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How to Dust Properly So You're Not Just Pushing Dirt Around

Pro dusting tips fom the "Martha Stewart Homekeeping Handbook."

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Some forty pounds of dust waft into the average household a year. It's composed of things such as rock, sawdust, and pollen. If you were to look at dust under a microscope, you would also find strands of hair, flakes of dead skin, and tiny insect bodies -- no wonder we should get rid of it. And if you think it's hard to stay ahead of dust, you're right. As soon as you clean, more wil be on its way: People and pets track it in from outdoors (and also generate it themselves), and it seeps through loose windows and doors. Eliminating drafts will go a long way toward reducing dust, so ensure your home is weather-stripped. Placing doormats inside and out and vacuuming them as needed will also help. Beyond those basics, there are ways to clean more efficiently and effectively, using the right tools and techiniques.

 

1. Always work from the top down, and then vaccum the dust that settles to the floor.

 

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2. Dont just dust the places you can see but the places you can't. When doing a thorough cleaning, include the tops of doors, walls, molding, ceiling fans, window treatments, and even lightbulbs (when lights are off and the bulbs are cool).

 

3. Instead of dusting around items such as collectibles, books, and telephones, move them aside and get underneath.

 

4. When dusting a flat surface, move the cloth smoothly from one end to the other, stopping at the end. Don't flick the cloth, or dust will merely be released back into the air before settling on the floor, instead of getting trapped by your cloth.

 

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5. Avoid dusting sprays, or use them sparingly. They contain oily substances that actually attract more dust. They also build up over time, and can damage a finish.

 

6. On wood, dust in the direction of the grain.

 

7. If using dusting clothes, have several on hand. Turn the cloth frequently, presenting a clean surface to the object with each pass, and start fresh with a new one as necessary.

 

8. Finishes that are unstable (flaking, cracking, or with lifting edges) or are splintered should not be dusted with a cloth; fabric from a dust cloth can easily snag. Use a soft paintbrush instead.

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