In very general terms, dust is composed of small particles that float through the air. It is deposited in a thin layer on surfaces. House dust is a term for impurities that are generated in closed rooms. Its composition depends on the lifestyle of the occupants of the living quarters. The mixture is composed of organic and inorganic substances. For example, if there are animals in the household, animal hair is also included. However, as studies have shown, house dust consists largely of non-critical fibers from dander, carpet, upholstery and clothing. However, there are dangers for people who have a house dust allergy and are affected by rarely occurring components, such as mold spores or excretions of house dust mites.
Special features for house dust
No one can prevent the formation of dust. Man himself also contributes to house dust: He loses an average of 1.5g of dander per day. These are part of the organic component of house dust. The dust accumulation is significantly increased when, for example, the two people walk across a carpet and when dusting and vacuuming. Therefore, people with allergies and asthma should pay attention and when vacuuming use special filters that reduce the amount of dust in the air. By the way, carpets have a dust emission rate ten times higher than, for example, wood. Nevertheless, a smooth floor covering cannot be generalized as more advantageous. Due to the smooth surface, the particles are swirled up again more quickly and thus also enter the air we breathe.
“Woolly mice” – just removed and yet already back…
Dust fluff is created when a breeze passes over a smooth surface and dislodges small particles. Like rolling a snow globe, the accumulation of dust increases until a “wool mouse” is formed. The most effective remedy for this is regular damp mopping of smooth floors. On the other hand, sweeping should be avoided because it raises more dust. Under cabinets and in corners that are difficult to access, there is often a slight draught over the floor, which is why the impression is created that, despite regular mopping, dust gets a predominance. The solution lies in dusting the hard-to-reach areas of the apartment as well.
Damp mopping removes dust best on smooth floors – ©diego cervo | Fotolia
Optimal humidity in the rooms also reduces the risk of more dust particles floating through the air, because tiny water droplets in the air bind the small particles to themselves. In winter, the room climate is often too dry due to the heating. This can be counteracted by regular shock ventilation. For an average sized room, four to six minutes are required for the air to be completely exchanged. The improved indoor climate also reduces the risk of mold, which increases due to excessive moisture in the apartment. If there is no mold in the home, the dust is also less of a health concern. To best distribute the influence of moisture in the apartment can also use the moist air after showering. Opening the bathroom door, she enters the apartment. This is how to achieve a balance between the very humid bathroom and the drier air in the apartment. As a result, less dust is stirred up throughout the apartment, which has a positive effect on the air we breathe. Whether allergy sufferers or not, improved indoor air through ventilation and other small measures has a direct impact on quality of life. Other measures to improve the indoor climate can be humidifiers or plants, but these can not replace ventilation, but only support it.
House dust allergy – mites are the cause
The dust mite – their droppings cause allergies and discomfort. – ©PRILL Media Design | Fotolia
In case of house dust allergy, mites are the cause. They feed on dust and their small fecal balls are the cause of allergies. The most effective remedy is to starve the mites. You deprive them of the basis of life by ensuring that the room temperature is not too warm and the indoor climate is not too humid. Mites find their food in the form of house dust and human skin particles mainly in mattresses, comforters and upholstered furniture. With regard to the bed, it is advised to change and clean the bed linen regularly, because this leaves fewer particles for the mites. Shaking the bed, on the other hand, has two sides: On the one hand, you shake the mites out of the bedding, and on the other hand, you disperse them into the air.
About control of the room climate to control over the dust
Whether the indoor climate is too humid or too dry can be easily determined with a hygrometer. The interior walls also play an important role in regulating the indoor climate. This should also be taken into account when measuring humidity. There are serious differences between old buildings with bricks and passive houses. An old building “breathes”, which means that it also actively absorbs and releases moisture. Passive houses usually have ventilation and exhaust, so different principles apply to ventilation with the window. You don’t necessarily have to ventilate as often here as you would in a “normal” apartment. But not only the masonry has an impact on the indoor climate and, consequently, the dust in the apartment. The furniture in the apartment is also subject to this mutual influence. Some furniture has come into contact with pollutants during manufacture, which can then also get into the dust via the air. Furniture with a simple look and clean lines is also easier to dust because there is less surface to attack. Also, it is beneficial not to “close” the rooms, because this allows the air to circulate better in the room. Also the dust is then easier to remove by wiping.
Image credits Cover photo: House dust: ©Friedberg | Fotolia