Answer Man: What creates dust in a house?

Q: What creates dust in a house?

Answer: Even if the doors and windows of a house stay closed, dust can form. All matter wears down, and pieces that are small enough to get blown around become dust.

By some estimates, about two-thirds of the dust in a house comes from outside. Dirt, sand, pollen and other materials make their way inside, sometimes carried on shoes and clothing or by air currents.

The materials that make up floors, walls and ceilings deteriorate over time, as do carpets, drapes, furniture, clothing and other items. Corrosion occurs when a metal oxidizes.

The human body discards skin and hair cells, as do the bodies of pets. Bugs and microscopic creatures damage materials and produce waste products. Their bodies shed cells and break down into smaller pieces when they die.

Dust can’t always be prevented, but it can be minimized. Dry cloth or paper towels, feather dusters and brooms remove a lot of dust, but vacuuming with a machine equipped with a dust filter or mopping can remove more.

It’s easier to remove dust from solid flooring material than from carpeting. Frequently wash surfaces and materials that gather dust, and regularly clean or replace the filter in the ventilation system.

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