House Dust and Your Health
We vacuum, we dust but despite our best efforts dust always seems to come back. Dust happens – especially in dry arid climates like the Okanagan and Thompson Valleys. It’s a universal truth that as soon as you dust your furniture, more dust will collect. But, that doesn’t mean that the battle has to end there. Dust can be – and should be – fought. Why? Dust creates lots of problems, from eye irritation to lingering colds and allergies to that annoying itchy or runny nose. More importantly, it makes a house dirty and that attracts more dust. Not only that, but with newer construction practices our homes have become more air tight – which can lead to indoor air quality concerns.
Some rooms have more dust than others too. The bedroom, with all its fabric in the mattress, pillows, bedding, curtains, blinds, and carpeting is one giant dust magnet, making dusting in the bedroom especially important. Have you ever noticed that when you go to bed, your nose suddenly gets stuffy and you reach for the breathing strips or antihistamine . A lot of people have this same “problem.” But the problem probably isn’t your sinuses, it’s house dust.
What is Dust ? – Dustology 101
Dust is a hodgepodge of all sorts of things . As a general rule, the majority of household dust — about 60% — comes from outside, through windows, doors, vents and, significantly, on the soles of your shoes. Smaller dust particles — from 28 to 49 microns, or thousandths of a millimeter — tend to stay on your shoes. The rest is shaken off inside.
Dust is made up of a variety of things from blowing dirt, bacteria, pollen, pollutants, molds, animal dander, hair, decomposing insects, fibers, dryer lint, insulation, dust mites and their excrement, and mostly, skin flakes that humans shed.
Where does dust come from?
It comes from a variety of sources including plants, roads, wind, clothes dryers, electronics, attics, basements, air conditioning and heating ducts and vents, pets, pollen, insects, carpeting, knick knacks. If you live in the south, coastal states, desert, or Southwest, you have more than your fair share of dust due to excess pollen, windy, and dry conditions. But not matter where you live you can not hide from dust.
How to cut down on house dust
Keeping your home dust free is one thing, keeping it dusty free is quite another. Dust seems to accumulate so quickly and keeping on top of it can be a losing battle. There are some great ways to combat the piling particulate blues. The following useful steps will go along way in battling the war on dust!
Ask people to remove their shoes before entering your home. Dust is tracked in on the bottom of shoes.
Use quality filters in your furnace and air conditioner. Cheap fiberglass filters don’t prevent fine particles of dust from passing through, allowing dust to scatter throughout your home. Pleated air filters catch more dust particles, and some are electrostatically charged to attract pollen and other allergens. Make sure the filter is ranked for the blower capacity of your system. Use the air conditioner to reduce humidity; dust mites love a moist environment.
Humidify your home if you live in a dry area. Dry air creates static electricity, which attracts dust. Try to maintain a humidity level of 40 to 50 percent. Purchase a whole-home humidifier that attaches to the furnace, or use a portable humidifier in your home.
Wipe dust with a cleaning rag or a microfiber duster, rather than using a feather duster. Feather dusters scatter dust, which sends it into the air, just to settle again in your home. Microfiber cloths attract and hold dust.
Clean your air vents. Hire a Nadca Certified duct cleaning company to clean out your heating and cooling vents to remove any accumulated dust.