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How to Avoid Dusting

by Rebecca Reynolds

While fall cleaning at home I decided to take down the decorative knickknacks above my cabinets, which looked dusty even from my eye level. I pulled out my ladder and climbed up to take everything down. The amount of dirt and dust up there was amazing! How do I keep that area clean and avoid the weekly dusting?
-Dusty in Denver
Dear Dusty,
You have taken the first big step by getting on the ladder and removing all items from above your cabinets. The next step is cleaning them with a solution of half a cup of white distilled vinegar, three cups of water, and one tablespoon dish soap (I suggest a natural product without artificial colors or synthetic fragrances). Place the solution in your kitchen sink and wash plates and knickknacks with a damp soft cloth. Then rinse and dry as usual.
Wash the tops of the cabinets with the same mixture, and dry thoroughly. The vinegar will help remove the grease that may be present from steaming, grilling, and frying foods.
Once the top of the cabinets are clean, take a roll of waxed paper and apply sheets to the tops of the cabinet covering all areas (but not where top lighting is in place). You won’t see the waxed paper from the ground, but it will save you from ever having to chip away at greasy cabinet tops again. Simply remove the paper twice yearly and place fresh paper down. You can even compost the used paper so that there is never any waste. Just time savings and clean cabinets.
Consider placing easy to clean items above your cabinets. Choose large decorative platters or vases that can be used regularly and cleaned with little work. Or have a mural painted on the wall above the cabinets and have something wonderful to look at without ever having to clean dusty pieces again.
The best way to keep the dust level down in your kitchen is to decrease the moisture. You can do this by turning on the exhaust fan while cooking, running a dehumidifier, or opening a window. Dust attaches to moisture and grease so limiting your frying is not only good for your health but also reduces your cleaning time. Steaming, boiling, and in general cook-stove preparation creates moisture in the air. Trapping that moisture before it has time to settle on your flat surfaces will result in a cleaner home. Of course, eating out (especially restaurants that serve organic, locally grown foods) is not only good for reducing your cleaning load, but also is justified by its positive impact on the environment.
Happy dust reducing dining!
– Rebecca Reynolds, Otherwise known as Ms. Green Clean, Rebecca writes the “Green Clean Advice” column for Organic Spa Magazine. She is based in Rocky River, Ohio.

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