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Asthma And Dust: Reduce Dust To Improve Your Asthma

House Cleaning Tips To Minimize Dust In Your Home


Updated June 14, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Asthma and dust are not a good combination, and if you can reduce the dust in your home, your asthma may improve. While house cleaning is no fun, these tips may help you get better control of your asthma symptoms.

Rug and Carpet Cleaning Tips

Allergens can get trapped in rugs and carpets, causing problems for a long time. The best strategy to reduce dust is to remove carpets altogether, if possible. Using area rugs, instead of wall-to-wall carpet, is probably the next best strategy for your asthma and dust problem. Because area rugs can be more frequently and easily cleaned than wall-to-wall carpet, you are more likely to reduce dust.

If you have a lot of carpet in your home, it is very important to vacuum both safely and often. If possible, do NOT vacuum when a person who has asthma is in the room. If you have asthma and are the person vacuuming, consider wearing a special dust mask to reduce your exposure.

There are special “HEPA,” “allergen,” or “low emission” vacuums and bags that reduce dust. Additionally, there are filters that you can add to a regular vacuum to make it more allergy-friendly.

Finally, there are a couple of other low-cost tricks you can use if you do not have a special vacuum or filter:

  • Use a vacuum bag that is half full -- new bags actually let out more dust than bags that are partially full.
  • If you have to use a new bag, add 1-2 cups of cornstarch to it.
  • Vacuum slowly and frequently. Vacuum every week if you can. Vacuuming slowly, three times slower than normal, appears to reduce dust into the air.

Wet Cleaning to Reduce Dust

Another house-cleaning tip to possibly decrease your asthma symptoms is to wet clean.

Use a paper towel or cloth dipped in a cleaning solution to wipe down counters, cabinets, floors, and woodwork. Throw the cloth or paper towel away after cleaning and do not dip back into the cleaning solution or you may just spread dust around your home.

Using a bleach cleaning solution can destroy allergens so they cannot trigger your asthma. Do not mix bleach with other cleaning solutions, as dangerous fumes can be produced. If you use bleach cleaning solution in your home, make sure the area is well-ventilated or that a window is open.


American Lung Association. "General Tips on House Cleaning and Maintenance." Accessed June 10, 2011. http://www.alaw.org/air_quality/more_info_and_referral/mhe-resources-and-referrals/general-tips-on-house-cleaning-and-maintenance/

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