Dusting can be an art. People have asked me many times about the best way to dust a home.
Whether you have a single story home or multiple levels, the answer it always the same. Start at the top. This process should start upstairs, if you have an upstairs, because dust falls with gravity. If you start at the bottom, of your home then you will need to readdress areas over again.
To start, I suggest getting rid of cobwebs, if you have any. These are going to be the highest dirt in your home. They love to hang out in corners, window sills high up on a wall. They especially love popcorn ceilings. Cobwebs can get stuck there for a long time. This is one of those things that you may not notice at all, but once you look around and find them…you can’t ‘unnotice’ them. For me, they will bug me until I get my duster on a pole and knock them down.
The next level would be fixtures (chandelier, bathroom fixtures, sconces, etc). Dust these when they are off. Lightbulbs that are turned on make this process dangerous. Fixtures will get too hot and could burn your hand or melt anything that you may be using if made of plastic. I like to use a duster that is made of cotton. It is on a stick that prevents my hand from getting burned, if the fixture is hot.
Following the fixtures is the next level down. In your home, this would probably be artwork or mirrors hung on the wall. Dust the entire from, including any stylized nooks or corners that might be an area where dust would sit. Mirrors need to be dust around the perimeter and on the mirror itself. This is one of those areas that may look perfectly clean until the light hits it at an angle that shows the thin coat of dust covering the surface.
Lamps and furniture are in the next round. This is the first stage that I use dusting spray and/or furniture polish. I find that it can leave smears on glass surfaces, but works great on furniture like bookshelves, coffee tables and desks.
When using a dusting spray or furniture polish, spray it directly onto your cloth. Do not spray it directly onto the furniture. If you do, you’ll run the risk of leaving large, shiny spots where the product was sprayed. These spots do not always wipe away easily. The better solution is to spray onto a soft cloth. This cloth should be smooth, like a cotton cloth or microfiber. Do not use a terry cloth because it may leave lines on the furniture.
When dusting tables, whether it is a dining table, side table, coffee table, desk, etc. remember to dust the legs. Even vertical surfaces get dusty. Also, remember the table bases as well. These get dirty too and they are often overlooked.
Chairs are can be extra tricky because they may have supports between the legs that needs to be dusted as well. If there are spindles or slats along the back of the chairs, dust those too. If I have a chair with vertical spindles, then I run the dust cloth in between the spindles at the base, so I can get the back of the chair set fully dusted. Over time, this area can get a dirty build up if it isn’t dusted periodically.
Be particularly careful with wood or rod iron furniture that has intricate swirls and loops. These decorative features can be pretty, but they can also store a lot of dust. This may not be an area that gets dusted each time, but it does need to be addressed probably on a monthly basis at least.
The process that I’ve described is a top down method. As we’ve discussed you’ll want to start upstairs, but you don’t have to do the whole upstairs at one time. That would be a lot of running around and you’d be exhausted before getting downstairs.
Take each room, one at a time and use the top down method. Then you can check off each room on your mental list as you go. Dust the stair way as you are heading downstairs for part two and again, take each room, one at a time.
These are some factors that can lead to excessive dust:
Leaving windows open, this will add to the dust in your home. I can always tell which windows a homeowner leaves open, because the window sills will be dirtier than the rest. This is especially true if they have shutters. The shutters next to the window that stays open will be much dirtier than the other shutters.
Leaving doors opens. See above.
Running ceiling fans. It may not seem like this would add to the dust issue since they don’t create any dust. Well, that is true, but the do kick up the existing dust. Some dust likes to hide. It hides under sofas or beds, or even behind tv cabinets. Ceiling fans will expose this dust by moving it around until it is now on top of the sofa or the bed, or even the tv cabinet.
The biggest contributor to the dust issue is indoor pets. I am a pet lover myself. But, cats and dogs can be shedding machines. This is never as true as in the summertime when the heat is up and your pets are trying to shed to stay cool. If you combine pets with ceiling fans and open windows you have the perfect storm for dust. It is almost impossible to stay on top of it unless you’re willing to dust on a daily basis.
The choice is yours, but now you have the tools to help.