Should You Dust Or Vacuum First When Cleaning? Find Out The Answer!

Should You Dust Or Vacuum First When Cleaning? Find Out The Answer!


Should you dust or vacuum first when cleaning? It’s a question as old as time itself. Much like the chicken or the egg conundrum, not everyone knows what comes first.

Today we're revealing the answer, and we're even sharing some top cleaning tips to help you out.

Want a clean house? Let's get started...

What is dust?

dusting cloth
Is your home dusty?

Before we get down and dirty with the "dust or vacuum first" conundrum, let’s talk about what dust is:

Dust is a combination of small particles that collect in indoor environments. These particles may be made up of a range of things including plant pollen, hair, paper fibres, material fibres, and even skin cells.

If you’ve ever dodged your cleaning duties for a while, you’ve probably noticed a build-up of dust in certain areas. You'll see the dust on wooden or tiled floors, on exposed surfaces, and places such as mirrors. Dust also collects on your carpets, rugs, and other soft furnishings like your curtains.

Why is it important to dust regularly?

Not only does dust make your house look and feel untidy but, more importantly, dust can seriously impact your health. Research published in the Epidemiology Journal suggests that exposure to indoor dust can lead to mucosal irritation. In simple terms, that means that you may feel congested, with more mucus, and sinus problems. 

If you make a mistake with your dusting, or if you don't dust at all, you could be putting your health on the line! Dusting can also help to clean up pollen and pet dander. Great news for those with hayfever or pet allergies!

Prioritising your health is important, which is why you need to learn how to clean your home like a pro. In this guide, we will take a look at whether you should dust or vacuum first when cleaning your house. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

How do you reduce dust in the home?

If you're looking for some ways to keep dust to a minimum, watch our handy video!

Check out these tips!

Do you dust or vacuum first when cleaning?

dust or vacuum
It's important to get it right.

First things first, let’s deal with the question at hand: Should you dust or vacuum first when cleaning your home? The answer is that you should always dust first and vacuum later.

The reason is simple. When you dust, you'll find that some of the particles wipe away onto your cloth or duster, but you'll never get all of the particles. Instead, many of the particles that you make contact with end up going into the air and then settling. These dust particles will then settle on your floors, sofa, bed, or other surfaces.

If you vacuum first and dust later, you'll find that you miss a lot of the dust in your home. When you dust the particles will settle on your freshly-vacuumed carpet. This means that you'll need to vacuum all over again to get your home properly clean. Nightmare. If you leave it as it is, the dust will remain and could have an impact on your health. Because you haven't taken the correct steps to reduce the amount of dust in your home, you'll also notice that your home will look dusty again - faster than is normal.

Pro tips for dusting

dusting with a cloth
There's a knack to it!

Now that you know the answer to whether you should vacuum or dust first, let’s take things one step further and find out the proper way to clean a house.

Want to learn how to dust like a pro? Here are some of our best tips:

1. Dust your home regularly

Let’s be honest - dusting is boring! That said, if you want to keep on top of your home cleaning, you do need to commit to this chore on a regular basis. Now, just how often should you dust? Let's break it down...

  • Light dusting - Make sure that you engage in some ‘light dusting’ every couple of weeks (or more often if your home is particularly dusty). That means covering the basics, like dusting your surfaces, floors, and any other exposed areas. Why not take this even further and speed clean your home in 30 minutes?
  • Heavy dusting - You should also undertake some ‘heavy dusty’ once every few months. That means cleaning hard-to-reach places that you wouldn’t usually look. For example, you should clean any blinds you have in your home, remove dust from the blades of fans and target the top of your furnishings. You'll be shocked by the number of dirty places you're forgetting to clean!

It's a good idea to add these areas to your house cleaning schedule to ensure that you don’t forget. After all, they're easy to overlook! Take our "how clean are you?" test to check for any spots you may be missing.

If you don't dust these hard-to-reach areas, expect your home to stay dusty. Every time a door is opened or a gust of wind blows through, the dust from these areas will only shift to more noticeable places in your home.

2. Use a microfibre cloth

Buying the right cleaning products is vital when it comes to removing dust from your home. There are many different products on the market, so you may find it hard to choose which are right for you. Investing in a few microfibre cloths for your household cleaning kit is the first stage in this process. Believe it or not, these cloths could be real game-changers.

According to research from The University of California Davis Medical Center, microfibre cloths can reduce the amount of bacteria in an area by 99%. When you compare that to the 30% of bacteria removed when cleaning the house with regular cotton cloths, that’s a major difference.

TOP TIP: Looking for an easy cleaning hack? Put a sock on your hand and use it to easily wipe your blinds clean. Dryer sheets are great for this task too! 

3. Start at the top

The best way to dust is to start at the top and end at the bottom. It might sound obvious, but it's one of the most time-wasting cleaning mistakes.

For example, if you have wardrobes that tend to collect dust on top of them, that’s the first place that you should focus on. Since dust particles will disperse into the air and then fall down, working your way down will help you to ensure that you get as much of it as possible. Try it!

TOP TIP: Use a hairdryer to blow the dust off of house plants. Wait for the dust to settle on the floor and then vacuum clean. 

Pro tips for vacuuming

vacuuming tips
Give these a try!

When mastering how to clean your house like a pro, vacuuming is a huge deal. If you can get this right, your home will look better than ever. Even if you think you've got the basics down, check out these simple tips that'll help you vacuum like a pro.

1. Clean your vacuum filter regularly

Most vacuum cleaners come with a filter inside them or, in some cases, a bag. How you clean your vacuum will depend largely on the brand that you have. It goes without saying that you should look at the manual for more details. Before you decide to vacuum your home, take a moment to check the filter and ensure that it’s as clean as it can be.

