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Many people kid about the “dust bunnies” in their homes, but dust is anything but cute. Dust is made up of particles including dander from birds, cats and dogs, sand, insect waste, dirt, carpet fibers and even dead skin cells.
Every time you open a window or a door, vacuum the carpets, sweep the floors or turn on the furnace or a fan, you stir up these airborne particles that eventually appear around the house. Dust can also wreak havoc on your breathing with asthma and allergies, including the microscopic dust mites in your sheets, pillows and mattresses.
Carpeting is one of the biggest dust collectors in the house, so vacuum them regularly. But remember, vacuuming also stirs up dust, so you need to have the proper vacuum cleaner that removes it.
“The old standard for trapping dust in the vacuum was using a HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Air) filter bag, but that really is not enough,” said Ken Bank of Bank’s Vacuum, America’s Largest Independent Vacuum Dealer, (248) 528-1366, banksvac.com. “Today there are many vacuums that provide a sealed HEPA bag that is designed to capture virtually all the dust particles,” he said.
Bank said he has a particulate meter he attaches to the vacuums exhaust that shows how many parts per million of dust particles are captured. He said vacuums from Miele, mieleusa.com, Simplicity, simplicityvac.com, and Sebo, sebo.us, are available that capture virtually 100 percent of all dust particles.
Today’s manufacturers have designed vacuums that can be used on all types of flooring. “I talk with many customers who think that sweeping their hard surface floor is sufficient, but you still need to vacuum these floors to really capture all the dust,” he said.
Bank also said that a central vacuum system can help lessen the amount of dust when caused by vacuuming, because the dust and dirt are exhausted into a central collection bin in a basement or garage, or even exhausted outdoors.
While using the proper vacuum cleaner is the first line of defense against dust in the home, there are still other things you can to to minimize it from taking over your house and help improve your indoor air quality.
Changing your furnace filter monthly during the winter with MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 8 or higher to filter the dust and other pollutants. There are also 4-inch and 6-inch thick deep-pleated media filters you can have installed that are highly effective in filtering dust and other particles.
If you have asthma or allergy problems, you can have an air-purification system installed in the air supply duct on your furnace. RGF, rgf.com, and Bryant, bryant.com, are manufacturers of whole-house air purification systems.
You can also do some simple things like using a moist microfiber dust rag when dusting your furniture. Microfibers attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge, unlike dry rags and feather dusters, which just spread the dust around.
Maintaining proper humidity in your home during the winter months will also help minimize airborne dust. Read my column from November 5, 2015, titled “Control humidity level to hike indoor comfort” to learn more.
To control dust mites, change your bedding once a week, and encase your mattress and box spring in an allergen-proof cover.
Once the furnace is running consistently, the dust is sure to follow. You can control the amount of dust that gets into the air with the proper vacuum and air quality systems, along with some simple techniques to keep dust at bay while cleaning. That is particularly important if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies.
For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show With Glenn Haege” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed.
If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.