How to Dust

Is dust overwhelming your home? Are you sick and tired of finding furballs everywhere? Get the dust under control with Domestic CEO's 4 easy tips

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #78

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of dusting.

I kid you not.

I remember being a small child and my mom teaching me how to dust the numerous shelves of knickknacks and books that we had in our family’s home. I grew up on a farm, but hated working on the farm, so at a young age my parents told me that the inside of the house was going to be my responsibility. That meant the bookcases would be on my weekly chore list. So I was taught at a very early age how to properly dust a house.

Today I’m going to share with you the 4 tips my mom taught me decades ago. If these dusting tips can keep a 100-year-old farmhouse free of dust, they can help you keep your home clean too. I’ll guarantee it!.

Dusting Tip #1: Pick Your Tools

Before you start dusting, you will want to be armed with the right tools to get the job done. For 99% of dusting jobs, all you will need is a microfiber or soft cloth, a little water, and a fiber duster. If you dust your home on a regular basis, a fiber duster will likely be your best bet to pick up that thin layer of dust that accumulates on every surface. You can continue to use that one duster until it starts leaving little trails of dust on the surfaces. Even then, you can still get a little more use out of it by flipping it around on the duster handle. This will often give you a cleaner side of the duster to finish up a little more of the job.

If the dust has gotten away from you, a soft cloth or microfiber cloth and a sprinkle of water may be your better bet. When the layer of dust is slightly thicker, it can clog up a fiber duster quickly. Using a slightly damp cloth will allow you to get the dust a little wet and collect it into the cloth so it doesn’t fly into the air (only to descend on some other unsuspecting surface).

If you like to polish your finished wood, you may also want to have a can of furniture polish and another clean rag handy. As I kid, it was my job to walk around the house with a can of Pledge and a scrap of an old t-shirt each week to dust all the shelves. As an adult, I no longer carry around the polish, but some people like to have the added shine that the polish can add. Just don’t use the polish on glossy wood, like on grand pianos. It can add a film that is a pain to get off, so only use a dry or slightly damp cloth on any wood that has a high gloss finish.

If you want to do a very detailed dusting, you may also want to keep a few Q-Tips, a small clean paint brush, and even a butter knife handy. Why?

All of these items can be used to get into nooks and crannies of furniture that you won’t otherwise be able to reach. The bad news is that this type of dusting is very time intensive. The good news is that it only needs to be done once every year or so, as long as you keep up with your normal dusting. So add simple dusting to your weekly chore list and you shouldn’t have to worry about the nooks and crannies for a long time.

Dusting Tip #2: Move High to Low and Around the Room

By dusting everything up high first, you will knock the dust down onto the next surface. If you keep doing this, the dust will end up on the floor where you can vacuum or mop it up easily.

When I am training a new Moxie Girl employee, the first thing we talk about is efficient movements. When it comes to dusting, the most efficient way to move through a room is top to bottom, and in a circle around the room. I always encourage the Girls to start in one corner of the room, and look all the way to the ceiling. Are there any cobwebs in corners that need to be dusted away? Moving down a few inches, do the tops of the window treatments need to be dusted? Farther down, are there any shelves? Finally, are there any baseboards that have been collecting dust?

See also: How to Clean Dusty Ceiling Fans


By dusting everything up high first, you will knock the dust down onto the next surface. If you keep doing this, the dust will end up on the floor where you can vacuum or mop it up easily. If you complete each surface from top to bottom before moving left or right, you can ensure that everything in front of you has been completed. When you complete the dusting of a room in 5-foot sections, you are guaranteed to hit every possible dusty surface.

Dusting Tip #3: Don't Forget the Little Things

When dusting, it’s easy to see that the horizontal surfaces need to be wiped. Oftentimes though, people overlook the items that are actually sitting on the shelves. Or, they may simply look around them. When you are dusting shelves with small items on them, you will want to pick each of these items up to dust underneath it. Depending on how quickly dust gathers in your home, you may not need to do this every time you dust, but you will need to do it on a fairly regular basis to keep your figurines and plates from gathering a grey line around their bases.

The figurines with the intricate parts will typically need to be hand-wiped to get the dust off them. Depending on what your figurines are made of, you may actually want to wash them in a sink full of soapy water, similar to how you would wash dishes. Any figurines that are made out of glass or sealed ceramic would be fine to wash this way. Figurines made out of wood or unsealed materials should be dusted by hand, using those Q-Tips and other little tools. It’s tedious, but again, if you keep up on this with a normal dusting routine, you shouldn’t have to worry about it again for a while.

Dusting Tip #4: Look for Hiding Dust Bunnies

My final tip to help you with your dusting adventures is to go bunny hunting - as in dust bunny hunting. These little bunnies can hide in lots of locations, only to come jumping out when a slight breeze pushes them out of hiding. To keep dust bunnies from forming, you simply need to dust some less obvious areas.

When you are dusting entertainment centers and TV stands, make sure to lift all the components and dust underneath them. Also, there’s usually a ton of dust hiding under the cords behind all the components, so reaching back there with your fiber duster every now and then will help keep that area from gathering massive amounts of dust.

Another super common place for dust bunnies to gather is under furniture, especially if you have hard floors. Depending on how easily your furniture moves, you may be able to slide it out and use a floor duster to quickly sweep up any dust bunnies that have gathered along the wall. If you can’t easily pull the furniture out, you can also use the floor duster to quickly wipe under the pieces of furniture. Or, as long as you know you don’t have any valuables under the furniture, you may simply want to use a vacuum hose and attachment to suck up any dust bunnies that are hiding. Paying attention to these hiding bunnies will help your place stay cleaner longer because they can’t come out and taunt you an hour after you finish dusting.

So those are the tips that I learned at a young age and continue to teach to new housekeepers who work with me at Moxie Girl. Whether you are living on your own for the first time, or just looking to get the dust under control in your home, I'm sure that these tips can help you fel even more at home in your home.

What is your favorite cleaning tip your mom taught you? I’d love to hear them. You can post them my Facebook wall, or tweet me @thedomesticceo.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Dust bunny image courtesy of Shutterstock.