proof that very dusty surfaces are bad
September 19, 2019 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I've been trying to find an article or reference showing that a giant layer of dust on stuff will lead to poor air quality. I need to give some proof or reference to a super-logical but otherwise rather intelligent and receptive person.

Just moved into a new place. Landlord had it cleaned, but cleaner missed a LOT. There is a ton of dust around woodwork on floor and thick (white turned medium-gray) layers on top of high surfaces, cabinets, door frames, picture rail. Landlord will listen to my case that it should be cleaned.

I'm making a list, he's semi-receptive, but ALSO thought it would be OK to "kill" but not remove a very large area of old mildew in a cabinet. The handyman easily persuaded him that we then wouldn't be able to see new mildew growth, but then had to spend HOURS cleaning that instead of handyman-ing.

I made it clear before I moved in that I cared about cleanliness. I think his "really great" cleaner let him down, or he doesn't know how to manager them. I found him personally cleaning the ceiling fans right before I moved in. He said explicitly that under the refrigerator would be cleaned (not sure about that - still need to check).

I've put off promised painting because I made it clear that I mainly wanted stuff CLEAN.

I have air purifiers. I have a dehumidifier. This landlord seems happy that I'm a clean person. I haven't bugged him too much, and I warned him that this list was coming.

In case you're thinking: just do it myself. It would take me over a day and some other expenses to do this myself -- and I DO NOT HAVE TIME. I'm not in favor of feather-dustering it; these high surfaces need damp-wiping and/or vacuuming since my stuff is directly under it now.

I think the floor was cleaned with only vinegar - for a move-in, maybe something stronger would be good? There is definitely grime coming off of areas where I haven't walked. Should I ask for some kind of crevice-between-the-wood-boards cleaning? Does that exist?

I'm putting together a bunch of gross-out photos to send him all together in a document. I'd like to be able to offer something other than COMMON SENSE that leaving all this dust around is not good. Any references for me?
posted by amtho to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Home Allergy Management from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:04 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would just say "Hey Leon, there are a lot of areas in the unit that still have quite a lot of dust and grime, and I have bad allergies. I could send photos if that's helpful. Would you be able to reimburse the cost of a cleaning service? I priced out two in our area, and Company has great reviews and charges $200 for a 4 hour deep-clean. Would you cover the cost if I call them in? I could deduct the $200 from next month's rent and keep a receipt for you."

A deep clean before you move in isn't unreasonable, and $200 is a pretty small amount for most landlords. He might be more willing than you expect- are you sure you'll need to persuade him that hard? He already knows his cleaner did a shitty job, he certainly doesn't want to do it, and since he doesn't want to do it he probably will understand that you don't want to, either (plus, allergies).
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:05 PM on September 19, 2019 [9 favorites]

I agree that you should seek out a better cleaning service, then petition the landlord to pay for it. Unfortunately for you a lot of tenants just don’t care about dust in the way that you do and I think that’s probably why your landlord has seemed only semi-receptive. Presenting a sheaf of pictures of dusty door frames probably isn’t going to fire him up in the way you want it to.
posted by stinkfoot at 7:59 PM on September 19, 2019

Y'all are assuming that he already knows that dust is bad. I'm not sure he does. He may just assume (logically, for him) that it's only bad if you can _see_ it. I just want to show that it's bad even if you can't see it.

I'm not allergic to dust -- but it's bad for everyone, even if they're not allergic. I just need to show that.
posted by amtho at 8:20 PM on September 19, 2019

2nding stinkfoot. You may think he'll be persuaded by pictures of various dusty surfaces. Based on your mildew example, he probably doesn't think it's bad and won't be moved by those photos at all. Just give your landlord an easy way to solve the issue to your liking - pseudostrabismus's suggestion above is excellent. If you're not allergic, you can say you're "sensitive" to dust, which is just a way to add some weight to the matter.
posted by gakiko at 11:43 PM on September 19, 2019

The thing is - he may think that since it's in inaccessible locations, no one would ever interact with it. I basically need a way to show vividly that even dust that's [in a very thick layer] way on top of the high kitchen cabinets still affects the air.
posted by amtho at 12:13 AM on September 20, 2019

I don't think it's really a case of having to make a persuasive argument about health or hygiene. I agree with the others, the persuasive argument here is on convenience. If he's convinced by the science anyway, he still needs to sort out the cleaning arrangement.
posted by cendawanita at 4:04 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I can handle making it convenient - I've already got a handle on that. I'm not assuming "he's convinced by the science anyway". That's what my question is about.
posted by amtho at 9:50 AM on September 20, 2019

1) Honestly, this sounds in line with how clean apartments I have moved into have been. It sucks, but that's renting for you.

2) I say this as a scientist: most people aren't convinced by scientific research. Your landlord's house is probably this dusty and he's fine with it. The mildew thing shows that he only barely cares about properly maintaining his property. He probably does care about having a tenant who will stick around for a while and pay rent on time, so that's where you're arguing from. "I've been sniffly since moving in (and might leave over it)" is more compelling than "Yachats and Prine 2008 says that household dust..."
posted by momus_window at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

« Older How does money work?   |   English MP = American _______? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.