Dust Bunnies, Cobwebs, Pet Hair, Oh My!

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Isn’t it embarrassing when guests are at your house and you notice an intricate spider web draped in the corner? (That definitely was NOT there yesterday.) Or what about the dust bunnies you see under the couch while searching for the missing remote control? (Those definitely were NOT there yesterday.) Cobwebs, dust bunnies, pet hair tumbleweeds – they seem to appear overnight and out of nowhere.

Where do they come from?

This article on StraightDope.com credits journalist Penny Ward Moser for doing some serious research on dust bunnies back in the mid-1980s. In writing a piece for Discover magazine, she sent dust bunnies from her home out for laboratory analysis. Turns out, dust bunnies consist of “any number of things, including pet and human hairs, pillow feathers, insect parts, clothing bits and other fibers, soil, mold spores, meteor dust, pollen and yeast.”

Moser also found dust bunnies often form under the bed because of the “still air pockets” – little air circulation under your bed gives them a great place to form in peace. Chances are you’ll also find dust bunnies in ducts and vents where they are blown in by air currents. They also tend to stick to spider webs. Regular vacuuming will help with dust bunnies. Move the furniture and try leaving the windows open on a cooler day to help with air circulation – remember, still air = dust bunnies.

“Dust bunnies consist of  pet and human hair, pillow feathers, insect parts, clothing bits, soil, mold spores, meteor dust, pollen, and yeast.”

Also, knocking out the spider webs in your house will keep the dust bunnies and pet hair tumbleweeds under control because they have nowhere to “stick.” Cobwebs tend to gather in corners and ceilings where little spiders can hang out unnoticed or that don’t get as thorough of a cleaning when we’re rushing to run the vacuum cleaner. A broom is the easiest tool for clearing webs. You also can put a microfiber towel over the end of the broom and then toss the towel in the washing machine.

Also, use the vacuum attachment to clean corners, and then be sure to empty the filter or change the bag in case any spiders survived the suction and may try to escape later. Be sure to move the furniture when cleaning – it doesn’t do you much good to clean the corners and then leave the webs behind the couch. And should a stray dust bunny float across the floor when company arrives, you can always say, “That definitely was NOT there yesterday.”


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