What is dust?

In short, dust is composed of all the decomposing disgusting things you can imagine and more. Dust is composed of dead skin cells, hair, animal fur, chemicals, metals, animal dander, cigarette ash, pollution, dried feces from various sources and the rotting corpses of dust mites and other bugs. Dust is also composed of fabric fibers, lint, concrete, plaster, ashes, soot, soil, fertilizer, plants and pollen. Additionally dust may include particles of cheese doodles, corn chips, potato chips and cookie crumbs. The more food crumbs in your house, the more insects the crumbs attract, which creates more decomposing bug dust. Dust may also contain lead, arsenic, bug killer, weed killer, mold and other chemicals.

Many people suffer from allergies to house dust, animal dander or pollen. Dust mites also cause an allergic reaction in many people. Dust mites are not generally visible, except with a microscope; they eat dead skin cells and live in bedding, carpets and soft furnishings (sofa and chairs). After a year of use any piece of soft furniture has dust mites.

Grossed out? Me too! So what can we do about dust, dust mites and dust bunnies?

House dust can become airborne easily. Care is required when removing dust to avoid releasing it back into your home. Be sure to dust the ceilings and especially the corners of your rooms. Look out for hidden dust collectors like the tops of curtains, venetian blinds and knick knacks. Be sure to vacuum under and behind furniture. Once or twice a year empty cabinets and drawers and clean them thoroughly. There are special new duster products that trap and hold the dust, use them. They are worth the extra cost.  If you are using a bagless vacuum, STOP! Bagless vacuums do not trap the dust. When you vacuum with a bagless vacuum, the dust redeposits on your furniture and floors. Use a vacuum that has a certified HEPA filter to trap up to 99.97% of dust.

No one needs much convincing about the wisdom of getting rid of decomposing bugs and dead skin cells, and the good news is that about 90% of it can be removed simply by cleaning floor dust with a good quality vacuum.

It goes without saying that your home will never be entirely dust-free, but there are ways to reduce the dust and allergens in your environment.  Your health depends on it.

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