Catch the Culprits: Dust
Dust is one of the most common indoor allergens. If your sensitivity is high enough, a task as simple as vacuuming could make you have a sneezing fit. What is it about dust that causes your allergy symptoms to spike? And for such a ubiquitous indoor substance, is there any possible way to completely avoid it?
What Is Dust Made of?
A single clump of dust can contain all sorts of nasty stuff, including:
- Human and animal hair
- Pet dander
- Dead skin cells
- Mold spores
- Textile and paper fibers
- Bits of dead cockroaches and dust mites
- Insect droppings
Why Are People Allergic to Dust?
Many components of dust found in the average home are allergens by themselves. For example, if you’re allergic to pet dander, cockroaches or mold, you’re probably allergic to dust as well because these are common components of dust. Combined together and crush into a fine powder to enter your lungs more easily, dust is the perfect storm for people with a variety of allergies.
On top of this, about 20 million Americans are specifically allergic to dust mites, one of the biggest culprits of household dust. These microscopic insects thrive in warm, relatively humid environments and love to snack on dead skin cells. You shed enough skin every day to feed about a million dust mites. Then they go hide in your upholstered furniture, carpet and bedding. It’s not a pleasant thought, but your home is the perfect place for dust mites to live and breed.
How to Reduce Dust in Your Home
Unless you get rid of all your furniture, carpet, bedding and drapes, it’s impossible to create a truly dust-free home. Even then, your body is a natural dust producer, what with your head full of hair and constantly shedding skin. The trick is to make your home less dust-mite friendly. Here’s how:
- Buy pillows stuffed with polyester fibers instead of organic substances such as feathers or cotton.
- Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs with hypoallergenic plastic covers.
- Wash bedding in hot water once a week to kill dust mites hiding there.
- Replace wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood or tile flooring. Replace upholstered furniture with leather, wicker, plastic or metal furniture.
- Thoroughly clean your home once a week. Vacuum carpets and rugs with a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner, dust with an electrostatic duster, and sweep and mop hard floors.
- Take area rugs outside and beat them with a tennis racquet or broom twice a year.
- Wash curtains in hot water every three months. If possible, replace them with plastic or wood blinds or roll-up shades.
- Clear your desk and bookshelves of dust-collecting knickknacks.
- Wash stuffed animals often. Get rid of any you or your children aren’t particularly attached to.
- Run a dehumidifier to keep your home at 50% relative humidity or lower. This keeps both mold and dust mites at bay.
- Invest in a high-efficiency HVAC air filter to catch even the smallest dust particles as they circulate through the ductwork.
- Change the fan setting from “auto” to “on” while you vacuum to help trap dust whipped up by the vacuum’s agitator brush in the HVAC air filter.
- Wear a dust mask while cleaning your home to reduce the amount of dust you inhale.
With these tips, you can gain control over household dust once and for all! For more tips to improve indoor air quality, please contact Aire Serv® today.
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