Have you ever put your heart and soul into cleaning your house only to have that “dusty” feeling return within a few short days? Or perhaps you’ve run your fingers over your TV cabinet to discover that thin layer of dust that you just never seem to be able to get rid of? Or what is it with ceiling fans and the top of cupboards, how on earth does the dust get up there?
Well the great news is that you are about to get the answers to these questions and in the process, you will simultaneously discover a cleaning method that will;
1. Magically transform your relationship with cleaning
2. Ensure that your future cleaning efforts will be far more effective
3. Save you time and energy by making your home easier to keep clean
4. Have your home stay cleaner and healthier between cleaning efforts
5. Lighten the energy in your home and improve the quality of your life
So, let’s begin.
The first thing to appreciate is that we are dealing here with the world of the microscopic. The dust that you see accumulated under your finger-tips when you wipe an open surface is actually an accumulation of countless tiny and microscopic particles that under normal conditions the naked human eye simply cannot see. Similar to how an ocean wave can exert tremendous power by the combination of countless drops of water, the dust in your home is a dynamic force that is itself the combination of countless trillions of tiny dust particles.
That dastardly dust
Each of these dust particles is itself a combination of even tinier substances, many of which are harmful for we humans when ingested through our respiratory system. To explain what is inside a dust particle would need a separate article to explain adequately. Suffice to say for our purposes here the main ingredients that we need to be aware of from a health perspective are; human skin cells, dust mites and their faeces, pet dander, hair, clothing fibres, pollens, bacteria, insect parts, soil particles, mould spores, viruses, minute plastic specks, aerosol contaminants, toxic chemicals, pesticides and innumerable other irritants of a microscopic nature.
So why all the fuss about dust? Well for the purposes of this article if you don’t get your head around how dust behaves you will unwittingly be circulating dust when you clean only to see it resettle in the hours and days after the clean is completed. It has been observed that a dust particle can stay suspended in the air in your home for up to five days. Without getting too scientific about it, the reason is that the dust particle is so light that wind drafts can keep it afloat. Additionally, the static electricity created by the very act of cleaning can attach a positive static electricity charge to the particle that contributes to making it float. These two properties combined ensure that traditional cleaning methods are primarily circulating the same dust in your home clean after clean, year after year and often for decades. That’s why really old homes end up so hopelessly dusty.
But don’t fear for a solution here from www.1800cleaner.com.au
Knowledge is power
Now that we can see why dust floats, we can understand the riddle of why it accumulates on top of cupboards. This also explains why the leading edge of your ceiling fans gets dank and darkened as it hits the suspended dust particles at velocity. You can see this phenomenon of floating microscopic dust in your home when you move a curtain in the morning and the dust glistens through a shaft of sunlight. It is this tiny microscopic dust we are now going to instruct you on how to evict from your home and once evicted how to manage it on an ongoing basis. It took years to accumulate and it is quite difficult to remove in one fell swoop. Without expert help from a cleaning company specialising in dust-removal, you will need to apply these principles patiently over time. Removing dust and managing it will have immeasurable health benefits for you and your loved ones and it will also make your house easier to keep clean. Also, your home will feel lighter and look brighter. Literally. Believe it or not your eyes have gotten so used to having an imperceptible fog of microscopic dust in your home that you won’t realise it is there until the dust levels in your home drop precipitously and everything seems brighter.
CLEANING TIP 1
Close all of the windows and the doors
It sounds counter intuitive right but cleaning with the windows and doors open actually disturbs the fine dust encouraging it to float around whilst you clean. This is the last thing we want. You actually want to minimise air drafts including people walking through the house and internal doors opening and closing. With this approach you want the dust to settle and then you want it to stay settled whilst you vacuum and wipe it up with minimum movement and fuss. You should wear a face mask in the initial stages of this process as the dust you will be disturbing can be overwhelming. There is a method whereby you can use the wind-flow through the house to help extract dust but it requires a through-draft which is not always easy to achieve and rarely coincides with the time you’ve picked to do the cleaning but more on this technique in tip 5. The way you wipe and the type of vacuum cleaner you use is of vital importance and will be covered next.
CLEANING TIP 2
Use a HEPA filter Vacuum cleaner
Most vitally your vacuum must be fitted with a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filter so that any dust it captures will stay captured. We’re talking dust as small as 1/30th the circumference of a human hair! Use this awesome machine to vacuum up all the settled dust in the areas it has accumulated first and foremost when you do a spring clean. This clean is about effect before appearances and we want to get as much dust into the vacuum cleaner as we can before we try to beautify the place. Use this to vacuum up all the settled dust in the areas it has accumulated. Lesser vacuums will release fine particles out of the exhaust system, probably fully charged with static electricity to exacerbate the issue. So even though they cost a little more, only use HEPA vacuum cleaners if you’re serious about saving your cleaning time and energy and dealing properly with dust.
CLEANING TIP 3
Wet wash, don’t dry wipe
Once you have captured and removed as much of the obvious and accumulated dust as you can with the pre-vacuuming you can start to work on the open surfaces. Again, keep windows and doors closed and interior movement to a minimum for as long as you can leading up to the clean. Then with a very moist microfibre cloth start to wipe down the surfaces in your home. You can finish these off with a nice clean dry cotton cloth if making things look beautiful is a high priority for you. The main point here being that dry wiping will disturb and send airborne much of the settled dust on the open surfaces with a static electricity charge. Wet wiping will alleviate this issue. For maximum effect try and have very little clutter in your house for dust to cling to and hide within. Open surfaces are your goal and a truly minimalist house is a very beautiful thing and a pleasure to wipe down.
CLEANING TIP 4
Forget dusting, unless you use an ioniser
The ultimate tool in your battle against microscopic dust particles in your home is the almighty ioniser. An ioniser is a machine that distributes negatively charged ions into the atmosphere. When your home is charged with negative ions, then dusting becomes a smart choice in your cleaning arsenal. Negative ions negate the positive static electricity charge that dusting creates. This helps make the dust clump together and also makes it heavy so it stops floating around. But without a negative ioniser dusting can cause issues as it charges up and distributes the dust particles it disturbs with positive electricity. This makes the microscopic particle dust float for hours and days as you continue to clean futilely below this imperceptible airborne dust cloud. It is true that a duster is needed to physically remove cobwebs but when using it without a scientific based plan beyond what you can see with your eyes please be aware that much of your dusting efforts will be frustratingly counter-productive.
CLEANING TIP 5
The blessed through-draft
This is our favourite cleaning practise as it has a touch of the divine involved. It is the hardest of all the practices to implement because it requires nature to come to your aid and you cannot plan for it, only respond to it. There may be rare occasions when on a very windy day, the direction of the wind is just right to create a powerful through draft in your home. This means that the wind can enter through one side of the house and exit through the other, carrying with it a host of tiny particles. If you’re very fortunate indeed you may get to see a shaft of sunlight at the exit which allows you to gloriously witness the beauty of mother nature and father sun lovingly purifying your habitat. When this occurs do not be idle for long, this is the time to really disturb all the dust you can with your duster, moving furniture and upsetting all the hidden dormant dust giving it nowhere to hide.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these five cleaning practices and that you have gotten a little closer to appreciating the workings of the microscopic world of dust. Wishing you happy and productive cleaning. Enjoy.
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has over 30 years of professional cleaning experience.