What is Dust and Why is It Dangerous for Your Health?

When you think about dust, you could say that these tiny particles are not dangerous. In some cases, this is true, but if dust particles are small enough, they definitely can be dangerous for the human body.

Airborne particles have a significant impact on our respiratory system, especially the lungs. According to EPA, these tiny particles can affect our heart and lung and can produce a variety of problems such as aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and more. If you are repeatedly exposed to dust over a longer period, you will, for sure, have more or fewer problems with your respiratory system.

HEPA Filter vs. Dust
Demonstration of the True HEPA filter against dust.

The Question is, What is Dust?

In short, dust is a very common air pollutant generated in everyday situations by many different sources.

Outside the home, dust is usually laid on the ground. You can see the dust on the ground with a naked eye; mostly, it is made from sand or dirt. While being on the ground, dust is not that dangerous because when it is not airborne, it represents no danger to the human body.

Inside the house, dust is a bit scarier than outside because it is mostly made from dead skin and other in-house debris.

If you own pets, then their dead skin contributes to the level of dust in the home. However, people who are not suffering from allergic reactions are totally immune to this kind of dust. On the other hand, people who do suffer from allergic reactions to dust, pet dander, or dust mites may have severe reactions.

What is the Size of Dust?

As already mentioned, when dust accumulates on the ground, it is perfectly visible. You can blow at the dust on the ground, and then half of the dust is no longer visible to the naked eye. This invisible dust is microscopic, and it is the most dangerous type of dust. Such a small particle can easily penetrate our immune system and get into the lungs. With constant inhaling of microscopic dust, you may get a lung infection.

In other words, even if you do see the dust in your home, it is a high chance that your home is invaded with microscopic dust. There is hardly any place in our home that is entirely free from dust.

Who is Exposed to the Highest Risk?

Everyone is, at some point, taking some kind of risk of inhaling the dust. Humans have been inhaling dust for centuries, and we have found a way to live with that. Because of that, not many people have dust problems.

But some people, especially old people, people prone to allergic reactions, and babies, are at the biggest risk. Old people have weak lungs and a weak immune system, and any other component that triggers the immune system is just overloaded. 

Babies are also in a group of people that have a dust problem. Babies have an immune system that still learns how to fight viruses, bacteria, and other infections. When babies are exposed to dust, then their immune system is not working properly, and it also gets overloaded or it reacts drastically. 

Allergic Reactions To Dust

It is not a secret that dust, dust mites, and other things found inside the dust trigger allergic reactions.

Thankfully, these reactions are not severe, and the risk of getting anaphylactic shock is really a minimum. But itchy eyes, runny nose, and even rash are possible reactions to dust.

What Can You Do About the Dust in Your Home?

You should regularly clean the house, that’s definitely. Use a damp cloth and wipe all the furniture and floor. In that way, you can, without a problem, remove most of the ground dust, which can become easily airborne. Wiping the dust from the house is the first level of defense.

Dust mites can trigger indoor allergies, asthma attacks, and a host of other health problems. If someone in your home suffers from breathing or respiratory issues, it’s even more important to keep every room dust free. Redfin reached out to us to share our best tips and tricks on how you can manage your dust problem once and for all. Check out our tip on Why is My House So Dusty? 5 Easy Ways to Eliminate Dust.

A vacuum cleaner is also a good option for removing dust. But be extremely careful if you are in a group of people who have problems with dust because vacuum cleaners will lift ground dust into the air. The best thing you can do is let someone else use the vacuum cleaner; someone you know will not get any reactions from inhaling the dust.

Dusty Pre-filters After I Used Them for a Some Time
This is what dusty filters look like after some time of use.

An air purifier is probably the number one device you can use to remove dust from your home. An air purifier with a True HEPA filter can remove 99.97% of airborne particles, including microscopic dust, which is the most dangerous type of dust. The usage of an air purifier is extremely simple; you just plug it in and turn it on. It can also be very useful when working in combination with a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner will remove ground dust, and if some ground dust becomes airborne, the air purifier will suck it and trap it.


Dust is not some new monster at our door. It is a component with which we have been living for centuries. The only thing different in the modern world is that now we understand that some diseases can be linked to inhaling dust. By having that knowledge now, we can act and remove that part from the equation and live a healthier life than we were ever capable of living before.

In this article, I did my best to describe potential health problems that can be triggered by living in a highly dusty environment. Hope you like it and find it useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment in the comment box below.

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