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Before we even begin thinking of how to get rid of dust floating in the air in our homes, let us first ask ourselves what dust is and demystify the myths surrounding dust. Dust is a combination of particles that can be seen flying in the air. These particles can be seen floating and if you happen to illuminate a dark room with a beam of light from a battery torch, you will see them. They are always moving in different directions, colliding with each other.
Contrary to most people’s thoughts, the soil is not the only component of dust. It also comprises of animal dander, pollutants, insect waste, chemicals used at home, pollen, and food and paper particles. Dust is not just visually unappealing, but it can also be a health hazard since it causes allergies and asthma. This is the reason it should be eliminated from our surfaces at its onset.
Is it normal to see dust particles in the air?
Usually, depending on where you live, it is normal to see dust particles in the air. For example, if you live upcountry where large scale farming is underway, you will often find dust particles floating in the air. The same goes for people living in a busy urban neighborhood where there is heavy traffic. Some articles will be fused with other aerosols and from dust.
When cleaning your house, it is easy to kick up dust if you don’t follow the recommended dusting before vacuuming procedure. As such, you’ll see a lot of dust particles in the air, which can take up to 12 hours to settle down.
Dust components and the amount varies from one home to the next, depending on the air quality, the condition of the HVAC, cleanliness levels of the occupants, and the chemicals used in the home. But in most cases, the existence of dust particles in the air is usually as a result of a faulty air purifier. So if you have done a deep cleaning and still there is dust in your home, then you might want to evaluate the functioning of your air conditioner.
Why are there so many dust particles in the air?
Dust particles in the air can be attributed to so many things that include;
Though rarely, smoke contributes to dust particles in the air. It could be coming from motor vehicles if you live in a neighborhood with heavy traffic. It could also be coming from industrial plants near you. At the same time, it can also come from your kitchen when doing some heavy-duty cooking and you do not have a properly functioning range hood in place.
Combined with particles from other sources, smoke contributes to the dust we see floating in the air. To avoid dust caused by smoke accumulation, consider installing a kitchen range hood and smoke and grease issues in your kitchen will be a thing of the past.
2. Food particles
Food items for example flours, bread, and cereals give off dust particles that eventually settle in the air in our houses. This happens especially when the foods are not covered or when you do not have enough aeration in the house. To avoid this scenario, you should never live with stale food because these will always produce dust particles. Besides, ensure to thoroughly clean your surfaces for any food particles because once these have been left lying for a while, they will end up producing dust particles.
3. Animal dander and waste
The animals we keep in our homesteads, including the pets, all contribute to the dust found floating in the air in our houses. When playing, pets always producing hairs and, dander and dead skin cells, all of which lead to dust particles in our houses.
At the same time when playing outdoors in the dirt, pets fur may collect dirt and debris and upon shaking it off while in the house, this produces lots of dust that ends up in the air. Dry animal waste is also a source of dust in the house, and this is why you should bath and clean your pets very often.
4. Insect waste
Insects too are a source of the dust found in the indoor and outdoor air. This is because when insects defecate and the waste dries off, this ends up becoming part of the dust components that are found hovering in the air. This becomes even worse when different species of insects converge to pollinate plants in a nearby agricultural farm. Similarly, insects found in houses for example cockroaches could also contribute to the dust when they produce waste in hard to reach areas.
Soil and dirt are the main sources of dust in the house. When we go out, our shoes and pet paws will also collect soil dirt and debris. When this dirt dries off, it becomes dust that is found floating inside the house. Our clothes can also pick up dust from dirt roads and fields and transfer it to the house.
When strong winds blow over dirty roads, fields, and sandy deserts, the collected soil, dust, and dirt might end up our houses when windows are open. All these combine to form dust found on surfaces inside the house. If you live in areas like these, opening windows is not one of the best ways to aerate the house; instead, consider using a good quality air conditioner so that dust from outside does not end up in the house. Also, normalize, cleaning your house often to avoid dust from dirt accumulation.
Aerosols refer to the chemicals we use in our homes. We may overlook the dangers and effects of some things like insects, body sprays, and air fresheners but what we may not realize is that they contribute to the dust that is found floating in the air at home. Such aerosols contain harmful contents including heavy metals, asbestos, and silica dust that are usually very lethal to the health of humans. With this in mind, consider buying only non-harmful sprays.
7. Fabric waste
Just like old papers and books, fabrics to contribute to the dust floating in the air at homes. This is a result of the lots of fibers that comes from clothes. This is very evident, especially when using very old clothes.
How do you get rid of Dust Floating in the air?
Effective ways of dealing with dust include
1. Vacuum your floor often
Dirty floors are the main source of dust in our houses. To avoid the dust and maintain a healthy environment at home, make it a habit of vacuuming your house often. But even as you do this, use a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter so that you do not end up damaging hardwood floors. This is because common vacuums are only best suitable for vinyl and tile floors. If you have a hardwood floor but do not have a HEPA filter vacuum, consider mopping the floor with a soft microfiber rug to avoid scratches and damages.
2. Declutter your house
Clutter such as clothes, papers, bedsheets, nets, and items lying on the floor all catch a lot of dust. By the moment you turn on your air purifier, all this dust is shaken off and spreads to every corner of the house while at the same time flying high into the ceiling.
Plastic clutter upon coming into contact with other materials produces static charges that attract lots of dust. This is why you should not be living with clutter in your house. Also, normalize keeping your wardrobes closed to prevent the fiber produced from reaching the surfaces. Similarly, consider using plastic containers for storing clothes so that the produced fibers do not reach the surfaces.
3. Use air purifiers
Using air filter is the best way to get rid of dust floating in the air inside our houses. This is because they shake off dust even from the most hidden corners of the house and when this happens, you can always clean it off the surfaces. As you shop around for an air purifier, ensure you buy one with HEPA carbon filters.
HEPA filters can suck the tiniest dust particles and can even pick up pet hairs. At the same time, they also have antimicrobial properties that help kill allergens and bacteria thus keeping you and your family healthy and safe from diseases. You should also replace filters on your air filters often because when these become clogged with dirt and debris, they end up doing shoddy work and you have so much dust floating in your house.
4. Maintain your house
The key to less dust floating in the house is to prevent it from entering your house in the first place. You can place clean doormats and let everybody take off their shoes when they come in. also, seal all the cracks along the windows with caulk. Dust your surfaces with a wet damp cloth and start from the top going all the way down. This helps prevent dust from suspending in the air.
Does opening windows reduce dust?
Whether or not the opening of windows helps solve dust issues in the house depends on the environment in which your house is built. If you live in a leafy suburb without much pollution, then you do not have to worry about dust returning to the house. If the house is located in an agricultural farm or heavy industrial work going down, then opening your windows would not solve dust problems; it would only allow more dust into the house.
HVAC tech with over 30 years of experience. Retired and doing repair work on the side around Madison County, AL.