Dust? Vacuum? That Is the Question.

Dear Home Ec 101,
Settle this for me, please. My mother says you dust after you vacuum, my mother-in-law says you dust then vacuum. I’d rather knit sweaters for my cat from the dust bunnies, but could you settle the debate?
Signed,
Dust in the Wind

should I vacuum or dust first

Heather says:

<sidestep>To be truthful I usually don’t dust and vacuum on the same day. </sidestep>

Both ladies have valid points and unless you are cleaning in front of them and then I must ask, why? It’s not anything that needs to be stressed out over.

Your mother’s theory is based on the idea that vacuuming stirs up dust, which hangs out in the air for a little while, has a cocktail, then settles on your coffee table. Your mother-in-law’s theory is that dusting drops dust on the carpet, so we should remove that or it will sink down into the fibers and party with the cat dander -apparently I believe dust has a social life better than my own.

Here’s what it comes down to. You and any other household members whether they are on two legs or four are dust creating machines. Just sitting there reading this post you’re shedding skin which adds to household dust. Throw in pollen, dirt, pet hair, and you’ve got a mess that gets blown around anytime anyone turns on a fan, walks through a room, or opens a door. It’s not practical to eliminate

If your vacuum is spewing out a lot of dust, it’s time to change the bag and start saving your pennies for a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If that is your situation, vacuum then dust.

If you have central air / heat make sure the filter is being changed on a regular basis.

Don’t dust with a dry rag, this just pushes dust around. A slightly damp rag works really well. Notice I said slightly damp, this means you squeeze the water out, if you’re dripping across the floor you’re doing it wrong.

how to take care of your living roomMy vacuum has a good filter, so for most of my dusting, I just use the fuzzy attachment, for the record, I hate dusting only slightly less than I hate polishing furniture. This is part of the reason I live a fairly knick-knack free existence.  Well there’s that and my inability to decorate, but publicly we’ll stick with my first reason.

Have a household question? Send it to Helpme@Home-Ec101.com



3 Comments

  1. tinkerschnitzel on October 13, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    My next door neighbor tells everyone not to touch shelves and knick nacks in her house. She swears that as long as there aren't any fingerprints in the dust, noone will know there's dust there. I like her philosophy!

  2. Jenn on October 13, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    My mom taught me to get my hands dripping wet and dry them on the rag by sort of tossing it back and fort. Do this a few times and you have a damp rag suitable for dusting. Nowadays I use a microfiber cloth.

    All our knick-knacks are still in boxes from our move last January and I rather like them there.

  3. michele janzen on October 13, 2009 at 11:48 am

    It's funny you bring this up, this has been a topic of discussion for years in several different group settings I've been in… I have always 1. clean the ceiling fan blades, 2. vacuumed, 3. dusted. I'm not sure why, I think maybe because I grew up in Oklahoma with the windows open, with the wind blowing in the dust never really settled. So dusting was really an after thought.

    I also live in a "clutter free" decor-less world. And I don't polish anything. Ever. 🙂

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