This Is the Correct Way to Dust Your Home

Follow these steps to eliminate dust without creating more work for yourself.

By Deirdre Mundorf | Published Apr 28, 2022 5:49 PM

how to dust

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Have you ever wondered what dust is made of? Skin cells, animal dander, pollen, and lint are some of the more commonly known components of dust. However, dust can also contain various toxic chemicals, such as phenols and phthalates.

Dusting is important for a variety of reasons. Keeping your home dust-free —or as dust-free as possible—alleviates allergy symptoms. And when your home is clean, it can provide a mental health boost and a sense of calm and accomplishment.

To keep dust at bay, aim to dust weekly. Some items, such as doors, wall vents, and blinds, can typically go about two weeks between dustings. However, more exposed surfaces, like tables, shelves, picture frames, and windowsills, should be dusted about once a week.

While it’s one of the simplest household chores, there is a right way to dust. Dusting things in the wrong order can leave you with an even bigger mess. Read on to learn how to dust your home properly.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Remember, when you’re thinking about how to get rid of dust, dusting in the correct order is essential. Follow the below steps in order to prevent making extra work for yourself. When needed, swap out a dirty dusting tool for a clean one to prevent the spread of more dust throughout your indoor space.

Related: 30 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House—Naturally

STEP 1: Change your HVAC filters and declutter your home.

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Do you find yourself asking, “Why is my house so dusty?” If you notice that your home surfaces are disproportionately dusty, there may be too much dust in the air. Changing your HVAC filters about every 3 months is one of the best ways to get rid of dust in the air. Less expensive fiberglass filters will need more frequent changing (about once a month), while some higher-end filters may last up to 6 months. If your air filters are too dirty, more dust, pollen, and other contaminants will be sent back into your home through the registers.

After you’ve changed your air filters, you should also declutter your home before moving on to dusting. Clearing off shelves and tables will make it easier to dust them, and you’ll also be removing potential problem areas where new dust can settle in the future.

STEP 2: Remove and/or launder any linens in the room.

To avoid getting your pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels dusty, you should remove them from the room before you begin dusting. Take them outside to shake them out to get rid of as much dust as possible.

If you haven’t recently washed your linens, now is a good time to do so. Be sure to use hot water to get rid of dust mites. Don’t forget about washing the pillows, too. Neglecting bed pillows is an all-too-common mistake that can make your home even more dusty. Your pillows should be washed every few months and replaced at least every 2 years.

STEP 3: Dust the ceiling, light fixtures, and ceiling fans.

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The best way to clean dust in your home is to start with the ceiling. If you dust the ceiling last, it would only dump more dust onto already cleaned surfaces.

To dust your ceiling, use a long vacuum hose with a brush attachment. Carefully slide the brush over the entire ceiling, starting at one corner of each room and working your way to the opposite end. If you don’t have a vacuum attachment that will work, you can also use a broom.

Next, wipe down any light fixtures and ceiling fans in each room with a microfiber duster or microfiber cloth. A duster with an extension pole like this option available at Amazon can help clean the blades on your ceiling fan. You don’t want the fan to throw more dust around the room right after you’ve cleaned it.

As a word of caution—you may want to have your ceilings tested for asbestos if your home was constructed before the mid-1980s. Popcorn ceilings, specifically, are more likely to contain asbestos, and this ceiling texture should be left untouched until it’s removed by professionals.

STEP 4: Dust the walls and everything on them.

Wipe down your home’s walls using a clean, damp cloth. There is likely a lot of hidden dust on walls, so while this can be a time-consuming task, it is worth the effort. Be sure to also wipe down doors, trim, and door knobs in the room.

A simple trick to eliminate dust is to make sure you don’t forget to clean anything hanging on or leaned against your walls, too. This can include mirrors, artwork, curtains, blinds, and vents. Some curtains may be machine washable, while others will need to be wiped down. For blinds and other wall hangings, use a dry microfiber cloth or duster. When dry dusting tools are insufficient for dirty blinds, a damp duster or cloth may help to remove stuck-on dust or grime.

Related: 8 Surprising Things You Never Knew You Can Vacuum

STEP 5: Dust the furniture and everything on it.

Once you’ve finished dusting the walls, it’s time to move on to the furniture. Begin by clearing off the furniture surfaces as much as possible. Use a microfiber cloth or duster to wipe down shelves, tabletops, and other surfaces.

Before moving books, decor, or other things back to where they belong, wipe them down, as well. A can of compressed air or handheld vacuum/blower can be helpful when dusting electronics, in particular. Don’t forget to also carefully dust your houseplants with a microfiber cloth or a small paintbrush before returning them to their home.

Use the attachments on your vacuum to clean couches, chairs, or other upholstered furniture. Remove the cushions to make sure you’re able to get into any tight spaces where dust could be hiding.

STEP 6: Dust the floors.

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Now it’s time to move onto dusting the floors. Use a vacuum cleaner for rugs, carpet, and hard flooring such as wood or tile. Brooms can simply push dust around and leave it in another area of the room. When you’re looking for how to eliminate dust, vacuuming regularly—even as often as once daily if you’re able—can be a huge help.

When vacuuming, clean under as much of your furniture as possible. Move lighter items out of the way, and use the attachment tools to reach as much as you can under heavier pieces.

After vacuuming, use a mop or hard floor cleaner for wood, tile, and other hard flooring types. If possible, do this immediately following vacuuming to ensure that you collect any smaller pieces of dust missed by the vacuum.

STEP 7: Clean your dusting tools.

Finally, don’t forget to clean your dusting tools before putting them away. Take all of your dusters outside and shake them out to remove as much dust as possible. Some dusters can be washed in a washing machine, but you’ll want to consult each product’s manufacturer recommendations. If you used microfiber cloths or a duster, do not add fabric softener to your wash cycle when washing them; it can decrease how much dust the fibers attract.

Don’t forget to also wipe down your vacuum and any other cleaning tools you used. Empty the vacuum canister or change the bag to get all the dust you sucked up out of your home.

Related: 15 Ways to Clean Your House Like a Pro

Final Thoughts

The best way to dust involves working your way from the top of the room to the bottom. Remember to follow the order of the steps presented above to dust your home for maximum effect. This will prevent you from knocking dust down from a higher surface onto an area you’ve just cleaned, which can be quite frustrating.

Finally, if you are looking for additional ideas for how to reduce dust in the house, you can also consider investing in an air purifier. Air purifiers, particularly those with HEPA filters, help remove excess dust from the air and can be especially beneficial for those with allergies.