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What is house dust?

  Yellow dust cloth on wood table

Everyday, dust particles accumulate on surfaces in your home and office. Dust is one of the most ubiquitous nuisances in our environment. But have you ever stopped to think about precisely what is house dust?

The biggest contributor to house dust is dead skin that you, your family and your friends shed. Disgusting thought, but dead skin falls off people just like it does off a snake, although perhaps not as dramatically.  According to scientists and particle experts, dust is a complex assortment of these dead skin cells, combined with dirt, dander, pet hair, remnants, and bits of debris that are so small they become swept up into the atmosphere from air currents and general movement.

Fibrous materials and soft objects – clothes, towels, stuffed animals, carpeting – will not only harbor house dust, but will also contribute to it. For example, washing and drying clothes breaks down the integrity of the cloth and produces microscopic particles which can easily become airborne. Simply cleaning out the lint filter on your electric dryer will send a frenzy of textile fragments into the atmosphere.

Other normal activities create dust too. Fine cooking ingredients like sugar and flour are common components of dust in the kitchen. When paired with the moisture and  grease molecules released into the air from cooking, the settling dust that results can be sticky and stubborn.

While pets and baking aren’t common in offices, paper shredding, pencil sharpening and other routine work create dust that is particularly attracted to computers, phones and the multitude of electronic equipment found in the modern workplace.

The components of dust can be electrically charged and somewhat unstable due to electrons. Electrons are the atomic particles responsible for creating chemical bonds, and are ultimately what help each tiny fragment of dust come together to create a compound that is too heavy to stay suspended in the air. When all these tiny pieces and flecks meld together, they fall. Hence the familiar soft, yet pesky layer of dust that has a tendency to accumulate on various surfaces at home and work.

The constituents of house dust will vary depending on environmental factors like season and geography, the presence of pets and insects, as well as daily activity. Because dust contains so many common allergens, it can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory issues.

Dusting furniture and fixtures is one of the most basic duties of our Master Clean teams. We know that dust is just part of the human condition, and we know how to tackle it. Scheduling us for routine cleanings will keep dust under control so you’re not even aware of it in your environment.

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