The term “dust bunnies” calls to mind a cute and harmless little creature. They are, in fact, quite the nuisance and can even harm your health. With that in mind, let’s take a look at exactly what they are, where they live and how you can rid your home of them.
What Are Dust Bunnies?
Simply put: They are fluffy clumps of dust particles. According to a 2009 University of Arizona study, the dust found in homes contains “a mixture of organic matter such as shed skin cells and organic fibers, soil tracked-in on footwear, and particulate matter derived from the infiltration of outdoor air.”
As the bunnies form, they collect other debris and dust mites. A gram of dust alone can contain thousands of dust mites, their waste causing sneezing and more serious health problems in those who are allergic. Just imagine the misery they unleash as part of a bunny-size clump!
Where Do Dust Bunnies Live in My Home?
They like to hide, coming out only to hop across the floor after you’ve spent hours cleaning up for the guests who now can’t help but notice their existence. Favorite hiding spots for dust bunnies include:
- Under, around, and behind appliances—pull the fridge and stove out once a month or so to sweep the area clean.
- Under and behind furniture—move couches and tables around as part of your cleaning routine to scare them out into the open.
- Behind mattresses and box springs—the platform that holds your bed in place collects dust, so be sure to dust it every time you change the sheets.
- On the floor, in corners —vacuum these awkward spots as well as molding to dislodge bunnies.
- In anything with a pleat—if your curtains, bed skirt or lampshade has pleats, expect to find a dusty mess inside them.
How Do I Get Rid of Dust Bunnies?
Now that you know where they live, when they aren’t embarrassing you in front of company, that is, you can tackle them before they get too big. In addition to the directions above, be sure you have the right tools for dusting.
First, invest in a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air filter. This type of filter features a fine mesh that traps dust and other harmful particles. For surfaces you shouldn’t vacuum, such as your TV, keep microfiber cloths on hand. They gently clean these surfaces and trap the dust instead of sending it on to settle elsewhere.
Next, put your vacuum attachments to work, matching each to the task. Use the crevice tool to attack exactly that, from baseboard and ceiling molding to the spaces in between appliances you don’t plan to pull out that week. Use the upholstery tool to capture any dust on soft pieces of furniture, sucking up dust mites by the dozens. Don’t forget the backs and sides of couches and under the cushions.
Finally, bring in the professionals for deep cleaning once a season. A maid service can help with cleaning inside the house, while a handyman or HVAC technician can clean ducts and vents to ensure dust bunnies living in those spaces don’t multiply and move into interior rooms. A carpet cleaner can suck up anything embedded and even steam clean your upholstery during the visit.
One final tip: While dust bunnies don’t usually form on blinds and ceiling fans because of their constant use, that doesn’t mean their smaller particulate cousins don’t build up. Invest in dusting tools for these items to make cleaning them easy and not a dreaded chore.
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