What to dust with?

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions, and once a month she’ll help Esquire staffers sort out their most vexing cleaning issues. Are you dirty? Email her. Are you still dirty? Subscribe to Ask a Clean Person: The Podcast on Acast, iTunes, or Stitcher, and like Ask a Clean Person on Facebook.

I would like to know the best ways to avoid a dusty apartment, other than regularly dusting. I think we’ve talked about this … — Ben Boskovich, Social Media Editor

Ben is absolutely right, we have talked about dust—it came up one day in the office, which I mention so that I can say this: Dust is not a particularly interesting subject, on its surface, when considered alongside the sexier topics, like vomit or green beer spills (or, I guess, green beer vomit) that I’m tasked with addressing in this column, and so I tend to set it aside in favor of more attention-grabbing queries. And yet! It’s a thing that comes up over and over and over again in the questions I’m asked by my readers and my colleagues and friends. And so today we shall consider the matter of dust.

What Even Is Dust?

With apologies in advance to those of you who are a touch squeamish for the very gross way that I like to describe dust: You can think of it as dandruff for your home.

Told you it was gross.

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Dust originates from two primary sources, internal and external. Internally, you’re creating dust all the time—your skin, your hair, the dander of your pets and children and houseguests, that’s all dust. And from outside the house, all manner of grit and grime and foreign matter enters and makes a mess of things.

Reducing Dust in the Home

Truth be told, there’s no way to avoid a dusty home completely, and the best way to manage the situation is regular cleaning. Wait, wait, stick with me! I know that many of you are going to be like, “Naw, lady, that’s not gonna happen.” No problem, I’ve got help for you too, just hang tight for a sec.

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Because the origin of dust is both external and internal, eradicating it completely can’t happen unless you eliminate yourself, what with all your dander and suchlike, from your home. But we can address the external dust that makes its way into the home, by checking points of entry. Sealing windows and doors is a very good way to reduce the accumulation of dust; another entry point is through vent openings, which should be closed and/or sealed when not in use.

Another incredibly simple point-of-entry dust management technique is to put down bristle-y doormats, which will trap dirt and grit before you track it into the home. An air purifier can also help to trap airborne dust. Got pets? Keep them well-groomed to reduce the impact their hair and dander has on the interior of the home.

Dealing with Dust: Regular Cleaning vs. Seasonal Deep Cleaning

Most people will fall into one of two categories, vis-a-vis dust management: One group of people will see dust forming as it happens, and will be driven to distraction by the thin patina of particles. The other group doesn’t view dust as that big of an issue, if they even view it at all. That is to say that some people see dust and others don’t.

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I promised the not-dust-seeing people I had help for them, so let’s start with it and get them out of here: If you’re a person who isn’t much fussed over the accumulation of dust, it’s only going to be a thing you deal with once quite a bit of it has amassed. Which means your dusting will take the form of seasonal deep cleaning. If you’re wondering if this column is being published at the beginning of April for a reason, it is—this is, essentially, our nod to Spring Cleaning. Here’s what you’re going to do:

  1. Remove all items from the area in need of dusting. All of them. Yes. This is deep cleaning, baby, and this isn’t the time to take shortcuts. Also, trying to dust around things or pick up and put down each individual item will take you more time than simply starting by clearing the surface.
  2. Using a dusting cloth or mitt, give the surface a going over, working from the top down. More on that in a moment.
  3. Give all the items you removed from the dusty surface a going over as well, before returning them to their place.
  4. Vacuum, sweep, or mop the area around where you dusted. Gravity being what it is, the dust will travel downwards as you clean, which is also why it’s so crucial to dust things like bookshelves or curio cabinets from the top down.

A note on dusting sprays: Some people are devoted to dusting sprays like Pledge or Endust. That is fine! If the use of those products, and the resulting smell, feels like clean to you, keep on with them. Just know that Pledge, in particular, contains silicone that can leave build-up over time and that, in general, the use of dusting sprays isn’t necessary.

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Okay, where are my vigilant dusters at? Ah there you are, my people. When it comes to regular dusting, I want to strongly recommend you get yourself a feather duster, which makes short work of keeping knickknack-laden surfaces—and the knickknacks themselves — dust-free. Depending on your setup, you may want to use a feather duster/dusting cloth combo; those clothes make it so ridiculously easy to give empty surfaces a going over to remove dust accumulation.

Now, at some point you’ll still want to do a deep cleaning in which you remove all your things from the spot that you’ve been feather dusting and give everything a more thorough going over, but for weekly-ish cleaning? Feather dusters are the jam. Also? Delightfully retro and slightly ridiculous, which also makes them fun. Are you in need of a specialty duster? If you need to dust it, there’s probably a specialty duster designed for exactly that purpose, and a brand called Casabella probably makes it.

If you are going to incorporate regular dusting into your cleaning routine, this rule is important enough to repeat: The nature of gravity being what it is, dust first, vacuum second.

How to Dust Like a Pro

15 ideas for dusting like the pros. Go ahead and do the white glove test — these tips are that good.

1. Know Your Enemy

Dust is definitely not sugar and spice and everything nice. The microscopic particles are made up of all sorts of groovy things, but mostly it’s your dead skin that has fallen off. (More reason to moisturize.) Add to the mix pollen, animal dander, decomposing insects, lint, dust mites, and even mite poo.

