Here we are: it’s mid-March, snow has fallen (for the first time in a few weeks, no less), and people all over Calgary are getting ready to get themselves prepared for the imminent arrival of spring. For me personally, this is my favourite time of year.
Since I started Neatfreak with my wife (who never reads my posts because she’s smarter and more attractive than I am in every way), one thing I have encountered is a common complaint from my clients: dust.
Specifically, “how the heck do I keep my home from getting so dusty?” Good question, let’s talk about that.
Why is Calgary so Dusty?
Calgary sits in an area with a relatively arid climate. Humidity is low here.
We’re also surrounded on three sides by hundreds of kilometres of prairie- much of which is developed for agriculture. The consistent cultivation of soil means there’s always plenty of it that gets swept up when the wind blows.
Speaking of wind, southern Alberta gets a lot of it- and Calgary receives its fair share. When the wind rolls over the Rockies we look at it as a boon in the winter (who doesn’t enjoy the warmth of a Chinook?), and as a pain in the summer. When the ground and air is dry, that wind picks up a lot of dust, and a lot of that dust is going to find its way into your home.
How Can You Minimize Dust in Your Home?
If you’re not keen on having to constant clean (see what I did there), there are a few things you can do to reduce how much dust settles in your home. Some is fairly basic, and others may require a bit more financial and personal labour to nail down. Of course, booking us for regular cleanings will also contribute as dusting is something that we love to do (no, seriously, it’s cathartic for us).
Try these tips during the warmer months:
- Ensure that your home is sealed and that no air is slipping inside – To be dust free you need to lock down your indoor environment. Make sure that your windows are closed and sealed; your doors should be sealed when closed as well. If you have windows or doors with broken seals, fix them up.
- Install a dust-filtering furnace filter – Most inexpensive furnace filters are ineffective at trapping small dust particles. They may catch things like hairs or larger particulates, but the small stuff – which makes up the majority of dust particles in your home – will pass right through. A relatively inexpensive option is to install a furnace filter – such as a 3M Filtrete – that captures particles via electrostatic.
Alternatively, if you want something more robust and that is also effective against allergens, look into a whole-home filtration system. We have seen such systems deployed by local furnace companies (Action Furnace does a good job with air filtration). When installed, they will compliment the existing HVAC process in your home: ambient air is drawn to the furnace via cold air returns and then forced through the furnace filter/filtration system via the fan. The resulting clean air is then disbursed throughout your home.
- Keep your home ambient humidity between 50 and 60% – In Calgary it is not uncommon for your home humidity to be somewhere around 40%. Keeping it a little higher will not only make it more comfortable for you to breathe, but it also reduces dust by weighing it down. It clings to surfaces and can then by cleaned by a reputable cleaning service (hint: that’s us!).
- If you have pets, consider cleaning more frequently – Dogs and cats – even the hypoallergenic “non-shedding” kind – still create dust. Like humans, they shed skin cells and hairs that become one with your home. Since dust is made up mostly of dead skin cells anyway (it’s not nearly as gross as it sounds), it makes sense that your pets would contribute to this.
When new clients come on board that have pets, we ask them about dusting and how important it is to them. If dusting is something they care a lot about, we recommend a more frequent cleaning schedule.
- Buy a room air cleaner or two – These can be found inexpensively (under $100) and can really help combat the dust. They work in the same way that the furnace filter does: by sucking in ambient air and forcing it through a filter that captures particulates.
Keep Fighting the Good Fight, Friends!
When cleaning, we recommend that you dust and then vacuum a few minutes later. This process displaces dust on surfaces and lets it fall to the floor where your vacuum sucks it up. Your vacuum should also use a medical-grade HEPA filter to ensure it isn’t spitting dust out its exhaust port.
When it comes to the war against grime, we hold no quarter. We tackle dust with the same veracity that we do fingerprints, smudges, guck, and goop. Do you want to shift the tide? Call us for a clean!