It’s a chore most dread: you go from room to room armed with a feather duster, sneezing every ten seconds and straining to reach surfaces that are frustratingly just out of reach. That’s right, we’re talking about dusting, and it’s definitely not one of the more glamorous aspects of having your own place. Dust originates from airborne flakes of dead skin that we’re constantly shedding, bits of hair, animal dander from our furry friends, pollen, dirt, and other tiny particles that gradually collect in the recesses of our homes.
Cutting down on this dust has the obvious benefit of making your place look cleaner, but you’ll also be able to breathe a lot easier without all those nasty little microorganisms entering your nostrils. Still, dusting doesn’t need to be a physically strenuous or time-consuming ordeal in order to be thorough. Though you might not succeed in getting every square inch of your apartment entirely dust-free, there are some ways to keep it at bay in your apartment without necessarily breaking a sweat.
First Thing’s First
Are you allergic to dust mites (microscopic bugs that live in house dust)? They are the most common indoor allergen, after all, so if you fall into that category, you’ll definitely want to protect yourself before getting started.
To prevent your hands from possibly breaking out in a rash, put on some cleaning gloves. You may also want to don a shower cap to keep falling dust from getting in your hair. To prevent yourself from breathing it in, you’ll find that a respirator mask, like the kind you’d use while painting, does the trick just fine. It’s also wise to wear an old t-shirt that you don’t care about getting dirty when dusting. You’ll probably feel a little bit wacky in this getup, but remember that it’s better to look like you’re part of a hazmat squad than to find yourself itching, erupting into sneezing fits, and being generally miserable for the rest of the day.
If you have some eye drops, you might want to use them before you start dusting too. Last but not least, think of dust as snowflakes: it floats down in much the same way you see snow fall, so logically, you’ll want to start from the top, at the highest places in your apartment, then work your way down to the floor level.
Do you have a ceiling fan or other light fixtures that often get dusty? No problem! Just get yourself a bendable duster that attaches to an adjustable rod (found in the cleaning aisle of most major stores). That way, you won’t have to stand on your tip-toes, as the handle typically extends anywhere from four to five feet or more. Plus, most dusters are made of microfiber cloth, which goes a long way towards picking up all those pesky particles. An added bonus of duster heads made with cloth material is that they’re also machine washable, which means you can keep using them for years to come.
Walls and Baseboards
Keeping your walls free of that aggravating film of dust that often accumulates, particularly in and around corners, might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually very manageable. Believe it or not, you don’t even need a step stool to do it — it’s as easy as attaching a microfiber cloth to a Swiffer-type mop. After taking down any wall decor and artwork, just use the mop like you would on flooring to tackle any dust and cobwebs lurking around the edges. This might also work if you have baseboards, especially for those who don’t want to, or aren’t able to, get down on their knees and hunch over to clean.
Dust often tends to settle on objects in your home that are stationary or hang undisturbed, such as your area rugs, tapestries, and curtains. Make it a point of periodically giving these items a shake outside, then throwing them in the wash to eliminate any residual debris.
With furniture, you’ll generally be safe just using a cloth to wipe down any dusty surfaces (microfiber, as mentioned above, is ideal). If you have a larger piece such as a bookcase, try the method involving the adjustable duster to clean the top if it’s too high for you to reach. Shelves, after being emptied, are easy to access. And if you’ve got a table or other furniture piece that’s wooden, you’ll find some great furniture polishes on the market that will add the gleam and luster back into them, breathing new life into your home and helping you breathe all at once.
Of course, simply wiping off dust isn’t an option when it comes to upholstered furniture — nor is removing and washing the upholstery feasible unless it’s a slipcover. However, if you have a vacuum attachment that’s suited to vacuuming furniture, you’re in luck. Many vacuums sold today have exactly such an attachment, which works wonders in sucking up all sorts of dirt and dust from couches, chairs, and other upholstered items.
If you’re trying to dust something that’s somewhat fragile, small, or has detailing to it, such as a piece of art, just take an old paintbrush or makeup brush and spritz it with water. Then go over the object with your brush, using quick, light strokes. Voila! A low-cost hack for an object that’s otherwise challenging to clean.
We hope you find that these tips and tricks make dusting around your apartment a little more efficient, whether you’re a cleaning pro or just starting your journey into “adulting.” You’ll have the whole thing down to a science before long, and with a regular cleaning schedule, allergy sufferers can finally say sayonara to all that dust.