ventilation, especially in your bedroom. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner, but clean them thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s directions, especially if you’re also allergic to mold.

9.     Keep furnace filters clean.  While your furnace keeps warm, it can also carry dust and mold spores throughout your house.  Clean the furnace filter every 3-6 months.

Other small tips that make a big difference in reducing dust settling:
*      Limit knickknack decor
*      Instead of heavy drapery opt for lightweight curtains
*      Avoiding stacking piles of mail, newspaper, magazines on open shelves
*      Only keep clothes you wear regularly in your bedroom or closet and store the rest
*      Keep stuffed animals out of your room or store them in a closed toy box.  Regularly wash stuffed toys in hot water.  Put a favorite stuffed animal in a plastic bad and in the freezer overnight every few weeks to help kill dust mites.

If you’re living in your home, it’s impossible to avoid dust but the above tactics could cut back on the amount of dust you have week-to-week and reduce allergic reactions to dust.

Have we missed something on our list to help reduce dust and allergies in your home?  If so, please share your tips with us!

– S.O.