I won’t lie – I do think about the dust in my home a lot. A LOT. As someone who gets allergies, it’s a given that I observe the little particles that float in the air when the sun hits them, you know? But I’d never thought about dust testing, until one day Dyson contacted me and offered to do it.
All of this was based off my Dyson Outsize vacuum. It was sent to be as a review model by the brand, and now they were offering to take a sample of dust I hoovered up and send it to a lab to determine what’s actually in my carpets and hanging around on skirting boards.
1. Dust Mites
YUCK. 188 dust mites per gram of dust were found in my carpet sample. None were found on my skirting boards or surfaces, which Dyson say is likely due to dust mites thriving in warm, damp and dark conditions (like carpet, ew) but less so on hard surfaces.
The best way to combat dust mites is to, well, clean. Regularly vacuuming not just your carpets, but your couches, soft furnishings and even your mattress can reduce their food source (YUCK) which then limits their existence.
2. Pet Dander
I have a dog, and she sheds a LOT. When she was a baby puppy my eczema would flare up whenever I was around her, and now I’m starting to think that was to do with “pet dander” as well as her fur – dander is essentially dried flakes of skin, saliva and urine.
Perhaps I’ve gotten immune to hers now, because she doesn’t flare up my eczema anymore, but that doesn’t mean my carpet and surfaces didn’t have plenty of pet hair and dander on them – even though she’s rarely allowed in my room.
Both the floor and surfaces samples showed high levels of pet hair and dander, which is wild – like I said, Millie isn’t really in that room. I assume the particles have accumulated from leaving my clothes on the floor, as well as times she’s snuck in. It’s just interesting to see such high levels even from those few times.
3. Bacteria and Mould
No one wants to find any bacteria or mould in their carpet or on their surfaces, but obviously it’s impossible to avoid it entirely. Still, it scared me a bit to learn that my carpet had 246 live bacteria microbes per plate count, which is confusing but also means LIVE BACTERIA, and 4 microbes of mould. Yuck.
On surfaces, those counts were 230 and 7. So I had more mould spores on the surfaces of my house than the carpet, which feels like a good sign and easier to keep clean. I’ll be ventilating my room a lot more regularly to keep the conditions less suitable for bacteria and mould growth.
4. Other Interesting (and Gross) Stuff
There were medium levels of pollen in my carpet and on my surfaces, which isn’t great considering I get hayfever. I’m not even sure how pollen got into my room, but I assume it’s old and from the (few) times I’ve left my windows open, since they open out to some bushes.
Most interestingly was the discovery of ash and soot – medium levels in my carpet, but high on my surfaces. This is over a year after the bushfires of 2019/2020, by the way – and I don’t have a fireplace in or near my room.
That means the bushfire ash made it into my room, and settled there. For over a year. That really shocked me – even a year after those toxic smoky days in Sydney, I had fallout.
5. Life Lessons
I suppose the biggest lesson I found from these Dyson results was to regularly clean surfaces I don’t usually bother with, like skirting boards, table tops and the like. I get lazy and can’t be bothered decluttering in order to vacuum up dust, but really the results showed some concerning levels on my surfaces, not just in my carpet – especially the high levels of pet hair and ash.
Ventilating my room to lower that bacteria and mould count is also something I’d like to commit to. I don’t really love the idea of bacteria breeding in my carpet and on my tables, thanks.