Where Does Dust Come from

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Dust is on countertops. It’s on floors. It coats walls, ceilings, and fans. It lodges in your air ducts. It’s in your rugs (and lungs?), carpets, furniture, and furnace filters. It’s everywhere. But where does dust come from? Do even the best air purifiers for dust help at all?

These are questions you’ve probably asked yourself or other people. And it’s unlikely you’ve found a complete answer, yet.

Luckily, you’re here.

In this post,we’ll discuss about where dust actually comes from. More important, we’ll guide you on how best to eliminate it. 


What’s Dust?


Dust is a whole range of superfine particles naturally found in the local environment. They’re extremely light, much lighter than air. 

While you can actually see it, you can’t see every particle of it in your home. Why? It’s because some particles are as small as 1 micron. And the human eye just doesn’t detect anything smaller than 10 microns

Since these particles are very light, every small disturbance sends them into the air. And they may stay airborne for days. You’ll only begin to see them after they have been accumulating for a while.


Household Dust


Here are some of the materials found in household dirt. It may contain dead skin cells from humans. Did you know that humans, just like pets, shed? It may also contain fibers from your carpets, rugs, clothing, draperies, furniture and other sources. These small fibers break down over time, becoming dust. 

Also, there are microscopic organisms (arachnids) that eat dead human skin cells. In the end, droppings from these little creatures become dirt. Insect droppings are another source of household dirt. More on these arachnids down the road. 

Pets such as dogs and cats also shed, releasing tons of pet dander. If you own a pet that sheds, the dust in your home will always have a bit of pet dander. Pet dander triggers allergic reactions.

And if you’ve been remodeling your home, you likely have a sea of construction dust particles floating allover. This type of dust often contains quartz, also known as silica. Now, silica dust is known to cause terrible health complications if inhaled over a long period of time. Construction dust particles may remain suspended in the air days or weeks after a home upgrading project.

Can you see why it’s critical to start using the best silica removal air purifier you can afford? The Medify MA-40 Medical Grade H13 filter is a great air purifier for household dust and all other kinds of dust. It takes care of even the tiniest airborne particles, as small as 0.1 microns.

It comes with a hefty price tag, though. But that’s because it uses a medical grade filter and a substantial activated carbon filter.

But if money is a little tight, you can always buy the Airthereal APH260. It’s super affordable (just over $110 on Amazon as of this writing). PLEASE note that prices don’t stay the same. They keep changing. 


Outdoor Dust


Some of it ends up inside your home. The wind blows where it wills, and sometimes, that is into your home.

Outdoor air carries various elements including plant pollen, mold spores, toxic fumes, and other pollutants. When spring comes around, allergy and asthma sufferers sneeze and cough a lot. These symptoms hit them considerably harder than they normally do. 

Also, the smoke and fumes produced by automobiles eventually become heavy, black dust. Decaying vegetation, and there’s always something decaying out there, produces mold spores. Soil also produces mold spores. 

Road construction activities such as what’s happening below also create loads of fine, potentially harmful particles. So do mining activities of all kinds. 

dust from road construction
This small happy girl is probably inhaling tons of silica dust from this road construction project. They’re building roads everywhere in this destination. Luckily, such projects don’t last forever, and she likely won’t get affected.


Dust is Natural in Origin, Researchers Say


A couple years back, scientists from Ohio State University uncovered certain facts about dust that deepened their understanding of it. The researchers found that it’s natural in origin. We will see learn about the various elements found in these particles in the sections that follow.

But how does understanding dust help anyone anyway? Researchers can learn more about respiratory diseases. Who knows, researchers might just discover ways of making hyper-effective air purifiers in the future. We might soon start seeing extremely powerful air purifiers that do what no predecessor has ever done.

But we digress.

Let’s see what researchers at Ohio State University found


What Does Dust Contain? 


The Ohio University researchers had not set out to study dust. No. They were trying to test a certain type of sensor. In the process, dust got trapped inside the sensor. Fortunately, the researchers found a way to measure the composition of individual particles.

Can you believe they identified 63! different particles in individual particles?

But what components come together to form these particles? According to one of the researchers, dirt particles have organic matter as their most common component. Quartz is the second most common component. More than 50 percent of the particles classified contained quartz and organic matter. The researchers also detected human-made chemicals whose origin they attributed to air pollution. 


