The ‘invisible cleaning’ a Dyson expert says we should all be doing – but are you?

And for very good reason it appears, because dust is an indication it's already too late

Aren't we all guilty of dusting only when we see the dust? According to the experts of Dyson, at this point it's already too late. We should be carrying out 'invisible cleaning' to prevent the dust accumulating because at that point there are already hidden nasties lurking.

More on cleaning: Are we vacuuming all wrong? Leading experts reveal how to get best results

'At the point when you can see dust in your house, it's already too late' warns Gem McLuckie, Lead Research Scientist in Microbiology at Dyson. 'You need to be cleaning your home even at the point when you can't see, it's about cleaning the invisible to keep allergen levels low.'

Bedroom with white door women and vaccum cleaner

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dyson)

'Dust is a complex matrix of organic matter' Gem explains. 'The dust that you can see is largely made up of skin flakes, hair and larger particles. But it's the dust that you can't see that tends to impact people's wellbeing more.'  This as Gem explains is 'Bacteria, mould, pollen and allergens and of particular interest is dust mite allergen. So there's a lot of components in our dust that can cause people problems, but specifically dust mite allergens.'

It's now dust mite season, meaning it's the time of the year when we could potentially be sleeping in a bed full of them. So what exactly are they?

What are dust mites and where do they live?

'Dust mites are living, breathing, breeding creatures that live in your home,' she explains. She does point out they are microscopic and can't actually harm you as such, it's their fecal matter which is the problem – as that is what causes the allergens. 'They thrive in warm, dark, damp places and you'll find them in the places you spend the most time but clean the least' so places like your mattress, your sofa, hiding in your curtains and even in your pet' bedding'.

So Gem warns that we should be cleaning before we can see the dust, because that is what appeals to the dust mites and gives them a source to feed on. All very grim reading, but it's happening in our homes so we need to be aware of it.

Living room with vaccum cleaner women and sofa set with cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dyson)

'There have been studies to show that exposure to dust mite allergen can catalyse things like asthma, if exposed in early childhood. So just because you don't have a dust mite allergy doesn't mean that you never will'

'They thrive best at 75 per cent humidity, 25 degrees but that  doesn't mean in cooler dryer places they can't survive and thrive' she warns. 'Just raising your humidity levels for an hour and half each day is enough for them to survive in your home. That can be simple things like having a hot shower without on extractor fan or cooking without an extractor fan on.'

So be mindful of keeping humidity levels low to help reduce the amount of dust mites, but get cleaning the invisible dust to stop them all together. Of course having a vacuum cleaner with a good filtration system, to ensure the dust mites and dust mite faeces aren’t being pumped back into the home when vacuuming is a good place to start.

The Dyson V11 has a fully sealed filtration system and can remove 99.97 per cent of particles as small as 0.3 microns expelling cleaner air into the home. 

Related: Dame Helen Mirren declares this cleaning product her favourite – as she cleans during lockdown!

I'm off now, to vacuuming every single surface in my home for the rest of the day. Shudder.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.