2. Make It Easy
Let’s face it: Cleaning stinks. Make it easy on yourself by leaving a dust cloth in a cabinet in each room you dust frequently. Buy microfiber cloths for all-over dusting.

3. Don’t Be Ashamed
Dust is a fact of life, and you are not dirty if you house is always dusty. It might just be your space. Older homes are often dustier than newer homes that have tighter seals around windows an doors. And different area of the home often don’t gather dust at the same rate. How can you help yourself? Seal windows and doors with a sealing caulk so they’re airtight. Keep the furnace clean and change the filters; the same goes for all AC units.

4. Get a HEPA Filter
A High Efficiency Particulate Absorption (HEPA) air purifier with allergen filters will reduce dust. And invest in a vacuum with the same type of filter.

5. Get Wet
You should dust furniture with a rag lightly dampened with water. Microfiber cloths work best for dusting all surfaces.

6. Start at the Top

It would be a real pain to clean the floor and then tackle the ceiling fan, which will only deposit dust right back onto the floor. Work from high to the middle to the ground.

7. Get a Mat

Eighty percent of the dirt in a typical house is from what we track in on our shoes. Clean the mats periodically and let them dry before putting them back.

8. Make a Date With Dust

On a weekly basis, dust furniture and electronics. On a monthly basis, dust your ceiling and ceiling fan, window treatments, windowsills, baseboards, and bookshelves.

9. Don’t Forget Fabrics
Fabric items like curtains should be dry-cleaned periodically. Encase your mattress in zippered, allergen-proof covers. Also schedule an annual professional rug cleaning.

10. Be Creative
Products you have around the house can do double duty when it comes to dusting. Here are some of our favorites:

  • A lint roller on your lampshades, paint-brushes for hard-to-reach crevices, or a putty knife covered with a dusting cloth.
  • A spray-treated sock worn on your hand makes cleaning mini-blinds a breeze.
  • Dryer sheets clean computer and TV screens because they zap static electricity.

>> Get more cleaning and organizing tips

11. Take It Slow
Generally, you don’t want to dust too fast because you’ll wind up knocking the stuff around instead of picking it up. Instead, use a slow, deliberate motion when you dust, and be sure to switch when one side of your cloth or duster gets dirty. Also, when you do shake out your duster, remember to do it outside!

12. Get It All
Anything in your home that has a surface needs to be dusted. Even your curtains, bedspread, dust ruffle, pillows, and mattress needs attention once in a while. Fabric items should be washed in 130-degree water or higher (it needs to be hot enough to kill mites) or dry-cleaned periodically. Don’t forget the floor — schedule an annual professioanl rug cleaning.

13. Use the Right Tools
Dusting cloths are great for general easy-to-reach use, while a vacuum with a dusting brush or an extension wand duster is better to get to unusual spaces like a valance. Feathre dusters tend to move dust around, so you’ll end up swiping at the same particles over and over.

14. Hard to Treat Spots
Television and computer screens emit lots of static electricity. But remember that your appliances should not be sprayed with any type of product. Stick to a microfiber cloth, and settle in for a relaxing night of laughs.

15. What’s a Dust Bunny?
Cute name, gross phenomenon. They are clumps of fluffy stuff that usually form where the sun — and vacuum — don’t shine. Static electricity and fibers (such as hair) hold the critter together. Sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting regularly will keep the clumps from forming, but that only works if you actually remember to get to those places you don’t see. Always remember to dust under the bed, couch, and any other piece of furniture where dust can easily hide under and come to life.

Best Cloths: Microfiber Cloths at Amazon

“Microfiber cloths are a great choice for dusting because they grab and hold a ton of dust without releasing it into the air.”

Best Lambswool: Extending Lambswool Duster at Amazon

“Lambswool dusters are great for dusting in irregular places and on flat surfaces.”

Best for Fans: Ceiling Fan Duster at Amazon

“This ceiling fan duster will help you reach and dust without a step ladder.”

Best Extendable: DustTamer Bendable Extendable Duster at Amazon

“The vacuum chamber has two-stage HEPA filtration to trap dust particles as you work.”

Best for Tight Spaces: Compressed Air at Amazon

“It is often used to clean computer keyboards or other electronic devices which may not be compatible with other dusting tools.”

Best Polish: Pledge Furniture Polish (3-Pack) at Amazon

“Furniture polish can help prevent scratching on fine wood furniture.”

Best Natural Polish: Method Wood for Good Polish at Amazon

“Method’s Wood For Good Polis is great for those who prefer to clean their home in a more natural and eco-friendly way.”

Best Disposable Cloths: Pledge Grab-It Cloths at Amazon

“These disposable cloths are great for quick dusting jobs and work well for furniture and electronics.”

Best Duster: Feather Duster at Amazon

“Feather dusters are a popular dusting choice because of their versatility.”

Best Large Cloth: Caldrea Flannel Flip Dusting Cloth at Amazon

“This washable cloth does a great job at dusting and cleaning many areas of your home.”

Finding dust in your home is no fun, and it often seems that no matter how much you clean, it keeps coming back.

Dust is made up of all kinds of particles including plant pollen, dead skin cells, and fibers from clothing and paper. When it accumulates, it’s annoying and can wreak havoc on asthma and allergy sufferers. To make matters worse, with dust come dust mites. Grossed out yet?

While it’s impossible to completely rid your home of dust, here are some easy tips for keeping it at bay.

