Dust bunnies are not cute and what is in them is far from harmless. Dust bunnies can contain a variety of debris including dust, lint, dead skin cells, hair, fibers, and other small objects that become trapped inside the dust bunny. Before you dismiss dust bunnies as harmless, remember that dust bunnies can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. In addition to the ‘harmless’ items found in common dust bunnies, other things such as dust mites, mold, worm eggs, insect parts and other unidentifiable items also find their way into dust bunnies.
Dust is common in homes; however, dust by itself does not make a dust bunny. Dust falls into various spots and becomes attached by electrostatic charges. However, static is not enough to hold together all of the various items that become part of a dust bunny. Friction is another way that dust bunnies are formed. Small particles of hair, fibers, food and other items are blown into each other by the current created from opening a door, walking through the house, an open window, etc. The friction caused can help the particles “grab” each other and hold on until they become entangled with the dust bunny. As the dust bunny moves along it picks up more items that become entangled with the dust and particles. Furthermore, food particles have oils that hold parts of the dust bunny together as it grows.
Knowing what is in a dust bunny and how a dust bunny forms is not much help unless you know how to get rid of dust bunnies.
Tips for removing and controlling dust in your home include:
• Control dust mites in your bedroom by washing bed linens weekly in hot water and encasing the mattress and pillows in special covers that help control dust and dust mites.
• Replace wall-to-wall carpeting in your home with hardwood or linoleum floors to reduce dust that becomes trapped under and in the carpet.
• Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and vacuum furniture as well as floors.
• Use HEPA filters in your air conditioner and furnace to help reduce air borne dust particles.
• Wash or dry clean drapes on a regular basis.
• Instead of pushing dust around, use an electrostatic duster followed by a dryer sheet. The duster will attract dust rather than push it around and the dryer sheet will remove static from surfaces making it more difficult for dust to settle there.
• Take area rugs outside and beat them to remove dust that vacuuming cannot remove.
• Purchase an air purifier to help reduce air borne dust especially if you have allergies.
• Avoid sweeping as this simply stirs up the dust – use a vacuum when possible or a special duster for floors that is designed to pick up dust rather than push it along.
• Keep closets free of clutter – the more clutter the more dust.