#1
Old 06-12-2012, 03:35 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Central Texas, USA
Posts: 2,049
My house is too dusty!

Do any of you fantastic people out there have any suggestions regarding the mundane problem of household dust? The furniture in my house collects dust at an alarming rate. I am hardly finished dusting and the furniture at the other end of the room is beginning to build a new covering.

Some details about my home environment:
  • House is approx. 2700 sq. feet.
  • The house is two stories. All four bedrooms and two bathrooms are upstairs. Kitchen, dining, a half bath, and two living areas are downstairs.
  • All of the upstairs is carpeted except the w/c areas of the bathrooms. Downstairs, only one living area is carpeted. The rest is vinyl tile or sheet vinyl.
  • We have two central a/c units (one up, one down). I usually install a medium grade filter in each unit. However, I am not always good about remembering to replace them. The intake for the downstairs unit is near, but not in, the laundry room. The laundry room does not have a door.
  • The intakes for both a/c units is usually quite dusty.
  • We rarely open the windows. It's hot outside!
  • Our house is on a corner and both of the streets adjacent to us are paved.
  • Our house is occupied by three humans and three Dachshunds. Getting rid of any of these is not an option.
  • I dust using a cloth rag and Pledge, Endust, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store.
How can I reduce the dust problem in our house? I figure that if it is settling on the furniture so much, there must be lots of dust in the air, too. That cannot be healthy.
#2
Old 06-12-2012, 03:44 PM
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How often do you vacuum? I'd increase the frequency to a couple of times a week until the dust is more under control. I'd make sure to get under furniture and between cushions. Have you checked the vacuum filter/bag to make sure it isn't blocked or full?

Could dust be coming from old items? For example, carpet pads can reach an age where they literally turn into dust. Old paint, sheetrock, cushions, etc. might be crumbling as well. I have an area rug in my dining room, and the backing of that rug is disintegrating; I pull it up periodically to clean the dust that this creates (though this dust doesn't go anywhere else).

If you've done any recent home improvement projects, the dust from this can take some very thorough cleanings to get rid of.
#3
Old 06-12-2012, 04:41 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 14,888
The insides of houses are much dustier than the air outside. Most dust comes from carpets and clothing shedding fibers. People and pets also shed a lot of skin cells and hair (or fur). You might try setting the fan on the AC to run continuously, but that is not very energy-efficient.
#4
Old 06-12-2012, 04:43 PM
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Carpeting. Especially if it is not new, and/or a short pile.
#5
Old 06-12-2012, 05:20 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,324
In addition to the other recommendations . . . get a better vacuum cleaner. I recently bought a Dyson "Animal" machine (for households that have shedding pets), and it's amazing what it sucks up, that my older vacuum missed. You should also check the outtake and filter of your clothes dryer.
#6
Old 06-12-2012, 05:29 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 38,277
I hate ducted systems for this very reason. First off, replace your filter every two months, minimum. Have it pop up on your computer calendar. Secondly, buy a better grade of filter. Thirdly, if you have floor registers, buy filters for those, also. They sell all of these on Amazon. Lastly, get rid of carpets, if you can, and keep your closet doors closed. Don't allow piles of clothing and newspapers to accumulate.
#7
Old 06-12-2012, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
How can I reduce the dust problem in our house? I figure that if it is settling on the furniture so much, there must be lots of dust in the air, too. That cannot be healthy.
You might try upgrade your furnance filters to MERV 8 or better and have your ductwork cleaned. You can upgrade to MERV 11 but they're expensive.

Run your furnance fan non-stop for several days to suck up particles.

Vacuum your carpets, chairs, lamps, tables, closets, cabinets, piano, TV's, shoes, etc. Tops, bottoms, underneath, and the side facing the wall. Use a horse hair brush attachment if you have one, or can find one, on furniture and lamps.

Clean your washer/dryer vents.

Check your windows and doors for air leaks.

Wash the bed clothes and table cloths.

Wash the dogs.

Leave your shoes at the door.

Good luck.
#8
Old 06-13-2012, 02:21 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Dutch in the Netherlands
Posts: 8,953
Check your consumers magazine if your vacuum cleaner has a good record for blowing out dust. Some are better at it then others. You might want to check for a model suitable for people with allergies. Also, check the dust filter on your vacuum. It should be replaced every time you replace the dust bag.

