No matter how frequently you clean your home, dust will form and re-form continually, settling on every surface. Dust consists of many elements including tiny particles of fabric, dead skin cells, pollen and microscopic dust mites which can cause allergic reaction. Keeping a home well-dusted not only helps to reduce this risk but can also help appliances to work much more efficiently. A coating of dust on freezer and refrigerator coils prevents hear front being expelled, resulting in the appliance working harder to keep the temperature low.
Polishing is also an important part of keeping a home looking its best. The polishing of any surface whether French-polished furniture or brass doorknobs – needs to be done carefully, or the results can ruin its finish. The polishing of everyday items is less specialized and time-consuming, but needs to be done on a regular basis. Keeping all surfaces smooth and shiny will help to make the removal of dust and dirt easier, and will prevent stains from penetrating.
Remove dust from artificial or dried-flower arrangements by blowing it away with a hair dryer.
- A traditional feather duster is very gentle and can be used to flick the dust off every item in the house, as it is unlikely to damage even the most delicate piece. It will collect very little dust, however, so most of it rends to fall on the surfaces beneath, which in turn will need to he dusted or vacuumed. Replace feather dusters every couple of years, as they tend to shed their feathers.
- A ‘static wand’ (static duster) is also very useful. Look for the nylon-fluff type with the extendable handle this will reach into the corners of ceilings and on to light shades.
- The most effective types of dusting cloths are the traditional soft-cotton ones, or homemade ones made from old T-shirts. Keep a pile of these to hand, and wash them after each Isle. A tiny amount of water sprayed on before use will prevent the dust from floating off the surface of the duster.
- Frequent vacuuming is particularly recommended for homes in which dust mites cause allergic reaction, but remember to replace the dust bags regularly and to use them in conjunction with an insecticidal spray specifically designed to eradicate dust mites. Vacuuming is also a particularly effective way of removing dust that has settled on the mesh or grilles on electrical equipment.
- Wipe hard-to-reach crevices on stair carpets with a damp cloth.
- Always dust from the top of a room down as dust will float downwards to settle on the surfaces beneath.
- Reduce the amount of dust attracted to the surface of a television, (stereo) system, or glass-topped tables that are prone to static electricity by wiping them with a cloth wrung out in a solution mixed with 15mL / 1 tbsp liquid fabric conditioner and 150mL / 2/3 cup warm water.
- Shake duvets, pillows, small rugs and loose cushions outdoors.
- Do not forget to dust the panels and mouldings on traditional dices, or the rope edges, as dust will dull the paintwork over time.
- A baby’s bottle-brush works wonders on louver doors in between and behind radiators.
- Polishing wood will help to nourish it, but do not use liquid or spray polishes containing silicone or acrylic resin on antique wood, as they will seal the surface. Genuine beeswax is the best type of polish to use, and will have been responsible for helping old furniture to maintain its sheen over the years. Most wooden fin-nit-tire tends to be varnished, lacquered or waxed. Oiled wood has a soft, low sheen and should not be polished. Instead, use proprietary wood oil applied sparingly with a soft cloth. Rub this in the direction of the grain and gently buff to a lustre using a clean, soft cloth.
- If you wish, save money by making your own furniture polish, combine 30mL / 2 tbsp each of water and turpentine with 450mL / 2 cups of boiled linseed oil and mix together thoroughly. This polish requires a lot of buffing but will give a rich, deep shine to wood.
- Apply polish to furniture and buff in the direction of the wood grain using a clean, soft cloth or duster.
- Oiled wood only requires re-oiling once or twice a year to maintain its looks.
- Always wipe a wood surface with a damp, lint-free cloth first to remove dust and grime, or the polishing action will simply grind them in.
Select a polish that is recommended lot the type of wood or finish required.
- Colours added to some waxes will help to disguise line scratches and blemishes at the same time as polishing the surface.
If it has done so, remove the flaking layer using the finest-grade of steel wool dipped in a little turpentine. Wipe it off immediately and re-polish to blend in.
- Apply floor polish sparingly, as too touch will be difficult to shine and will cause dust to stick as it settles. Use only one type of floor polish, as different makes can react with one another resulting in a patchy, tacky finish.