Where Does Dust Come from?


It comes from many different sources. It comes from roads, construction projects, wind, attics, basements, fibers, and decomposing insects. It may also come from insects, pollen, pets, ducts and vents, knick-knacks, electronics, carpeting, clothes dryers, and more.

But it’s also possible you live in a state that generally sees more dust than other regions. Some states experience dry, windy conditions. Home owners in such states generally get more of these particles than people living in other areas.

People living in states with dessert-like climate have a bigger problem than those living in other places. Similarly, a homeowner living in a southwestern state has big indoor air quality challenges to address. So does someone living in any of the coastal states in the south.

ALL these states are mostly dry and windy. People there see a lot more dirt than anywhere elsewhere in the country.

But no matter where you live, you’ll have indoor air quality problems to solve.


Dust is Dangerous


You likely vacuum your home regularly to eliminate dirt. But as soon you remove these particles from your surfaces, spaces, nooks and crannies, what happens? Well, they start building up again.

Now, whether you have breathing difficulties or not, you don’t want dusty air in your home. You want the air inside there smelling clean, fresh, and healthy.

Dust can make life really uncomfortable and difficult especially for asthma and allergy sufferers. Such people may experience irritation in their eyes, wake up with a stuffy nose. A running nose or itchy nose is another common symptom. And of course, there’s all the nasty sniffling that comes with it all. And it’s hard to avoid colds if the air inside your home carries loads of fine dust particles.

For all these reasons, people with allergies and asthma buy the best air purifier for dust they can find. 

Let’s talk about another dust problem here: dust mites. 


What Are Dust Mites? 


Contrary to what many people may believe, dust mites aren’t insects. They belong to the same class with spiders (arachnids).  As you’d expect, they don’t have 6 legs like insects; instead, they have 8. Viewed under a microscope, dust mites look like white bugs. 

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, dust mites love environments with temperatures ranging between 25 and 30 degrees centigrade.

They also live in places where humidity levels oscillate between 70 and 80 percent. Does that sound like your home? Maybe you have dust mites.


Where Do Dust Mites Hide? 


They hide in mattresses, couches, curtains, carpets, and rugs. They may also find a cozy home in your child’s stuffed animals.

How many dust mites does the typical mattress or carpet have? The typical mattress may harbor thousands of these little bugs. One square yard of a carpet can accommodate as many as 100,000 dust mites? Yes, that sounds scary. But it’s what you need to know so you can take immediate action. 


What Do Dust Mites Eat? 


What I’m about to say will make you sick. These troublesome bugs live off humans. They feed on dead skin cells. And can you believe the average person “sheds” roughly 0.03 to 0.09 grams of skin every 60 minutes? Yes, it’s you and your loved ones that keep these bugs alive. Your pets, too, provide these enemies with lots of dander (food). 


Are Dust Mites Harmful? 


Yes and no. They’re harmful because they don’t bite.  Nor do they burrow into people’s skin. But they’re also harmful because their droppings can trigger allergic reactions.

These mites produce as many as 20 droppings (think allergens) each day! And where does all the poop end up? In your furniture, rugs, carpet, and mattresses. It’s the proteins in these intruders’ feces that trigger allergic reactions in allergy sufferers. 


How to Detect Dust Mites in Your Home


No, you can’t see them, so, how can you possibly detect them? Typically, people learn that their home is infested with these troublemakers when their physician diagnoses them with dust mite allergies. The allergist might do a blood test, or they might test the skin for any signs of allergic reactions. 

What if you’re not allergic to these mites but still want to know whether you have them in your home? In this case, you’ll have to prepare a sample and have it tested in a lab. Technicians use very powerful microscopes to examine samples.  


How to Collect a Dust Mite Sample


According to Environmental Microbiology Laboratory, one can collect a dust mite sample in one of two ways. One, you can collect it using a specially designed dust trap. The trap works best when attached to a vacuum cleaner. But how do you actually collect the dust (plus bugs)? You should place a filter or a piece of linen (about 9 inches square) between the trap and the vacuum’s hose. Two, you can easily collect your dust mite sample using a dust cassette. 


How to Kill Dust Mites Naturally


Bad news: it’s not possible to wipe out dust mites completely. Good news: you can significantly reduce their numbers.


