We all seen dust everywhere, What exactly is dust and should we care? Dust is a composition made of skin flakes, insects, fibers, lint, soils, dust mites, and germs. Dust can be made out of mere 1 or 2 allergens and the combination will vary from household to household. Since dust will accumulate over time, you will often find it on top of the shelf, underneath the bed, or behind a cabinet when it remains untouched. The most dangerous dust is the micron-size type that is usually airborne due to the featherweight. The tiny particles may lodge into your airway and lungs, causing all kinds of allergic reactions. When inhaled or ingested, you are at risk of following allergy reactions:
- Uncontrollable sneezing
- Runny nose/ Nasal congestion
- Red or watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pressure/ Itchy skin
Is Dust Dangerous?
Depending on the sizes of the dust particle and duration of the exposure. Dust that contains cigarette toxins, bacteria, viruses or other pollution sources can be very dangerous. It can be extremely harmful when tiny particles are combined in dust e.g. silica dust, asbestos fibers or heavy metals. When inhaled, dust may lodge into our lungs causing breathing difficulty. It may also lead to many allergic reactions like coughing, sneezing, skin and eyes irritation.
Dust is particularly dangerous to people with compromised lung or immune systems. If you have infants, toddlers and pets at home, they are at a higher risk group because the crawling may stir up the settled dust. Infant may also ingest about 10 grams of dust per day as they constantly put their hands into their mouth.
How To Get Rid of Dust Floating In The Air
It is no secret that dust in the air is bad for you. Dust can lead to different health effects particularly if you are an asthmatic person, children, or elderly. The guide below would give you a clear indication of what can be done and how easy it is. At the end of the day, we want to reduce a person’s exposure to surrounding dust.
- Purchase a HEPA air purifier – There are plenty of good dust air purifiers in the market ranging from affordable to premium. You may not need the best in class, but the filtration must come with a pre-filter and HEPA filter. It is the most effective method of getting dust out of the air. Via its internal motor fan, an air purifier will pull in nearby air and force it to go through a series filters including the dust trapper pre-filter. With every airborne particle captured, only clean air will be distributed out and the cycle will continue every time there is dust floating in the air. Just remember to clean or replace the air purifier’s filter on time.
- Routinely maintain HVAC filters – The No #1 spot for airborne dust distribution. Depending on the cooling or heating system, clean/ replace the HVAC filter every 2-3 months unless stated otherwise in the manual. This is especially true in older homes where dust has been piling up on the air duct or furnace. Also, check with your local technician on when should you service the HVAC system. Failing to do so may lead to the filter being overwhelmed with particulate matters and dust will freely leave the HVAC system uncaptured.
- Replace filter with MERV 9 filter and above – The higher the MERV ratings, the better it can filter tiny particles. Irritants like dust mite, mold pollen, and germs are dangerous to our health when inhaled. The particles will also snowball into bigger dust when settled on the ground. Take note though as not all MERV filters are washable. Some require replacing every quarterly or annually to maintain its efficiency. Read the instruction before proceeding with any cleaning.
- Clean air conditioner filter – Shocking it may seem, many people didn’t know there is actually a permanent filter inside despite running the ACR every single day. The permanent filter is there to trap inflowing dust from outside from being distributed into the indoor air. To prevent the washable filter from being overly congested, you are required to clean the filter from airborne dust. The cleaning frequencies highly depends on the number of hours the air conditioner is running. If you are staying in a dusty environment or have pets indoor, check on the AC filter regularly as dust will pile out quickly.
- No clutter mess – Keep everything nice and tidy as we want to prevent dust from piling on the objects. Whether is toys, books, clothes, towels, or bedding, store inside a container box or wardrobe. That way the loose fibers or lint will still be contained inside rather than being airborne out in the open. Also, it will be much easier for you to vacuum the floor rather than having to bypass the clutter.
- Vacuum daily/ once a week – The more you vacuum, the less chance settled dust will be disturbed and becomes airborne. If you have carpet or floor rug at home, you will need to vacuum daily as carpet is a notorious dust magnet. Otherwise, vacuum weekly from top to bottom particularly on the top shelf, staircase, and corner edge. Use the extension to vacuum hard to reach places like ceiling fan, plaster ceiling, door frame, and curtain. We recommend investing in a HEPA vacuum cleaner that can trap microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns. Turn on an air purifier to capture dust that has been stirred back in the air.
- Mop the floors – The best way to stop dust from being reintroduced by in the air is by mopping the floor. Not only you can target the leftover dust you missed out, it will also remove stains and grime that have been collected since your last mop. One should mop the floor just after the weekly vacuuming so there is less dust getting in the way.
- Change and wash bedding regularly – This includes sheet, comforters, pillows, and bed linen that we spend most of our time in. Doing so will greatly reduce the dust fibers from being airborne and spread across the room. We recommend washing it every 3-4 weeks with hot water to remove any loose dust fibers. Alternatively, use a dustproof bed covers that will prevent any dust accumulation.
- Do not wear shoes indoor – Roads, pavement is filled with dust, dirt, and other dirty contaminants that we do not want to bring inside the house floor. The lightweight particles can easily become airborne when we trample or walk past it. Place a doormat, leave your shoes outside and switch to an indoor-only slipper instead.
- Dust the right way – Never use feather duster as it only stirs up settled dust from one place to the other. Use a damp cloth instead when vacuuming is not an option. That way we can prevent suspended dust from being stir back into the air again.