Why Your Space is Always Dusty: 2 Ways You Might Be Dusting Wrong

updated Jun 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

It’s true: Dusting seems futile. But that’s no reason to let it go. Yes, it’s going to keep coating any and every faintly horizontal surface and, yes, it’s not a fun or particularly rewarding cleaning must-do, but that’s not to say that getting rid of dust doesn’t make us feel good—if not by reducing the allergies we experience inside our homes, at least by just knowing that our surfaces are dust-free (for, like, a day).

That’s why when we tackle this almost-thankless task, we should make it as effective as possible. Investing the right effort right now will pay off with fewer overall dusting sessions. And isn’t that what we all really want?

To dust your best, avoid these two common dusting pitfalls:

You’re Dusting with the Wrong Tools

Dusting with a feather duster definitely makes the task more fun, more pretty, and more “French Girl.” Unfortunately, it’s the worst tool you can use for the job because all it does is fluff the dust into the air. Instead, you want to choose a tool that captures the dust and doesn’t just spread it around.

Instead of a fuzzy feather duster, reach for an electrostatic or microfiber duster. As you work your way around your home, the dust will cling to your duster, removing it from your breathing zone and from your home’s surfaces with as little redepositing as possible.

OXO is still an Apartment Therapy favorite for just about every cleaning tool. Read more about why we love OXO. (Image credit: Amazon)

Here are a few of our favorite dusters:

You’re Dusting in the Wrong Order

Even with all the proper tools at your disposal, you can always expect a bit of dust to escape your grip—and get stirred up to settle elsewhere while you clean. (This is a big part of the reason it seems like your house is always dusty.)

To prevent this, make sure you dust top to bottom. Dust ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures before table lamps and side tables. And here’s another key: Go around the house dusting everything on one level first. Start with all the ceiling fans in the house. Then move down to the top few shelves of bookshelves, again, around the whole house. Moving around your entire house in this way, rather than dusting in sections (say, the entire bookshelf) or by room, gives the dust you’ve stirred up a bit of time to settle so that you can swipe it up with your next “lower level” of dusting.

Finish off your dusting session with a thorough vacuuming of your floors. With a touch of luck, outsmarting the dust in your house will buy you more time between cleaning sessions.

This post was originally published on April 29, 2018, and was last updated on June 3, 2019, to reflect current prices.