1. Change your bedding once a week. Dust mites love to dwell in sheets, pillows and mattresses. Encasing your mattress and box spring in an allergen-proof cover, in conjunction with washing your bedding once a week, should be enough to keep bug-a-boos at bay.

2. Keep tidy closets. Garments stored in closets shed lots of fiber. So unless you want a blast of dust confetti each time you open the closet door, it’s best to store things in garment bags, plastic containers and boxes.

3. Remove clutter from floors. Don’t ignore piles of clothing, toys, magazines, books or anything else on the floor. Cleaning around them won’t take care of the dust that has settled in or around them.

4. Say “no” to carpeting. It may look gorgeous, but carpeted floors are high-maintenance and magnets for dust mites. They should be vacuumed daily, but even that may not be enough for people with severe allergies. If you’re attached to your carpet, consider investing in a vacuum cleaner with a double-layered microfilter bag or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which prevents dust from being re-introduced into the air. Otherwise, stick to hardwood, vinyl, linoleum or tile flooring.

5. Take it outside. Dust from area rugs and pillows should be beaten outdoors.

6. Duster do’s and don’ts. Feather dusters only aggravate existing dust and cause it to settle elsewhere around your home. Instead, use a damp cloth or moist towelette to wipe down surfaces.

7. Clean from top to bottom. Clean the highest surfaces first and work your way down, so you capture any dust you missed.

8. Air purifiers. If you have severe allergies or asthma symptoms, an air purifier can be very beneficial — but that doesn’t mean you can ditch the duster! While they filter dust particles, they don’t take care of dust mites (since they’re not airborne). Also, for an air purifier to be effective, you’ll need one for each room.

How To: Clean Wood Furniture

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Homeowners have long relished the beauty, versatility, and toughness of wood furniture—and above all, they’ve appreciated its low maintenance. Like the ideal houseplant for brown thumbs, wood furniture survives on its own, requiring little intervention. Every now and again, though, whether due to an accident or normal wear and tear, you’ll need to know how to clean wood furniture to renew its appearance and ensure its longevity. When that inevitable day comes, follow these steps to restore a wood finish to impeccable condition without inadvertently causing damage.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon:
– Cotton balls
– Dishwashing detergent
– Sponge
– Bucket
– Clean cloth
– Mineral spirits
– Cheesecloth
– Wood wax
– Denatured alcohol

If you are certain of your wood furniture finish—paint, stain, or some other treatment—then use a cleaning method appropriate for that specific wood finish. Otherwise, it’s best to clean the furniture in stages, starting with a mild cleanser that poses no risk to the integrity of the finish, then graduating to a stronger solution only if the gentler one fails. Proceeding in this way means that you can safely clean wood furniture without knowing precisely what you’re dealing with.

Photo: .com

STEP 1: Dish soap

Start out with perhaps the humblest of household cleaners: liquid dish soap. Add a drop to a water-moistened cotton ball, then wipe it on an inconspicuous part of the furniture, such as the inside of a chair leg. If the detergent mars the finish in your test area, then continue without the detergent. If the test area shows no evidence of damage, it’s safe to proceed. Mix water and detergent in a bucket and use this solution to sponge down the entire piece. You might think you know how to clean wood furniture, but soaking the wood is a common mistake. Instead, brush the sponge lightly over the surface and don’t let the liquid linger for long. Dry thoroughly.

STEP 2: Mineral spirits

If you want to see if you can get your furniture a little cleaner, the next thing to try is mineral spirits, which you can buy at the local hardware store or home center. One-quart containers typically sell for $10 or $15 (view example on Amazon). Be sure to follow the printed instructions for safe use. For one thing, working in a well-ventilated area is a must.

Though mineral spirits should be harmless to wood finishes, you should still test the treatment on an inconspicuous part of the furniture to make absolutely sure. If you see no discoloration, proceed to wipe the furniture down with a the a clean cloth soaked in (but not dripping with) mineral spirits. Finish by wiping away any residual cleaner with a water-moistened cloth, inspecting the wood for blemishes as you go.

In many cases, mineral spirits can remove years of grime.

STEP 3: Consider refinishing

If the finish reacted negatively when you tested the mineral spirits on your furniture, don’t push your luck—move on. You’ll likely need to refinish the piece to truly restore it.

Note: To determine the type of finish that is on your furniture currently, dab some denatured alcohol onto a cotton swab and test it in a small, inconspicuous area. If the finish dissolves, that means it’s probably shellac. If the finish stands up to the alcohol, it’s probably oil, lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane.

STEP 4: Prevent future damage

If on the other hand you are satisfied with the results of your cleaning efforts (or you don’t want to refinish), you may wish to protect your furniture from future damage. To do so, reach for a furniture wax product, such as Howard Feed-N-Wax (view on Amazon) or Daddy Van’s (view on Amazon). Apply the wax liberally with a cheesecloth, always being sure to rub in the direction of the wood grain. Afterward, buff with a clean cloth.

Note: Always dust wood furniture with soft, lint-free cloths. Avoid feather dusters, because they aren’t as effective and sometimes have sharp quills that may scratch the wood surface.

DIY Homemade Dust, Wood + Furniture Polish Spray

August 30, 2016 posted by Kate Kordsmeier — in DIY Recipes, Home, Recipes

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This DIY homemade dust, wood + furniture polish spray is a safe, affordable and natural cleaning alternative to toxic store-bought cleaners. Use with a microfiber cloth to polish and clean wood, furniture and remove dust.

