Living Space: 9 places you’re forgetting to dust that could be affecting your home’s health
One household chore you shouldn’t procrastinate for too long is dusting. A few dust bunnies might seem harmless, but that powdery buildup can harbor some pretty gross stuff. Dust is mostly made up of human skin cells, but it can also contain dust mites and their droppings, bacteria, mold, pet dander and even viruses. As dust gets stirred up into the air, these particles can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues.
“Very few of us think about the dust that is in our homes and often only clean to remove it as it looks unsightly,” says Josh Mutlow, design manager for Dyson. That means dust can easily accumulate in unseen places or spots where you don’t regularly clean, impacting your home’s indoor air quality.
Regularly dusting is key to a healthy home, but there are several spots you might be forgetting to dust during your typical sweep. For a clean, allergen-free space, pay attention to these nine commonly overlooked areas where dust (and the germs that come with it) tends to lurk.
The textured surface of most ceilings easily accumulates dust and cobwebs, but most people don’t give this area much thought while cleaning. According to Dyson’s 2021 global dust study, which included more than 10,000 participants from 10 countries, the ceiling is the top spot people forget to dust, with nearly two-thirds of respondents saying they frequently skip over this area. To clear dust overhead, Mutlow suggests using a lightweight cordless vacuum with a soft brush attachment for large expanses and a crevice tool for corners.
2. Mattresses and bedding
Because dust mites feed on dead skin cells and thrive in dark, humid and warm places, beds are basically the ultimate breeding ground. Keep dust mites in check by regularly vacuuming your mattress on both sides. Plan to do this about once a month or every time you change the sheets if you suffer from dust allergies. Wash bedding, including pillows and throw blankets, in warm or hot water to help eliminate allergens. The water should be at least 130 F to effectively kill dust mites.
3. Light fixtures
“Dust can gather in lampshades and light fittings which can then burn on hot bulbs or be moved around the room by the production of warm air around the bulbs,” Mutlow says. Before cleaning, turn off the light fixture and wait until it’s completely cool. Use a dryer sheet or dry microfiber cloth to wipe away dust on glass shades and bulbs. For fabric lampshades, run the soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner across the surface to remove dust.