Why is it important to dust your home?
We know that dusting our home can help reduce allergy symptoms, but did you know that dust also contains chemicals? Furniture in our homes can contain flame retardants that give off gas into the air. There is also air contamination from volatile organic compounds found in stains and paints throughout our home.
How does dust get into a body?
- Inhalation – Dust gets into our lungs when we breathe air in.
- Ingestion – Our food can have dust particles on it, when we eat the food we ingest dust.
How can we decrease the amount of dust in our home?
Dusting more often – One of the simplest ways to reduce dust is to clean more often. I like to dust with a wet cloth. A dry cloth can push the dust up into the air where it later settles again after you’re finished. A wet cloth grabs the dust. I have a bin of organic towel hand cloths I keep for this purpose. I wash the cloth multiple times when dusting. This helps prevent the use of paper towels. Don’t forget to dust the electronic equipment that you have in your home.
Mopping more often – I mop the floor at least twice a week. This is especially important if you have young children crawling around on the floor. This helps prevent floor to mouth spread.
Another way to limit the dust in your home is to avoid heavy drapery, especially if there are layers that can accumulate dust.
Go with hardwood floors sealed with a low volatile organic compound stain over carpet. Carpets hold dust making it difficult to remove completely.
Make sure you have a strong vacuum with a HEPA filter, the American Lung Association recommends vacuuming 3 times a week to reduce allergens and dust.
Do you have central air conditioning? If you do, then consider using an air filter that can filter smaller particles.
How to limit chemicals in dust?
Use DIY house cleaners – Many of our household cleaners have chemicals that can harm our health. These chemicals get into the air then settle in the dust. There have been some studies to suggest that exposure to many of the popular household cleaners can lead to obesity and lower IQ in children.
When I’m cleaning, I make sure that I use chemical free household cleaners. I use a lot of baking soda, vinegar and Bronners soap. I clean my windows with a little bit of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. There is no need to have multiple bottles under your sink that have warning labels on them – have you ever read the labels? Scary!
You can make a soft scrub by just combining baking soda with Bronner soaps, add a little water and you are free to go. The bottom line is you can do so much with just a few simple ingredients.
Avoid room deodorizers
I try to avoid using room deodorizers or products with fragrance in them. A lot of these products will contain phthalates which are thought to be endocrine disruptors. These phthalates then get into the air and settle in the dust.
When you’re buying furniture avoid flame retardants. Flame retardants get into the air and have been shown to be endocrine disrupters. When you’re buying furniture consider furniture from natural wood with natural upholstery such as organic cotton or wool.
Another way that you can prevent dust in your home is by removing your shoes when you come home. Prior studies have shown that we track chemicals and bacteria into our home when we leave our shoes on in our home. Get your family in the habit of removing shoes at the door.
Look at dusting as a way to exercise and reduce chemicals in your home.
1. CNN – Exposure to common household chemicals may cause IQ drop. https://www.cnn.com/2014/12/11/health/chemical-link-to-lower-iq/index.html
2. Newsweek – Obesity and household cleaners. https://www.newsweek.com/household-cleaning-products-linked-children-being-overweight-1121651
Short Article Review
- Dust can contain chemicals
- Dust can get into the body via inhalation and ingestion
- You can decrease the amount of dust in your home by increasing the frequency of mopping and dusting, by avoiding heavy drapery and carpets, and having a vacuum with a HEPA filter in it.
- Decrease chemicals in dust by using chemical free household cleaners.
- There are multiple ways you can decrease dust starting from dusting- look at dusting as a way to exercise and reduce chemicals in your home.
The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about any medical condition.
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