6 Natural Ways to Kill dust Mites


1. Get Protective Covers for Your Bedding


These little creatures love hiding in bedding. To remove them, make the environment hostile to them. So, ALWAYS keep your mattresses and pillows covered with anti-dust mite covers.

Amazon carries many varieties of inexpensive covers. You can grab this top-rated Eco Living Friendly Evolon allergen-proof cover for your pillows. Or this Eco Living Friendly Evolon (allergen-proof) for your mattresses.

Here’s one more thing. DO NOT cover pillows and mattresses immediately after waking up. It’s best to let your bedding air out for a while first. Why? Remember what we said about the ideal environment for dust mites: warm and humid. The idea is to make your bed a terrible environment so that these attackers can start hunting for a new home. 


2. Heat Them to Death


Wash your bedding in hot water about once every week. Yes, you’re trying to save money and heating water doesn’t like such a good idea. But if you really want to decimate dust mites, you MUST use hot water. Your clothes dryer should also kill some of them. How warm should the water be? The water’s temperature should be at least 55 degrees centigrade, according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 


3. Vacuum Your Mattresses Every Once in a While


Do this at least once every month. Also, vacuum your carpet, coach, curtains, rugs, and upholstery. You should use a vacuum that uses a powerful HEPA filter for the best results. Vacuuming your home regularly should dramatically reduce their population. 


4. Freeze Them to Death


Another way to exterminate these arthropods is to freeze your bed sheets, blankets, draperies, and pillows for about 2 days. Just put them in a plastic bag and toss them into the freezer. It works. And be sure to wash those items after you take them out of the freezer. 


5. Use Eucalyptus Essential Oils


Eucalyptus essential oil is great when it comes to aromatherapy.  But who says it can’t help you annihilate those bloody bugs? The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (1997) has demonstrated that washing contaminated bedding and clothes in warm, 0.2% eucalyptus oil solution kills dust mites. The study found that this simple method eliminates 97 to 99% of dust mites. 


6. Use the Best Air Purifier for Dust Mites


Do air purifiers remove dust mites? Yes, they do. But these air pollutants don’t stay airborne for long, unlike most other particles. They like attaching to other particles, finally dropping onto some surface. They usually end up on the flooring, carpet, rugs, coaches, pillows, and mattresses.

But when you shuffle around the house, don’t you kick up these particles into the air? You do, and since they’re super light, they don’t settle immediately. And that’s where the best air purifier for dust mites comes in handy.

But what’s the best air purifier for dust mites? Try any Medify air purifier. They work. The Medify Medify MA-18 Medical Grade Air Purifier H13 Filter for 400 Sq. Ft. is a great option to consider. It filters down to 0.1 microns. You can read Medify air purifier reviews here. 


How to Remove Dust from Your Indoor Air


You want to get rid of all kinds of dust if you want an indoor environment that feels clean and healthy.

Here are 6 effective ways of keeping dust out of your home, improving the air quality.


1. Clean Your Duct Work


But there are no cast-iron guarantees you won’t have dust after cleaning your duct work. It helps, though.

Some experts recommend that people should have their duct work cleaned once every three years. But the United States Environmental Protection Agency offers different advice. The EPA thinks you shouldn’t worry about cleaning your ducts unless there’s a considerable amount of it in there. But how would you know how dust is in there? I think it’s best to have your duct work cleaned more frequently than after 36 months.

Cleaning your ducts tends to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. And when your HVAC system is working efficiently, you’ll see considerably less airborne dust in your rooms. Which means you’ll spend less money on replacement of filters for your regular air purifiers. 


2. Vacuum Your Home Regularly


dust removal
vacuuming your carpet every once in a while is key if you want to live a dust-free life.

Are you sensitive to dust and other allergen triggers? If yes, consider investing in a high-quality vacuum. Have someone else use the machine to avoid allergic reactions. Vacuum those carpets and couches, a ton of dust lodges there.

Just how much dust does your the typical carpet collect? The answer will shock you. According to a 2001 study in the field of microbiology, your carpet could be up to 4,000 times dirtier than you won’t believe this: your toilet seat! 

But it gets worse. Can you believe that every square inch of the average carpet houses as many as 200,000 bacteria? Yes, you heard me right: 200,000.  

