Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dusting off your dusting know-how

In my cleaning business, I would say that lack of dusting is the prime mess maker of a house. Dust combines with grease in kitchens and over time makes an inpenetrable goop that sticks to every surface, from cups to range tops to the outside of cupboards. To me, dusting my kitchen once a week is every bit as important as keeping up on the dishes and wiping down my counters. This includes the top of the fridge...you'd be amazed at what accumulates there...and the sides and tops of cupboard doors. I even dust the top of my washing machine and dryer, and the top of the water heater. It just seems to me that things work better if they're not bathed in dust.

Granted, I clean for people with special needs, who often struggle with the organizational skills of housework. It gives me first hand knowledge of a.) how much dust can really accumulate in a house just in a month and b.) how much dust can damage a house. I have seen dust rise like silt waves on walls behind furniture and coat surfaces like a grey lint coat. And I've seen dust bunnies that have transformed into some sort of under-the-bed ferile rodents. When you consider that dust is actually a not-so-lovely combo of hair, skin cells, dirt, and bacteria, and how it can affect the breathing of those compromised with lung ailments such as asthma...well, suddenly, dusting is not just a dainty, busy-work task for a little maid with a feather duster.

The secrets of thorough, quick dusting are to do it regularly and not to look for dust, but instead to dust every surface as if it already IS dusty...whether you can see the dust or not. I use Swiffers--the best invention to mankind--and try to stay away from the furniture polish. (I know that there are waxy buildup is supposedly a thing of the 1950s, but I'm still afraid that my woodworker father will hear the hiss of that lemon-yellow aerosol can from across town and come at the speed of sound, hurtling himself onto my coffee table, braving putting his life on the line for authentic varnished oak.)

So, I use Swiffers (honestly, this is not some sort of product placement, honest), and I work from top to bottom. I do all the upper corners, door frames and lightly brush the walls. Mother-in-law, no smug smile and smeared white glove for you! Working my way down, I then get to the tables, end-tables and seats of chairs, paying especially close attention to the legs and backs of chairs. As mentioned before, I do this religiously every week...every Tuesday, as a matter of fact. Yes, I really am that Felix Unger-ish....

But you can see your reflection in my coffee tables, and that's a cheap thrill.

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