Dusting tends to be one of those darn tasks that as soon as you are finished, you have to start all over again. Dust comes in many forms and is generated from many different sources. When training employees about dusting in an office building, it helps to explain just what dust is and how to remove it.
What is dust?
It is extremely small substances (many pieces are not visible to the naked eye) that become airborne, travel, and then settle back down to earth, landing on our desks, tables, chairs, window sills, blinds, pretty much any surface you can think of can hold dust. Sand and soil are the most common dust particles but pollen, soot, hair, spoors, mites, fabric fibers, plant material, micro-sized decaying insects, and even dead skin contribute to the make-up of that nasty stuff called dust.
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Why is dusting an office building so important?
Dusting is an essential task your employees need to do in every office building. Visible dust creates an unsightly work space, which people may translate into an image of neglect. In addition to being unappealing, dusty offices can contribute to “sick office syndrome.” A well dusted office building translates a positive and pleasing image to all building visitors and occupants. A clean working environment also encourages neatness, promotes better work habits and can reduce absenteeism.
Dusting is also essential because it improves environmental safety. Accumulated dust can be an irritation to eyes, lungs and skin, and plays havoc with individuals who have allergies. If dust is left to accumulate, it can soil hands, clothing and paper items and also cause damage to electronic equipment. Airborne dust and contaminants can even spread infection. Proper dusting is an important part of effective sanitation practices.
If proper dusting is not done on a regular basis, dust builds up, hardens and becomes thick in corners and hard to reach areas. Dust can stain furniture and cause an unsightly film on glass and hard surfaces. If dust is left long enough on hard surfaces, it can eventually cause permanent discoloration. Accumulation of dust can also interfere with the proper operation of a building’s heating and cooling systems.
To correctly dust office buildings, you should have the following equipment and supplies on hand: microfiber cloths (damp cloth for removing fingerprints and coffee rings, and dry for standard dusting), static dusters, extension dusters (for the hard to reach areas), cotton cloths, furniture polish, all-purpose cleaner, and window cleaner. Back pack vacuums with brush attachments or crevice tools should also be used for getting into hard to reach areas. And of course, personal protection equipment (gloves, glasses, dust mask, etc.)
How often should you dust? Dusting should be done at least weekly, especially on horizontal surfaces. Sides of desks, file cabinets and other vertical surfaces should be dusted once every two to four weeks or as needed. A good general rule to follow is if the surface is above eye level or below knee level; dust it every two to four weeks. Surfaces that are between eye level and knee level should be dusted on a weekly basis.
Following the steps outlined below will make your dusting faster and more effective:
- Dust high surfaces first and work downward. Start at one end of the room and move in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.
- Move objects (phones, paper weights, pictures, etc.), dust under them, and then replace them to their original position. However, desk papers should not be moved. Dust around any papers left on desks or tables. Papers in a pile can be moved slightly so you can dust under and around them unless your customer has instructed you not to disturb any paperwork.
- Do not carelessly flick your dust cloth, static duster or extension duster as you dust. This will only spread the dust, not capture it. Instead, wipe the surface.
- Wipe spots and smudges on walls, desks, etc. with a damp green microfiber cloth as you move throughout the office area. Remember to rinse the cloth when it becomes soiled, using only water.
- When cleaning computer monitors or conference room flat TV screens, use a dry, microfiber cloth and lightly (and I do mean very gently) wipe. Never use paper towels, tissue paper, or window cleaner, they can scratch or damage the screen. If there are finger prints or smudges, you can use antistatic wipes designed for computers and LCD screens. Some offices do not want you to clean either computer screens so be sure to follow your clients’ wishes.
- Dust wood tables and desks with the grain, applying furniture polish per customer’s request. Chairs should be dusted from top to bottom. Start by dusting any trim on top, then the sides and work your way down to the bottom legs.
- When dusting blinds, first dust across the top. Then close the blinds and dust the entire surface. Close blinds to the other side and dust the newly exposed surface area. Another way to dust blinds is to use a back pack vacuum with a brush attachment.
- In hallways and corridors, make sure to dust fire doors, fire extinguishers, exit signs, bars on exit doors, door frames/jambs, hand rails, light switches, show cases, and any other horizontal/vertical surfaces.
- Make sure to dust any areas where dust can accumulate, such as clocks, picture frames, cabinet tops and sides, the sides of desks, partitions, air vents, lights, baseboards, and window sills. If there is a surface, dust will accumulate.
- Use a back pack vacuum to remove dust and clean hard to reach areas and upholstered furniture.
Proper dusting will help to ensure that your office buildings have a neat and tidy appearance. Dusting is necessary to ensure a clean building and healthy work environment. Paying attention to details and your surroundings while dusting will help guarantee a satisfied customer every time!