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Using a vacuum cleaner with a good filtration system is the best way to dust many areas and objects, as it collects and contains the dust, rather than merely moving it around. And it's not just for floors. Use the dust-brush attachment to dust blinds, ceilings, and walls; the crevice tool for corners by baseboards or any tight spot; and the upholstery tool for sofas, throw pillows, chairs, and beds.
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This classic tool is useful and versatile; though it doesn't hold dust as well as some products, it can reach into small crevices or sweep across large surfaces. Use it for general dusting, on end tables, bookshelves, lamps, and more. If you are partial to a feather duster, it's worth investing in a good-quality one made of ostrich feathers. This will be less likely to scratch and lose feathers, and it will hold dust better. Release the dust by shaking the tool outside, or gently tap the duster on your ankle to release the dust onto the floor, then vacuum it up. Do not use a feather duster on rough wood or masonry surfaces; it can catch and tear.
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The natural lanolin oils in this type of duster combine with static electricity to attract and hold dust. Use it the same way as a feather duster. Look for dusters with attachable, extendable handles for reaching ceilings and other high spots.
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These popular products, available at any grocery store, don't just pick up surface dust; they use static electricity to attract and hold tiny airborne particles. Electrostatic dusters allow you to dust without moistening the cloth first, and they keep dust from getting kicked back into the room. You'll find this fabriclike material in different forms: plain dusting cloths, dusters designd to get into crevices, mitts to wear as you work, and covers for floor sweepers. Use for general dusting on wood furniture and floors, decorative accessories, and more. Most electrostatic dusters are disposable, which makes them less economical but easy to use, since you don't have to clean them. You can also find machine-washable ones at hardware stores and home centers. Because these cloths hold on to tiny particles that might otherwise become airborne while dusting, they are especially good for people with allergies.
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These soft clothes, woven from superfine synthetic fabrics, are gentle on surfaces prone to scratching, such as computer screens and stainless-steel surfaces. Use them dry or barely damp (they do not require cleaning solution).
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A soft cotton cloth, such as one made of flannel, can be used on almost any surface. Boost its dust-attracting ability by misting it with water. Or treat it with a misxture of mild laundry flakes, ammonia, and linseed oil: Combine 1 tablespooh flakes, 1 tablespoon ammonia, 2 tablespoons linseed oil, and 1 quart of warm water. Soak the cloth for several minutes, wring it out, and hang it up to dry before using. When not in use, store in a covered container. These dust cloths can be used several times before they need to be washed. Once you wash a dust cloth, it will need to be treated again. Do not use fabric softener when washing dust cloth.
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A dust mop is better than a broom at picking up fine dust on hardwood floors. But an electrostatic floor duster is better still, and doesn't have to be shaken out after use. If you like to use a traditional dust mop, shake excess dust into a moistened bag after each use, or vacuum the mop thoroughly. When necessary, wash your dust mop in hot, sudsy waterm rinse, then hang it to dry (or place the mop head in a mesh bag and put it in the washing machine).
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A soft, clean, natural-bristle paintbrush is an ideal dusting tool; it's easy to control and has a light touch. Use on fragile items like lamp shades or things with intricate designs, or to reach into tight spaces. Try one on the pleats of a fabric lamp shade or the crevices of carved woodwork. Sable brushes (available at art supply stores) are costly but best for the most delicate surfaces, such as paintings and gold leaf. Keep paintbrushes used for dusting separate from those used for paint touch-ups.
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Use a cotton swab to reach detailed areas of very fragile or intricate objects and surfaces, such as a carved picture frame. Cotton swabs can leave behind lint, however, so moisten them lightly.
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A can of compressed air is great for cleaning computer keyboards and piano keys and other small, hard-to-reach spots. the air blows the dust away without leaving behind any residue. It is ideal for objects that can't tolerate moisture. Cans are available at office supply stores.
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