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Be a Better Dust Buster: Tips for Home Dusting

Sure, a feather duster may look fancy or even fun to use. When you’re tackling serious scuzz, though, skip the classic sweep — it’ll only move particles around, not pick them up. Instead, capture dust with a soft cloth dampened with water or your favorite multipurpose spray or furniture polish, whichever is appropriate for the surface. (If you need just a quick dusting method for, say, baseboards or mini blinds, try this trick: Put an old sock on each hand or foot, dampen with water, and rub along the dirty edges of boards or slats.) For ceiling-to-floor cleaning (you should work from top down), a vacuum with multiple attachments is the most efficient tool. But for sticky or hard-to-reach spots, you may need a mop or brush. Here, tips for other problem jobs:

Electronics: Computers, TVs, DVD players, stereos, and printers are notorious dust magnets. Always unplug the equipment before cleaning. A gentle swipe with a microfiber cloth usually does the job, while a soft, long-handled brush will collect dust from crevices. Be sure to vacuum dust from around cords and vents because it, along with pet hairs, can clog machines or outlets.

Curios: To get at dust trapped in tiny nooks and intricate carvings, use a clean natural-bristle paint or makeup brush, then wipe with a microfiber cloth.

Soft toys: Put beanbag critters, teddy bears, or fabric dolls into a large plastic bag with 1 or more cups of baking soda. Secure the top, then take outside and shake well. The baking soda and static will draw out the soil and dust. Remove items one at a time, shake off the clumps of baking soda, and vacuum the rest using a brush attachment.

Behind stove and refrigerator: Over time, crumbs, grease, and other debris accumulate in these areas, providing a food source for insects and other pests. If possible, move the appliance out from the wall and unplug. Use a long-handled, slightly damp sponge mop to lift dust from the back of the appliance, then wipe floor and walls with hot soapy water.

Fans and vents:

- Remove heavy dust from ceiling, floor, or appliance grilles or louvers with a soft-brush vacuum attachment or electrostatic mop, then dampen microfiber cloth and wipe surface.

- Rinse removable, washable air-conditioning filters well in hot soapy water and air-dry before reinstalling.

- Place newspaper or a drop cloth under a ceiling fan. Turn off the power source, then get on a step stool. Use damp paper towels to wipe greasy dust from the casing and a soft-bristle brush dampened with a cleaning agent to loosen the dust on the blades; rinse with a damp paper towel.

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