Feel like the feather duster just isn’t cutting it anymore? You’re not alone. For the allergic among us, dust and dust mites can be more than just an unsightly nuisance, triggering allergic reactions like runny noses, rashes, wheezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and other unpleasant symptoms. Now for the good news: dust and dust mites can be managed with some relatively simple changes to your home-cleaning routine. Here are 7 effective measures you can take to help control the dust in your home.

1. Damp cloths for the win

Instead of dry-dusting (which can send dust airborne only to resettle on surfaces later), use wet or oiled cloths, sponges, and/or mops to clean hard surfaces and floors. Wash soiled cloths, mop-heads, and sponges in hot water before reusing.

2. Nix the knick-knacks

Those little treasures you love to collect (macramé wall hangings, decorative vases, vintage troll dolls) are collecting something of their own … dust!  Wiping down these little objets d’art is not always possible, so think about doing a purge of those items you’re not totally attached to. Less clutter means less dust.

3. Vacuum. Vacuum. Vacuum.

And then vacuum again! You may start to feel like Sisyphus with his boulder, but this regimen is essential to mitigating your dust woes. Dust and then vacuum at least once a week to get rid of accumulated allergens in your carpet, upholstered furniture, and fabric window coverings. Use microfiltered or HEPA-filtered vacuum bags, which do a superior job trapping dust and dust mite particles. If you’re susceptible to dust and dust mite allergies yourself, wear a dust mask while you work or, if possible, leave the house while someone else does the cleaning.

4. Did someone say dust mites?

For the uninitiated, dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in ordinary house dust (yuck.) People are allergic to dust mite droppings, not the mites themselves (yuckier). These little critters are found around the globe and are present year-round, thriving in our bedding, furniture, carpet, and dust motes everywhere.

To manage dust mites:

  • Keep it dry
    Dust mites thrive in humid places (where relative humidity is greater than 50 percent). It’s not always possible in some climates and locations, but having a well-ventilated house can help keep dust mites under control. Fix leaks if you have them, consider running a dehumidifier, and keep fish tanks and plants (which can add humidity to a room) out of sleeping spaces.

  • Wash bedding often
    Washing your bed sheets, pillowcases, comforters, and mattress covers frequently (at least once per week) in hot water will help limit exposure by killing mites and removing allergens. Try not to use blankets, shams, pillows, or other adornments that are especially hard to clean (ahem, wool) or that attract dust.
  • Store the stuffies
    If you’re dealing with an allergic kid, be mindful of those fluffy, stuffed friends that make their way into bedrooms and beds. Stuffed animals may be cute, but they’re notorious dust collectors. Consider storing them in a covered place to minimize dust collection or wash them as regularly as you would bedding. And, if your little ones can handle it, keep the stuffies out of their beds altogether.

You and your family spend a lot of time in your home, so taking the time to make your environment healthier is worth it. And if you’re on a roll, check out how to make the outside match the inside.

Looking for other ways to protect your home? Get a free homeowners insurance quote today.

DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.