Getting down and dirty about household dust
Ah dust. It’s every homeowner’s nemesis.
No matter how often you clean your home, a thin layer of dust quickly forms on surfaces and those pesky dust bunnies start peeking out from beneath the couch—taunting you to grab the vacuum before they multiply.
The unfortunate truth about dust is that it’s not just a never-ending annoyance. It’s something that can make you sick—causing short and long-term health effects. If you have an existing respiratory condition like emphysema or asthma, even small amounts of exposure to dust can significantly worsen symptoms.
Because we care so much about indoor air quality—and how it affects your family—we wanted to share some facts about dust.
Before you continue reading, keep in mind that it might be more than you never wanted to know.
5 things you’ll wish we’d never told you about dust
Dust is nothing to sneeze at
Many people think they are allergic to dust, but, in many instances, they are actually reacting to dust mites. Dust mites are tiny insects that live in your home and account for 70% of all respiratory allergies. They measure about 1/100th of an inch in length—smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.
Pets create more dust
The family pet is a major contributor to the amount of dust in your home. Animal dander settles around your home and collects dust and dust mites. Unfortunately, a home without pets is one that is far less dusty.
Here’s a reason why we should exfoliate
The average person creates ⅓ ounce of dead skin each week. Over the course of a lifetime, this adds up to about half of your body weight. Combined with other particles, this dead skin helps create household dust.
Skin cells aren’t all to blame
Like we alluded to above, dust is a combination of pollen, hair, textile fibers, soil minerals, cosmic dust particles, other materials found in the local environment, AND dead skin cells.
Bigger is better—relatively speaking
Large particles of dust fall out of the air fairly fast and create that fine layer of dust that you see on your furniture. The smaller particles—that you can’t see—stay airborne for five days. Large dust particles usually get trapped in your nose and mouth, and are easily expelled when you breath out. Fine dust particles pose more risk since they hang around, can penetrate your lungs, and can also enter your bloodstream.
5 much less alarming facts about dust
Dust is responsible for our beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Known as scattering, dust absorbs blue and green colours, creating sunsets that are red, orange and yellow.
Airborne dust helps to create a cloud condensation nucleus that allows water droplets to form in clouds. When these water droplets get heavy enough, they fall to the ground as rain.
Dust is monitored closely by NASA because there is an estimated 5 billion tons of it transmitted through the atmosphere each year—affecting air temperature, ground cooling, and even rainfalls levels.
Each year, the Earth gains about 40,000 tons of cosmic dust that falls from space in the form of micrometeorites.
The Sahara Desert is the largest source of mineral dust in the entire world. 770 million tons of dust blow across the Atlantic Ocean to South America, where it fertilizes the ocean and the Amazon rainforest.
Ways to get rid of household dust
You won’t ever completely rid your home of dust, but the more you can minimize its presence, the better off you are. Here are some tips for getting rid of dust in your home:
- Use a damp cloth, not a feather duster, to remove dust from surfaces
- Change your bedding every week
- Clean and dust all electronics
- Clean your house from top to bottom
- Wash your floors regularly
- Don’t wear shoes in the house
- Keep humidity levels low to avoid attracting moisture-loving dust mites
- Groom your pets if you have them
- Keep your house clutter-free
- Open a window while cleaning to help circulate air
- Change those air filters!
Dealing with dust is dirty business. To help further reduce the amount of dust that settles in your home, it may be worth investing in whole house air cleaners and other air scrubbing products.
To learn more, contact us to book a free in-home consultation. One of our thermal environmental comfort association (TECA) members would be more than happy to provide you with options.
You can reach the office by calling 250.465.2490. You can also connect with us online.