People with asthma and allergies often assume they are allergic to household dust.

However, it is not usually the dust itself that triggers common allergies, it is in fact all the other little particles that are found in amongst the dust. Commonly these include:

  • human skin cells
  • animal dander
  • insect waste, including from house dust mites
  • food particles
  • building products, such as brick dust in an old house
  • particles from cleaning products

And all the things that get in from outside – dirt, pollen, traffic pollution and smoke.

Tips for managing dust in your home

Try to work out what’s causing the problem and deal with it at the source. For example, looking at how you can reduce the amount of pet allergens around your home.

  • Get rid of the old feather duster. They just stir up the dust, leaving it floating in the air to resettle again a few minutes later. A dry dusting cloth can have the same effect.
  • Use a damp or electrostatic cloth, as these trap the dust on the cloth.
  • For hard floors like timber or tiles, use a damp, electrostatic or steam mop.
  • Look for vacuum cleaners with a good filter, like a HEPA filter.

If you have asthma or allergies, ideally get someone else to do the cleaning for you as most cleaning will still stir up some dust and allergens. If you can, stay out of the room during cleaning and for at least 20 minutes afterwards.


If you aren’t sure what your triggers are, our handy guide can help point you in the right direction.

Healthy home factsheets

For great tips and advice on managing your asthma and allergies as well as how to create a healthy home, visit our factsheet library that includes:

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