However much you loathe housework, you should always find time to dust. This is because it’s not just home to you, but to millions of dust mites as well. These tiny insects are invisible to the naked eye but they feed on the flakes of our skin, and can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions in both children and adults. So get out that duster, turn on the radio and follow our guide to dusting your home in the most effective way.
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What to use where
The best product to catch dust is a soft, damp cloth, a microfibre duster or an electrostatic duster. Others just spread the dust around.
Work from the top down, using the relevant attachments from a vacuum cleaner to take you from ceiling to floor, including curtains and upholstery.
Electronic equipment (TVs, computers, hi-fis and printers) are dust magnets. Unplug before cleaning, then rub over with a microfiber cloth. Remove dust from hard-to-reach crevices with a soft, long-handled brush.
Carved wood and cabinets full of ornaments are another dust trap. A clean paintbrush or make-up brush will whisk out dirt from fiddly areas. Wipe the rest with your damp cloth.
To get behind radiators, buy a special flat radiator duster and push it down the back and along by the wall, and underneath, too. You’ll be amazed at the muck that emerges!
Read our tips for making your home more allergy-friendly
How to dust
To ensure you have cleaned everything, dust in a specific order as you go through your home, moving only clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Start near the wall, dusting furniture with your chosen damp cloth. Move objects as you go and clean the surface underneath thoroughly. As you replace the items, clean them, too.
Shake or rinse out your cloth regularly. Replace with a fresh one if it gets too grubby, and wash on a hot wash in the washing machine.
If you have to pull out any appliances, wipe them free of cobwebs etc with a damp, soapy sponge, then wipe the floor and walls with hot, soapy water (see ‘How to clean a fridge’ for our special tips on cleaning the fan and condenser coils).
Remove dust from ceiling, floor or appliance vents with the soft brush vacuum attachment or an electrostatic mop, then dampen a microfibre cloth and wipe over surfaces.
Take down glass lampshades and chandeliers at least once a year and give them a good wash with soapy water - but also give them a superficial dust each week. Remove cobwebs with a long-handled brush, a damp mop or a special cobweb brush.
Furniture made of fabric can be vacuumed, using the nozzle and the upholstery attachments to get right into the crevices and down the back.
Lightly vacuum heavy, dusty curtains (lighter ones can be taken down and washed or dry-cleaned, according to manufacturer’s instructions.)
Finally, clean the floors by washing or vacuuming – if you don’t, all your hard work will go to waste, as the dust will lay there and colonise your carpets and floors.
Top tip: Dirty soft toys that can’t be washed can be treated with a cup of bicarbonate of soda. Put them in a large plastic bag with the bicarb, tie the top, then take outside and shake well. The baking soda and static will draw out the soil and dust. Remove items and shake off the baking soda thoroughly. Vacuum any big toys with a brush attachment.
Read our tips for decluttering the house
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