We’re back with another DIY Natural Cleaning Recipe!

This time, we’re whipping up a dust, wood and furniture polish spray that might as well be salad dressing–oil, vinegar and citrus are the main ingredients, so this is one cleaning product that’s good enough to eat 😉

Of course, I’m not recommending you actually eat this cleaner (come on, people!), but doesn’t it make you feel good to know that it’s so safe you could actually serve it to your family for dinner?!

I just got this ridiculous visual of a tuxedo-clad server bringing silver domed trays to the table, grandly removing the domes to reveal crisp white china with a bottle of furniture polish eagerly awaiting your first bite.

Yes, I admit it. After moving this weekend into our new loft, carrying an endless stack of boxes up and down stairs and making the drive from Brookhaven to Inman Park and back what feels like three hundred thousand million times, I am 100% exhausted and delirious and wish you good luck as we continue on with this post. You’ve been warned.

Why make your own furniture polish?

Okay, if you’ve been following along for a while, you surely know by now why you should make your own cleaning products.

But in case you’re new or you’ve forgotten or you need yet another reminder, check out this story I wrote for The TODAY Show about why DIY Homemade cleaning products are infinitely better than toxic, expensive store-bought cleaners.

Of course safety and health are the number one reasons to make your own cleaners, but I have to say that one of the more practical and tangible reasons I’ve stuck with DIY cleaning is because the savings are UNREAL!

My recipe for Homemade Bathroom Cleaner costs just $1.29 to make; Granite/Marble Countertop Cleaner only $1.27; Natural Dryer Sheets are just $.018/load; and DIY Glass + Window Cleaner is only $0.74!

You’re basically getting paid to clean your house at this point. (Note: This is the same girl math that’s used to justify buying a still-expensive item because it’s on sale or eating cake for dinner because you had a salad at lunch.)

This homemade furniture polish recipe is no different. The entire bottle cost me a mere $3.14 to make, compared to store-bought cleaners, which average around $8-12 per bottle. Take a look:

Total cost = $3.14

RELATED: THE BEST NATURAL STORE-BOUGHT CLEANERS FOR THE DIY-AVERSE.

THE TRUTH: TOXIC DUST + WOOD CLEANERS

Sometimes I get looks from my friends and family when I start talking about toxic products. You know the look–it’s a combo of disinterest, pity, condescension and, ultimately, incredulity as they pretend to listen to what I’m saying, while really thinking that I’m just some crazy hippie rambling on again about nonsense that’s not backed by science.

Eh, Eh, Eh… the truth is there are hard facts and scientific studies to back up these claims of toxicity and once I learned about how harmful these household products were, I simply couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

Here’s the proof: of the most popular store-bought furniture cleaners and dusting sprays on the market (that would be Pledge, Method, Old English, Swiffer and Bona), every single one of these products is rated an F (the most dangerous score) by the EWG.

This is NOT good, friends–an F rating means the product contains significant hazards to health or the environment, and/or companies don’t disclose their full ingredients list, which is a HUGE RED FLAG. What are they trying to hide?

RELATED: My Current Green Cleaning Routine

Take a look at some of the most toxic ingredients found in the above furniture cleaners:

  • Colors: Proven to cause cancer. Enough said.
  • Preservatives: This unspecified ingredient may contain carcinogens like formaldehyde, an asthmagen that also causes severe skin burns and eye damage, allergic skin reactions and is harmful to sea life.
  • Methylisothiazolinone: Trying to pronounce this ingredient is scary enough. Lest you forget the preservative is also an allergen causing skin and respiratory irritation. And lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that it may be neurotoxic.
  • Film Former: This is another unspecified ingredient that is riddled with impurities, like Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane, which have potential for cancer, developmental/endocrine/reproductive harm, and damage to DNA.

A few other gems that can be found in these toxic dust, wood and furniture cleaners include C122-20 Isoparaffin (high risk of cancer), Petroleum Gases (yes, as in the fuel used in cars, which causes genetic defects and cancer) and fragrance, another hormone disruptor and asthmagen with links to skin irritation, allergies, nervous system defects and acute aquatic toxicity.

Fortunately, my DIY furniture polish recipe will have you cleaning dust, wood and hard furniture surfaces just as effectively (if not more!) without any of the negative side effects.

CLEANING TIPS FOR DIY HOMEMADE FURNITURE CLEANERS

Alright, so here’s the deal. Instead of loading up our cleaners with harmful chemicals, preservatives and toxins, we’re keeping it really simple.

All you need is olive oil ,white vinegar and castile soap. Simply add these natural ingredients to a spray bottle and use a microfiber cloth to wipe down hard surfaces, like wood and furniture.

They’ll be left shiny, the wood undamaged and nourished. And it’s a great way to dust hard surfaces around your home.

If you add some essential oils to the blend, it’ll smell amazing. As usual, I recommend citrus essential oils, like lemon, orange or grapefruit. For fans of Pledge, you’ll get a nearly identical smell from this cleaner.

Where to buy essential oils? I love Plant Therapy, whose oils are 100% pure, free from any additives, adulterants, or dilutions. Their facility is USDA Certified Organic, and their prices are also SUPER reasonable! Get 10% off your order of $50 or more sitewide with the coupon code ROOT10!

Happy Cleaning!

