My House is a Dust Bowl: What to Do?
Spring comes, temperatures warm, and flowers bloom. Liberated from winter hibernation, you happily throw open the windows. Before you know it, dust and pollen blow through and settle on everything. How can you enjoy warm weather without dust and pollen taking over your home? Here’s what you need to know.
Keeping dust out
It’s hard to keep dust out in spring if you love having open windows. To keep dust under control during that season, you must clean more often. In summer, dust inside will diminish because you close windows and use air conditioning. But in periods of little or no rain, dust outside will increase and show up in your home. To keep it at bay, try these tips.
In summer, open outside doors just long enough to pass through. Lingering with the door open admits dust.
Regularly change the return air filters on your air conditioning system to catch dust and pollen in the air.
Consult your owner’s manual or your HVAC professional to determine the best filter your system can handle. HEPA filters are the best, but your HVAC system may be unable to draw adequate air through those dense filters to run correctly.
When changing filters, sweep or vacuum the grill cover on the return vent, where dust accumulates.
A relentless cleaning campaign
No matter how hard you try to keep it out, some dust will accumulate in your home and you’ll have to clean to remove it. Here’s how to handle the task.
Assemble your tools. Microfiber cloths, which have revolutionized cleaning, are your most potent ally. Their fibers seize dust and pollen better than a cloth rag and furniture oil. With a microfiber cloth, you avoid simply pushing dust around as you do with a plain cloth or feather duster, which causes it to fly.
When dusting, begin at the top and ferret out dust everywhere it settles. Use a dusting wand with a microfiber rag to clean the tops of ceiling fans, ceiling molding, the tops of shelves and window treatments. Don’t forget light fixtures, including their bulbs. As you dust furniture, do not forget the legs of tables and chairs at floor level. Work your way down to the baseboards. Vacuum carpets and use a dust mop to clean floors.
Don’t forget windowsills, blinds and the tops of sashes. Microfiber rags will do wonders here.
As you clean, stop periodically to take your cloth outside and shake the dust out, or replace it with a clean cloth.
Vacuum upholstery. Use a canister vacuum with attachments for the tops of cabinets. Be sure to clean your vacuum filter or bag regularly. A dirt-packed bag prevents the vacuum from cleaning adequately.
How often should you dust?
Dust anywhere from once a week to once a month, depending on the season and how dusty the area you live in is. Spot wipe counters and furniture more frequently as needed.
Mop and vacuum floors at least once per week. Change HVAC filters at least monthly.