What you should know about House Dust
This ever-changing and seemingly ever-present substance has been a concern of housekeepers and allergy patients alike. It is the result of the natural decomposition of the things we have in our homes plus we have dust that infiltrates from the outside through cracks in doors and windows. Wherever it comes from, it causes a lot of symptoms for the allergic person.
What is in house dust?
The composition varies from house to house, but in general, you might find textile fibers, decomposing insect parts, pet dander, human and animal hair, food leftovers, pollen grains, mold spores, bacteria, skin flakes, insulation, sand, and the most likely offender, the dust mite and its fecal material.
What increases the amount of dust in a house?
Carpets, draperies, ruffled items, knickknacks, books, magazines, pets, upholstered furniture, animals and pillows, and fireplaces are some of the things that increase dust levels. Infrequent cleaning or cleaning with a vacuum cleaner without a high efficiency filtering device, high traffic levels, location of the house, type of yard, and condition of the central air system can all contribute to the amount of dust in your home For example, if you are in a new neighborhood where there is a lot of construction and the yards are not sodden with grass, you will have more dust in your home. Leaks in the duct work can cause dust and insulation from the attic to be drawn into the living space.
How can I reduce my exposure to house dust?
1. It is best for the dust sensitive person to not do the vacuuming or dusting. If you must do these tasks, wear a mask, and use a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency filter to reduce your exposure.
2. There are electrostatically charged cleaning cloths and mops which attract and hold the dust to keep it from becoming airborne. Using a damp mop on floors and walls can reduce dust levels. Don't forget to clean bed springs, window sills, under furniture, Venetian blinds, and other dust catchers with a damp cloth.
3. Remove carpets and as many dust producing and dust catching items from your home as possible. Select closed book cases and curio cabinets instead of open shelves. Books and magazines are dust catchers. Tile, linoleum, or hardwood floors are much better for the allergic patient than carpets.
4. Mattresses, box springs, and pillows should be encased with impermeable, zippered covers. New fabrics are now available that are breathable to allow water vapor to pass through for added comfort.
5. Keep clothing in drawers, and closet doors closed.
6. Vacuum frequently with a machine equipped with a High Efficiency Air Filter. Nilfisk, Fantom, Miele, and Euroclean are brands with HEPA filters.
7. A high performance filter in the central air system can remove 90%+ of the dust from the air as it operates. These washable filters should not contain any materials with glue on them. Check with the manufacturer before making a purchase.
8. Room air purifiers are helpful in controlling dust especially in your bedroom.
9. Have the duct system cleaned and checked for leaks.
10. Use wooden, glass, or plastic furniture where possible rather than upholstered items. Antiques often contain high amounts of dust.
11. Use washable curtains or window shades instead of Venetian blinds and heavy draperies.
12. Select easily cleaned decorations instead of silk or dried flower arrangements, straw, wicker, or fabric wall coverings.