I’ve literally cleaned thousands of different homes in my career. From studio apartments to high-end mansions to RVs and everything else in between, each home–including its occupants–have several things in common: DUST!!
Amounts of dust may vary, but not by much. Even if a home already has a cleaning service or a maid service, dust prevails. I see the situation time and time again: a homeowner is looking for a deeper clean than what they usually get from their current cleaning service. They’ve had the service for so long–sometimes for several years–that they’ve developed relationships with their cleaners to the point of gift giving during birthdays and have seen the kids grow up. Yet, they are still looking for a deeper cleaning every now and then, so they call me.
Upon my arrival, I have a friendly chat with the homeowner, confirm their service details (since they ordered service online I already have an idea of what they’re looking for–I just don’t know how bad the situation is going to be), put on my shoe covers and nitrile gloves and take a gander at the condition of the home to see what I have ahead of me. By the time I get the cleaning process started, it’s clear the one simple fact remains: no one likes to dust. Even the cleaning service doesn’t like to dust. I think to myself, “Wow! How do companies get away with not doing their job? And for so long?”
It turns out, many cleaning companies do dust, just not above a certain point and maybe not in the right way. If they have to get on a ladder or step stool, they won’t dust up there. There could be insurance reasons involved, but nonetheless, someone needs to get up there and dust. If not, just think of the consequences:
- Your health will suffer.
- Allergies will wreak havoc on your day.
- Your home will appear unsightly to visitors.
- A dusty, musty smell can start to develop.
- Dust contains cancer-causing chemicals from flame retardants, plastics and other things around your home.
- Dust can make you fat.
When it comes to dusting, you want your cleaning service to use the most updated equipment and techniques. Otherwise, they may be spreading dust around your home and making matters worse. So you ask, what should they be using to dust?
First and foremost, feather dusters are relics of the past. They flick dust around and do a poor job retaining any significant amount of dust. They are also extremely difficult to clean and disinfect, so your home is likely being contaminated with your neighbors’ dust and germs. Microfiber cloths are far superior in their trapping and retention power, easy to clean and disinfect and relatively inexpensive. If your cleaning service isn’t using microfiber cloths look for a different cleaning service who won’t place your health at risk.
Next, if your cleaning service uses furniture polishes when dusting, ask them if they are nontoxic. Too many furniture polishes out there are made of extremely toxic chemicals (and for no reason). Natural furniture polishes are easy to come by and can add to the natural beauty of your wood just the same. Besides, typically a lightly-moist microfiber rag is enough to do a great job at dusting.
Finally, once all the dust settles (pun intended), how does your cleaning service do floor care? Do they use a broom and string mop? Most likely they do and this is the wrong practice for them to take. Here’s why:
- Broom – Just like a feather duster–is difficult to clean and disinfect, flicks dirt and dust around and does a poor job in picking up dirt.
- String Mop – Slops dirty, contaminated water around your home, doesn’t get into hard-to-reach places and contributes to a buildup of soapy film on your floors which look dingy and dull over time.
- Cross contamination between rooms and different houses is a major concern when it comes to brooms and string mops, so beware.
Again, the answer to floor care, in my professional opinion, is to use a microfiber cloth. A rectangular one that can be washed and reused. I recommend against something like a swiffer disposable, they simply aren’t rugged enough to do an adequate cleaning job (think dustbuster vs. full upright vacuum).
When it comes to carpet, I’m sure your cleaning service has their own or they may use yours. Whichever they use, it should have a HEPA filter on it. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air–which means the vacuum sucks up dirt and dust from the carpet and holds on to it, rather spew it back into the air like standard-non-HEPA-filter vacuums.
With proper equipment and techniques dusting doesn’t have to be the chore most think it is. You will an immediate improvement in how you feel in a freshly dusted, vacuumed space with proper equipment. Besides your health, you will also notice dust doesn’t accumulate as quickly.
If your cleaning service uses a feather duster, broom, string mop and a non-HEPA filter vacuum, it is definitely time to reconsider your loyalty to that company–especially if your health isn’t of their concern.