10 Simple Reasons Why is Your House Dusty

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Sometimes it may feel like you’re wasting your time – as soon as you finish dusting, there’s a layer of dust forming on the surfaces of your home! This can be frustrating, especially if you can’t pinpoint the reason for all that dust.

Here are the 10 reasons why is your house so dusty:

1. Dust floats in through your window

Dust is microscopic and lightweight, so it usually floats around in the air. If you’ve ever looked at the light streaming in through a window, you’ll likely see specks of dust floating around. Opening your windows to let fresh air in allows dust into your home, especially if you live in a busy street or near roadwork. Many people believe that opening windows helps reduce dust in the house. Still, in reality, open windows welcome everything in the air, including pollen, chemicals, and other debris floating about. While fresh air is beneficial to your health and necessary to improve circulation in the home, opening your windows might not always be the best solution, especially if you’re an allergy sufferer. 

2. Carpets gather dust

Carpets can hold as much as four times their weight in dirt, and sometimes even more. Carpets are a catch-all for debris, dust, pet hair, dust mites, dead skin cells, mold, insect husks and feces, volatile organic compounds, and many other allergens. Carpets make dust control virtually impossible. Although shag carpets are the worst offenders for dust-sensitive individuals, all carpets trap dust. 

Whenever you move through a carpeted area of your home, some accumulated dust gets kicked back up into the air. Eventually, it collects on surfaces like lampshades, tables, and bookshelves.

3. Cheap and dirty HVAC filters

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The large air filters, typically located behind the return air vents (or on the HVAC unit), are one of the main deterrents of dust, but not all filters are efficient at performing this task. Cheap filters tend to have larger holes that allow specks of dust to filter through and re-enter your home through your heating and cooling vents.

When your air conditioning unit is working correctly, it will trap any particles in the air from coming inside your home. However, this is not the case when the unit’s filter is full – you might be enjoying a cool breeze in your living room, but your air quality won’t be the best. Please check your filters frequently and clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions when you notice any dust buildup.

In some cases, you can pull out your air filter after a month and find that it’s clean despite having multiple pets and having your AC running constantly. That’s a cause for celebration, right? If the air filters aren’t clogged with dust, then you don’t have to clean them or spend time and money on a new filter. Well, that might be a cause for worry. Air filters being dirty shows that they’re working as they should, and if they are clean even after being in use for some time, it can indicate that they might not be doing their job. Therefore, having a dirty filter (as long as you clean it regularly) shows that it’s working.

4. You (or your pet) could be contributing to the dust in your home

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When trying to figure out where the dust in your house comes from, you may not think about yourself as the culprit. However, more often than not, you bring dust into your home every time you step out. As previously mentioned, dust is always floating around in the air, which is true outdoors. Therefore, you’re inadvertently collecting dust particles on your clothing and shoes whenever you venture out. Some of those dust particles fall off and remain inside your house when you head back home. If you wear your outdoor shoes inside the house, all the dust, dirt, and debris stuck on them are brought indoors, and dust will accumulate.

If you have a furry friend who regularly goes outside, they could also bring in the dust that gets stuck on their paws and bodies. Furthermore, dogs and cats – even the shorthaired ones – shed both skin flakes and fur (known as pet dander). This can significantly contribute to the dust levels in your home.

5. Draperies and upholstery collect dust

Your carpet isn’t the only place where dust settles; it accumulates on your draperies and upholstery. In the case of curtains, dust accumulation is especially likely if they touch the ground. Curtains also gather dust from windows, and every time you open your draperies to let natural light into your home, you disturb the settled dust, and it floats to various surfaces in the room. Furniture gathers dust. Synthetic materials, in particular, attract more dust than natural surfaces like wood. Any upholstered furniture will attract dust. 

6. Unsealed windows and doors allow dust into your home

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Gaps and cracks in your doors and windows cause significant energy loss and let the dust from outside into your home. If you feel the air from outside coming through even when you have your doors and windows closed, then it means that dust is also making its way inside. 

7. Leaky HVAC ducts

HVAC air ducts run through walls, attics, crawlspaces, and attics. If there are gaps in the ducts or unsealed where pieces of ductwork connect, then dust can be pulled into the ducts and then blown into your home. If you notice more dust settling after you run the air conditioner or furnace, then a leaky duct might be the culprit. 

8. You may be using incorrect dusting techniques

No matter how regularly dust surfaces in your home, if you don’t do it correctly, you may inadvertently be moving dust from one area to another rather than getting rid of it. Whipping out your favorite feather duster might seem like the right place to start, but all it will do is disturb dust particles and circulate them throughout your home. 

9. Recent renovations in your area

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You may notice more dust in your home if you’ve recently renovated (or your neighbor did). Construction dust can be a pain to get rid of as it tends to linger in the air and slowly settle over a long period of time.

