That demon dust …

I was thinking about this earlier this AM. Am I alone when it comes to battling dust? We have always had so much dust in our house — I can sweep, vacuum, dust, have door mats at every door, but it just keeps coming. 

I use an allergy friendly filter in my HVAC system by Filtrete — it's the that filters out everything from pollen to viruses, and it's certified by the . But I have to replace it far more often than the 90 days the package recommends. 

Is there a way that I can banish dust OUTSIDE of the house?? Both DD and I have dust mite allergies, so it would be helpful to know how you guys keep dust out in the first place. 


Comments 26

  • K8sMom2002

    So I've been trying different things — and one thing that may be helping is to faithfully use my Roomba every day. I'm absolutely amazed at how much dust and dirt is being tracked in, so I've still got to figure out a way to keep it OUT. 

  • Jen

    ….and to think dh wondered why I vacuumed our room the other day. He said, "But it's not that messy."  Um…but there's still dust.

  • K8sMom2002

    DH is always encouraging ME to vacuum. I do wish sometimes that HE would vacuum instead of just ordering it up as though I were on staff with Merry Maids.

    I think my Roomba IS helping. This weekend I did my deep-clean vacuuming with my upright where I vacuum the rugs and the couch cushion and underneath the couch cushion (it's all one long cushion.) There seemed to be less dirt and dust.

    Alas, my Roomba's filter broke, and it looks like the only one I can get for my dinosaur of a Roomba is a third party filter from Amazon. I hope it will work. I usually prefer to get the branded filters and parts for vacuums. I'll order it today and hope it gets here soon!

  • Jen

    Cynthia – I say you delegate that task to dh.  Can't have your asthma acting up from vacuuming.

  • Shea

    From my understanding, dust mites arent just dragged in, but they nest and breed indoors because they like warmth and humidity and dead skin flakes. So if you keep your air temp around 70, and encase mattresses, wash weekly in hot water, then that should help a lot. I heard even hepa vacs cannot always get mites out of carpets, so throw rugs that you can wash are good, or steam cleaning carpets regularly is good. Every day I am washing and I have a small home. One day its sheets and pillow cases, the next comforters, then curtains, then rugs, then couch blankets and living room pillow covers. I also read eucalyptus oil is supposed to kill dust mites and or prevent them from reproducing, so I do use it in sprays and in my sparoom diffuser (my home air is so dry sonetimes that I want a little moisture, so I figure if I put eucalyptus in my diffuser then I will have moist air that the mites do not like, but I do.) Vacuuming is a pain. Every 2 days I do mine. Mostly I want a wipeable couch!! The furniture is the hardest part for me and its expensive to replace.

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, I do a whole lot of washing and dusting and such, and the sheets are always run through my machine's "sanitize" setting — I just did that yesterday. Sigh. I have a small home, too, and I have to tell you, asthma will cure you of wanting a big one!

    Beyond the dust mites, though, I'd like to stop the dust!!! Where does it COME from?? I swear, I can vacuum and dust and sweep in the AM (we never do that in the evening), and the next day, it looks as though I haven't done it in a week. Lord only knows what it would look like if I really hadn't vacuumed in a week.

    And I have hard wood/laminate/tiled floors in all the rooms except our bedrooms and my office — can't afford to swap out the carpet for laminate or hardwood right now. Gracious knows what that carpet looks like in our bedrooms, because a vacuum can only get so much dirt and dust out.

  • Kathy P

    Ooh, those are great tips Shea! Dust mites definitely like warm and humid. I had always heard that steam cleaning was bad because it leave the carpet damp thus providing a perfect breading ground. But I just did a search and found this study:

    Interesting on the Roomba helping to keep things under better control. I gave up on carpets and we were able to rip it all out and replace with laminate. That was an experience!

    I have no idea how to stop the dust. The whole house HEPA filter on the furnace seems to be helping though. I'm still struggling on finding . Sigh….

  • Serene

    I have a problem with dust in my house. Our area is very dry desert-like most of the time and an open window will put a fine layer on eveyrting. My solution is to try- and the active word is try- to keep one room dust-free. My bedroom.  I do not always succeed. Windows, doors, and people drag dust in, and they live in the carpet, the bed, everywhere, and I'm usually tired from work, so by the time I get upstairs, I'm not really up to doing housecleaning.

    I admit, I'm not always good about it. I can't stem the tide and I feel like I'm losing ground in the dust battle, and since it seems so thankless because I may clean one day and it will return the next, that I settle for doing the best I can.

    IT doesn't help that the office is very dusty due to janitorial staff not vacuuming very often. Seems like dust is just reality I have to contend with I'm afraid. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene, thanks for letting me know that I'm not alone in my battle against Killer Dust Bunnies.

    I know what you mean about not being able to open windows … I'd love to be able to enjoy the fresh spring air, but what with dust and pollen, that's not an option for us right now. I DID read an of a new sort of material that could create low cost window screens that actually filter air. That would be super! Because if they filter out pollen, I'm sure they'd stop dust, too. 

    My Roomba does seem to be working for me. I still have to vacuum with my big vacuum, but it doesn't seem to be as big. 

    And there are Roombas out there with a HEPA filter on them — I just can't afford a new one. 

