Your home is hopping with bunnies -- dust bunnies. Look in the corners and under beds and you'll see these fuzzy but not at all cute balls of dust.
What you can't see are all the microscopic particles that latch on as they roll around the house. They're likely to collect hair, dirt, pollen, mold spores, lint, paint flakes, stray clothing, carpet fibers, and even pieces of dead insects.
It's hard enough to cope with allergies on the weekend, but dealing with allergies at work is even more challenging.
Ask anyone who's ever dozed off in the middle of an important meeting because of allergy symptoms or medications.
"Allergy symptoms are the No. 2 reason adults miss work," says James Sublett, MD, a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist in Louisville, Ky.
The average worker with allergies misses about one hour per week over the course of a year. But that sick time is often...
The biggest problem, though, is dust mites. In a gram of dust, there may be hundreds or even thousands of these tiny, eight-legged bugs that live off of shed skin. Everywhere they go, they leave behind waste that triggers sneezes and sniffles in people who are allergic to it.
Common Dust Bunny Hideouts
When you clean, you're likely to find them:
Under and behind furniture, like the bed, refrigerator, and couch
In the corners of molding
Inside mattresses and pillows
In the stuffing of upholstered furniture
Inside the pleated tops of curtains
In between lampshade pleats
5 Cleaning Tips
Vacuuming and dusting regularly are obvious ways to banish dust bunnies. But cleaning can also stir up dust. Wear a mask when you clean if you've got a dust mite allergy.
Try these other cleaning tips:
Use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, if you can. It is better at sucking up dust so you don't just spread it around.
Use the vacuum attachments to get into cracks and crevices where dust hides. Run them over the couch and other upholstered furniture to suck up dead skin cells.
Pull out the refrigerator and move furniture to get into all the corners.
Wet or spray your dust cloth with a little furniture polish or cleaner before you use it. Otherwise, you'll just send dust particles floating back into the air.
To keep dust mites out of your bed, regularly wash bedding in hot water (at least 130 F).
Can You Prevent Dust Mites?
Unfortunately, you can't wipe out dust bunnies and mites completely. But keeping a clean house can control them.
Dust mites like moisture. To keep them from gathering in the first place, it helps to use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. Keep the humidity below 50%.