How about a Roomba?
#9
Old 06-13-2012, 08:30 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4,999
You will find you have a lot less dust if you have your ducts cleaned. When we moved here i had to dust at least 2 times a day. After we had the ducts cleaned I could get by on once a week and even then there was very little on the furniture.also if you have the windows open and there is a gravel or dusty area around your house it would help to close the windows. Once we have the Ir on we don't open the windows very often. Found it is also healthier.
#10
Old 06-13-2012, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monavis View Post
You will find you have a lot less dust if you have your ducts cleaned. When we moved here i had to dust at least 2 times a day. After we had the ducts cleaned I could get by on once a week and even then there was very little on the furniture.also if you have the windows open and there is a gravel or dusty area around your house it would help to close the windows. Once we have the Ir on we don't open the windows very often. Found it is also healthier.
That makes no sense at all, unless your ducts are actually generating the dust.
#11
Old 06-13-2012, 10:46 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Do any of you fantastic people out there have any suggestions regarding the mundane problem of household dust? The furniture in my house collects dust at an alarming rate. I am hardly finished dusting and the furniture at the other end of the room is beginning to build a new covering.

Some details about my home environment:
  • House is approx. 2700 sq. feet.
  • The house is two stories. All four bedrooms and two bathrooms are upstairs. Kitchen, dining, a half bath, and two living areas are downstairs.
  • All of the upstairs is carpeted except the w/c areas of the bathrooms. Downstairs, only one living area is carpeted. The rest is vinyl tile or sheet vinyl.
  • We have two central a/c units (one up, one down). I usually install a medium grade filter in each unit. However, I am not always good about remembering to replace them. The intake for the downstairs unit is near, but not in, the laundry room. The laundry room does not have a door.
  • The intakes for both a/c units is usually quite dusty.
  • We rarely open the windows. It's hot outside!
  • Our house is on a corner and both of the streets adjacent to us are paved.
  • Our house is occupied by three humans and three Dachshunds. Getting rid of any of these is not an option.
  • I dust using a cloth rag and Pledge, Endust, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store.
How can I reduce the dust problem in our house? I figure that if it is settling on the furniture so much, there must be lots of dust in the air, too. That cannot be healthy.
It sounds simple but keep your windows open. That'll keep the dust down.
#12
Old 06-13-2012, 11:10 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Tejas
Posts: 4,287
Dust with a damp cloth to pick up the dust. Dry dusting just sends a lot of dust into the air where it floats a while and then settles back down.

Also, but filters by the case and leave them stored somewhere handy. Having the filters on-site makes changing them much, much easier!

Last edited by Ca3799; 06-13-2012 at 11:11 AM.
#13
Old 06-13-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
That makes no sense at all, unless your ducts are actually generating the dust.
The ducts are "storing" dust that may be blown around later. If your goal is to get rid of the dust, then it makes sense to actually get rid of the dust.
#14
Old 06-13-2012, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 371
I live in a hot dry dusty climate too. We got rid of all carpeting about 4 years ago and that helped. I have 2 kids and a dog, so the outside doors are opening and closing constantly.

I have to swiffer the floors every day. It doesn't take long and the pads do a much better job than a broom.

ALSO - before you swiffer or sweep or mop - take a spray bottle of water and mist the air. There is tons of free-floating dust in the air that you don't see unless the light is streaming in through the windows just right. This seems to help clear the dust out of the air and get it down to the floor where it can be picked up.

I don't use any chemicals to dust. I use a washable microfiber mit(mitt?) from the dollar store. Just slip it on, and quickly go through the house.

Last edited by Lightlystarched; 06-13-2012 at 12:25 PM.
#15
Old 06-13-2012, 02:55 PM
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Location: Up hieah
Posts: 2,850
I used to live in Austin, and we had amazing levels of dust there. Part came from the nearby dusty hill country, part from cedar etc. pollen and atmospheric mold spores, and a big part from the nearby elevated freeway throwing exhaust particles higher and farther into the air than most.

What we did to control it:

1) Get rid of all the damn carpets. You would not BELIEVE how much crud they trap where your vacuum can't get rid of it, and as said above, they generate extra dust in the form of shed fibers, too.

