No matter how often you clean, dust soon returns. But it’s not just annoying - the Environmental Science & Technology journal has discovered that a concoction of nasty and harmful chemicals, which can be linked to a range of health problems from fertility to cancer can be found in household dust.
The research found 45 different toxic chemicals in dust samples, 10 of which were present in 90% or more of the samples they tested. Flame retardants, fragrances and phenols (a mildly acidic toxic chemical obtained from coal tar) were among them, and all can be a serious danger to your health.
Among the chemicals found were the two flame retardants TDCPP, which is known to cause cancer, and TPHP, known to affect the reproductive and nervous systems. Chemicals known as phthalates were also found, which have been linked to developmental problems in babies, hormone disruption, and are also thought to affect the reproductive system.
So, dust really isn't just a minor problem that we spend all week trying to put off. Here’s how to rid your home of these nasty chemicals and keep your family as healthy as you can.
Vacuum floors regularly
Phthalates are found frequently in vinyl flooring, and if you have young children who crawl and put their hands in their mouth, your floor - whatever the material - is a breeding ground of harmful chemicals to your toddler. We recommend getting the hoover out at least two times a week to minimise the dust-fest on your floors.
Wash your hands with plain soap and water
Most of us probably forget to clean our hands before stuffing food into our mouths, but it is a simple trick that we all should be doing without fail. The chemicals found in the research were shed from a host of common items, from electrical goods to beauty products. They can be found anywhere in your house that you touch, so make sure you're not digesting them as well.
Clean with a wet mop and dust with a damp cloth
Using a bit of water when cleaning surfaces and furniture will help reduce household dust levels. This will help the dust stick to the mop or cloth, instead of just shuffling it along to somewhere else in your house.
Use a high-quality cloth or dusting wand
Experts say that feather dusters or dry rags just won't do a good enough job, so look for a microfibre cloth that clings to your skin when you examine it. This stickiness will help pick up the dust more efficiently. Dusting wands should also not have feathers on the end. Instead, you want a wand with a microfibre covering.
Use chemical-free cleaning products
Look for brands such as Method which are free of toxic chemicals and not harmful to you or your family. If you want to go for a more organic cleaner then why not try making your own using household products such as baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar. You'll find loads of homemade recipes with a quick search of the internet.
Are you worried about the dust in your home? Tell us about it in the comments section below.