4.75 from 4 votes Servings: 2 cups DIY Natural Furniture Polish + Dusting Spray Prep Time 2 mins Total Time 2 mins This DIY homemade dust, wood + furniture polish spray is a safe, affordable and natural cleaning alternative to toxic store-bought cleaners. Use with a microfiber cloth to polish and clean wood, furniture and remove dust. Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon castile soap
  • 15 drops essential oils (I recommend Citrus and Herb oils)

Instructions

  1. Pour all ingredients into a bottle (I recommend these). Fit with a spray top. Gently shake the bottle to mix the ingredients together. Use immediately or as needed.
  2. To use: Spray furniture or surface with the spray and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.

Course: DIY Cuisine: Cleaning Author: Kate Kordsmeier | rootandrevel.com

Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

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Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

posted by Kate Kordsmeier on August 30, 2016
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Dust Never Sleeps : In caring for furniture, there’s good news and bad. Wood doesn’t need much polishing. But upholstery probably needs more attention than it’s getting.

Once the glow of new-furniture ownership wears off–about the time a good layer of dust settles in–consumers are faced with a worrisome thought: how to care for that credenza?

Most of us automatically reach for the furniture polish, planning to wipe up the dust and shine the wood at the same time.

Wrong, says Mission Viejo interior designer Kay Leruth.

Leruth hasn’t polished her furniture in years. And it’s not because she’s lazy. When it comes to the care and feeding of today’s furniture, she simply believes that the less you do, the better.

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Industry experts agree. Although they differ on the details of exactly how to care for furniture, they say people generally over-polish and over-wax wood. Curiously, the opposite is true of upholstered pieces–people ignore the fabric, which benefits more from routine maintenance than wood does.

“People just do not know what to do,” said Nancy High, director of communications for the American Furniture Manufacturers Assn. in High Point, N.C. Technology, she said, has allowed manufacturers to create finishes that take care of themselves. All the consumer needs to do is remove surface dirt.

New furniture comes with care instructions that pretty much say that, but High said the advice is so simple that everyone ignores it.

It shouldn’t be ignored, however. Wood furniture is rapidly gaining in popularity, both with a resurgence of the Shaker and Mission styles and with the introduction of so-called character finishes and furniture: sofas and tables made of peeled pine logs and wood pieces with manufactured dings and dents to give them a distressed look.

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“The 18th-Century style is still the backbone of the industry, but younger people have more casual attitudes,” said Michael Hodges, vice president of marketing and finish design for Guardsman Products Inc., which makes finish coatings for residential furniture.

“They’re wearing jeans to work on Fridays, driving their Jimmies and other 4-wheel-drive vehicles, and they want furniture they can put their feet up on,” he said.

To take care of it, and to care for most other new wood furniture, High and Leruth both recommend weekly dusting with a soft cloth.

So does Hodges, but he and High part company with Leruth at that point. If you have new furniture, Leruth says, you should put away furniture polish, oils and waxes for good–especially if the products contain alcohol or lemon oil. Certain commercial products can actually damage finishes, she said.

For most modern furniture, Leruth recommends wiping with a damp cloth to remove fingerprints and dust and following that with a chamois on high-gloss finishes.

“The only pieces that need oil or wax are things that have it already, like high-end custom pieces and antiques. Everything else has a finish on it that you aren’t going to get through. So all the wax does is gather dust,” Leruth said.

High and Hodges believe you should hang on to the furniture polish, but they recommend using it sparingly on modern furniture finishes and making sure the product is one that cleans without trapping dirt and dust. Every six weeks is often enough to use polish, they agree. Furniture polish contains water, while waxes contain naphtha, and both can raise a wood veneer over time, Hodges said.

“You want a nice, hand-rubbed look in furniture, but furniture can be marred when you rub it, even with some kinds of rags,” he said. Most top coats manufactured today are made from nitrocellulose, which stands up to a lot of rubbing and repairs easily but doesn’t scratch easily, Hodges said.

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His company makes a home-care kit, sold at furniture stores, that includes a cleaning polish, a light dust cloth and a soft cloth with a little resin in it.

But the perfect dust rag might be closer at hand than you think. High recommends an old pair of men’s cotton underwear.

The cloth should be dampened, then wrung out until it’s “bone dry,” especially if humidity is high, she said. A dry cloth just scatters dust around, she added. Be sure and wipe down furniture hardware, such as drawer pulls, because it collects body oil, she advised.

Everything but unfinished furniture comes with a finish. To know what’s on your pieces, talk to the salesperson or, if it’s an older piece, take it to a furniture restorer for identification, Leruth said.

“You have to think of furniture like you would your face,” she said. “You don’t sit in the sun; you don’t want to be hot; you don’t want too much humidity, and you don’t want it too dry.”

Sunlight is hard on furniture, and it needs to be protected from heat, humidity, dryness and the kinds of accidents that faces are rarely subjected to–spills and scratches.

Nail-polish spills and cigarette burns are the two worst accidents that could happen to wood furniture, followed by mustard and ink spills, Hodges said. Alcohol in cocktails, perfumes and medicine can dissolve furniture finishes. Chemical reactions from such seemingly benign items as plastic place mats and the rubber feet on lamps and calculators can stain or darken the finish.

Some accidents are almost certain to require professional help.

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Resist the urge to wipe or blot up nail polish and nail polish remover and alcohol spills, manufacturers say. Let the liquid evaporate for 24 hours, then call for professional help with the nail polish and remover spill.

Accidents aside, industry experts say consumers should stop fretting about wood furniture and worry more about fabric-covered pieces.

