What does your house dust look like under a microscope?

The editors of Life around continue to find answers to the most important questions of our time that torment citizens. And if the sections "Business" and "Style" all the time answer the question of where the money goes, then the section "House" is simply obliged to find out where the dust comes from in our apartments, how it looks and what it consists of. In March and April, urban residents are tormented by household allergies. According to Life around in the Invitro laboratory, an allergic analysis for house dust is one of the most popular among citizens at this time of year.

We asked the staff and friends of the editorial staff to dig deeper behind their grandmother’s cabinets, scrape across the floor and look into the fibers of the carpet to examine what constantly surrounds us. To take a closer look at the dust, we used the Micromed 3 LUM LED LED luminescent microscope and the MSP-1 stereoscopic microscope (version 3C with a Canon 5D camera), which give an increase of 250-400 times.

Floor in the hallway

The owners of a two-room apartment holding a Corgi dog collected dust from the floor at the front door.


The sample was obtained from my grandmother’s apartment with a lot of accumulated things. The dust was taken from behind a bookshelf, behind which all sorts of boxes for all occasions are stored. The dust itself is at least six years old.


A high-rise building at the back of the yard, whose windows face the square, and the windows have double-glazed windows. The room has a minimum of furniture: bookcase, desk, bed, chair. Dust is collected from IKEA bookshelves, the floor and the long-haired carpet on the floor.


Dust was collected immediately after the visit of the housekeeper, so I had to be smart. Thickets of this rare dust were found behind the battery: apparently, they have not been touched since the beginning of the 2000s.


The library is located in the corridor, where there are no windows. The owner does not remember to vacuum the books - at least in the last ten years. A year ago, the windows in the apartment were changed, so there may be a small amount of cement dust.


biochemist, employee of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Dust is everywhere. There is atmospheric dust, cosmic dust and, of course, house dust. No matter how much you clean your shoes and sweep the floor, dust will still appear: it is mainly brought into the house along with air from open windows and doors. The size of the dust is up to one tenth of a millimeter. Household dust consists of one third of minerals, that is, of the smallest particles of stones on our planet, and one third of organic substances: skin flakes, pollen and tissue and paper fibers. The last third of its components is of cosmic origin: these are small pieces of meteorites. In house dust, in addition, there are many living creatures: these are, for example, the ubiquitous bacteria, which can only be seen under a good microscope, and small mites, which can also be seen under not the largest magnification. Dust mites - arachnids up to half a millimeter in size - feed mainly on those very dead skin flakes and do not settle on living people. Therefore, there should not be harm from them - but, unfortunately, some people develop an allergic reaction to ticks and their metabolic products. These mites are very light, and if they fly up from the surface into the air (for example, when a person has walked nearby), then it can take many minutes to go down. New dust on the Earth is constantly formed due to the movement of the wind, which separates its smallest particles from the soil, due to volcanic activity, when ash is released into the atmosphere, and due to the vital activity of those plants that multiply by pollen. Wet dust turns into dirt, but when dried, it can again enter the atmosphere due to gusts of wind.

Sergey Sysoev

Leading Expert, EcoStandard Group

It will not work to completely get rid of dust: it will always have both internal and external sources. A man carries dust with outerwear; the person himself, according to statistics, for example, drops about 100 hair per day. In the dust there are elements of wallpaper, hanging plates, paper, other fibers. If there are pets in the apartment, their dust will be in the coat. (Probably, there are no pets that would not increase the amount of house dust, except perhaps aquarium fish.) An additional source of dust is house plants. The soil in the pots is in constant humidity, so colonies of fungi and bacteria can be planted there.

It is logical to assume that in an apartment where the walls are painted, without wallpaper, where there are no carpets, curtains and a library of books, there will be much less dust. Once a month, the apartment must be disinfected: wet cleaning of all surfaces (including furniture) using disinfectants. In our experience, allergies are most often caused by volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, chloroform, ethylbenzene), the source of which is poor-quality furniture, building and decoration materials.

On the street, the most dust is from automobile tires: pieces of rubber fall into the air, and from there into the room. In summer, this car dust can rise quite high due to the fact that the asphalt heats up during the day, and at night there is no such flow.

There is a common misconception that to get rid of dust you must use the Chizhevsky ionizing lamp, which collects dust on itself. But this is not entirely true: it does not remove dust, but magnetizes it and distributes it. To reduce dust, you can put a household HEPA filter: it can, for example, be mounted in a ventilation system. Humidifiers also reduce the amount of dust, but their filters must be changed in time, and the humidifier itself should be washed with disinfectants. Otherwise, it can become a secondary source of a colony of mushrooms, which he himself will spray.

Watch the video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Reducing dust mite allergies (January 2020).

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