Dustbusting without a vacuum cleaner

I admit that I have never vacuumed this apartment.  To me, dragging a heavy vacuum cleaner across the delicate ceramic tiles is not a good idea and managing the cord and hose settings is exhausting.  Therefore, I developed a simple method for cleaning the floor and carpets using a household ‘dust-grabbing’ powder and a broom:

  1. Sprinkle washing soda* (sodium carbonate) or baking soda* (sodium bicarbonate) over the carpets and into the corners of the room.
  2. Sweep the powder over all flooring, out of all rugs and into a neat dust-powder pile to be disposed of.

[Update: I now simply spray a washing soda and water solution (with a drop of lavender oil) onto the rugs to dampen them, brush them with the broom using a circular motion and then sweep everything.  This method uses a smaller amount of chemicals, is easier and more effective and doesn’t leave visible residue.]

*NFPA Rating: Health-1, Flammability-0, Instability-0

Using washing soda and a broom instead of a vacuum cleaner to clean floor and rug


I believe that this method is as good as using a standard vacuum cleaner (although I haven’t dragged out the vacuum to confirm it), and it requires less time/energy, no electricity and produces no noise (pets will be pleased).  Also, as you can/will see, the dust bunnies clump together nicely instead of fleeing from the broom.

The ‘dust-grabbing’ ability of the carbonate powder can simply be attributed to the many strong intermolecular interactions that it can form with dust particles without reacting with them (i.g. dipole-dipole, ion-dipole and hydrogen bonding interactions), similar interactions to the ones which created the accumulated dust in the first place.

Dust can be fine particles of anything, but the biggest concern are dead skin cells in the form of flakes or hairs, which attract dust mites.  Salt crystals in fine powder form, ‘salt’ being any ionic pair, including sodium chloride and sodium carbonate, can be used to kill dust mites.  Chloride salts cause corrosion of metals, including stainless steel, so I don’t use sodium chloride (table salt).

For your safety, do not inhale large amounts of any powder or handle them with your bare hands.  Use a shaker and sprinkle close to the floor, or dissolve the carbonate salt in water to use in a spray bottle.

Disclaimer:  This post and blog fall under the heading ‘Personal Experiences’ and is meant to interest, educate and inspire.  All information and instruction is given without the intent to harm or control the reader in any way.



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