Why Do Apartments Get So Dusty?


Why do apartments get so dusty - 1

It can seem like dust appears out of nowhere, sometimes after you have just completed a deep clean of your apartment. When you look around your home, you will probably see it on several of your household items, and you will likely see some particles floating in the air as well. Here is what you need to know about where dust comes from and how to get rid of it so that your apartment feels cleaner.

Why do apartments get so dusty? There are many sources of dust in an apartment. Dust comes from outdoors through windows, doors, and cracks and crevices in your unit. Dust also comes from the flakes of your dead skin, as well as when pets shed hair or fur all over your clothes and furniture. Another unexpected source of dust is furnishing fibers, which includes furniture, rugs, carpets, upholstery, bedding, furniture, and any other item in your apartment that wears down with time.

Your air conditioning unit could also contribute to the dust accumulation in your apartment, especially if the filter is full or isn’t regularly cleaned out. Another reason why dust might be building up in your home could be due to how you clean it. While dry-dusting may seem to do the job, you could be simply circulating the dust particles rather than getting rid of it.

Dust accumulation is in your home is unfortunately unavoidable. Dust comes from multiple sources, and with its numerous effects, you are better off getting rid of it. Let’s get started on what you need to know about dust accumulation in your apartment.

What are the components of dust?

Dust comprises of fine particles of solid substances. Depending on the surroundings, dust comprises of different things.

One of the most common misconceptions about dust is that it is mostly made up of old skin follicles. While dead skin makes up a portion of dust, it is not the main component. Other than human skin cells, indoor dust also consists of textile fibers, pet dander, animal hair, food particles, paper fibers, and human hair among others. Dust from outdoors comprises of matter such as pollen, soil particles, smoke, and vehicular particles.

Where does the dust in apartments come from?

Dust in apartments comes from both indoor and outdoor sources.

1. From outside your apartment

Dust from outdoors gets into your apartment through doors, windows, and cracks in your apartment walls. Pollen, soil particles, particulate matter from smoke, and other unwanted particles find their way and contribute to the accumulation of dust in your apartment. Just like your pet, you carry these dust components into your home on your skin and hair. You also bring in these particles on the items you bring home from other sources. Having trees surrounding your home allows for a conducive environment for a wide variety of bird species. Unfortunately, those birds carry dust in their feathers as well as dust from bird mites. By leaving your windows open, you allow this dust into your apartment.

2. Hair and skin cells

While it is not particularly nice to think about, your skin cells contribute to the dust buildup in your apartment. Humans shed skin on a regular basis, which means that apart from skin flakes accumulating in your shower, it also piles up on your carpets and furniture. These skin cells tend to become airborne when the surfaces on which they are found are disturbed. You also shed hair, which breaks down into small particles and becomes a component of dust. Any personal care products that you may use on your hair and skin can also flake off and contribute to dust. This includes hair sprays, perfumes, and nail polish chips among others.

4. Your pets

If you have pets, they could contribute to the dusty atmosphere in your apartment. Pet dander, which is basically flecks of skin that they shed, becomes part of the dust in your unit. Even if you don’t own a pet, friends and family who come over to your home could be carrying dander from their pets on their clothes.

5. Air and heating systems

The air conditioning system in your home may cause accumulation of dust in your apartment. When in good condition, your AC functions by trapping dust particles that may be floating in the air. However, when you forget to change the AC filters for an extended period of time, they could lead to dust build up in your apartment. Leaking air ducts could also contribute accumulation of dust in your apartment, whether from your HVAC system or from outside sources. If there is an old or poorly maintained furnace in your home, it could also increase the amount of dust in your home.

6. Fibers from your belongings

Almost all of your belongings contribute to the dust in your apartment. Rags, carpets, clothing, curtains, drapes, and furnishings all wear down and tear over time, resulting in fibers being broken down. These broken down materials end up accumulating in your apartment and forming components of dust. Most of these fibers typically stay dormant on the various surfaces, but any disturbance can result in them floating in the air and spreading all over your house.

7. Pests and pest droppings

Cockroaches, rodents, and other pests that may lurk around in your apartment carry dust on their bodies. They inevitably leave excretions all over your living space, and they also die. Their body parts and their droppings, therefore, become components of dust, resulting in a buildup in your apartment.

8. Food debris

You have probably spilled a few crumbs of food while you eat. If you make the effort to clean the debris as soon as possible, then you won’t have a problem. However, it is not uncommon to forget these small food particles, which eventually become components of dust in your home.

9. Repair and maintenance activities

If your landlord carried out repair and maintenance in your apartment, there is going to be dust floating around your apartment for a while.

Places where dust accumulates in your home

A quick look around your apartment will reveal several places where dust tends to accumulate. In fact, a majority of the surfaces usually collect a layer of dust, which you may or may not be able to detect. Here are some of the common places where dust tends to accumulate.

  • Electronics – Dust easily collects on TVs, stereos, video game consoles, and computers.
  • Upholstery – Dead skin and pet dander tend to accumulate on upholstered furniture, bedding, and curtains when they are not frequently cleaned.
  • Tops of cabinets, windows, and doors – It is easy to forget about these surfaces since they are mostly out of sight, allowing dust to accumulate over time.
  • Blinds and curtains – Dust from outside tends to gather on your curtains and blinds, so you will want to wipe them clean on a regular basis.
  • Lighting fixtures and ceiling fans – Dust that is floating in the air settles on surfaces such as lighting fixtures and ceiling fans.
  • Carpeting and baseboards – Pollen, soil particles, and other outdoor dust particles are brought in and spread on your carpeting and baseboards.

How does dust affect your health?

The potential harm that dust may cause to your health depends on the amount of dust present in your apartment and the period of time you have been exposed to it. Dust particles floating in the air that are small enough to be inhaled may result in the following allergy symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Teary eyes
  • Runny nose

If you have asthma, emphysema, or other similar respiratory conditions, you may experience more serious symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing.

Even if you are not allergic to dust and dust mites, prolonged exposure to high levels of dust in your apartment may end up affecting your health. Babies, elderly people, and young children are at higher risk of respiratory problems as a result of dirt exposure.

Getting rid of dust in your apartment

While you may not be able to completely get rid of dust in your apartment, there are steps you can take to reduce it and achieve a healthy indoor air quality.

  • Deep cleaning – By cleaning your home thoroughly on a regular basis, you will eliminate a significant percentage of dust. Don’t forget to clean the often forgotten areas that are usually out of sight.
  • Changing your bedding regularly – Dead skin and pet dander are just a few of the dust components that often collect in your bed. Ensure that you wash your sheets, blankets, and comforts as regularly as possible to reduce the buildup of dust.
  • Change air filters – Air filters in air conditioning units tend to trap dust components, so it is important to change them as often as possible to keep dust from accumulating and improve the air quality in your apartment.
  • Get rid of carpets and rugs – Consider getting rid of carpets and rugs in your units since they easily trap dust. It is also much easier to get rid of dust from floors that aren’t covered by carpets and rugs. If this is not possible, vacuum on a regular basis using a HEPA filter.
  • Groom your pets – Even if pet dander doesn’t flare up your allergies, it is important to keep your pets well-groomed so as to reduce the accumulation of dust particles.
  • Declutter – Clutter tends to attract dust particles. By organizing your home, you will reduce the number of places where dust can settle.

Final Thoughts

Although achieving an apartment that is completely devoid of dust is next to impossible, there are steps that you can take to reduce your exposure to it. By determining the sources of dust and eliminating as much of it as possible on a regular basis, you will significantly improve the air quality in your apartment and improve your health in the process.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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