Should you dust or vacuum first?

  • By: Bee
  • Date: May 6, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Many life questions still need answering, such as what came first, the chicken or the egg? And what color exactly are zebras? Are they black or white? Fortunately, I do have the answer to one query, that to be honest, has never concerned me in the past-should I dust or vacuum first?

Over the years, I’ve gone with the flow and mixed it up a little. One day I’d dust first. The next, I’d get out the vacuum cleaner and begin tackling the floors. But I suppose that’s just the adventurous streak in me, and to be honest, I’ve never been known as what you might call conventional.

I’ve started up the washing machine without adding detergent on more than one occasion, and I’m a regular at just tossing fitted sheets into the closet without folding them up first. Do people actually fold these up?

It began to dawn on me that I might be doing my dusting and vacuuming completely the wrong way around when, without them being aware, I spotted a particular guest of mine rubbing her finger across my coffee table and responding with a look of disapproval with what she saw. 

From that day on, I promised myself that such an embarrassing moment would never happen again, and it never did because it was then that I realized that if you want a dust-free house, you should always dust first before you crank up that vacuum cleaner.

The Trouble With Dust Is …?

I’ve lost count of the number of occasions in the past when I’ve got the vacuum out and gone through the whole house, only to find that after following it up with a session of dusting that I’m left with what seemed like more dust than I started with.

It got so bad at one point that I needlessly spent money on a new top-of-the-range vacuum cleaner as I thought that was the culprit. It wasn’t until later that I realized I was the problem-or, more to the point, my cleaning techniques.

The next time you see a large dusty area in your house, be it on a windowsill, table, or any other surface where it can accumulate, write the following words in it with your finger: hay fever, asthma attack, irritable eyes, and sneezing.

Memorize what you have written and be aware that these are some of the health effects of dust. It makes sense to me now why I constantly sneezed my way through my dusting period after vacuuming first.

By vacuuming before dusting, you’re going to miss a lot of the dust in your home due to the particles expelling into the air as you clean your surfaces. These will then settle onto your floors, beds, and couch.

The only way you’re going to rid yourself of these unhealthy dust particles if you choose to vacuum first is to repeat the process after you have dusted-a complete waste of your time and unnecessary.

The Art of Dusting

Now we have determined the answer to dusting or vacuuming – which comes first. We can now look at the correct ways of how to clean your house to ensure you’re not going to experience fits of sneezing or watery eyes the next time you pull out the vacuum cleaner.

I’d suggest putting some music on because, let’s face it, dusting is far from a riveting experience. Firstly, I don’t dust everywhere every single day. There’s simply no need, and If I did, I’d have time for very little else.

Certain places in the house only need dusting now and then. Maybe once every two or three months. These could be hard to reach places such as behind heavy items of furniture that would take efforts of herculean strength to move on your own, and such items a kitchen blinds and the blades on extractor fans.

The more exposed areas will obviously need more regular attention. As I like to call them, the basics include areas such as floors, tabletops, windowsills, and other exposed areas of your home. Depending on how dusty your house is, dusting every couple of weeks should suffice.

A good idea is to make a note on a calendar every time you’re due to do the more substantial dusting. You’re more likely to forget those hard-to-reach areas as you’re not doing them regularly. This will result in a build-up of dust, making it more difficult when you do finally get around to it.

You may be a fantastic cook, but you wouldn’t give your guests a fork to eat your homemade vegetable soup with. The same rules apply to dusting. A dusty old rag or old vest is not going to get the job done. Choosing the right type of duster will ensure a cleaner and more allergy-free home.

It’s effective at capturing microbes. It’s functional and economical, and it’s long-lasting. Welcome to the microfibre duster-your weapon of choice in your war against dust.

There are many reasons why microfiber beats cotton hands down when it comes to dusters. Still, one study alone should be enough to convince you to throw that old cotton duster in the trash and invest in a far superior microfiber one.

Using a cotton duster will only reduce bacteria by 30%, whereas 99% of bacteria can be eliminated when you use one made from microfibers. That’s some difference and reason enough on its own for you to choose one for your dusting duties.

Finally, as obvious as it sounds, it is often overlooked-always start at the top. Dust falls, so starting at the bottom will only result in particles falling onto the surfaces you have already cleaned.

The Art of Vacuuming

The majority of newer vacuum cleaners come with a filter inside them and, in certain cases, a bag. Always ensure the filter is clean. A dirty filter will have a detrimental effect on the vacuum’s suction power. Check your model’s manual for details of how to clean your filter.

Always check the end of your vacuum for any blockages such as pet hair or other small obstructions. These will render your cleaning efforts pointless as they will prevent the vacuum cleaner from picking up the majority of dust. If pet hairs are a regular problem, it may be a good idea to invest in a pet-friendly vacuum cleaner.

Try not to approach your vacuuming haphazardly. By moving your vacuum around in random patterns, you’re likely to miss a lot of the dust.

To ensure I’m left with a thoroughly clean house after vacuuming, I imagine I’m mowing the yard in such a way that I’m left with a beautifully striped section of grass. Vacuuming in such an organized way will ensure you pick up all the dust.


There you have it. To ensure a thoroughly dust-free clean house, make certain you dust first and vacuum later and use a microfiber duster rather than a cotton one to ensure you kill 99% of bacteria. 

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