Shed pet hair and dander can add to the dust accumulation in your home. Regular pet brushing and grooming can help reduce that. Credit: Julia Bayly / BDN

No one likes a dusty home, but few people enjoy dusting their furniture, appliances or knick knacks on a regular and ongoing basis. What if there was a way to mitigate the amount of dust in your home, thereby cutting down on the time you have to spend removing it?

Turns out, there is.

Here are eight ways to keep down the dust in your home.

House plants

You can thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for this one. In 1989, NASA’s Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement showed that having certain kinds of houseplants in your home can reduce dust levels by 20 percent. Among the plants best suited for dust abatement were ivy and ficus — also known as rubber — plants. Not only do the plants reduce the dust, they also help purify the air and stabilize humidity.

Exfoliating brushes

Like it or not, it’s a fact that you are directly responsible for much of the dust in your house. That’s because a large percentage of dust are those sloughed off dead skin cells. Using an exfoliating brush or loofah when you shower removes much of that skin and sends it down the drain before it can collect in your home.

Covered cat litter box and mat

Speaking of pets, a cat’s litter box can be a big source of dust along with the actual litter that can get tracked all over your house. Using an enclosed litter box prevents much of the dust cats stir up from escaping. Pair with a special litter-capturing mat over which the cat walks when exiting the litter box and you drastically reduce the amount it tracks out. You can also use kitty litter that “clumps,” often called “no-dust litter” to reduce the amount of litter that is carried out of the box by your cat.

Groom your pets

Animal dander and shed hair also add to the dust buildup in your home. It’s a good idea to regularly bath and brush your pets. How often you do this depends on the breed and individual pet. Some require weekly groomings while others can go a month or even longer between sessions.This is something you can do yourself, or through a professional pet groomer.

Wipe your feet

Dirt, dust and mud are just a few of the things you can track into your house on the souls of your shoes. Taking a second to wipe your feet on a rug or mat at your door can greatly reduce the amount of outside detritus coming inside with you. Better yet, remove your shoes when you come inside to avoid tracking anything in. Pets can also track dirt and dust inside on the bottom of their feet. Muddy paw prints dry and become dust. To prevent that from happening, use unscented baby wipes to clean off your pet’s paws when they come inside.

Dirt trapping rugs

If you have to constantly remind yourself to wipe your shoes before coming inside, a dirt trapping rug may be what you need. These are rugs that collect and hold dirt, mud or dust you otherwise would track into the house — simply by walking over them. It works on pet paws as well.

Clear totes or storage bags

Store your seasonal or seldom used clothes, blankets and linen in clear bags or totes. They will not only be easy to find when you need them, but dust mites won’t be able to get to them. This does not necessarily cut down on any dust, but it does mean you don’t need to worry about removing dust from these infrequently used items.

An air purifier with a filter

These units pull in the air from your house, pass it through a filter or series of filters and circulate it back out as clean dust-free air. Not only will using one cut down on the dust accumulation in your home, it is going to help if your indoor air smells stuffy or stale.

It really is important to get rid of dust in your home, and not just because it makes your space unsightly. What many call dust is really a combination of particles of minute dirt, sloughed off skin cells, hair, clothing fibers, bacteria, dust mites, bits of dead insects, pollen and mold. It also picks up contaminants from the ground. All in all, it’s a mix that can make you sneeze or trigger severe allergic reactions.

Adding one or more of the dust prevention strategies to your home won’t completely eliminate the need to dust on a regular basis. But it could reduce the amount of time and frequency of that household cleaning chore.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.