That’s how badly your carpet needs vacuuming. Show your beautiful carpet some love and clean it regularly. I recommend a HEPA vacuum cleaner for cleaning your carpet.

The Shark Navigator NV352 (Upright) is probably the best HEPA vacuum cleaner on the market today. It also happens to be among the most popular vacuuming solutions available. It’s attracted a sea of rave reviews on Amazon and many other places. 


3. Use an Effective Air Purifier, Preferably One with a True HEPA Filter

HEPA filter
Photo Credit: Airthereal. True HEPA filters capture dust particles that are as small as 0.3 microns, sometimes even smaller than that.


So you’re looking to reduce dust in your home. Consider buying a few good air purifiers for dust. Unless your house is very small, you’re going to need several of them. Maybe one in the basement, one in the bedroom, and one in the sitting room. And if you have kids, you’ll also need one in their room. And another in the nursery if you have a baby. 

Don’t listen to people who tell you to buy whole standalone air purifiers. A standalone air cleaner is meant to clean a single enclosed space rather than the entire house. 

Make sure to pick the right product for your space. An air purifier won’t give you all it got if you place it in a space that’s too large compared to its rated coverage. 

Pro tip: use AHAM’s 2/3 Rule. If your room is 300 square feet, buy an air purifier with a CADR of at least 200. This air purifier buying guide can be of much help to you if you’re ready to buy now. 

You can also use a whole-house air purification system to clean your indoor air. But in most cases, you’ll still need standalone air purifiers. 

So, grab the best air purifier for dust removal you can find. But do air purifiers help with dust removal? Yes, the best ones do. And that’s where detailed air purifier reviews like this one here come in. Here are other air purifier reviews to ease your shopping journey. 

Dust particles have a diameter of between 1 and 100 microns. Obviously, you’ll need an air purifier that filters out particles as small as 1 micron in size. True HEPA, HEPA-type, and medical grade filters are effective when it comes to removing dust or at least reducing it. 


4. Grow a Few Houseplants


Air purifying plants
Source:Getty Images. Consider introducing a couple air purifying plants into your home and see what happens to your indoor air. Well, such plants may not do much on their own. You need to use them along with vacuuming and regular air purifiers.

If you’re looking for a natural air cleaner, look no further than house plants. There’s some research showing that certain plants can help purify the air. You really should be have these plants at home to help improve your indoor air quality. Obtain plants with broad leaves as opposed to those with a small surface area.

Here are a few options to consider. Find a snake plant, a ZZ plant, asparagus fern, or the peace lily. But if taking care of indoor houseplants isn’t your thing, go for either the snake plant or ZZ plant. These options don’t need much care to thrive.


Where can I buy good air purifying plants? Amazon sells them, and many other stores carry them, too.


Check out these 4 Air cleaning Plants in Four-inch Pots on Amazon. 



5. Use High-quality HVAC Filters


The filters you use with your HVAC system significantly affect how much dust gets eliminated. You should use high-quality filters and have them installed by a professional. Normally, a technician will connect the filter directly to your duct work. And make sure to replace your filters as recommended by the manufacturer. 


6. Choose the Right Window Screens


Window screens don’t normally remove dust from the air. However, the right window screens may reduce the amount that enters your home.

Recently, scientists from the U.S. and China developed super thin, insanely efficient windscreens. This enhanced dust solution was developed through collaboration between Tsinghua University (China) and Stanford University.

These windscreens can stop up to 90 percent of particulate matter that’d easily pass through regular window screens. They’re essentially pollutant-absorbing nanofibers that get sprayed onto standard window screens to boost their dust-stopping ability. Maybe it’s high time you upgraded to these options. 


Start Removing Dust Now


Start addressing the problem now because it aggravates allergies. It also leads to colds and irritation in people’s eyes. It’s a problem that needs a quick solution. Cleaning is effective, but the problem keeps coming back. Using an air purifier is a great way to keep your air clean and fresh after you’ve cleaned your home.  

You can easily find the best air purifiers for dust. Also, consider upgrade to more efficient window screens. In addition, use high-quality HVAC filters, and introduce a couple houseplants into your indoor environment. And don’t forget to clean those dusty air ducts. 


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