“Think about the way the dust looks on your wood furniture,” High said.

“The same amount is on upholstered furniture every week. When you look at dust particles under a microscope, you can see they have sharp edges, and when they accumulate on upholstered furniture and we sit down on it, we are just grinding in the little particles. This breaks down the fabric and makes it look dingy,” she said.

The solution? Weekly vacuuming with those attachments that came with the vacuum cleaner.

“It’s just vacuum, vacuum, vacuum,” said Leruth, who doesn’t recommend having the sofa professionally cleaned unless it’s stained. She also doesn’t recommend sending draperies out for routine cleaning.

“The worst thing you can do to drapes is to have them cleaned. The fabric shrinks and the backing dissolves. And the fabric shrinks on upholstered pieces” when they are cleaned too, she said.

Leruth recommends having upholstered furniture treated with a fabric protector product such as Fiber Seal, which will repel moisture, allowing spills to be blotted up before they soak into the fabric.

Speed is imperative in cleaning spills on upholstered furniture, High said, and most stains need to be turned over to professionals. “It’s not a job for mere mortals,” she said.

One reason is that the industry doesn’t give us many hints about cleaning such fabrics.

Textiles such as drapes and upholstered furniture aren’t required by law to come with care instructions, as is clothing, according to Alice Laban, spokeswoman for the International Fabricare Institute in Silver Spring, Md., which represents dry cleaners and laundry professionals.

Because fabric can fade and shrink in cleaning, the institute recommends having furniture cleaned in place. Laban warned particularly against removing chair and sofa cushion covers and sending them to a cleaner. Often the cleaned covers don’t match the rest of the upholstery on the furniture when they come back, she said.

Consumers should be aware of potential cleaning problems, such as shrinkage, or the dissolving of backings used to give loosely woven fabrics stability. The advantage of using a professional cleaner is that he knows what kind of solvent or stain remover to use for particular stains, she said.

Often the best solution is to make the right selections from the start, High said. For furniture you know you are going to live on, chose a covering you can clean “without your heart in your throat,” she said. She recommends sofas with loose cushions because they can be rotated weekly–while you’re vacuuming–and you’ll get twice the wear out of your sofa.

To extend the life of a sofa to 10 years or more, Leruth said, buy good quality, use fabric sealer, vacuum regularly and rotate loose cushions.

Good quality is especially important in wicker and leather, Leruth said. Wicker comes with a finish on it and can be cleaned with a feather duster or a drafting-table brush with soft bristles. Leather doesn’t need a lot of routine care, but because it doesn’t have a protective finish, every so often it must be moisturized like leather shoes, she said.

For the marbles and metals that are so popular in furnishing today, Leruth recommends cleaning with a damp cloth. Metals come with a protective finish, too, and using solutions such as brass cleaner will strip the finish, she said. Marble needs to be professionally repolished every couple of years.

Hard plastic furniture can be cleaned with water and a gentle soap.

And if you didn’t throw it away already, there is a use for lemon oil, she said. Instead of putting it on your new furniture, where it will just attract dust, apply it to the glass on the shower door. It’s supposed to cut down on lime buildup.

Or you could just put your feet up and forget the bathroom.

How to Clean Wood Furniture

DIY

It’s pretty rare to walk into a house and not find a stick of wood furniture inside. Wooden pieces add a cozy touch to a home, with their rich grains and sturdy designs. However, you won’t be doing your décor any favors if your wood surfaces are coated with sticky residue or a fine layer of dust.
Learn how to clean wood furniture to better maintain its sheen and to prolong its lifespan.

First: An Important FYI

Wooden furniture is still readily available in stores or online, and many pieces of antique furniture are made from wood, too. However, a lot of the more modern (and affordable) furniture you’ll find today is made from laminate or veneer, rather than actual wood.
Some of the newer pieces of furniture may have come with a manufacturer’s cleaning guide, or you might be able to find furniture treatment recommendations online. However, it’s important that you never assume that the care instructions for your laminate desk are the same as those for the mahogany sideboard you inherited from your great-grandmother.

The Basics of Cleaning Wood Furniture

Many people are quick to reach for commercial cleaners or polish when they’re preparing to care for their wood furniture. Unfortunately, these products could do more harm than good, especially if your furniture is made from actual wood. Why?
Well, each type of cleaner and polish has a different chemical makeup. Over time, these chemical interactions can make the finish sticky. Additionally, lacquer finishes can absorb chemicals and water in such a way that the finish is eventually stripped, which exposes the bare wood to the chemicals in cleaning products. Because of this, you want to keep your cleaning materials to a minimum.
While you do want to avoid chemical-based cleaners unless they’re recommended by the manufacturer, there are some steps you can take to keep your wooden furniture — be it cherry, balsa, particle board or veneer — looking warm and sleek.
You’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • A little water
  1. For routine cleaning to get rid of dust, smears or fingerprints, simply wipe down your wooden pieces with a dry microfiber cloth.
  2. If you find sticky spots, dampen a microfiber cloth and apply light pressure until the reside has been removed. Note: It’s key here to make sure your cloth is damp and not wet so that you don’t ruin the finish or damage the wood.

Preventative Maintenance

As you can see, there’s not much to keeping wood clean on a regular basis. But to properly maintain your wood furniture, you need to take a few preventative measures:<<br/>

  • Always place coasters under drinks, whether they’re hot or cold.
  • Use placemats and trivets when serving hot meals.
  • Wipe up spills or condensation rings immediately.
  • Learn how to clean water stains from wooden furniture.

