Household dust is the Enemy Within

Hidden dust and the  healthy home

February 1 2021: Given the ongoing health crisis and stay-at-home emerging as the new normal, many have pledged to start this new year by building clean and healthy home environments to ensure the wellbeing of their loved ones. But to do so, one needs to understand how clean their living space is and what type of dust we are exposed to in the Indian households, so that we can effectively and efficiently do away with it. Dyson has spent years studying and investigating the components of household dust in order to develop leading-edge products that helps you make your living environment as healthy as possible.

What is household dust?

Household dust is much more complex than the various sized particles used by standard vacuum cleaner tests. It is a complex matrix of components including dust mites, dust mite faeces, bacteria, mould, small insects and particles. Their droppings and dead bodies are what makes allergens.

Hidden to the naked eye, they are widely spread on various surfaces of our homes where we eat, sit, play and sleep, such as floors, mattresses, sofas, beds and carpets, especially those places which cannot be cleaned regularly using the traditional methods. A simple action such as sitting on a sofa can cause allergens to float in the air and trigger allergic reactions or allergies. These allergens are microscopic. The size of dust mite allergen, mould spores and other insect allergens is often between 0.5 to 5 microns and can easily transmit to our body without we even knowing it. (To provide context, the diameter of a human hair is around 50 microns).

What is the need of studying Dust? 

It is important to make our living space as healthy as possible and therefore one needs to first understand the parameters that impacts our living. Dyson, the only floorcare expert manufacturer to have in-house microbiology labs in the world, is committed to this study and highlights the solution for the well-being of the consumers. It understands what the household dust comprises of and which dust cannot be removed by regular cleaning techniques.

Eye-opening dust facts and figures

  1. Household dust is made up of a complex matrix of microscopic particles. The size of dust mite allergens, mould spores and other insect allergens is often between 0.5 to 5 microns

  2. Dust contains a high percentage of human skin cells. An average person loses around 28g of skin per week, about the weight of a bag of crisps

  3. Dust mites feed off human and animal skin flakes, each mite generating around 20 droppings a day.

  4. 1m2 of carpet can contain up to 1000 dust mites

  5. Moving around your home disturbs dust mites and their droppings, which can stay airborne for 30 minutes. In the air, they can be easily inhaled and trigger allergic reactions

  6. Dust mites thrive in dark and warm conditions, like mattresses which cannot be cleaned by regular techniques. Beds can contain between 100,000 and more than 1 million dust mites

  7. Pet allergies are common, but pet fur often isn’t the problem; the protei ns found in pet saliva, urine and dander (dead skin cells) disperse in the form of dust

  8. Wearing shoes indoors, you track animal faeces, pollen, fertilizers, motor oil, construction materials, toxic compounds and miscellaneous organisms to every room of the house

  9. The health risks to babies from pollutants in household dust may be 100 times greater than for adults

  10. There are on average more than 2000 distinct types of microbes in our dust

The study revealed that there are harmful dust particles which we never thought would exist in the cleanest of places around us, including our home and just so that we were not aware of these hidden dust, we never thought of ways to get rid of them. With people becoming more health conscious, we take regular steps in keeping ourselves fit, however, we often forget that staying fit also include eating, sleeping and living in a dust free, clean environment.

What’s the best way to remove dust and its hidden components?

According to the research carried out by Dyson, the best way to remove bacteria, pollen and dust mite allergens is to destroy them from one’s home completely. Thus, the company focuses its efforts on developing vacuums that pick-up dust from various surfaces, have cyclones that are incredibly efficient and advanced filters and seals that prevent dirty air from being expelled back onto the surface.

What kind of technology can be used to remove dust and its particulate matter?

Dyson has been researching the technology around moving dust and its particulate matter from homes for well over 15 years. Years of expertise has revealed following technologies effective for removal of harmful dust

  • UVC light – ultraviolet light (that is a kind of radiation) is often quoted as a method of destroying dust mites in the right conditions, which is true. However, in practice, UVC needs to be applied directly to the thing one trying to kill over a long and sustained period, which is not the way in which owners use vacuums. Essentially, it’s a misapplication of the technology.

Ionisers are another example of misapplied technology on a vacuum cleaner; in usage, there’s too much air movement and not enough ionisers being produced.