The Laziest Way to Dust Your Open Shelving (Without Moving All Your Dishes)

published May 4, 2019
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Credit: Tamara Gavin

Some people enjoy cleaning, and for various reasons. It could be the feeling of accomplishment or being able to exert a small but tangible amount of control over their environment. Or it might be something as simple as catching a thrill from vacuum lines in the carpet. I’ve never heard of anyone who likes dusting, though.

Dusting, of course, is essential to any well-thought-out cleaning regimen. And when left undone, it’s not only unsightly, but can lead to allergy attacks. While it’s relatively easy to run a duster over larger surfaces, dusting shelves with dishes, cookbooks, and knick-knacks is a total pain.

Instead of saving the chore for another day (or week or month), grab the can of compressed air you use to shoot dust and debris from your keyboard and electronics. You can blow compressed air around and dislodge the dust that settles on intricate objects and the top surfaces of books’ pages (which seem to cling to it no matter what you do). It will take nearly all the effort out of the chore.

Rather than CFC, this duster spray uses HFC, which is the product of choice as recommended by the EPA. It will cost $9, but save so much time.

If you prefer not to use compressed air (or you don’t want to wait for it to arrive in the mail), here are some other tips for making mincemeat out of dusting knick knack shelves:

1. Use your own air.

The EPA suggests this as an alternative to compressed air: “Often, blowing gently can dislodge dust and debris from electronics and peripherals, like keyboards and mice.” Blowing gently on your busy shelves can work similarly. Just be careful of getting dust in your eyes if there’s significant buildup. (It might seem silly to wear them while cleaning, but air-tight swim goggles are a big help for tasks like this.)

2. Use a hair dryer or air compressor.

A hair dryer on the cool setting is another tool you can use for blowing air to get rid of dust on your decorative items. A portable air compressor, like the kind used to blow up tires at home, will also work.

3. Do things the old-fashioned way.

Of course, you can always resort to dusting your dishes and vases and other mementos on your shelves with the tools you already have, even if it is more tedious. You can always gently dislodge dust with a dusting wand or a microfiber cloth. I personally opt for a dusting mitt when tackling small objects because I can hold them and just softly rub them to cleanliness. Don’t forget to dust the shelf too!

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The Laziest Way to Dust Around Your Decor (Without Moving All Your Knick-Knacks)