Dusting can be a bit easier using some common household items like alcohol, a lint brush or a sock. Credit: Julia Bayly / BDN

Dust happens. It’s a fact of life that the minute particles of dirt, dander, insect parts and other tiny bits of flotsam are going to settle on pretty much everything in your house. And it can seem that no matter how often you dust, the second you are finished with the last surface, the first one you dusted is in need of another wipe down.

There may be no way to eliminate the need to dust from your home cleaning regime, but there are ways to make the chore more efficient by using common household items. Here are eight things you may never have thought to use when dusting.

Rubbing alcohol

If a lightbulb starts to dim, the reason may not be that it’s getting ready to burn out. It could be covered with a film of dust. To bring it back to bright life, gently wipe it down with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.


Ceiling fans are easily ignored when it comes to dusting. They are overhead and you can’t readily see the dust accumulating on the top of the blades. But it’s there. To avoid having dust fall on your head or onto the floor, take a pillowcase and slide it over the blade. When you pull it back off, the dust will come with it and fall into the pillowcase.

Canned air

Those small cans of pressurized air are perfect for blowing the dust out of bathroom exhaust fans. Just aim the air and give it a good blast.

Lint brush or roller

Getting rid of dust or animal hair from fabric surfaces on furniture or lampshades can be tough. To make it easier, reach for a lint brush or lint roller to clean off those surfaces.

Dryer sheets

Instead of tossing used dryer sheets out when your load of laundry is done, hang on to them. They can be used to dust television or computer screens. Not only do the sheets remove the dust, they actually help repel dust from settling back onto the screens. Old dryer sheets also work great for dusting baseboards.

Old socks

Put an old sock over your hand to dust window blinds. All you have to do is grab a section of the blinds on one side and then slide your sock-covered hand to the other side.

Coffee filters

Dust is not limited to your house. It also collects on the surfaces in your car. You can use a coffee filter to clean off the dust and grime from your car’s dashboard and other smooth surfaces.

Foam brush

To clean the air vents in your car, use one of those small foam brushes that painters use for detail work. They fit perfectly between the vent levers.

Dusting may never be fun, but with these tricks it can be a bit easier and get done more often.

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.