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Take a Dusting Master Class for a Beautifully Clean Home

Don’t let a poor dusting technique keep you from a spotless home. Get advice on the most efficient methods here<

It’s rarely anyone’s favorite job, but dusting will always sit at the top of any domestic cleaning to-do list. That’s because, with so much dust in the environment, it builds up on surfaces surprisingly quickly, demanding regular attention. The dust itself is a cocktail of tiny particles, including plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile and paper fibers, human skin cells and even burnt meteorite particles! No wonder we like to get rid of it.

A dust-free home is more pleasant to live in, especially for those with allergies, but there’s more to dusting than just flicking a cloth around. In fact, a poor dusting technique or the wrong equipment could actually sabotage your efforts to clear it. Read on for general dusting advice and expert tips, and enjoy a dust-free home for longer.

Start at the top. Work from the top down: Tackle the ceiling, picture rails and high shelves first, then work toward the floor. A vacuum cleaner with a long hose and multiple attachments is the most efficient tool, as it will suck up the dust before it can settle on the furniture below.

For really high spots, be prepared to get out the stepladder once in a while. Rather than dangerously balance a vacuum cleaner on it, track down a nifty flexible-wand duster with a good reach. This will get to awkward and small spaces, trapping the dust on its high-pile sleeve.

Try DIY hacks too. For example, if your vacuum cleaner’s nozzle doesn’t fit in narrow spaces, such as sliding door tracks, try sliding on a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels. You can crush, fold and mold it to handle tricky spaces.

Invest in the right tools. It’s important to use the right form of duster. A feather design will only move dust particles around, sending them into the air to land again right after you’ve finished cleaning. You want to trap your dust, not simply relocate it! So get hold of a microfiber or electrostatic duster, which will holds on to the particles. Make sure you wash or replace it once dirty.

Don’t dry up. In addition to using a suitable cloth, avoid dusting dry. When dust is dry, it can easily become airborne, making it harder to trap. Spritz dusters and cloths with a dusting spray or polish, or even a fine mist of water, for more efficient cleaning and better results. Use sparingly to avoid smear marks.

If you’re using furniture polish, always spray it onto the duster as well, rather than directly onto the furniture, which can lead to thick and unevenly distributed build-ups of polish that are hard to wipe away.

Freshen your vacuum filters. The filter on your vacuum cleaner is designed to capture the fine dust and particles the machine sucks up. Filters that are clogged may fail to trap this dust and could even blast it back into the air. So aim to replace or wash any filters as often as your model’s manufacturer recommends.

Tackle displays. Displays of beautiful objects really enhance a room, but each individual piece will collect dust. From time to time, take the objects off their shelves, dust the shelf with a microfiber cloth and carefully wipe down each piece. To get at dust trapped in tiny nooks and intricate corners, use a clean natural-bristle paintbrush or makeup brush, then wipe.

Sort out soft toys. Some teddy bears and soft toys are machine-washable, but you can also put those that aren’t too big into a big plastic bag with a cup of baking soda. Secure the top, then take it outside and shake well. The baking soda and static will draw out the dust.

Take out each soft toy one by one. Shake it thoroughly so any baking soda clumps fall off, then vacuum any large soft toys that are not at risk of being sucked up the nozzle. Small toys might benefit from a brush with a medium-stiff brush.

Double up on blinds. Removing dust from the individual slats on a blind is a laborious task. Make it a little easier by using kitchen tongs. Fix a microfiber duster to each tip with rubber bands, then close the tongs, gripping a slat, and simply pull across. This way, both sides of the slat get cleaned thoroughly.

For an even more low-tech version, use an old sports sock as a kind of sock-puppet cleaning mitt, making sure you rinse it in a detergent solution as you go.

Treat your tech well. TVs, Wi-Fi routers, DVD players, printers and computers are real dust magnets, but keeping them dust-free is crucial for them to run well.

Unplug the equipment before cleaning and then wipe down gently with a microfiber cloth. Next, be sure to vacuum dust and pet hair from around cords and vents, because it can clog machines.

Reinvigorate your vents. Window vents and bathroom fans can easily get dusty too — and you don’t want them to be circulating fresh air mixed with dust. Avoid this by using a paintbrush to clean the vents. You might need to do a deeper clean if your fan has become noisy, as there could be dust inside the motor.

After disconnecting the fan from the power supply, you can take off the cover and use cotton swabs to remove deep-seated dust. If the dust has begun to turn to greasy grime, use a damp cloth and an all-purpose or window cleaner to wipe the blades, then wash the cover well in soapy water.

Make your chandelier sparkle. If you have a glass or crystal chandelier, the easiest way to dust it is to buy a spray cleaner designed for the job. Forget taking it down or teetering on a ladder with a cloth. With a specialty spray, you only have to spread a towel below, squirt the product up onto the chandelier, then watch as all the dust and dirt drips off.

When it comes to removing dust from other kinds of pendant lighting, sorry, but you’ll need that stepladder after all.

This article was originally published at