We've all been there. You dust all the furniture and a few days later it's covered in dust again. You look out a window on a sunny day and see particles floating freely in the air.
So where is all this dust coming from in your home? Believe it or not, it comes from you, your belongings, other people in your home (guests or not) and the outside. The dust in your home has many sources, but most of them start with you. Let's look at it in detail.
You are a source of dust
Although it may sound gross, some of that dust is made up of little pieces of you. Snakes shed their skin twice a year. Humans shed their skin all day, every day. You replace all your skin every 4 to 5 weeks. That's a lot of dead skin flakes.
This dead skin accumulates not only in your mattress and pillow, but also on furniture and rugs. When you disturb these items, the flakes become airborne and settle again.
Not only do you lose skin, but you also lose hair. These hairs break down into smaller and smaller particles. Eventually they become part of your dust.
The same goes for your eyebrow hair and eyelashes. If you use personal care products on your skin and hair, they can come off independently of your skin or hair. The dust may contain pieces of hair gels, sprays or mousse. When your nail polish chips, that chip goes somewhere; it becomes dust.
The Pigpen character from the Peanuts comic strip wasn't far off. He was traveling in a cloud of dust; we create our own dust as we move around our house.
Your stuff is a source of dust
Not only are you a source of dust, but all of your things produce dust as well. For example, your clothes are made of fibers. These fibers come off and become dust.
If you use liquid fabric softener in the wash, you create even more dust. Fabric softener coats the fibers of fabrics to make them feel soft and even smell good. But this coating is not permanent and it flakes off the fabric. It then becomes dust.
If your bedroom or bathroom is particularly dusty, it may be due to the liquid fabric softener you use. To eliminate the buildup, put ½ white vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of the fabric softener. This will remove any fabric softener residue, soften the fabric and reduce dusting.
In addition to your clothes, your upholstery, carpeting, curtains, kitchen towels and even your food are sources of dust. These bits of fiber and food crumbs are a major component of house dust.
Other people in the house and guests make dust
Just like you, other people in the house are busy creating their own dust cloud. Their skin, hair, clothes and personal belongings are all producing dust. But people aren't the only ones creating dust.
Dust mites love to eat falling skin. These microscopic creatures feed on human skin. They congregate where it's warm, dark and slightly damp - in your bed. Mites eat the skin and create droppings. Dust mite droppings are another component of the dust in your home, especially in the bedroom.
As they feed, they grow. As they grow, they shed the hard shell that covers their bodies. This shell becomes house dust. And since nothing lasts forever, these mites die. Their dead bodies become dust.
Forexample, house dust is full of dust mites, dust mite body parts, and dust mite feces. The only real way to control this source of dust is to cover your mattress with a dust mite cover and wash your sheets once a week in 140° water.
There are also many other uninvited guests in your home. Cockroaches feed on these food crumbs in the dust. Then the roaches relieve themselves. They die. House dust contains body parts and droppings of cockroaches.
So do silverfish and other common household pests. This includes fleas and mites that live on mice. Oh, and the skin, fur and droppings of mice can also be part of the dust.
Your pets are a source of dust. Their dander mixes with the dust. Pets also leave dried pieces of their saliva around the house.
When they groom themselves, the saliva sticks to their fur. It dries and flakes off. This saliva is actually the source of pet allergens, not the skin or fur, but the dried saliva. And it is also part of the dust in your home.
Cat saliva is particularly sticky. Cat allergen is found in dust in places like airplanes, hospitals and office buildings, where you wouldn't expect to see cats. That's because it's carried on the cat owner's clothing and hair.
If you let a cat owner into your home, the dust in your house will likely contain cat allergens as well.
Pets also bring pollen and mold spores from outside. These particles cling to your pet's fur. Once indoors, they fall out and end up in the dust. This brings us to the final source of house dust, the outdoor environment.
Dust comes in through the outside
Dust also enters through windows, doors and cracks around windows and doors. Dirt, mold spores, pollen, soot and other elements from the outside get into the dust in your home. Like your pets, you carry some of it on your hair and skin. You also carry some on the packages you bring home from the store.
It's tempting to open the windows on a mild, sunny day, but you're just adding to the house dust. Trees next to your house can be a wonderful environment for birds. But these birds are a source of dust from their feathers and dust mites. When you open your windows, you let this dust in.
Control dust by cleaning
It would be great if there was a magic device that could get rid of all the dust in your home. But there isn't. The best way to tackle dust is to minimize the things in your home that create dust and clean regularly. To remove dust, use a damp cloth or microfiber cloths. Always start at the top of the room and work your way down.
Vacuum frequently with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner. Wet mop hard surfaces to remove dust and use a dusting machine that is the right size for the room. HEPA air filtering the right size for the room.
Remember, the next time you wonder where the dust in your home is coming from, take a quick look in the mirror. We make our own dust and that can make dust allergies worse.
We wish you good health
P.S. Allergy elimination is about getting rid of the allergy-causing substance in your home as best you can. Once you do this, you may be able to eliminate the need for all the medications and doctor visits.