10. You have clutter lying around

Clutter attracts dust in the form of books stuffed in shelves, clothes piled up, papers stacked on desks, etc. The more clutter you have lying around, the more surface area for dust to occupy. Additionally, having a messy and cluttered home makes it much harder to clean, which means more and more dust collects on surfaces.

11 easy ways to reduce dust in your house

1. Upgrade or clean your air filters

If you have an HVAC system, be sure to clean or upgrade the filters to control dust levels in your home. A quality filter can significantly slow down the rate of dust accumulation. A standard air filter will only remove big dust particles from the air to reduce the risk of damage to your HVAC  system. To minimize dust in the air and improve air quality, look for high-quality paper or pleated fabric disposable filters that you can replace every 1-3 months. If you want the highest quality filters, choose high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) models – be sure to check that they are compatible with your heating and cooling systems.

Related article: How long does it take to clean an apartment?

2. Invest in an air purifier

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One of the best things you can do to maintain a dust-free home is to invest in an air purification system. If your budget allows, consider installing a whole-house purifier. These air filtration systems are great for long-term dust reduction and improved indoor air quality.

Even if you choose to go for smaller models only in select rooms, it’s key to ensure that your install models are certified effective. For example, some air purifiers have UltraHEPA and volatile organic compound (VOC) and carbon filters, and HEPA-certified air purifiers eliminate dust and other impurities like mold, pollen, and bacteria.

3. Vacuum more frequently

Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum equipped with a filter to ensure that you’re capturing as much dust as possible. Be sure to vacuum all the carpeted areas of your home, especially paying attention to high-traffic areas. You can also clean other flooring, ceilings, and walls to cut down on dust and prevent buildup on furniture and other surfaces. When vacuuming, you’ll want to work in slow, overlapping strokes to suck up all the dirt.

4. Mop more often

Going over your flooring with a damp mop is a great way to remove dust you may have missed while vacuuming or sweeping. If you mop regularly, you’ll be able to manage dust levels in your home. Letting it sit for too long will make it harder to clean up.

5. Dust your surfaces with microfiber cloths

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Dust your upholstery furniture, tables, and other home surfaces where dust tends to accumulate with microfiber cloths. This dusting cloth is designed to trap dust, unlike a towel or feather duster. Before using a microfiber cloth, dip it in warm water and wring it so that it’s slightly damp. Wipe the affected surface, dipping and wringing the microfiber cloth to get rid of excess dirt. When the cloth gets too dirty, switch to a fresh one for the best results.

6. Replace old carpets or have them professionally cleaned

Even if you vacuum regularly, you’ll not get rid of all the dust trapped in your carpet, and all it takes is for someone to walk on the surface for the dust to become air-bone. Some dust will resettle in the rug, while the rest will likely end up on your home’s pets, furniture, and other surfaces. If your carpet is too old or dusty, your best option may be to have it professionally cleaned to try and get as much dust out of it as possible. If this is not an option for you, you may need to replace your old carpet – avoid wool and shag carpets as they are highly prone to dust accumulation. Choose rugs with short and tightly woven strands to reduce the amount of dust trapped in the fibers.

Related article: How often should you clean your apartment?

7. Clear clutter

If your house has a lot of decorative trinkets, you may find that dust accumulates a lot faster on them. Go through every room in your home and inspect for dust-collecting items you don’t have much use for. Please get rid of them or keep them in storage instead of having them on display. You’ll also want to remove piles of books and magazines as they generate a lot of dust over time. Cut down on throw blankets, tablecloths, pillows, and plushy furniture, and clean out your closet so that you only remain with clothes/shoes/jewelry that you wear regularly. 

8. Take shoes off

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Take your shoes off at the door (and have guests do the same) and put them on a shoe rack to prevent dust, mud, and dirt from getting tracked into your home. It’s much harder to keep your pets from tracking dirt into your house, so the best solution might be to limit the number of rooms they can access to prevent dust.

9. Wash bed linens frequently 

Dust quickly accumulates on sheets, pillows, blankets, and comforters. Every time you get in or out of bed, you unintentionally send specks of dust floating into the air. Furthermore, skin flakes, hair, dirt, and pet dander build up every time you sleep, making for an unhygienic sleep environment. To prevent this, be sure to wash your bedding often, especially if your pets sleep with you or you sweat a lot at night. Ideally, you should wash your bed linens at least once a week if your house is incredibly dusty or you have a dust allergy. 

10. Seal up cracks

Use caulk to seal cracks and gaps around window and door frames (You can use dynaflex 230, as the video shows). You may also need to replace worn weather-stripping around doors to keep dust from floating into your home.

11. Groom pets outside

Regular grooming can help to manage pet dander. Consider brushing and/or washing your dog or cat outside where any pet dander won’t get into your home. If this isn’t an option, groom them on top of an old towel spread on the floor of your laundry room or bathroom.

Final thoughts

You may not eliminate all the dust in your home, but pinpointing where it’s coming can help you figure out the best way to reduce it significantly. 

Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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