What Is Dust, and Why Is It Bad for You?

Roborock / Roborock

This article is presented by Roborock.

Dust is a pesky problem that never seems to go away—no matter how often you clean, it reappears on side tables, bed frames, and even your bathroom counter. And though you might not spend a lot of time thinking about dust beyond when you’re cleaning it up, it’s important to know what it is and how it can be harmful to your health.

Below, you'll find out more about the causes of dust, along with some tips for getting it out of your home.

What is dust?

Although many people believe that the majority of dust comes from dead skin, most of that usually goes down the drain when you shower and isn’t the main culprit. Instead, blame the outdoors, which is responsible for around two-thirds of dust particles in your home.

Turns out, your feet are bringing in the majority of your home’s dust in the form of dirt and soot that hitches a ride on your shoes. Another big source is what floats in through open windows and doors, which can include pollen and even pieces of dead bugs. Not all dust is made of natural materials, either: You might also find a mix of tiny pieces of plastic, pollutants, and other contaminants in dust particles from outside.

The dust that comes from inside the home is typically comprised of ultrafine particles like skin cells, hair, pollen, dirt, pet dander, and fibers from clothing or fabric furniture. Put all those factors together, and you have a gross, gray concoction lurking in the corners of your living room.

How can dust be harmful?

Every time you disturb dust, whether by walking through a room or opening a window, you cause it to swirl and pick up new particles before settling back into cracks and crevices. And because indoor spaces are generally sealed, the dust that collects in these spots usually just continues to accumulate until it’s properly cleaned.

For people with dust allergies, the adverse reactions are mostly in line with that of the common cold—think coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes—but being exposed to very dusty environments on a regular basis can also worsen preexisting conditions like asthma. Those who spend a lot of time indoors, like young children and the elderly, are at particular risk.

In addition to your body reacting to the dog hair, mold spores, and pollen found in dust, you might also be allergic to microscopic creatures called dust mites. These critters dine on the skin flakes we leave behind and can often be found in carpets, on our pillows, and anywhere else dust gathers.

How can I rid my home of dust?

To keep dust levels down, you’ll want to clean regularly and thoroughly. After all, the more often you dust, the less buildup your home will see. The first step is to invest in a good vacuum. You should vacuum carpets daily if you can, while also making sure to clean and mop other flooring at least once a week.

In addition to floors, you should vacuum furniture and upholstery consistently, as these can be sneaky spots where dust can get stuck. Hard surfaces need regular wipe downs, too; use a microfiber cloth or a damp towel so the dust sticks as you go. Household fabrics, like sheets and blankets, also benefit from regular washing, since the hot water kills dust mites and eradicates dead skin cells that slough off in your sleep.

Finally, you can avoid dust by preventing it from coming inside in the first place. Place welcome mats at each entrance of your home—one in front of each door, one behind—so dirt, pollen, and other outdoor nuisances stay in the mat, rather than finding their way inside.

The Roborock H7 vacuum can help rid your home of 99.99 percent of the unwanted particles that cause household dust, including pollen and fungi. It also includes a HEPA filtration system and an extended battery life for uninterrupted cleaning. You can find it on Amazon.