Everything You Need to Know About Dust

Our approach to cleaning is scientific in nature. We never assume that the way we clean is the best way, only an increasingly better way. By looking closely at the way we humans have approached the cleaning of our homes over eons has unearthed some intriguing insights.

I’ve been cleaning houses now for over thirty years and in that time, I’ve learnt many things. Our company, 1800 CLEANER has in that time completed over 40,000 cleans and our system ensures that the best methods, tips and tricks of all of our cleaners over all of those years get incorporated into our cleaning approach.

To distil these innumerable learnings into facts is a challenge, so I’ll be specific and talk about household dust. Dust is an inevitable feature of any home and you should have a dust-free home if you want to clean a home home.

Let us explore 5 interesting facts about dust:

Fact 1: It’s the dust you can’t see that matters most

When we think of dust, we normally think about the dust we can see. For many of us this topic will conjure a visual image in our minds; either of dust bunnies that collect under the bed or that thin layer of dust that gathers on the TV stand or on top of cupboards and open shelving. If you think of the dust that glitters in a shaft of sunlight when you open the curtains in the morning, you’re getting closer to the mark.


It’s the microscopic dust that matters most when it comes to cleaning. It’s dust so small that the naked human eye can’t detect it under normal conditions until it gathers en masse on open surfaces and in hidden corners.

Fact 2: The indoor dust cloud

With traditional cleaning, we are using our eyes to discern and judge a good job by how clean everything looks when we finish. We can think about those people in Nepal who live 30 odd kilometres away from the Himalayas and were able to see the mountains for the first time in their lives recently when the worldwide pandemic cleared the morning air of smog. Just like magic there the mountains appeared. Of course, the mountains had always been there, but it was the clean air that made them discernible for the first time in many years.

In the same way, the modern home has an imperceptible dust fog in the air that is most thick ironically during the very act of cleaning. These microscopic and practically weightless dust particles are sent airborne when we clean and can stay suspended mid-air for up to five days, only to frustratingly resettle in the hours and days after the cleaning is finished.

Fact 3: What we can’t see can hurt us

Of our five senses, it is the sense of sight that we utilise the most to navigate the world around us. What we can’t see with our own eyes, creates a conundrum to think about. If we could see what is happening on a micro scale in our homes, it can be a revelation with the potential to unleash much of the burden when it comes to cleaning.

With imagination we can drill down into the world of the microscopic where innumerable microscopic particles including; miniscule microbes, compact contaminants, dust mites and their faeces, animal dander, imperceptible industrial irritants, pollens, mould and mould spores, aerosols and other incredibly small contaminants, viruses and their ilk, bacteria, germs, infinitesimal insect parts and a host of other tiny. All of this combine to ensure that our homes are not only difficult to get fully clean, but are also a hotbed of ill-health for their human inhabitants.

Fact 4: Why dust floats

There are two major contributing factors as to why and how dust floats around and therefore why it is so hard to remove using traditional cleaning approaches. The first is because fine dust particles are practically weightless and the weight to mass ratio, like that of a feather, makes the effects of wind resistance palpable on the microscopic dust particle.


But even more interesting than a discourse on Newton’s laws of physics is the mysterious impact here of static electricity. When we bother a dust particle it creates a static charge similar to that which occurs when you touch fingers with a child who rides down a slippery dip. Incredibly, this static charge contributes to the dust particle becoming practically weightless and supercharging it to go airborne and remain airborne for the duration of your best cleaning efforts and for some time thereafter. That’s why no matter how well you clean, the house can feel dusty again within a few short days thereafter.

Phew, now that the bad news is out of the way let’s finish on a positive note.

Fact 5: Negative Ions

It would not feel right to dump all of this sobering news without providing a solution. As always seems to be the way, it is Mother Nature herself who creates balance in one of those happy paradoxes that make this universe such an interesting place in which to dwell. This part too requires some imagination as it describes phenomena that is not readily apparent to our senses.

Consider the air at the beach. Ever wondered why it is so pure and free of dust? Or when sitting by a mountain stream, ever wondered why do we feel so great? Where is the dust? One could argue that in the great outdoors the wind carries the dust away and that is a great answer that is impossible to entirely counter.

A complementary answer is that in her majesty and sheer genius Mother Nature, through the act of crashing water, creates negative ions. Negative ions are also created by electrical storms. Negative ions negate the static electrical charge that makes dust float. They also make us feel incredible. They are Mother Nature’s own healthy feel-good medicine and they are something that you can bring into your home to help with the dust.

In the end if you buy an ioniser to infuse negative ions into your home and you learn how to dust with wind energy to dislodge the hidden dust particles you can be effective when you clean. This will not only leave your home practically dust free but will also give you more time to enjoy it.

About the Author

Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has over 30 years of cleaning experience.

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