Dust these overlooked spots to keep your home clean and allergen-free.

Dust these overlooked spots to keep your home clean and allergen-free. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/FineArtCraig

One household chore you shouldn't put off for too long is dusting. A few dust bunnies might seem harmless, but that powdery buildup can harbor some pretty gross stuff. Dust is mostly made up of human skin cells, but it can also contain dust mites and their droppings, bacteria, mold, pet dander and even viruses. As dust gets stirred up into the air, these particles can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues.

Regularly dusting is key to a healthy home, but there are several spots you might be forgetting to dust during your typical sweep. For a clean, allergen-free space, pay attention to these nine commonly overlooked areas where dust (and the germs that come with it) tend to lurk.

1. Ceilings

The textured surface of most ceilings easily accumulates dust and cobwebs, but most people don't give this area much thought while cleaning. To clear dust overhead, use a lightweight cordless vacuum with a soft brush attachment for large expanses and a crevice tool for corners.

2. Bedding

Keep dust mites in check by regularly vacuuming your mattress on both sides. Plan to do this about once a month or every time you change the sheets if you suffer from dust allergies. Wash bedding, including pillows and throw blankets, in warm or hot water that's at least 130 degrees to help kill dust mites.

3. Light fixtures

Before cleaning, turn off the light fixture and wait until it's completely cool. Use a dryer sheet or dry microfiber cloth to wipe away dust on glass shades and bulbs. For fabric lampshades, run the soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner across the surface to remove dust.

4. Walls

To clean your walls, vacuum using a soft brush attachment or wipe with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth. For hard-to-reach areas, use a cloth mop with a long handle. Spray the cloth first with dusting spray for extra cleaning power.

5. Baseboards

To easily dust baseboards without having to bend over, run the brush attachment of your vacuum across the surface. Follow up with a dryer sheet to deter dust from gathering again.

6. Window treatments

Vacuum window treatments using a brush attachment to remove buildup, or use an old sock as a duster for blinds. Place the sock over one hand, lightly spritz it with water, and slide it over each slat to wipe away dust. For machine-washable curtains, follow the instructions on the care label and use the warmest water safe for the fabric.

7. Pet beds

Launder any removable covers in hot water to kill dust mites and wash away dander. If you can't remove the cover, use a vacuum with an attachment to agitate and pick up pet hair, dander and allergens.

8. Showers

Always turn on the ventilation fan before showering to help reduce humidity, and clean your shower often with a product that's suitable for the material. Be sure to wipe away dust from all niches, ledges and the top of your shower surround too.

9. Houseplants

Gently wipe leaves with a damp cloth, or use a small, soft-bristled brush to sweep away buildup. Rinsing plants in warm water is another way to get rid of dust as well as pests. Place small plants in the sink, and wash larger ones in the shower. Let the plants drip-dry.

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