are you in love with a feather duster?
December 13, 2023 5:01 AM   Subscribe

I am looking to banish household dust in the most enjoyable way possible. Do you have a feather duster you are madly in love with? Please share if so! A few reqs below.

I am so tired of household dust. I have never had, and don't really understand, feather dusters, but I think I probably need one. I am happy to swish and flit about on a daily or weekly basis, but I don't know what kind of feather duster I'm looking for.

I vacuum, but just floors. I barely do anything vacuumy/dusty above floor level. Obvs I wet-wipe surfaces, but usually around things that accumulate dust Also I can't wet wipe the tops of books.

I guess I want something that can brush around some delicate objects, picture frames, tops of many many books, bed headboard, maybe the occasional corner cobweb. Maybe something with an extendable handle for tall places?

I probably don't need anything too heavy duty as I'm in a relatively small modern flat, and it probably needs to be able to be stored in a small space.

I'd like it to be trivial to clean (and how should I clean it? advice very welcome!)

I saw FlyLady's ostrich feather duster recently which looks good, but I'm based in the UK and can't get it here. It also doesn't have an extendable handle, but maybe that's ok?

Nothing too crazy expensive but I'm happy to put down Money for the Right One.

Thank you so much in advance for helping me to feather duster. I probably should have learned this years ago. Other anti-dust tips very welcome also.
posted by starcrust to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My best dust advice is to change the filter on your furnace every 3 months (maybe not possible in a flat) and get an air filter that you run 24 hours a day (in every room if possible). Unfortunately I have no feather duster advice as we damp wipe everything (except books - but we do periodically move the books and damp wipe their shelves).

We have our house cleaned every 2 weeks and they wipe down all our shelves and decor and window sills etc and that helps. I do baseboards, trim, doors, top of the fridge, etc 2x a year.
posted by amaire at 6:14 AM on December 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

Would you consider a Swiffer Duster?
posted by jennypower at 6:26 AM on December 13, 2023 [13 favorites]

Best answer: 100% endorsement of the OXO delicate duster. The duster head is detachable, washable and (eventually) replaceable. I say this as someone who is aggressively allergic to dust mites and has always struggled to stay on top of dusting in a way that doesn't just immediately seal up my lungs and eyes. THe fibers on this thing really grab on to dust and hold it in place. A wash cleans it out perfectly, and then it air dries remarkably fast.

I have a Roomba and I am stunned in myself when I tell people that I feel like it's saved me from one of many routine drudgeries. When it's running, it takes about 35 minutes to go through my entire little flat. When it starts up, I grab this OXO duster and get to work, because it feels like we're a dust-banishing team. 20ish minutes of dusting 2-3 times per week, plus the little ROomba's hard work, and I feel like my place is impossibly free of dust.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 6:32 AM on December 13, 2023 [11 favorites]

Not feathers but i fell hard for this goat hair dust brush from a long running handmade brush company from germany called Redecker. mine has a long wooden pole (like arm's length, but you can get shorter i am pretty sure) and there are 2 holes on the head of the brush itself so you can sorta angle the brush in a couple different ways.

I like it because you can kinda comb the dust out and shake it off.

I will say i was dusting the top of the fridge at my BFs house the other day (with a wet paper towel, like a doof, made it worse) and he told me about his method, which is just to use the swiffer cloths as hand dusting clothes. I was so astounded at how well they work i dusted his venetian blinds.
posted by wowenthusiast at 6:35 AM on December 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

Not a feather duster, and no extendable handle, but I quite like the Damp Duster from the Scrub Daddy brand.
posted by mosst at 6:48 AM on December 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

I vacuum, but just floors

My personal recommendation is a wheeled shop vac (or similar, like a Henry in the UK) with an extra-long hose that lets you vacuum higher-up things without fatigue, and some nice attachments. But admittedly that is a pretty different user experience to a feather duster.

Still, watching dust disappear like magic is very enjoyable to me!
posted by trig at 6:51 AM on December 13, 2023

In my experience, feather dusters mostly move the dust off of the surface and into the air. Wool dusters are ergonomically similar to feather dusters but the wool does a much better job of grabbing and holding the dust until you shake it out. Also, washable. (Link above is not a recommendation, just the first thing I found on Google (though the prices do seem reasonable).)
posted by bricoleur at 6:56 AM on December 13, 2023 [5 favorites]

I like Oxo’s whole line of dusters (I have the regular hand duster and the extendable, plus a bunch of the extra “refill” heads). They do a good job of capturing dust rather than just dispersing it into the air, and slide off easily so they can be tossed in the washing machine.