2. Beware of pet hair!

Do you have a pet? If you’re an animal lover, you need to take extra care when it comes to vacuuming. Pet hair can get caught at the end of your vacuum cleaner, which may mean that your cleaning efforts are completely ineffective. The stray hairs create a barrier that prevents the machine from picking up dust from the floor. As a golden rule, you need to clean your vacuum regularly and remove any hair blockages. Done!

TOP TIP: If you have long-haired pets, you may want to invest in a specific pet-friendly vacuum cleaner! Doing so could make all the difference here.

3. Use a vacuuming system

When you’re vacuuming, what approach do you take? Many people make the mistake of simply moving the machine around the floor in random patterns. Sound familiar? Instead of using that method (and missing out entire areas of floor!), you need a system.

To cut it short, you need to start at one end of the carpet and vacuum in a straight line. Make a 90-degree turn and repeat. And repeat and repeat!

When you're cleaning, don't forget to vacuum baseboards. A surprising amount of dust can get wedged in the gap between the skirting board and the carpet. For even more vacuuming tips, we've got a handy guide on how to clean carpets

TOP TIP: Check out our list of surprising places you forget to clean - your home and health will thank you!

4. Clean hardwood floors

It's not all about vacuuming. If you're wondering how to clean floor that's not carpet, you'll find our homemade floor cleaner handy. Check out the recipe today and see what a difference it makes.



Does Vacuuming Kick Up Dust?

Most of the time, you should find that you can vacuum without kicking up too much dust. However, when the mouth of the vacuum cleaner is blocked, you may see debris moving when you’re cleaning. If that's the case, you need to make sure that you unblock the machine before continuing. 

How Often Should You Vacuum Your House?

That depends on your situation! If you have pets and long hair, you may find that you need to vacuum your home on a weekly basis. On the other hand, some people can get away with vacuuming every couple of weeks. Whenever you see signs of dust or general build-up on your floor and carpets, you should know that it’s time to whip out the vacuum cleaner.

What is the Best Thing to Dust Furniture With?

As we have already covered, microfibre cloths are highly effective when dusting furniture. Invest in a few for the best results. There is research to suggest that these cleaning products remove the majority of the bacteria from surfaces, which is a bonus too.

Does Opening Windows Reduce Dust? 

 Keeping your windows open will not solve the problem. It only means that more types of dust can enter your home along with anything else that may come through the open window. To find out how to reduce dust effectively, check out our guide. 

How Do I Dust-Proof My House?

There’s not a single solution to dust-proofing your home but there are things you can try. For example, you may want to use an air purifier, wash fabrics regularly and brush your pets to rid them of excess hair. These small and simple changes could help you to reduce the amount of dust that collects in your house. 

Can I use my vacuum to dust? 

If you're in a real rush, you could combine both steps together. Add a brush attachment to your vacuum and carefully go over your surfaces. You may want to reduce the suction if you're going over fabrics. This doesn't work for dusting small items and ornaments, which will need to be cleaned by hand with a dusting cloth. 


Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on the dust or vacuum conundrum, what are you waiting for? Get dusting today!

Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

  1. Author Frances Mace on February 24, 2020 at 9:46 am

    No. The question is definitely NOT as old as time itself. Duh! Vacuum cleaners were only invented a hundred or so years ago, so not nearly as old as time. If fact, quite a new question in the housework time frame, not nearly as old as 'Do I have to wash my sheets on a Monday?' or 'How much furniture polish is too much?', these questions have been around for a few hundred years at least.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 26, 2020 at 11:20 am

      That is true, Frances... Though we did use the phrase as a figure of speech!

  2. Author Amanda-Jane on July 3, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    How Often Should You Vacuum Your House? That depends on your situation! If you have pets and long hair, you may find that you need to vacuum your home on a weekly basis. On the other hand, some people can get away with vacuuming every couple of weeks. Whenever you see signs of dust or general build-up on your floor and carpets, you should know that it’s time to whip out the vacuum cleaner. SERIOUSLY 😮😮😮 ONLY ONCE A WEEK😮😮😮 I WISH IN MY DREAMS! 🙏

    1. Author Joanne A on July 28, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      Maybe we need to edit this for people like yourself!

    2. Author Jeannine on May 15, 2022 at 2:14 pm

      I would say that’s the only part of the article that’s really off. If you have pets, even one dog.. or one cat.. (especially during shedding season) you can vacuum every day and you still live in a home full of furr. But it’s worth it to have our lovely pets! I have to lint roll the inside of my socks and bras even because of my tabby cat. And he doesn’t even go in my room. That’s just from the time we spend together in the other common areas of the house. To say anyone (even someone with no pets or children) can go weeks without vacuuming sounds sort of ludicrous. May be worth researching how often people actually vacuum and then editing.

    3. Author Joanne A on May 31, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      That's a great idea, Jeannine!

  3. Author Sue Routledge on August 9, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    A tip I was given many years ago for the top of wardrobes and kitchen cupboards was to line them with newspaper or packing paper and just replace with clean paper as needed. You just roll it all up with the dust on it. Probably best to take a plastic bag up with you to put it straight in so the dust doesn't fall down as you climb down.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 20, 2022 at 11:10 am

      Fantastic idea!

  4. Author Mia on January 31, 2023 at 2:16 pm

    I am more confident now on how to clean my house after reading this article!And it encourages me to clean:dust and vacuum regularly. Thanks for the helpful tips!God bless.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 1, 2023 at 11:02 am

      You're welcome, Mia!


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