Eliminate dust mites to stay healthy.
Your vacuum can be your best friend for a healthy home. The dust that accumulates on your furniture, floors, shelves and knickknacks has nothing to do with poor housekeeping or dusting habits. Most of the indoor dust comes from airborne particles blown in from outdoors. It is a natural and continual collection caused by microscopic dust mites, the breakdown of fibers from carpets, household fabrics and upholstered furniture, human dander (skin flakes) and tracked in dirt. Vacuuming often will help eliminate dust mites. Homes with black dust, especially in New York City where there is so much traffic pollution, may have poor ventilation.
The average house in the United States collects about 40 pounds of dust each year, says allergist William Berger, author of Asthma and Allergies for Dummies.
Dust is a large part of indoor air pollution, mainly because people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, says the Environmental Protection Agency. And dust can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
What can you do?
While you can’t eradicate dust altogether, there are steps you can take to reduce its accumulation. The first step is getting rid of clutter.
Things like books, clothing, and stuffed toys are big collectors of dust. So are trophies, banners and posters kids tack to their walls.
Molly Hooven, an EPA spokeswoman, suggests concentrating dust-fighting efforts on bedrooms, because you spend about one-third of your time there. Some things you can do:
- Remove extra furniture and any objects that will give dust mites a place to land on.
- Vacuum the bedroom carpet using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Vacuuming can eliminate dust mites that have settled on the floor.
- Clean all surfaces in your home such as your vanity, television, side tables and headboards with a damp cloth or a cleaning furniture polish. Close closet doors.
- Wash your bedding. Use 140-degree water to eliminate dust mites.
- Place stuffed animals and fabric items that can’t be machine-washed into plastic bags and freeze, which will eliminate dust mites.
A regularly scheduled House Cleaning can also help keep things under control.