Other things that make a large difference in our old apartment in a polluted downtown: replacing HVAC filters monthly, running air purifiers 24/7, putting glass doors on all our bookshelves (we have A LOT of books and tchotchkes and dusting them felt like a part-time job), and sealing around the edges of our windows with that foam weatherstripping tape. I also keep a little stack of generic microfiber cloths tucked away in most rooms, so that if I spot a dusty surface or a clump of dust (or cat hair, natch) I can capture it with a quick swipe without having to go to the closet and pull out the actual duster. A little rechargeable hand vacuum is also useful for spot cleaning.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 7:47 AM on December 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: First, I recently bought this feather duster for 14$ US from Amazon, and it is totally fine. I really don't think they need to be fancy.


Here is some information about feather dusters which people don't always realize.
I often hear people complaining that feather dusters don't actually CLEAN anything, but just knock dust around. This is actually how they are supposed to work. The idea is that you use the duster to remove the dust from delicate items without taking them off of their shelves etc. and then sweep or vacuum it up off the floor.
From Wikipedia:

Feather dusters serve the same function as soft brooms or brushes, except that they are only meant to remove loose superficial dust from delicate surfaces (such as paintings and papercrafts) or around fragile items (such as porcelain and glassware)

The idea is to disrupt the dust without damaging fragile things, to avoid having to actually get in and clean and wipe accumulated grime and risk damaging stuff.
posted by TheCoug at 7:47 AM on December 13, 2023 [8 favorites]

My vacuum is my duster. Just pop on the dust tool and the dust goes into the vacuum and stays there due to the HEPA filter. I use it on books, tall window sills and door frames, around the banisters, on the lamps, the TV. Works great.
posted by brookeb at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

I second the recommendation of getting an air filter. After I scattered a few high quality HEPA air filter machines through my house, I was amazed at how much less dusting I had to do. They really do make a huge difference.

I have a hard time using feather dusters because I'm allergic to dust and they way feather dusters stir dust into the air really sets my allergies off and makes me miserable while cleaning and really even for hours afterward (even when I dust first and vacuum second). So I use a Swiffer duster, which works REALLY well to trap dust as it cleans, but it is disposable and as far as I can tell made of plastic, which I feel guilty about. I wish I could find something that works as well as a Swiffer but is also washable and reusable. The air filters I use really do cut down a lot on the frequency of dusting required though, so it's not like I'm tossing a Swiffer duster refill out every week.
posted by BlueJae at 8:32 AM on December 13, 2023

Best answer: A feather duster? Ooooh, kinky!

If you're dusting I'd go with a swiffer or a wool duster. Not as exciting, but they don't just knock dust into the air where it hangs for a while and then redistributes.

I use a Swiffer, because it hangs on to the dust until you shake it or vacuum it out. I hate that you need replacement dusters eventually, but you don't have to buy the plastic handle each time, and you are truly throwing the dirt away with the dirty duster. The wool dusters can be shaken out or vacuumed out also, and that extends their lifetime. Eventually though, they get gross. You can wash them in woolite and cold water, but they never seem to hold the dust as well.

Seconding changing filters on a regular basis and getting an air purifier. I'm astounded that it takes so much dirt and animal hair out of circulation!
posted by BlueHorse at 11:03 AM on December 13, 2023

The Oxo dusters are great.

I finally had a maid service come and they actually moved my furniture and cleaned behind and under everything. I was amazed at how long my place remained relatively dust free after that (I do have cats). It is easy to forget that air currents will pull dust out of everywhere, so I recommend doing a deep clean.
posted by miscbuff at 11:19 AM on December 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone. I've marked the answers as "best" the ones I'm going to specifically follow up something from, but these were all really helpful, and super comforting to know that everyone struggles with dust not just me!
posted by starcrust at 4:48 AM on December 14, 2023

I have a Muji brand Microfiber Mini Duster and have been using it for about a year. It folds itself into a neat and very compact container. It's washable. It extends just enough to get hard to reach areas. You can purchase replacement brushes. It removes dust from things. 5 stars.
posted by UN at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2023

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