    I'm thinking of beefing up my door mats. This recommends that we have a grate-like mat, an absorption mat and a finishing mat. I've sort of done that — at the foot of my porch steps, I added a set of concrete patio tiles with a rubber mat, then at my front door, I have another mat. But I can't put a mat inside the door because I can't find one that's low profile enough that the door will swing over it. 

    So I may do this: I may get my DH to extend out the patio tiles into a longer walkway, and then add to each of my porch steps. That might knock some of the excess dirt off as well. 

  • Serene

    That is very interesting, thanks for sharing that! I wish I lived closer to Stanford because their medical treatment center is excellent and they are a fabulous resource for patients with Allergic illness. Sadly I'm too far away to make participation in their research studies possible- But I am on their newsletter. They do have videos and offer seminars on the latest research in various treatments.

    I would love a roomba. I'm totally jealous. For me, it is big vacuum on the weekends, and small stick vacuum during the work week. I don't think it does as good a job, but I don't always feel like taking the monster out to use.

  • K8sMom2002

    Me, too, Serene — I hate lugging out the big vac! 

    You might try finding a Roomba on e-Bay or at an estate sale … I really love mine, even though it's older than the dirt it vacuums up. I bought mine waaaay back when they first came out — mine isn't the first generation, but it's the Discovery series that's pretty basic. 

    And for one that doesn't have AI and just kind of automatically swiffers your floors, you might try the . It's less than 30 bucks.

  • Jen

    @Serene - What sort of useful information have you found  in Stanford's newsletter?  I think it's great when we can share information.

  • Serene


    Most recently they announced the latest treatments for adults with Peanut Allergies.

    They are going to perform clinical trials for adults with this allergy and are looking for people interested in participating.

    They also have a good feed for allergies and asthma and the latest news on the right side of the page.

    They did a webinar, where adults with peanut allergies could listen and hear the latest for free.

    Very interesting stuff. I don't have that particular allergy so did not listen.




  • K8sMom2002

    Thanks, Serene … I'll pass your info and link onto some folks I know with peanut allergies. 

    I thought about you this morning when I was sweeping instead of letting Roomba do the work. I actually thought, "Gee, I Roomba'd yesterday, so maybe the floor won't be so bad to sweep."

    :eh: Nope. I guess I should have done my DIY swiffer instead — Sometimes I use a damp washcloth on my old Swiffer — less $$ instead of the pads, and also no funny smelling chemicals in the Swiffer wet jet fluid. Sweeping stirred up all manner of dust, I guess, because it was cough-cough-cough. 

    I'm going to look this weekend at getting some sort of metal grate to scrape off my DH's shoes as he's walking up to our steps. 

  • Serene

    No problem. There is a link on there somewhere to sign up for their newletter but I'm not on my pc right now and am not sure precisely where

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene, is this the you were talking about? 

    Today I wasn't able to run my Roomba, and I had a coughing spell that I didn't want to aggravate with sweeping … so my floors are looking pretty grim right now. This weekend I will definitely check out different kinds of mats and grates.

  • Kathy P

    Ooh, that O'Cedar robot floor cleaner looks interesting! I wonder if that would help in my bedroom. If I got rid of the couple of clutter piles. A lot of the dust collects under the dressers and nightstands and under the bed. As long as it would clear the dressers….hmmm…..

  • Jen

    Cynthia – did you find mats and grates that would work for you?

  • K8sMom2002

    I am newly committed to finding SOMETHING that will help keep the dirt out of this house.

    This AM my rug in my living room looked so grungy even after daily Roombas that I knew something had to give. I did my usual deep cleaning mode that I do periodically — vacuum the rug, roll it over to one side, sweep underneath it, then vacuum again, then flip it upside down and vacuum the backside of it..

    Well, when I rolled the rug back after vacuuming the backside, there was dirt all over the floor! I swept it, rolled it back and vacuumed again — it took me three cycles to get it as clean as I wanted. All that dust did NOT help my lungs, but it would have been worse to have not done it at all.

    I've got two thoughts: 

    • Get a couple of like this one
    • Replace my living room rug with an indoor/outdoor rug that I can take outside and hose down. I've seen some really pretty rugs that are designed for outdoor spaces, and they don't have a "pile" to lock in dirt and dust. 
  • Kathy P

    Is this a throw rug size or the whole room? Do you take shoes off at the door? I can NOT get dh to do that! He's the one who tracks everything into the house! Drives me the most nuts when he'll come in from the garage or back yard and track through the entire house (it's a U shape) to our bedroom with wet and/or dirty shoes! I want to strangle him!

  • Jen

    Those mats are intriguing.  I would think that keeping the stuff from coming in in the first place would be the best route to take.  Those mats are certainly a reasonable enough price that it can't hurt to try them.  Cynthia – Have you had any more thoughts on what strategies you might use?

  • K8sMom2002

    Kathy P, the large mat is 20" x 32" … so about the size of a welcome mat. 

    I hear ya on the garage deal. I have actually been considering buying tiles for the garage to drive on … these are vented. But they're pricey — $3-4 a square foot. Even a 20×20 garage would be $1,200. 

    So what I might do is buy some of those coil mats above and put them just to the side of where we park the car, so that when you step out of the car, you automatically "wipe" your feet. Then I'd put another mat at the base of the steps going to our back door, and then another mat just outside the door. 

    Jen, I've wondered if I couldn't make a bigger mat like that by using hurricane fence "fabric."