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MAINTENANCE : Proper Technique Whisks Through Dust Jobs

May 25, 1996|From Associated Press

When dusting, your aim is to pick up dust, not just move it around.

To begin, be choosy about your cleaning rags. Arm yourself with plenty of clean, soft cloths, especially those made of cotton such as old sheets, towels, diapers or undershirts. Cheesecloth and wool are also good. Avoid synthetic fibers, such as those in old lingerie, which are less absorbent.

Here are some dusting tips:

* Keep your dust cloth clean. Otherwise, dirt particles may scratch your furniture. Turn and fold the cloth as you work so that the dust is trapped inside and you are wiping with a clean surface. After all the cloth's surfaces have been exposed, shake it outdoors.

* To hold dust on the cloth, spray it with silicone. A dust cloth moistened with lemon oil also works fine.

* To avoid settling dust in freshly cleaned surfaces, work from high places (tops of bookcases and frames) to the lower ones (tables, chair rungs and baseboards).

* Use eyeglass-cleaning tissues to dust small picture frames.

For light dusting, especially of small objects and hard-to-reach places, use a duster with a handle and fluffy lamb's-wool head. It's better than a feather duster because wool attracts dust instead of whisking it around.

Want an easy way to clean a lot of little glass and china knickknacks?

Place them in the kitchen sink and spray them thoroughly with window cleaner. Move them to a towel to air-dry. Or soak them all together in a dishpan with detergent. Use your hair dryer to blow them dry.

Here are some more cleaning tips:

* Take the risk out of vacuuming bric-a-brac. Place the foot of an old nylon stocking over the end of the dusting brush. Only the dust will be sucked in.

* Treat an old sock with silicone and wear it as a glove to dust tables and chairs.

* Hard-to-dust things and places--pleated lampshades, carved furniture and crevices--are a snap if you first blow the dust out with a hair dryer. An empty squeeze bottle used as an air pump also does the trick.

* It's also easier to dust keyboard keys, louvered doors, carved furniture or anything with nooks and crannies if you use a clean, soft paintbrush that's been dampened ever so slightly.

* To get at narrow spots behind radiators, in louvers or under the refrigerator, dampen an old sock, slip it over one end of a yardstick and secure it with a rubber band.

* To dust walls, start at the top and work downward, using slow, even strokes.

* Cobwebs can be sticky and stain surfaces. Lift them away from the wall, rather than push them around the surface. Use a mop covered with a dust cloth on your vacuum's long-wand with the small-brush attachment.

* Use a hand-held hair dryer (on low speed) to blow the dust off silk or dried flowers. Use a clean, soft artist's brush to flick away stubborn dust.

* If the edge of your dustpan becomes bent, take time to straighten it out or you'll end up chasing dirt across the floor every time you use it.

* To prevent dust from rolling out of your dustpan, dampen the pan slightly before you start using it.

* Keep supplies within reach. Wear a multipocketed apron, or carry a cleaning supplies tray. Inexpensive, compartmented plastic trays with a handle, such as the kind used to carry tools, are available in many stores.

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