Gail asked: How do I clear the house of dust. We have had a dust storm and would like to know how to clear floating dust from the inside of the house. Breathing is rather difficult at the moment. It is still dusty outside, so we cannot open the windows or doors yet.

Dust in the air can aggravate air passages and lead to other problems as well. Here are some DIY methods for removing the dust immediately with what you have available as well as information for a more long-term solution.

Use a Vacuum

If your vacuum has a filter, you can try simply vacuuming the air. It sounds silly, but if you can see the dust in the air (pointing a desk lamp at an angle into the air can better allow you to see it), then you will clearly see the dust getting sucked up by the vacuum hose as you slowly move it around.

Work your way around the room in small 4×4 sections, always starting at the top of a section and working your way down. Be sure there isn’t any fan or AC turned on that would cause additional air movement in the room, and try to point the vacuum exhaust fan away from the room or section where you are working.

Waving a magnetic duster around might also work. Be sure to do so in a methodical way that covers all of the air space.

Use Static

Dust is attracted to static electricity. Here is a simple way to create dust catchers using static.

You Will Need:

  • A hanger
  • A towel or cotton shirt
  • A balloon
  • A ceiling fan if available

Steps to Create the Dust Catcher:

  1. Fold a bath towel over a hanger or put a cotton T-shirt on a hanger.
  2. Rub the balloon over the towel or shirt vigorously. You only need to rub it over the outer area of the fabric, not inside.
  3. Hang the item from a ceiling fan if possible, or if not, anywhere in the room that you can, such as from a standing lamp. Two kitchen chairs stacked might make a good tower to hang the fabric from. If possible, use multiple shirts and they can just be laid over some items in the room like over a table or chair.
  4. If hanging the shirt from a ceiling fan, turn the fan on with the switch set to the heat (clockwise rotation) setting on as low of a speed as possible. The fan will pull the air towards it, and the dust will be attracted to the static-covered fabric. Just be sure to use a very lightweight item like a T-shirt to avoid damaging the fan.
  5. Leave the shirt(s) there overnight.
  6. Wash the shirt(s) to remove the dust that has gathered on it.
  7. Repeat the process as many times as needed.
  8. The balloon can also be rubbed over any upholstery or carpeting to help pull the dust out of the air.

Use an Air Purifier

The best way to remove dust particles is with an air purifier. Many other websites recommend attaching a furnace filter to the front of a box fan as a DIY air purifier, however, only do this if you are willing to sacrifice the fan as it could damage the fan’s electronics. Be sure to use a clean furnace filter as well to avoid adding more dust to the air. If dust is a regular problem in your home, consider investing in a commercial version instead. There are a variety of air purifiers available at any store that sells small appliances and home items. Here are some features to look for when selecting the appropriate air purifier.

Air Filters

  • There are a variety of filters available. The HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters) are recommended for their ability to remove small particles from the air.
  • HEPA filters are also especially helpful for households with allergy problems.

Performance

  • You want to ensure that the purifier is able to capture as much dust from the air as possible.
  • Check the label carefully to determine the particles that it is able to remove from the air. For example, a HEPA filter can trap 99.99% of particles that are 0.3 microns and larger – which includes most dusts.
  • All certified models are marked with a performance number that ranges from 10 – 450. The higher the number, the better the performance.

Room Size

  • It is important to have the right sized air purifier for the size of the room it needs to clean. If the air purifier is too small, it won’t be able to move the air effectively enough to clean it.
  • Measure the size of the room before going to purchase your air purifier.
  • Check for the maximum coverage area and select one that is slightly larger than the room it is intended for. (This allows the fan to be effective on a lower setting and not use as much energy.)

Noise Level

  • The fans in some machines are loud and not pleasant to have running constantly. By selecting a purifier that is designed for a room slightly larger than the one it is used in allows it to run on a lower speed. In return, the fan will not be running on high and will be quieter.
  • Some fans come with a noise level rating. Use this to compare different units.
  • If there is no information available on the packaging, ask to plug one in, or try it at home and exchange it if it is too noisy.

Cost

  • Air purifiers range in price from $150 – $700.
  • Plan for replacement filters that range in price from $40 – $150.
  • If the dust is coming from a forced air, heat or air conditioning unit, there are filtering systems that can be added to the unit. These units are costly, but effective in reducing the amount of dust in the home.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Increasing the humidity in an area may help the dust to settle, which will allow it to be removed more easily. An easy way to do this is to plug the drain the next time you take a shower and allow the water to stay there until your next shower. Placing a bucket of water or two in the dusty area may also help. Do not use this method while also using the static electricity method above as it will decrease the effectiveness of the static.

  • If the air purifier is too costly of an investment, consider an air filter. Though not as effective, they will help remove some of the dust from the air. They are available in a range of sizes and prices to fit in every budget.
  • The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) provides a website that allows for consumers to compare air cleaners.