Welcome to Apartment Therapy's Chore-Free Summer. Every weekday until July 20, we're arming you with time-saving shortcuts and hacks that'll help you work smarter, not harder, when it comes to homekeeping this summer. Because cleaning doesn't have to be a chore.
You've got a kitchen and bath routine down. And you've got smart systems in place for managing clutter. The only enemy of a clean home from here? It's dust.
It feels like no matter what you do or how often you clean, there's always a layer of dust waiting to settle on to every surface in your home. And that's sort of what's happening; dust is just a common byproduct of life. But contrary to popular belief, it's not mostly dead skin—the majority of household dust comes from dirt, pollen and other outdoor particles. So it is preventable, if you're smart about it.
How to Reduce the Amount of Dust at Home
Here's how to keep dust from taking over your space with the least work possible, so you can skip dusting duties for a while.
Keep It Outside
Since most dust comes in from outdoors, a good defense is your best offense here. Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible. Commit to a no-shoes policy inside and get a good-quality doormat (like this one from Wayfair) to leave outside your main entrance.
Groom Your Pets in a Clean Space
Regularly brushing (and even just petting) your furry friend produces errant hair and dust. If you regularly groom them outside, or in an easy-to-clean space like the bathroom, you can seriously cut down on your cleaning.
Pack Up Paper and Fabrics
Loose fibers from fabric and paper contribute to household dust, too. Avoid tossing clothes around the room as much as possible, and store any unused clothing or linens away in a storage box. Regularly recycle magazines, newspapers and cardboard boxes—or better yet, collect them outside if you have room, and break down boxes by the curb instead of in your dining room.
Change Your Sheets Often
Between the fabric fibers of your sheets and the skin particles from your body, your bed is a dust-generating machine. Keep sheets and bedding as clean as possible by washing sheets weekly, and cleaning your pillows (they can go in the washing machine!), comforter and mattress pads once a month, or at least every other month.
Use a Vacuum With a HEPA Filter
When you actually do need to clean, don't make the job worse. A vacuum with a HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filter will safely trap dust and other allergens inside the machine and keep them from being released back into the air.
Get an Air Purifier
There are machines designed to collect and trap dust—basically doing your work for you. Make sure your purifier (like your vacuum) has a HEPA filter, and place it near the door or window for optimal dust-dodging action. The Wirecutter recommends this Coway air purifier—it was able to reduce airborne particulate pollution by an average of 85 percent in their tests.
How to Make Dusting Less Work
When you finally do need to dust, here are some smart tricks to make the work go a little easier.
Line Tall Surfaces With Newspaper
Hard-to-reach spots—like tall bookshelves and the tops of your kitchen cabinets—are a pain to dust. So don't. Line the spot with newspaper and recycle and replace it every so often.
De-Clutter and Cut Back on Fabrics
Pretty simple stuff: The more trinkets and knick-knacks you have around, the harder it's going to be to dust them. So declutter as much as you can if your goal is to avoid dusting. You should also limit your textiles (think: blankets and throw pillows on the sofa) to only what's necessary, since fabrics not only trap dust, but they can produce it as well.
Dust Your Blinds with a Sock
Slip the other chenille sock over your hand and use your fingers to get into the grooves of your horizontal blinds. You'll be surprised at how much dust you'll be able to reach, fast.
Use a Dryer Sheet to Dust Your Baseboards
Dryer sheets (new or used) collect dust better than a cloth. Run one along your baseboards and see for yourself how quickly it attracts dust particles.
Run a Lint Roller Over Lampshades and Curtains
A lint roller, just like the kind you use on your clothes, removes dust and dirt from any other fabric just as well.