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Where Does Dust Come From?

January 10, 2014

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As we attack dust with a vengeance (or a mild swipe now and then), it’s tempting to wonder: Where does it come from? The Old Farmer’s Almanac Home Library Series: Home Wisdom helps to answer that question!

Where Does Dust Come From?

A lot of it comes from people. Although we may not see it, our shoes bring in tiny dirt particles that become airborne as we travel from room to room. Our bodies also produce dust—almost a pound per person per year—in the form of dead skin (which in turn supports microscopic dust mites). And cigarette smoke and cooking odors are actually made up of tiny particles that eventually settle as dust.

What’s a housekeeper to do? Focus your attention on places that distribute the most dust, such as radiators, heat registers, and wood-burning stoves and vacuum them frequently. Set out a cocoa-fiber doormat to scrub dirt from the soles of shoes and boots. Take your shoes off at the door and ask guests to do the same. Keep slippers for your family under a bench where all can sit to take off outdoor shoes. And if you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, invest in one that comes with an air filter to trap dust particles, not just send them from room to room. –Jon Vara

Working With the Weather: Dusting

What can you do best on a dull, rainy, still day? Dust. The minute particles that usually float about in the air will be more settled, and more of them will be captured on your dust cloth. This is also a good time to do tasks that create dust, such as cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace or woodstove or emptying the vacuum cleaner. Dust will settle closer to its source and not spread so easily through the house. –Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

Be sure to check out more advice from The 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac!

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