MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s that time of year when we get way back in the nooks and crannies of our homes with a mop, or a cloth or a broom. It’s also when we find dust in places we’d long forgotten to clean.

Daniel from Sauk Rapids has been doing some deep spring cleaning, so he emailed WCCO wondering: Where does all the dust come from?

“It’s everything we live with,” industrial hygienist Neil Carlson said.

Carlson deals with molds, dust and allergens at the University of Minnesota. He says the components of dust differ on where the dust is located.

In the kitchen area, much of the dust might include food starches, flour, wheat, pepper, salt or spices. Outside, there tends to be more pollen, dirt and soot.

“In the house, I would say about 50 percent is skin,” Carlson said. “You lose thousands, tens of thousands of skin particles each day just walking around.”

He says dust can also be composed of hair, insect parts, insect fecal matter, mold spores, fabric fiber and pet dander.

A dust particle can be 1/10 the width of a human hair and can often provide problems for people with dust allergies.

Though this is no practical way to get rid of all dust, Carlson recommends using microfiber or statically-charged clothes to pick up the particles.

He also says a HEPA filter in a home can be helpful for people with allergies.

Heather Brown

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