Why is my House so Dusty?

If it feels like you just cleaned yesterday, and that filmy layer of filth is back on your shelves and tables, you might be asking yourself “Why is my house so dusty?” Fortunately, there are many ways to manage dust and dust mites.

What is dust?

Dust is made of particles that include more than just dirt – dead skin cells, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, fabric fibers, insect waste, food waste, fungi, and bacteria. Dust isn’t just that dirty layer you see on surfaces at home or work, the airborne particulate matter is invisible to the human eye, but as it settles and accumulates, you see the result.

Where does dust come from?

Now that you know what creates dust, you can see how something as simple as opening and closing doors and windows, or running a fan, can move dust throughout your home. Outdoor dust makes its way inside and mixes with your (inevitable) indoor dust through entryways, shoes, and clothing, and on pets.

How to get rid of dust?

Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to fully eliminate dust from your home, but you can reduce dust in the house to keep it at a minimum.
Some of the most important steps to take include:

  • Cleaning Smart – Using damp dust trapping microfiber fabrics.
  • Grooming Your Pets – Pet dander and the allergens brought inside should be brushed and washed away more often.
  • Address the Dust Mites! – Unfortunately, a larger problem of dust is the dust mites that accompany that dirty layer.

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic, allergenic creatures that feed on dead skin cells (found in dust) and bury into the cloth fibers in your home. They live in carpets, bedding, curtains, and even fabric couches or chairs. These miniscule critters live in the thousands to millions through homes all over the world and contribute to allergy sufferer’s symptoms.

How to get rid of dust mites

Here are just some of the steps you can take to make sure you’re cleaning efficiently and effectively to remove those harmful pests.

  • Wash Your Bedding Often – Dust mites live in fabric fibers so it’s important to wash your bedding at least once a week. A myth you often hear is that dust is mostly composed of skin cells. Actually, most of your dead skin cells are washed away during a shower, but remaining cells gather in your bed, where your dust mites thrive.
  • Clean Fabrics – Don’t forget to dust the tops of curtain rods, blinds, and especially fans so they don’t accumulate particles that dust mites feed on when they’re switched on. While you’re washing bedding, add in your curtains, blankets, and make sure you thoroughly vacuum thoroughly. If you have flooring and plan on adding rugs, it may be better to purchase washable rugs. Steam mops and cleaners can help rid of dust mites on the floor, and carpet cleaners can help rid of dust mites that are living in your carpet.
  • Don’t Skip the Closet – It’s tempting to throw everything in the closet and close the door, but your dust mites will be giddy with glee when they find this reservoir of fibers from clothes, towels, shoes, and additional clutter. You can use plastic storage bins for out of season clothing, wire racks for shoes, and clothing bags for any additional clothes that aren’t worn often.
  • Upgrade your Air Filter – Air filters play a vital role in keeping your indoor air clean. Different MERV ratings filter out a range of particles from dust mites, to mold spores, lint, and pollen. To filter out even the smaller particles that come from viruses, allergenic dust mites, and pet dander, it’s best to opt for a MERV 13 filter or higher. Since AC units don’t pull in outside air, they recycle your indoor air and can make a big difference in dust levels since they end up being trapped in the pleats. You’ll notice a color change from the dirt when you replace your air filter monthly! Higher MERV filters also help filter allergen particles as small as 0.3-μm which can really ease those irritating symptoms. It might be gross, but dust mites actually leave behind droppings after their feast, and these invisible pieces enhance the misery of allergy sufferers’.

Now that you know where dust comes from and how to get rid of dust mites, following these steps will help manage the annoying filth levels in your home. Measure your air filter and upgrade to start seeing the benefits of cleaner air.

If you're interested in learning more about protecting your indoor air quality, check out the rest of our Helpful Tips.