Knowing how to care for your wooden furniture can help preserve its look and integrity for years to come. Don’t have the time for routine housework and worried your wood will suffer? Call in the cavalry, and let the housekeeping professionals of Merry Maids help you out.

Dust less, dust smart: the proven best way to clean dust

We compared 4 dust-cleaning solutions, here’s what we found. A must-read if you suffer from asthma or allergies

Dusting is a cleaning chore that will always be on the list because dust is everywhere.

Did you know that not all dusting tools were created equal? The tools you choose to dust your home can make a massive difference to the dust-levels in your home.

Why is dust an issue?

Two-thirds of the dust in our homes comes in from outside. Most people think dust is mostly dead skin cells, but it’s far more likely to be a mix of airborne particles like pollen, soot and fibres from carpets, rugs, clothing and furniture.

Dust is an issue for two reasons; it’s always building and it impacts your home’s indoor air quality.

What is indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality is a measure of chemicals and pollutants within a building that’s occupied for at least one hour by people.

Studies have actually shown that indoor air is five times more polluted than outdoor air and poor indoor air quality has been linked to immediate short-term issues such as irritation to your eyes, nose and throat (especially problematic for people who suffer from asthma and allergies). In the long-term, poor indoor air quality has been linked to respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer.

There are plenty of things you can do to help improve the quality of the air in your home such as introducing helpful houseplants, implementing home detox tips and effectively removing dust from your home.

Why is cleaning dust so difficult?

The problem most people experience when it comes to dusting is dust dispersing.

During the cleaning process dust becomes airborne making it impossible to clean. The dust later resettles, so instead of physically removing dust, it tends to get moved around your home.

This can mean that dusting your home could actually have a negative impact, especially for asthma and allergy sufferers as pollen and allergens become airborne.

What is the most effective way to dust your home?

To make sure your dusting efforts aren’t doing more harm than good, we wanted to put our Dust Floor Fibre to the test and uncover the most effective way to keep your home dust-free.

ENJO’s dust-busting floor cleaning fibre was tested against 3 alternative dust cleaning solutions to see which product removed dust, pollen and allergens from the air most effectively.

The dust test: ENJO dust fibre vs traditional dust cleaners

Siegfried Lerchbaumer, an expert on ambient air hygiene, ran a test to measure the level of respirable dust pollution during the dust-cleaning process of four different dust cleaning products.

1. Broom

2. Dust mop

3. ENJO Dust Floor Fibre

4. Vacuum

The dust test method

Each product’s dust cleaning ability was tested on the same cleaning surface with an equal amount of dust.

To measure the effectiveness of each product, the amount of dust dispersed into the air during the cleaning process was measured to give an indication of how much dust is actually removed as opposed to redistributed.

The dust test results

The amount of dust dispersed during the cleaning process varied greatly.

1. Broom | approx. 1300µg/m3

2. Dust mop | approx. 2600µg/m3

3. ENJO Dust Floor Fibre | approx. 200µg/m3

4. Vacuum cleaner | approx. 200µg/m3

Respirable dust pollution was highest using a conventional dust mop and lowest using ENJO’s Dust Floor Fibre and vacuum.

The dust test conclusion

The ENJO Dust Floor Fibre created 13-times less dust pollution compared to the conventional dust mop, indicating the fibres superior ability to trap dust instead of dispersing dust.

How ENJO dust fibres work

ENJO Fibres aren’t like any other fibre cleaning products on the market, the technology woven into every fibre is patented, meaning they offer a one-of-a-kind clean.

The fibres are microscopic, 100-times finer than a human hair. When the fibres pass across a surface they create a static charge that attracts dust like a magnet. The unique weave then traps and holds on to the dust preventing dust and hair from moving around the room during the cleaning process.

The fibres also have a polishing effect leaving a smooth shine after you dust. Not needing a single chemical make this the healthiest way to keep your home dust-free.

How to dust with ENJO

The effectiveness of ENJO’s Dust fibre makes dusting your home easy.

Step 1

Don’t make the cleaning mistake of starting from the ground up, the most effective way to remove dust means starting from the top.

The ENJO Dust Flexi is perfect for cleaning light fittings, ceiling fans and picture rails. Simply attach the fibre to the pole and swipe over surfaces for ENJO’s dust-catching fibres to attract and trap dust.

Have super high ceilings? The Dust Flexi attaches to ENJO’s Floorcleaner pole giving you the extra height you need.

Step 2

Use the Dust Glove to lift dust from furniture, plants, TVs – anything in your home that’s gathering dust. Simply pop on the glove and wipe your surfaces.

Step 3

After dusting furniture wait 20 minutes before dusting your floors. This will allow any dust that hasn’t been trapped in the fibre to settle on the floor ready to be picked up by the Dust Floor Fibre.

The Dust Floor Fibre is part of the best-selling ENJO floor cleaning system. Team the Dust Floor Fibre with the Floor Fibre designed to clean the floors in your home and you’ll enjoy clean floors much faster than a conventional mop and bucket.

Simply attach the Floor Fibre to your Floorcleaner and sweep your floors.

Step 4

After you’ve picked up the dust from your floors, simply dust bust your dust fibres or shake them out outside.

