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Where is all that Dust Coming From?

Dusting, is seemingly, one of the simplest chores to do. Yet, have you ever noticed, after all your hard work, you look down at your furniture only to see a new layer of dust? I have! And let me tell you, it can be infuriating at times. Do you ever wonder where is all that dust is coming from? Every house gets dusty, some more than others. Have you ever been in someone's home and their furniture just gleams? No matter how much you dust your own home, it just keeps coming back? Since there are various sources of dust; pollen, pets, carpets, electronics, attics, just to name a few, it can be a process figuring out what the main source of all the excess dust is.

The best way to keep dust to a minimum is to include these areas regularly when you are cleaning.

  • Light fixtures and ceiling fans. Cobwebs, pet hair and dust collect quickly on these. Dusters with handles are good for reaching these locations.

  • Window blinds are especially susceptible to dust build up. I prefer to vacuum them, or they can be easily cleaned with a variety of blind cleaners. If the dirt has built up I recommend taking them down, take them outside or in the bath and spray them with a solution, then you can wipe down and rinse as needed. ( I made a 'blind holder' for my blinds in my shower at home, to clean them while they are hanging.)

  • Carpet and Upholstery are a perfect home for parasites, dust mites and pet dander. Make sure to pull those pillows and seats out and vacuum, making sure not to forget the back (top) of the sofa or chair. Most drapery can be vacuumed or dusted, but recommend cleaning regularly to prevent build up.

  • Door and Window Frames, air ducts, baseboards and crown molding all collect dust.

  • Electronics and dust are inevitable. Getting behind them is just as important as the front. Too much dust can cause all kinds of problems, including bad reception.

  • And let's not forget to look 'on top'. On top of the cabinets, on top of the refrigerator, on top of china cabinets. The first thing I do when I start in a room is the top. Always work top to bottom. Or you'll be repeating some steps.

Recalling back to when I began cleaning homes. One of my very first clients had an excessive dust problem. It was a newer home, in a subdivision, probably less than 5 years old. Her home was not unkempt, in fact, she was very tidy and organized. I cleaned her home on an every other week schedule, so, by the time I arrived, the dust was pretty thick. She liked the wood furniture in her home to have a glossy finish to them, so in the beginning, at her instruction, I would use Old English or Orange Glo (depending on what she had). While it did give the furniture, a beautiful glow, the dust would just recollect on top of the oil finish. I would have to start all over again, using different types of cloths to see if that would even help. After discussing my dilemma, she agreed to the use of a cleaner with less or no oil in it. I was hoping that maybe it was the oil attracting the dust.

I tried different wood polishes and cleaning products, but the results were always the same. All my dusting was in vain, as it would return within minutes and I always felt like I was leaving the home uncleaned. After feeling defeated, I began searching for the causes of such incredible dust mass. The homeowner assured me that the attic was clean and that in their opinion this could not be the source. I, personally, had cleaned from ceiling to floor. All ceilings, light fixtures, ceiling fans, walls, door frames everything had been cleaned that could possibly let the dust fall. I knew it could not be 'sitting' dust being stirred around. I used everything from microfiber towels, lint free glass cloths, dusters to vacuuming the dust. It would look beautiful for only moments and I could literally see the dust falling through the air back on the furniture. This went on for months.

I am not sure why it did not occur to me sooner, probably because I really do not pay much attention to my surroundings. The obvious culprit was the construction still going on in the subdivision. Dirt and dust would surely carry through the air and through open windows and heat and air units. As it turns out her husband was opening the windows in the evening, unbenounced to her, allowing this construction dirt cloud to enter her home. I replaced the filters in the heat and air vents and suggested that it be done more frequently. I, also, heavily suggested keeping the windows closed until construction was complete. The dust never really seemed to dissipate until construction had been complete (2 years later). She really had no choice, except to deal with it during that time. I replaced filters more often than usual to reduce the dust. I found that it also helped to use the vacuum dusting accessory to remove any dirt or dust from the furniture before cleaning and polishing. The construction has long since been finished and her home no longer collects the dust it once did. Now maintaining her home and keeping it dust free is a breeze.

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