Thousands of house-proud owners race to turn their beautiful homes into sparkling jewels. ostensibly for showing off and receiving visitors, but more likely because nobody can remember the last time they cleaned up the house.
Like us, you may derive a real pleasure in finding that the thick layer of dust that has covered every flat surface in your home has magically disappeared by the end of your spring-cleaning.
Household dust contributes to eye diseases such as trachoma, runny noses, wheezing and coughing.
Well, before you put away the mops, buckets and brushes, remember to protect your nose. That dust hasn’t disappeared, most of it has simply taken to the air. Perhaps all you may have been doing all this while is shuffling dust from one part of your home, to another part of the home.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
DUST TO DUST
Household dust is composed of dead cells from human skin, domesticated pets, tiny dead insect parts, and dust mites. Dust mites are one of the main constituents of the household dust. They can be found almost everywhere in the house and their droppings are allergens that can trigger asthma and allergic reactions.
Indoor dust also contains tiny fibers from cloth, feathers, cotton and pollen grains from plants. Other contaminants are smoke, cosmetic powders, powdered laundry detergent, and spores made by molds in damp places like bathroom floors.
Dust is also brought in by us from outdoors, or blown in by wind. And with more and more electrical products in our homes, the accumulated heat and electricity also pull and draw dust. Therefore, more and more dust is trapped and accumulated as time goes by.
Now take the cleaning induced by spring fever and think of how it stirs up the dust. All the settled particles that have found permanent homes on your shelves and furniture are now sent flying into the air, in search of some place new to clog up – your lungs, perhaps?
Household dust contributes to eye diseases such as trachoma, runny noses, wheezing and coughing etc. 40% of school-going children here suffer from rhinitis, and 70% of Singaporean households are continuously disturbed and irritated by allergies – caused by dust.
But that’s not all. The deposition of dust particles within the airways and lungs may eventually cause lung diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and black lung disease.
Here are some tips to reduce your exposure to dust while spring-cleaning. Following these steps may even reduce your housework load, and most essentially, they help in making breathing effortless.
Step 1. Open all your windows in your house, so that some of the dust will flow out of the window.
Step 2. If there is a lot of dust, you should wear a mask so that you can protect yourself from inhaling the dust. And if you have sensitive skin, you may wear long sleeves to minimize skin surface that is in contact with the allergens in the air.
Step 3. Procure a good quality vacuum in the battle against dust.
Step 4. Be ready with all the cleaning accessories like rags, towels and cleaning detergent.
1. Ensure the house is clutter-free and put in order.
2. Gather all dirty clothes and beddings and tidy them up for laundry.
3. Clean the dust from high areas followed by the lower areas of the house.
4. Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove the dust.
5. Prepare a damp cloth to wipe all the settled dust away.
After the spring-cleaning, how do you keep the house clean as long as possible and minimise the accumulation of dust?
DUST MANAGEMENT IN THE HOUSE:
1. Open windows periodically to dilute contaminants and improve indoor air quality.
2. Vacuum curtains, furniture, floors and other home furnishings at least once a week.
3. Replace dust traps such as carpets with tiled or wooden floors.
4. Change and wash bedding frequently in hot water. Sun them as well to kill dust mites.
5. Lower the humidity in the house, especially in the bedroom, to reduce the survival rates of dust mites.
6. Minimise dust-attracting items such as books and plants.
7. Sweep or mop frequently.
8. Clean hidden areas in the house, such as air conditioning filters and areas around electrical appliances.
9. Change the vacuum bag when it is more than half full. Vacuum cleaner bags are of course, dust traps as well.
Have fun cleaning, and we hope you’ll enjoy rediscovering all those small knick-knacks, CDs or books that you thought you’ve lost forever - a common experience during spring-cleaning!
Health & fitness