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The Health Effects of Dust

Dust Defined

Dust can be defined as a fine, dry powder made up of a variety of small particles from different sources. It may lie on the ground/ surfaces or it may be carried through the air. The particles found in dust can be generated by many different sources. Some particles commonly found in dust include:

  • Human skin cells
  • Pet dander
  • Particulate matter from smoking
  • Textile fibers (e.g. from clothing, carpet & bedding)
  • Soil
  • Food debris
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen

Inhalable vs. Respirable Dust

Due to its small size, dust can be inhaled through the mouth or nose. Experts have identified two different types of dust that can be inhaled:

Inhalable Dust

Inhalable dust refers to larger dust particles that can become stuck in the nose and mouth. As they are bigger in size, these can typically be breathed out of the body.

Respirable Dust

These smaller airborne dust particles are more dangerous as they may be able to enter the lungs or go directly into the bloodstream.

How Does Dust Impact Indoor Air Quality?

The EPA estimate that the level of indoor pollutants can be up to five times higher than outdoor levels. One reason for this is dust which has been shown to have an adverse effect on indoor air quality. Indoor air quality can influence the health, comfort, and well-being of the building inhabitants. As such, poor air quality has been linked with numerous symptoms including bronchitis, frequent headaches, long-lasting colds, and chronic asthma.

What is the Link Between Dust and Allergies?

An individual may experience an allergic reaction when their immune system responds to a foreign substance. In many cases, dust allergies are caused by dust mites however they may also be prompted by other particles that are in the dust. The individual only needs to be exposed to a small amount of the object in question in order to have a reaction. Dust allergy symptoms may range in severity, however typical symptoms include red eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, hives, wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Cleaning Dust at Home

In addition to making your home appear to be cleaner and more attractive, eliminating dust is also important for the health and wellbeing of you and your loved ones. To clean dust properly, it’s best to start with the highest/tallest items and work your way down to ensure that dust isn’t stirred up into the air. In addition to regular dusting, you may also want to consider investing an air purifier if you suffer from allergies or asthma.

Must-Have Dust-Busting Equipment

  • Ideally, you will use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. For best results, frequently change the bags and replace the filter as often as necessary.
  • Use slightly-moistened microfibre cloths to trap and remove dust.
  • Electrostatic dusters use the principles of static electricity to attract dust into the feathers.
  • Environmentally-friendly cleaning products provide a cheaper and healthier means of removing dust from surfaces.

Find Out More About How Dust Can Impact Your Health

If you are interested in finding out more about the negative effect dust can have on your health and wellbeing, then you should certainly check out the below infographic which comes from the team at The Cleaning Services Group. This insightful guide offers an in-depth guide on dust. It looks at some of the most common sources of dust and explores the many ways in which exposure to high levels of dust can impact your health, it also provides some top tips on how to clean dust at home.


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