An Easy Trick to Get ALL the Dirt into Your Dustpan

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

I’ve struggled with finding a truly functional dustpan and brush combo. Too often the bristles don’t pick up all the debris, and dust gets caught under the lip of the dustpan, leaving that frustrating line of dirt behind. It makes me crazy!

I finally found the right dustpan and brush combo, and it’s great almost all of the time. But every once in a while — especially right now in winter, when the air is dry and staticky — I come across dust that just won’t stay in the dustpan.

This has been happening to me a lot lately because we’re growing plants on our kitchen table, and my 3-year-old likes to dig in the dirt and get it just about everywhere. When it comes time to clean the dirt off the kitchen table, the dining bench, and the floor, it’s so light and dry that it seems like it just drifts away off the dustpan. Same when I sweep under my daughters’ beds: We live in a very old house with gaps between some of the floorboards, and somehow they end up with these giant dust bunnies under the beds that hop right out of the dustpan once I gather them up.

(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

The Solution to Make Any Dustpan Better

But I just learned a trick to capture these dusty flyaways, and it doesn’t involve learning a bizarro dustpan-angling technique, buying some crazy new product, or, really, inconveniencing myself all that much. And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

The key is to dampen the dustpan before you sweep. Of course! The debris that’s most likely to fly away are those lightweight, dry, dusty bits that want to launch into the air. Water will make all those dusty bits stick to the dustpan and stay there until you’ve finished sweeping the whole floor. It takes about two seconds to do (just run the dustpan under the faucet before you head over to sweep up the dust pile) and will save you from sweeping up the same dust over and over again.

Now, you may have to use a little more force to get the dust off your dustpan and into the garbage — a couple firm bumps on the inside of the can, or a swipe with a microfiber cloth should do it. But the good news is that it’ll keep those dusty flyaways from drifting out of your trash can, too. Win-win!

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: This Little Trick Will Make Your Dustpan Suck Less