2) Use machine-washable coverings on everything, and wash that everything a lot -- this goes for area rugs, curtains, pillow covers, couch covers, anything you can think of. As many square inches as you can figure out how to cover. When you take things off to wash them, practice getting them off gently and folding them up inside-out so as not to throw their dust back into the air. Make sure your dryer vents fully outside, and clean its filters often. Get its ducts cleaned or replaced.

3) Get HEPA air filter units like they sell to allergy sufferers, sized to the actual spaces they are filtering, and keep up with the pre-filter and main-filter changes. The brand I use isn't on the market any more, I don't think, unfortunately, because it's effective and relatively quiet.

As I understand it, another significant factor in normal household dust is your own skin cells, too, and whatever dirt sticks to your shoes and clothes from outside, so a shoes-off-inside policy as mentioned above is a great idea. I could never convince my husband to go along with that, though. It's probably too hot where you are to institute an outside-layer-off-inside (like coats) most of the time, but maybe you can think of something.
#16
Old 06-13-2012, 04:38 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
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Clean out the fireplace, make sure that the flue and cleanout doors are closed as well as the glass doors to the fireplace. If there is any negative pressure in the house near the fireplace or wind blowe the right (wrong) way down the chimney it could cause ash to fly into the living area.
#17
Old 06-13-2012, 09:56 PM
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Thank you for the many fine suggestions. I will explore several of these options. I was really hoping for a "buy this gadget and all the dust goes away" sort of solution, but it's all good.
#18
Old 06-14-2012, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Thank you for the many fine suggestions. I will explore several of these options. I was really hoping for a "buy this gadget and all the dust goes away" sort of solution, but it's all good.
Ah-ha. You're looking for a maid.

I don't think you can buy them anymore but you can rent them by the hour.
#19
Old 06-14-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
That makes no sense at all, unless your ducts are actually generating the dust.
If you have forced air, a lot of dust accumulates in the cold duct returns( and the heat) You would be amazed at how much dust they get out of them...we were. Dust is sucked in from the air exchange just as the filter accumulates dust. But doesn't get it all!
#20
Old 06-14-2012, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by RedAnt View Post
It sounds simple but keep your windows open. That'll keep the dust down.
That isn't the case with us, there is a farm across the road, and the dust is stirred up from there. Now we have central air we don't open the windows once that is on, and we have very little dust, before that I could dust in the morning and write my name in the dust in the afternoon. Having the ducts cleaned made a big difference.Plus it helps with allergies!
#21
Old 06-14-2012, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by doorhinge View Post
The ducts are "storing" dust that may be blown around later. If your goal is to get rid of the dust, then it makes sense to actually get rid of the dust.
You are correct, and having them cleaned is not very costly, it was less than a hundred dollars, and we had it done about 16 years ago. We have carpeting all through the house, and I once had a cleaning service, the people with stem heat had less dust than the one's with forced air!
#22
Old 06-14-2012, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Thank you for the many fine suggestions. I will explore several of these options. I was really hoping for a "buy this gadget and all the dust goes away" sort of solution, but it's all good.
There might be. Have you tried asking people with dust allergies this? machines that clean air for people with allergies are called "air purifiers"or "air cleaners". Not sure how effective they are, though.

Last edited by Maastricht; 06-14-2012 at 10:07 AM.
#23
Old 06-14-2012, 10:10 AM
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Perhaps this was mentioned but, Vacuum after you dust so that your vacuum sucks up at least some of what you've launched into the air by dusting. Also, since most people use bagless vacuums these days, make sure to clean ALL the machine's cleanable filters each time you use the machine and look to the manufacturers recommendations as to when any other filters should be replaced. My machine has two washable foam filters and a HEPA filter. If I forget to clean the foam filters after use, I clean them before and dry them by smooshing them onto paper towels and then blow drying them.
#24
Old 06-14-2012, 11:01 AM
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Also double check that your vacuum is not spewing dust back out. I had one like this, check for dusty accumulations on the cleaner, it will be in areas where the leak is occurring.
#25
Old 06-14-2012, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
There might be. Have you tried asking people with dust allergies this? machines that clean air for people with allergies are called "air purifiers"or "air cleaners". Not sure how effective they are, though.
I have used one of these in the past. I still have it in the garage, which may say something about how effective I found it.

While it did pick up a lot of junk out of the air (based on what I saw when I cleaned it every week), I saw no noticeable difference in dust accumulation. I think it made a small difference in terms of allergies but the fact that I don't bother using it says everything.
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