Spring Cleaning Tips: How to Dust Your Home Like a Pro

February 22, 2016

So we’re going to show you how to do dust your home quickly and efficiently.

Clean weekly

Letting dust build up just makes the eventual cleaning even more of a chore. Plus, dust is made up of a lot of nasty things, including:

  • Dead skin
  • Pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Decomposing insects
  • Lint
  • Dust mites
  • Dust mite feces

Cleaning weekly removes this pollutants from your home, which can improve your family’s health, especially if someone in your family has allergies or asthma.
 
So don’t put cleaning off. Put it on your calendar and get after it regularly. 

Use the right tools

Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. Here’s our list of go-to cleaning tools.

Must haves:

  • Microfiber cloths — These cloths are electrostatically charged, which means they attract dust like a magnet. Great for the majority of your dusting and can even be attached to a mop pole to reach tough spots.
  • Damp cotton cloth — If you don’t have microfiber cloths, a damp, clean cotton rag can work as well. Just make sure to rinse it out occasionally.
  • Vacuum with HEPA filter and hose attachments — A HEPA filter cleans the air the vacuum exhausts so that you’re not throwing dust back into your clean home.
  • Goat-hair duster — For delicate items like collectibles and antiques, a goat hair duster like this one works well.

Nice to haves:

  • Bendable pole duster — To avoid climbing up and down a ladder when cleaning ceiling fans and light fixtures, get a bendable duster like this one
  • A narrow duster — For those tight spaces like the stove and refrigerator, between the washer and dryer, and under your furniture.

Don't use:

  • Feather dusters — Feather dusters don’t pick up dust, they just move it around. Plus, when feathers break they can scratch your furniture.

Start at the top and go down

Dust falls as you clean. So work with gravity rather than against it and start at the top of each room and work your way down. So your cleaning order might look something like this:

  1. Ceiling fan and light fixtures
  2. Cobwebs from the corners of the room
  3. AC vents
  4. Blinds and windows
  5. Anything on the wall: picture frames, light switches, etc.
  6. Doors and the casing around the door
  7. Upholstered furniture and sofas
  8. Remaining furniture like coffee tables, side tables, dressers, etc.
  9. Baseboards/trim
  10. The floor

Go in one direction

As you work your way from the top of the room to the bottom, go in one direction around the room. That way you won’t forget to dust something. Which direction you go—counterclockwise or clockwise doesn’t matter—just pick one and stick with it. 

Avoid using wood cleaners that “shine,” “polish,” or “rejuvenate”

Cleaners that claim to shine, polish or rejuvenate your wood furniture or floors usually contain an additive that can create a waxy buildup. This buildup then attracts even more dust.

Here’s what to do instead.
 
For wood floors: Use a microfiber floor mop with a pH-neutral floor cleaner. You can make your own cleaner by mixing 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water.
 
For wood furniture: Use a damp cotton rag for your wood furniture. Never spray water or cleaner directly onto the furniture. Spritz the cloth or rag to dampen. 

Vacuum last

Vacuuming after dusting helps eliminate the most dust from your home, according to Sonia Alexander Hill, a spokesperson for Merry Maids.

When you’ve finished dusting, let the dust settle (literally). Then vacuum your sofa, drapes, upholstered furniture and your carpets.
 
Of course, this only works if you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter as we discussed earlier. Otherwise vacuuming can actually release the dust back into your home’s air, where it can settle on all the furniture you just dusted!

If you have a whole-home air cleaner, run your AC fan

The act of dusting can release a lot of dust back into your home’s air. You can use your AC fan and whole-home air cleaner to capture it before it settles on your furniture again.

Here’s how: While cleaning and for 15 minutes afterward, set your thermostat’s fan to ON.
 
This will turn on the just fan for your air conditioning system; it won’t cool your air. And your fan will suck the dust-filled air into your air cleaner, which is basically a super-efficient air filter. The cleaner will remove the dust and your fan will blow the clean, dust-free air back into your home.
 
However, this won’t work if you have leaky air ducts, which brings us to...

Seal and clean your air ducts

If your home is always dusty, it may be a result of leaky air ducts. As your air conditioner or furnace runs, leaks in the ducts can allow dust and debris from the attic or basement into your home.

To fix this, you need to:

  1. Seal the leaks. This will keep out dust in the future and also improve your energy bills. (See: Why Your Home’s Ductwork Could be Leaking Money)
  2. Clean out the ducts. After sealing the ducts, you may need to have the dirt cleaned out of them so they aren’t constantly blowing dirt into your home. (See: Does Air Duct Cleaning Defeat a Dusty Home?)

 
Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating serves the Kansas City area. For more information, contact us online
 
Photo at top is “Go away dust (28/365)” by John Liu, used under the Creative Commons license