How to remove dust in your home, according to air quality experts
If your house is dusty all of a sudden, here's what may be causing it
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter
Noticing more dust collecting on shelves, countertops, and kitchen appliances lately?
It could be down to the changing of the seasons, or it might simply be a sign it's time for a deep clean. However, experts say the most likely cause is your HVAC system: either it's clogged up with dust that it's pushing out into the air, or it's overdue a full service.
We turned to air quality experts for their cleaning tips, because knowing how to remove dust will improve the quality of the air we breathe at home, even if dusting is the one household chore nobody likes.
How to remove dust in the home
Below, air quality professionals Michael Rubino and Lane Dixon share their advice on identifying the cause of excess dust and how to tackle it. So whether you're deep-cleaning the kitchen, or wondering how your TV got so dusty while cleaning the living room, take note of their tips.
Because taking the hard work out of removing dust means there's more time to sit back and relax (or style your freshly dusted shelves).
Have your HVAC system serviced
It could be that no matter how much you clean, dust keeps coming back because your HVAC isn't filtering the air properly. 'This could be from improper maintenance (it should be serviced bi-annually in the spring and fall),' says Michael Rubino.
Author of The Mold Medic, an Expert’s Guide on Mold Removal and founder of HomeCleanse (opens in new tab), a company with the vision to end the worldwide health epidemic caused by poor air quality and toxic indoor environments. HomeCleanse's goal is to the gap between our health and our homes. Joined by a star-studded team of advisors, including Deepak Chopra's The Chopra Foundation and Gwyneth Paltrow, HomeCleanse offers services, products, educational resources, and awareness campaigns
Clean ceiling vent covers
Lane Dixon's number-one tip when it comes to how to remove dust is to clean your ceiling vent covers. Do this by turning off your HVAC system – otherwise, dust and dirt could be blown into your face or home, which wouldn't be an encouraging start.
Next, turn on your vacuum and run the brush attachment over any floor or wall vent cover, paying close attention to corners and crevices. Or use a duster or damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the covers gently. He recommends using a retractable duster, at Walmart (opens in new tab), to remove any dust or dirt buildup around the vent if your vacuum doesn't reach it.
Lane Dixon, Vice President of Operations, Aire Serv (opens in new tab), a Neighborly company, which specializes in heating and air conditioning. Aire Serve is based in Tennessee.
Replace HVAC air filters
Michael Rubino describes our HVAC systems as the lungs of the home. So if your air filters are dirty, they'll be spreading dust and other contaminants around, leading to poor air quality. If your filters need to be replaced, they're probably packed full of all sorts of particles.
Buy replacement filters, at Amazon (opens in new tab) to clean up the air and avoid putting a strain on the HVAC system, which could damage it in the long term. 'Changing them on time will help avoid this situation and ensure as much dust and particulate matter are removed as possible,' says Michael.
Clean with microfiber
Run a damp microfiber cloth, available at Amazon (opens in new tab), over the surfaces of your home to remove dust and bacteria. 'Microfiber cloths are made from polyester and polyamide fibers, which are split into thin threads and then woven together,' explains Michael Rubino, a mold and air quality expert.
'This tightly intertwined fabric is what gives them their cleaning juju. They’re able to produce static electricity, allowing them to pick up more particles like mold spores and bacteria.'
Replace your vacuum
If you're finding it impossible to keep on top of dust, it's well worth investing in one of the best vacuum cleaners. Look out for those with a HEPA filter, such as the Shark Vertex Pro Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum, which we reviewed.
Michael Rubino explains that in order to reach the EPA standard and be qualified as a HEPA filter, a vacuum must filter out 99.7% of particles that pass through that are 0.3 microns in size. That means that these machines can remove dust as well as other small particles like mold spores. They are particularly good at removing dust from porous surfaces like fabric.
Purchase an air purifier
Another option is to try an air purifier. The best air purifiers on the market can even make your HVAC system work more efficiently, as they remove contaminants in the air.
Following our top decluttering tips will not only make for a calmer home environment but it'll also reduce the number of surfaces there is for the dust to collect, making your home easier to clean.
'Every year we should evaluate our belongings and ask ourselves if we truly use each item before deciding whether to ultimately keep it or move on from it,' says Michael Rubino. 'Doing so will stop dust from collecting and harboring on our belongings, which ultimately translates to cleaner indoor air quality and improved wellness.'
Because doing a big clean can feel overwhelming, we broke it down into daily tasks in our spring cleaning checklist, which you can take inspiration from or follow day-to-day. An annual spring clean will give that next-level clean, tackling spaces that don't get much attention throughout the year.
Michael reminds us to dust door frames, cabinetry, wall decor, behind kitchen appliances, and all of the hard-to-reach places. 'Another great step is to pull out the appliances and clean behind them. Essentially, focus on anything that’s not often seen,' he says. 'Also throw any washable, porous items into the washing machine with a laundry additive to help remove microscopic particles and dust.'
Add the best air-cleaning indoor plants as a final touch.
Why is my house so dusty all of a sudden?
According to Lane Dixon, dirty air vents are the most common cause. As spring arrives, many of us will turn on our air conditioning and the dust resting in the vents will be stirred up and pushed out of the vents, and can end up going back into the system. 'Dirty air vents can be easily missed until dust, dirt, and debris build up and become an obvious eyesore, affecting your breathing and allergies,' comments Lane.
'A leaky or poorly sealed duct system could also be a cause,' he adds.
Does opening windows help with dust?
Dust can enter the home through windows, and when the ground has thawed in the spring and summer months, and you can expect an increase in dust particles. Closed windows prevent dust from entering the home. When you open the windows to let in the fresh air, window screens, at Amazon (opens in new tab) prevent dust from entering the home.
What causes a room to be dusty despite regular cleaning?
Again, dusty air con filters are a big culprit. Lane Dixon suggests installing an in-duct air purifier, at Walmart (opens in new tab) so that you don't have to clean your filters so often. They use the power of UV light and ionization technology to neutralize dust, dander, dirt, pollen, and germs.
'Ideally, it would help if you cleaned your air vent covers anytime you notice significant dust or dirt buildup – typically every month or so. This will help minimize the need for deeper cleaning by avoiding substantial dust, grime, and dander buildup,' Lane adds. 'It would help if you planned to do a deeper cleaning 1–2 times a year. Adding it to your spring home maintenance tasks will be a good reminder. A full duct system cleaning and sanitation could also be a solution.'
Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. She has been in the world of digital journalism for six years, having previously worked as Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team two years ago, working across a range of homes brands. Millie formerly worked as Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles that help and inspire people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces. Millie has a degree in French and Italian and lives in North London.
Can you grow blueberries in a pot? Garden experts share their top tips for tasty fruit
Grow these nutrient-rich berries on your patio – it's easier than you might expect
By Holly Crossley • Published
Oprah Winfrey sold a 'spare' ranch opposite her 'Promised Land' estate for $14.3 million
The media titan sold the Montecito home to filmmaker Rawson Marshall Thurber in an off-market transfer – here's what we know
By Megan Slack • Published