Keep Dust Away

Does dust reappear on surfaces minutes after you’ve cleaned them? Here are some tips for getting rid of that dust.

Dust cloth or duster?
Instead of using an old rag or a feather duster, use a microfiber or electrostatic cloth to capture dust, not just move it around, It attracts dust like a magnet. And, when you’re done dusting, you can just throw it in the wash, let it air dry and use it again. Microfiber dusters, with loops or strips of microfiber to trap even more dust, also come in various shapes and lengths for reaching blinds and ceiling fans. If you don’t use microfiber, dampen your cloth. Damp microfiber cloths are excellent cleaners — a mirror will come out streak- and dirt-free without any cleaning solution!

Wet or dry mop?
A damp mop will clean better than a dry one, but water is hard on some surfaces, such as wood. Microfiber mops come in both dry and wet assortments.

Vacuuming or dusting first?
This often it comes down to personal preference. Some prefer vacuuming first because vacuums can blow around small dust particles, which you can get rid of by dusting post-vacuuming. But the majority dust-first, feeling gravity is on their side; even lightweight dust will eventually end up on the floor, where you can vacuum it up after you dust.

Vacuuming
Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which traps more of the tiny stuff, and run it once a week on trafficked areas. And take care of your vacuum: Empty the canister and change bags and belts when needed, keep the brush wheel free of hair and other material, check for cracks or loose hinges and get it serviced every so often to keep it running smoothly.

Change your Filters
Change the air filters in your heat and air conditioning system once a month — or even more often. Pleated air filters catch more dust particles, and some are made to attract pollen and other allergens. Make sure the filter is ranked for the blower capacity of your system. Use the air conditioner to reduce humidity; dust mites love a moist environment.

Declutter and Organize
Books, knickknacks, pictures— the more you have, the more dust can accumulate. Keep books at the front of the shelf to rob dust of a place to settle and keeping items such as shoes and purses in plastic bins. Plastic bins are also a good idea for kids’ stuffed animals, a prime dust-breeding ground.

Closet clean-up
Put your off-season clothing in plastic bins or hanging bags to limit its shedding, and keep the floors of your closet clear so you can zip the vacuum cleaner or dust mop over them as you do your regular cleaning.

Sweep it away.
Don’t overlook the broom if  you have tile floors with uneven surfaces, use an angled, synthetic-bristle broom because it can get into corners and picks up smaller particles than a natural-fiber broom. Then use a damp mop to seal the deal.