How to Clean a Really Dusty Room - Helping a Friend with Allergies

Updated on November 01, 2012
A.C. asks from Columbus, OH
10 answers

My friend's guest bedroom, full of tons of books and furniture, hasn't been thoroughly cleaned and dusted in probably two years, and she is determined to have a family member, who has allergies to dust mites come and stay with her. She asked me for ideas on how to minimize the issues for the allergic visitor, but also to clean.

I had thought of using a damp cloth for dusing, instead of a regular dry cloth, but beyond that, I'm not sure what to suggest. (And yes, I realize that the ideal would be for the friend to just stay in a hotel, but that's not an option, according to my friend).

So, allergic folks or people who excellent at housecleaning (LOL), any tips or suggestions for minimizing kicking up dust while we clean?


What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for all the tips! I'll be sure to print these off and pass them on to her.

Featured Answers



answers from Madison on

The suggestions you've gotten are great - I'd just try to have a couple of days, at least, in between the cleaning and the guest arriving. No matter how hard you try, cleaning simply will kick up the dust.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

You have to use some sort of liquid spray to pick up the dust. Just a dry cloth will just push it around and send it into the air, not doing much of anything. Pledge makes a nice smelling dusting spray/furniture polish.

I second the things Megan said. Put most of the books away as they are such dust collectors. Do all the dusting first, then wash the drapery and if there are blinds you have to wash them with warm soapy water too. Don't forget to wash around the windows and lighting fixtures.

Wash all the bedding and purchase new pillows. Then get alergy pillow covers (they are everywhere, including WalMart). If the mattress is old, you may also want to get an alergy mattress cover (usually plastic, I use it for my kids beds incase of accident).

Then the last thing is to vaccuum very good - moving furniture and using the attachments to get the corners and edges of the carpet. If it is really old and dirty, you may need to steam clean it.

Hope this helps - lots of work in store. Plan a whole day put on some fav music and order in!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

The easiest way?
Hotel reservation.
The most thorough way?
Empty the room, wash down floors/carpet, walls, ceiling, window treatments then clean things and bring them back in.
I once knew someone who had a philosophy on house cleaning.
One month a year, a room would be totally emptied, cleaned repaired or upgraded and then things (that belonged) would be placed back.
It's a great way to eliminate clutter and as long as you don't have more than 12 rooms in your house (most people don't) - every room gets totally cleaned once a year.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I would start with a good vacuum with a hepa filter (NOT a bagless vacuum) and vacuum every surface in the room before you touch anything with a rag of any kind. Vacuum the tops of the books, the spines, the shelves, the top of the shelves, the baseboards, the window (including the sill and inside corners, not just the outside molding and ledge), the lighting fixture/bulbs, even vacuum the walls. You would be amazed what can cling to just a WALL.

If there are fabric curtains that can be washed, do so, in vinegar, not a detergent, nor using any fabric softener.
AFTER everything else is thoroughly clean (bed linens too, and hard surfaces of the dresser---again--clean the SIDES of it, not just the tops and edges)... THEN do the floor.
Then I'd do it a second time using a fresh bag/filter.

That's about as thorough as I know how to suggest.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Pack the majority of the books away in boxes (after you wipe them off)
Use a hand vac to get the dust off the furniture and then wipe it down.
Vacuum the mattress.

Vacuum/wash all of the drapes and windows.

Wash all of the bedding AFTER you have finished cleaning/vacuuming the rest of the room.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

First of all do not use Pledge or any other furniture polish. They all contain silcone and it seeps into the wood and no matter waht it does not come out. If the piece needs to be refinished in the future and the person restoring it doesn't know about the Pledge the new finish will bubble and never set correctly.

Now, I would use an all purpose cleaner in a spray bottle. Put a little in an empty bottle fill with water. Use soft cloth such as an old T-shirt, squirt the furniture and wipe clean. All furniture needs to be vacuumed, curtains cleaned, and walls and windows washed. When it comes to cleaning the books wipe them with the damp cloth. Scrubbing the carpet is the best idea but a good vacuuming will do a lot. Pillows should be washed.

When she starts to make the bed using a plastic cover under the mattress pad will act as a barrier to dust mites. You can get pillow covers to use under the pillow cases that block dust mites also.



answers from Chicago on

You will need to wipe down the INSIDES of all of the books. Or pack them away.



answers from Honolulu on

This is a site, that my Mom's Allergist recommended to her:

I would also, purchase an air purifier/air filter for the room that the guest will be staying in.

Dust using a Microfiber cloth. Not just a duster. A plain ol' duster will simply make the dust fly around, it never does actually pick UP dust when dusting. Only a Microfiber cloth will pick up, the dust not just push it around.

Making the room dust and dust mite free, is going to cost money.
Because, she has to do appropriate cleaning of everything in that room, AND then, purchase products that are dust mite free and/or which will encase the mattress, take care of the entire room. Walls, can harbor a lot of filmy dust too which the eyes cannot see too well. EVERY single surface, of a room, will harbor dust. AND often, even in nook and crannies, too. Even in drawers, there will be dust.

No matter what, kicking up the dust as you clean WILL happen.
And, a Doctor told my Mom, that when vaccuuming do not go in the area for about 1 hour afterward, because of dust being in the air/atmosphere. AND when vacuuming, to use a face mask.

Every.single.surface. in a room, will have dust. Even walking across a carpeted room, will kick up dust. Any activity in a room will kick up dust even if it is not visible to the naked eye.

My Mom is allergic to Dust Mites. Many people are. But my Mom's allergy is not severe, at all. And she does not have to do all that.
Her dust allergy is very mild.


answers from Houston on

Guys, do books carry more dust than other objects? I had no idea--thanks for informing me too!


answers from Kansas City on

I use Pledge Dust and Allergen and it seems to work best of all the sprays. It doesn't let it fly around so much. As for the books you could spend a year cleaning them and dusting in and out and so I'd pack them away if possible until the friend leaves. They make me sneeze, my eyes swell,etc. when I clean our large shelves of books. We have covers on our mattresses get one if you don't have it and make sure it's washable and waterproof and it will last a long time. Then, as suggested already, start with the highest things like light fixture, curtains washed, blinds cleaned, ceilings dusted off and corners cleaned. Then move to dusting anything else like lamps, etc. Do floor boards with a damp cloth and finish dusting and last of all vacuum with a vacuum with a hepa filter and bag, never use one without a bag for allergies. It's a lot of work but needs done anyhow, right?