Dust on your TV, under the couch, and on the dresser are annoying. However, dust in the air can make you miserable. Especially if you’re an allergy sufferer. Plus when the sun shines in through a window airborne dust can be downright embarrassing. That’s why we decided to provide a few tips on how to remove dust from air.
Dust in the air… isn’t always in the air.
It sure seems like there’s a perpetual supply of airborne dust. So much in fact that it would lead even the most logical among us to think that there floating dust exists. But, we all know that is not the case. All dust eventually falls to the ground.
The dust you see in the air is actually just hitching a ride on an air current, or on its way to settling onto a surface. More often than not you’re actually the reason that it’s floating. As you move through the house your feet disturb dust that accumulates in rugs, carpeting, and on hardwood floors. You’re also shedding particles from your skin and clothing. The latter is typically what you see in the air; at least as far as what falling off of your person.
You’re home HVAC system can also be a culprit. If dust is sucked in on one end it’s possible that some of it is sneaking around the filter only to exit through your vents. Take a look at the return air grate in your home… it’s probably a little (or maybe very) dusty. That dust is just a fraction of the dust that gets sucked out of your home and into the furnace or air conditioner. Without a filter, or a functioning filter, that dust just recirculates back into your home.
Dust (and Pollen) from Outside
This will vary from location to location. But, dust from construction, the landscape, and pollen from plants and trees will float into your home if you’re not aware of your surroundings. Construction is a common problem in regions with a lot of growth. And, if you’re in a farming area keep your windows closed when tractors are most active. In the spring be mindful of trees, or check the local allergen forecast.
Easy Steps to Remove Dust from Air in your Home
Step One – Check your HVAC filter.
The first and best defense against blowing dust throughout your home is a fresh filter. Every few months pull the filter from your furnace and inspect it for dust accumulation and/or damage. The former will often lead to the latter. When too much dust builds up, the force from the furnace’s powerful fan will deform the filter, allowing blow buy to occur. That is all it takes for dust to get around your filter. Most filters are pretty affordable, so keep a few on hand in case you see a bunch dust built up on the element.
We’ll get to why you’ll need a plug-in purifier later, we will say that you don’t need to spend too much on a whole house filter. If there’s not a manufacturer-recommended filter… look for something with a decent MERV rating, you’ll basically want to shoot for a mid-priced filter. They’ll flow efficiently without getting clogged too quickly.
Step Two – Vacuum / Clean Regularly
Remember when we said that a lot of the dust you see in the air was dust on the floor until you kicked it up? If you can pull the dust off the floor there will be less in the air when your kids are running laps through your living room.
If you’re going to vacuum look for a machine with HEPA filtration. That way you’ll capture as much of the dust as possible. If you don’t there is a good chance that the dust will just end up in the air.
On a hard floor sweep up dust with a dust mop. Brooms tend to kick up dust into the air. A dust mop will grab dust in its fibers as you push it around the room. You can then use a vacuum to remove the dust from the mop and take another pass.
We tried a robot vacuum for a couple years, but the amount of dust that collected on top of the robot was an obvious sign that it was just kicking dust up into the air. The other problem was that it scratched wood floors. If if found a small rock on the floor it would drag it around… gouging the flooring’s surface.
Step Three – Wash Bedding Regularly
Your bed has a lot of dust catching surface area. And, every time you plop down on that comforter or make your bed in the morning you stir up almost all of the dust it’s collected. Try to avoid that old school whip into the air. Gently drag it across your bed when you tidy up in the morning. Keep it clean by washing it from time to time. Once you get the dust in your home under control it will be less of a problem.
Step Four – Try an Air Purifier
Most air purifiers will remove dust from air. Afterall, that’s what they’re designed to do. Look for a more powerful unit that moves a lot of air. That way you’ll need less air circulation from ceiling fans to keep dust filled air moving into the purifier. You will also want to look for a purifier with a larger filter since small ones clog more frequently.
More expensive purifiers often work best, but if you’re just testing things out you don’t need to spend more than 20 dollars. For general dust removal at a reasonable price we recommend Honeywell’s 50250-S. It’s kind of loud, and doesn’t have many features. But, it does offer a huge HEPA filter and a pretty powerful fan. Both of which you need to pull dust from the air.
It’s also a good idea to use the purifier (on its highest setting) when you dust, vacuum, sweep, or make the bed.
Step Five – Reassess
Once you’ve completed the first few steps keep an eye on where dust accumulates. Open window shades in the morning and let the sun illuminate airborne dust. If you’re keeping up on the things we mentioned above there may be other problems that are causing the dust problem in your home.
Perhaps dust is snaking in through poorly sealed doors and windows. If so you will need to seal things up and reassess in a week or two. There are a lot of ways to check for air leaks you’ll have no trouble finding a comprehensive guide online (like this one from the Dept. of Energy).
If your house is sealed up tight and you still have dust floating around in the air, try using a fan to move air around. A ceiling fan works great, but any fan will do. If you keep air moving your HVAC filter and Purifier will be able to trap dust after it’s sucked into their intakes.
If all else fails… you may need to become one of those families that requires shoe removal upon entry.