Introducing ENJO’s dust range

ENJO’s Dust Range, also known as the ultimate dust-busting trio, includes the Dust Floor Fibre, Dust Glove and Dust Flexi – everything you need to keep the air in your home clean and dust-free.

Another great thing about cleaning dust with ENJO…

ENJO’s dust-cleaning range is entirely reusable and super long-lasting – meaning dust-free living for years with minimal waste.

Learn more about reusable cleaning products and how ENJO is creating cleaner homes and cleaner air with the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund.

Follow us on Instagram for more dust-cleaning content, shop now for your dust-solution delivered to your door, or book an ENJO Demo to see ENJO’s dust range in action in your own home.

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How to Dust Your House Like A Professional Cleaner

Every once in a while, we all have to get up and dust the house. It can become a bit overwhelming especially when we have let the dust accumulate for a while. We then suddenly have to make decisions on which room to start with, what cleaner to use and which rag to use.

Dusting Equipment

The first step to follow is to collect all the equipment that you will need to dust the whole house. You will need a few microfibre cloths, a soft brush with a handle, warm water and soap, furniture polisher, a dry cloth for polishing and a cobweb remover. You will also need a CD player and a few good music CDs to listen to so that you enjoy dusting and keep at it without getting bored.

Dusting Technique

Start by setting aside the time that you will need to do your dusting. Don’t plan any other activities for this time because you do not want any distractions. Multi-tasking may only help to steer you off course and get you tired faster. In the beginning, decide the routine that you want to follow. Do you want to start with the living room or the bedrooms? Decide the order you will follow and if need be, write it down.

When you start on a room, begin by picking up anything that may be lying on the floor. Then start at the top of one side and work your way down. You will want to begin with one side of a room. Work clockwise until you go round the room. When you start at the top, begin by removing all cobwebs and wiping off the dust from the wall. Work your way down to the window tops. Wherever you find a thick layer of dust, use a wet cloth to wipe it off. Where the layer of dust is greasy, wipe it with a wet cloth that has been soaked in warm, soapy water. Wipe the shelves as you reach them and remember to dust the back of the shelves as well.

For the items on the shelves, you will need to wipe those with a thin layer of dust. If they are plastic, you can wash them in the warm soapy water. If made out of wood, then just wipe them with the microfibre cloth. Remember to wipe the dust off any books.

At this stage, you might be tempted to leave off some items, but remember that if you clean well now you will have a lot more time before the next dusting session. You only need to be this thorough once in a couple of months.

When you get to the bottom, you will find that the dust has dropped from the top to the bottom. This will make your work easier at the end because all you will need to do will be to mop the floor or vacuum it to get rid of the dust.

You may want to take a break after the first room but don’t make it a long one. A short ten-minute break is enough. A longer one will make you lazy and zap your energy. Mark off the room you have done on the list and move on to the next one.

Follow the same procedure and remember to have the music on to keep you motivated.

CLEANING SPECIFIC ITEMS

Electronics

Always unplug the television set and other electronics before cleaning them. As these items really attract dust, you may want to clean them weekly rather than waiting for your quarterly or bi-annual dusting. Use a microfibre cloth or a damp cloth if dust layer is thick. The brush you got ready will aid you in getting the dust out of any crevices on the electronics. Don’t forget to dust off the cables before plugging them back into the sockets.

Children’s Toys

Plastic toys – As you always want the children to be clean and germ-free, wash the plastic toys in warm, soapy water and dry them completely.

Teddy bears – Place teddy bears and bean bags in a plastic bag with a handful of baking soda and shake well. The baking soda will work with the static to draw out the dust. Remove them from the plastic bag and vacuum them.

If you are interested to read more you should have a look at the following article on killing dust mites on soft toys by the University of Otago.

Greasy Surfaces

The kitchen walls will be a bit greasy especially the areas around your cooker. Soak a rag in the warm soapy water and wipe these surfaces. Remember to keep changing the water so that you are not using dirty water to wipe any surface.

In the kitchen, you will also want to clean the inside and outside of the microwave. Use a warm damp cloth for this as well as for the fridge.

Bedroom

Remember to remove all the bedding and to vacuum your mattress. Also change the linen and wipe off the dust from the bed posts.

Remove all the dirty clothes hanging around the bedroom and wipe the closet and any bed stools and drawers.

Bathrooms

Ensure that you clean the cabinets holding your toothpaste and toothbrushes. If possible disinfect the toothbrushes one at a time with mouthwash. Also use a disinfecting cleaner for the cabinet and the surfaces of the bathroom because when you flush the toilet, there is splatter and faecal matter can be on the surfaces. Scrub the tub with a good detergent and bleach. Also scrub the tiles as well and use an old toothbrush for the rough borders between the tiles.

For the toilet, use toilet cleaner for all parts including bowl, seat and cover. Get rid of all the germs from the whole toilet. Give special attention to the tissue holder and wipe it clean.

General House Dusting Tips

Always remember to wipe the door handles for all the rooms and the outside door with a disinfecting cleaner. This will prevent the spread of germs between people in the house.

If all this seems a bit overwhelming and you find that you cannot make the time for such a thorough dusting session, no worries! At Maid2Match, we have ready Brisbane house cleaners who can be booked online at your convenience. We are the best full house and window cleaning service in Brisbane. We will do your dusting for you and use eco-friendly and pet-friendly products. We are a quality company within your reach in Brisbane. Try us and all your dusting problems will be in the past.

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