Understanding the Source of Household Dust
If you don't understand what dust is and where it comes from, keeping your home dust-free can be an uphill battle. Dust can be made of literally anything -- pets, fabrics, even foods can cause dust -- so its exact composition varies from one home to another. Understanding your home's unique dust creators is the key to effective dust control and prevention.
Indoor Dust Creators
People and Pets
Every living thing in your home contributes to the dust found inside it. Humans and pets shed dead skin cells every day. Most of these cells go down the drain when you shower or bathe, but some remain and fall off your body throughout the day. Fine hair fibers also contribute to dust as does waste from insects like flies.
Fabric and Furniture
The fibers inside your home also create dust. As couches, bed linens, carpets, clothing and other materials start to wear and deteriorate, they create small particles that become dust. These items and pet hair are responsible for fluffy dust and create the large clumps of debris referred to as dust bunnies.
Kitchen and Bathroom Staples
Dust is even created in the kitchen and bathroom by items like flour, dried food particles, paper towels and toilet paper. Spores from mold, mildew and other fungi found on rotting food and damp surfaces also become dust.
The dust present outside is carried inside on people and pets. Outdoor dust also finds its way into homes and businesses through open doors and windows. Outdoor dust becomes indoor dust when it comes into a home, since that is then where it stays.
Outdoor Dust Creators
Just like people and pets, plants are living things and constantly create new cells and drop old ones. Pollen, spores and small particles of deteriorating leaves and flower petals all create outdoor dust. So does the deteriorating waste and dead skin cells from outdoor insects and wildlife.
Sand and Dirt
Driving down a dirt country road on a dry day is a perfect example of how easily sand and dirt can become a cloud of dust. Once they become airborne, these particles can travel anywhere on an air current. Anything that disturbs the earth, including mining and farming, contributes to airborne dust particles. Even wildlife digging for food or to create a nest can disturb sand or dirt and create dust.
Some of the dirt and dust found on the surface of the Earth actually comes from outer space. Small meteoroids enter the planet's atmosphere all the time. Some create dust when they impact the surface of the Earth and shatter while others are small enough that they turn to dust before reaching the ground.
Isolated Areas of Excessive Dust
Old plaster walls create dust as they deteriorate, as well, so you may find more dust in older parts of your home while a later addition stays cleaner longer. Finishes also play a part in the appearance of dust, as laminate floors and dark colors show dust that other surfaces disguise.
If you notice excessive dust in one room of your home or only in certain areas, poor weatherization and dirty ducts are likely the culprits. Rooms that aren't properly weatherized continuously allow outdoor dust to find its way into your home. A leaking, dirty duct near the room or leading to the room will also deposit larger amounts of dust than usual. Learning how to remove dust in the air will tell you how to solve this problem.
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