Cleaning professionals and experts agree that there is a perfect order in which to clean your home. They’ve drawn up plans, step by step, to achieve the ultimate clean, and somewhere in the middle of that mapped-out plan falls dusting and vacuuming.
Both are intended to accomplish the same goal: rid the home of dust and dander – so which one is more important, and which one should you do first?
What even is dust?
You know what it looks like, you’ve seen it layered on your shelves, furniture, and even– or especially—your flat screen television, but what is dust really?
Dust is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary simply as “fine particles of matter”, which means that dust can be made up of any really tiny particles. Household dust is typically made up of 50-70% sloughed-off skin along with hair, pet dander, pollen, dirt, mites, and textile and paper fibers.
Why is it important to be thorough in removing the dust?
Dust is not just unsightly; it is unhygienic and can actually cause or worsen a myriad of health problems if left to build up.
Dust irritates the respiratory passages, which can cause sneezing and slight discomfort in healthy adults and be especially dangerous for those with breathing difficulties or allergies, as it could trigger a wheezing asthma attack or even bronchial infections.
What’s the best method?
Dust before you vacuum!
Start at the top of the room and work your way down, from the ceiling fan down to the baseboards.
The logic behind this order is simple — anything that isn’t caught in the fibers of your microfiber cloth or the feathers of your feather duster is catapulted into the air, where it lingers in an invisible cloud before it eventually settles and lands on the surfaces below. If you start at the top, you give yourself several chances to collect the dust that fell from higher surfaces as you work your way down.
Vacuuming after you dust will give you even more of an opportunity to clean up some of the dust that falls from above onto the furniture, carpet, and flooring.
So How often should you do it?
As far as dusting goes, experts suggest dusting heavy traffic areas once a month, but this is very broad advice, as how often you need to dust depends heavily on several factors.
If you have pets or live in a dry, dusty area like Arizona, you will need to dust more often, possibly even weekly. This monthly (or so) light dusting should take about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the home.
A deeper dusting of all the hard-to-reach places, high and low, should be done about every three months. This dusting should be more intense; use a step stool or ladder to get high up places, move furniture to clean underneath, and make sure you get into all those corners and little crevices.
Vacuuming is a lot more frequent task, requiring you to do it at least once a week, according to interior and hygiene experts.