11 Biggest Mistakes You Make When You Dust
Who loves dusting? Not many I suspect, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it is one of the least favorite household chores for most people. To compound the misery, mistakes are plentiful when it comes to dusting. If you’re going about it the wrong way it will take you longer and you’ll need to start the job again sooner. So if you’re making any of these 11 common dusting mistakes then I’ve got the solutions to help.
#1 You Use A Dry Cloth
We’ve all been guilty of this for one reason or another. Maybe you had a spare five minutes and just grabbed a cloth and got going, or you had run out of dusting spray, or maybe you always do it this way. Whatever your excuse it’s a mistake.
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Using a dry cloth in any circumstance is not recommended as the cloth will fail to effectively pick up the dirt. As a result the dust particles are more likely to spread and disperse into the air and settle onto the floor or furnishings. Invest in an appropriate dusting spray for the job or make your own up - also see dusting mistake #3.
#2 You Don’t Dust From Top To Bottom
Always start your dusting with the highest item in the room, usually your light fittings. From there work your way down to the lowest item closest to the floor. By doing this you make sure that no dust will settle back onto items that you’ve already covered. Dusting each item only once is the aim of the dusting game!
#3 You Don’t Use The Right Tools For The Job
There’s a multitude of different dusting tools to choose from so make sure you choose wisely. There are bad choices and good choices. Gone are the days of having to rely on that old feather duster. The best dustbusters actually grab and keep hold of the dust rather than just spread it around or dispel it into the air like your good old feather duster. Some good options are:
- Microfiber Dusters - these do a much better job of retaining the dust then your standard cloth.
- Electrostatic Dusters - great for reducing the dust attracting static that is emitted from electrical items, keeping them dust free for much longer
- A Natural Soft Paintbrush - useful for getting into corners and crevices or for small delicate items.
- Your vacuum cleaner attachments are really useful tools for dusting with - just watch out for dusting mistake #5!
What often gets missed is that you need to select different tools for different types of dusting jobs. For example, when dusting computer or TV screens you need to deal with the static or the dust will come back immediately onto the surface. A normal dust cloth is fine for cleaning regular flat surfaces but you need to get more creative to get into corners and cracks for instance. A soft natural bristle paint brush can be good to have in your dusting arsenal for this.
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When dusting delicate items like ornaments, light fittings or chandeliers try on some fabric gloves for size. Dampen them with some dusting spray suited to the material you want to dust, e.g. window cleaner if cleaning glass. You can then carefully wipe off the dust using your fingertips with ease and without the risk of damage to your prized possessions.
#4 You Favor Store Bought Spray Over Homemade
Buying that can of polish from the store is easy but you could cut the costs in half by making your own. Plus it's likely to be better for the environment and your health too. Going for an all-natural homemade dusting spray is really simple to make too. Here are some natural homemade alternatives to store bought for different types of surfaces.
Finished Wood Polish
Finished Wood Wax
Unfinished Wood Polish
2 parts olive oil
1 part walnut oil
1 cup mineral oil
1 part lemon juice
1 part melted beeswax
1 tsp. lemon oil
1 part linseed oil
1-2 drops citrus oil
To make these up simply combine the ingredients and then add to a spray bottle. I recommend only making enough for each polishing session to make sure your ingredients are fresh. Once you’ve made up the solution make sure you don’t make the next common dusting mistake:
#5 You Spray Polish Directly Onto Furniture
This is particularly a no-no for wooden furniture as you can build up a film layer that may cause damage and be hard to remove. Direct spraying also attracts more dust due to this film layer that gets left behind.
If this is a mistake you’ve been making then you may find that your furniture has lost its shine due to the buildup of deposits of polish over time. You can bring back the shine with a cloth that has been dipped in some brewed weak black tea. You should wring out the cloth so it is only slightly damp before using it. The tannin in the tea help to remove the built up polish.
Avoid this mistake by following polishing best practice: spray the cloth directly not the furniture and always have a spare cloth available for buffing up afterwards. Although not recommended, if you really want to spray the furniture then it should be a fine mist and ensure you use different cloths for applying and then buffing up afterwards.
#6 Don’t Use Your Vacuum Cleaner Attachments Correctly
Using your vacuum cleaner attachments can really reduce the time it takes to dust. Ideally you will be using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and one that is well sealed to prevent dust escaping. When dusting with your vacuum cleaner you need to be careful not to cause damage as the tools have the potential to scratch or dint.
Of course changing over vacuum cleaner can be a hassle if they are not stored on the base of the vacuum. This is where you may end up using an attachment that is not best suited to the task. So take the time to swap your long narrow reach tool for the soft bristle tool when needed.
Another thing to consider when dusting with your vacuum cleaner attachments is adjusting your vacuum’s suction control. The best vacuum cleaners allow you to control the suction power so you can reduce it for dusting delicate items like curtains for instance.
#7 Heating And Air Conditioning Vents Don’t Get Attention
I must admit that I am guilty of this myself, perhaps its because they are on the ceiling and not in plain view. However, make no mistake: if you want your home to be clean and stay dust free then cleaning these grilles is a must. As these grilles are used for distributing air throughout your home, any dust collecting on these vents is getting carried along with it. Your vacuum cleaner soft brush attachment connected to the telescopic wand is a perfect tool for this job.
#8 Don't Use Vacuum First To Dust
Some may argue that this is not a mistake, however we think it is better to vacuum first and then dust not the other way around. The problem with dusting first is that the air movement created from vacuuming can dispel dust back onto the surfaces you have just dusted.
Of course the drawback to this is that dusting after vacuuming may cause dust to settle back on the floors you’ve just vacuumed! However, if you follow the tips in this article you should be collecting the vast majority of dust on the cloth and not transferring it to the floor. Use your vacuum tool attachment to quickly capture any dust that does get loose onto the floor.
#9 Your Vacuum Needs Attention
The bag is full, the filter is dirty and this impairs performance. It can even lead to the majority of dust you suck up being spewed back out into the air. Regular vacuum maintenance is important in order to ensure proper vacuum performance and will also reduce the risk of it breaking down and needing a costly repair.
#10 Don’t Turn Off Computer Before You Wipe The Keys
When dusting in your home office you will want to turn your PC keyboard upside down and give it a gentle shake to remove any loose debris that’s fallen between the keys. The soft brush attachment on your keyboard is also good for this. For a thorough job you will also want to give the keys themselves a good clean to remove any dried on gunk.
We recommend using a baby wipe for this, however it’s important for safety reasons to turn off your computer before doing this. This is a common mistake that people forget to do when in a rush and looking to quickly clean their PC keyboard. An alternative to shutting down your PC would be to either unplug the keyboard if it’s wired or simply remove the batteries.
#11 Don’t Wash Your Dirty Cloths After You’re Finished
Having clean dusters is crucial if you want your dusting efforts to be quick and effective. Yet it is common for people to simply put their used dusting cloth back where it came from without washing it. Again the pace and pressure of life is usually to blame. So don’t make this mistake, keep a spare duster or two available so you can wash them after your work is done and still have a spare on hand should you need it.