The Mary Petersen Foundation

Easy Ways to Get Rid of Dust in Your Home

It can be tough to keep the house clean, especially when it comes to dust since it can settle anywhere and everywhere.  Below, we’ll look at a few ways to help minimize this nuisance that is not only unsightly, but also can lead to problems with allergies.



Doormats can be an excellent way to keep too much outside dust from getting into the house in the first place.  Even when family members and guests don’t make a concerted effort to wipe their feet, much of the dust they’re tracking in on their shoes can be captured by a doormat, especially one that’s at least a little bristly.  Just make sure you get doormats (for inside and outside each exterior door) that can be vacuumed, machine washed, or hosed off easily and that you actually do clean them regularly.


If allergies or respiratory issues are a major concern in your home, carpet can definitely be one of your worst enemies.  Unless you’re prepared to vacuum daily with a high-quality vacuum cleaner, it’s just about impossible to keep carpets dust-free.  This dust gets stirred up with every step.  Whatever kind of flooring you have, regular cleaning is a must.  A good vacuum cleaner can help with carpets and rugs as well as hard floors.



When vacuuming, don’t forget about upholstery.  Dust in the air can settle on every kind of surface, and the dust we carry in (or create–dead skin accounts for a significant percentage of household dust) will be left behind wherever we sit.  Dusting hard furniture surfaces is necessary, too.  Using a good vacuum cleaner with attachments (like small brushes) can be great for entertainment centers, coffee tables, etc., in addition to sofas and chairs.


Getting dust covers for your pillows and mattresses is another way to help keep dust from building up.  Even sheets and pillowcases can’t keep all dust out of mattresses and pillows.  Dust covers are designed to be impermeable.  Just be sure you wash these covers regularly, too.  Comforters, duvet covers, quilts, and such can be tougher to wash and dry regularly, but they can also definitely collect dust.  Vacuuming these bed covers between washings can help.



If you have pets, you might consider putting old towels or blankets on their favorite sleeping spots.  Even if your pets only ever sleep in their designated beds, covering these beds with an old sheet is a good idea since old sheets (or towels, etc.) are usually a lot easier to clean than pet beds.  Regular grooming is the best way to keep pet-related dust to a minimum.  Keeping litter boxes covered also helps control dust (and odors).



You can get an air purifier to help remove dust from your air.  For maximum coverage, you might be better off with two or more smaller models placed throughout the house than spending big bucks on a single model.  Keeping windows closed is a good way to keep outside dust from getting inside.  If you can’t resist letting in some fresh air on nice days, positioning air purifiers near open windows can help.  Regularly changing the filter(s) in your furnace or central AC is another key to keeping your air clean.


While the above tips can’t prevent dust from creeping in altogether and don’t represent everything you can do, they certainly can minimize the invasion and buildup.  This can also make your regular cleaning sessions easier and much more effective.

Author | Ron Petersen Comments | Comments Off Date | April 1, 2017

How to Soothe Your Asthma Symptoms at Home

If you or a family member suffers from asthma, you know how scary a major asthma attack can be.  While major attacks are certainly your biggest concern, the milder symptoms of asthma can definitely be a disruptive force in your life.  Here, we’ll look at a few simple steps you can take that could help manage your symptoms on a daily basis, which could make major attacks less frequent.


Clear the air

Getting a HEPA air purifier can be an excellent way to remove dust and other allergens from the air in your home.  Make sure you buy enough units and position them appropriately to cover as much square footage as possible.  You also have to stay on top of keeping the units and their filters clean.


Those with asthma know that cigarette smoke (first- or secondhand) is bad news, but many don’t realize that fireplace smoke and even cooking smoke can irritate airways, too.  It’s probably best for asthmatics to avoid wood-burning fireplaces.  When cooking, keep stovetop hood exhaust fans running if you have them.


Keeping the humidity level in your home in the 30 to 50% range is ideal for most asthmatics.  If you live in an area that’s exceedingly arid, you might benefit from a humidifier since drier air tends to lead to drier and more easily irritated airways.  On the flip side, if you live someplace that’s excessively humid, a dehumidifier could help you breathe easier since high humidity provides a great breeding ground for dust mites, mold, and mildew.  Speaking of dust mites, keeping them under control is critical to controlling asthma symptoms for many.  Wash bedding in hot water (at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit) once a week and vacuum regularly with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.



Pets can certainly trigger allergic and asthmatic responses in many people.  If you have pets and asthma, it’s essential that you groom your pets daily to help minimize the shedding of hair and dander.  Consider wearing a mask if being this close to your pet causes any symptoms at all.  Keeping your distance from kitty litter can also help manage your symptoms.



Believe it or not, a hot cup of coffee or tea might help manage asthma symptoms.  Caffeine’s chemical structure resembles that of theophylline, a drug often used to relax airway muscles.  Just don’t drink caffeine before any pulmonary function testing since it can affect the results.  Making sure you get enough magnesium, either from your diet alone or via supplements in addition to diet, has been shown to help control asthma symptoms for many people.  Many asthma sufferers have also discovered that certain personal hygiene items, like body washes or even toothpaste, can worsen asthma symptoms.  If it seems that you notice any worsening of breathing or an increase in wheezing while getting ready for work or bed, try changing out your personal-care items one at a time and see if one or more of them might be a trigger for you.


While this list certainly doesn’t represent all of things you can do to manage your asthma symptoms and absolutely should not supercede any instructions or advice given to you by your physician, including the taking of prescription medications, they have proven to be effective asthma-management tools for many asthma sufferers.

Author | Ron Petersen Comments | Comments Off Date | March 31, 2017

The Best Air Purifiers for Keeping Your Home Clean and Allergen-Free

If you have trouble with allergies or breathing issues, you might understand better than most the benefits of keeping the air in your home as clean as possible.  From everyday dust and dirt to pet dander, it seems like allergic triggers are everywhere.  While regular grooming of pets along with diligent dusting and vacuuming can certainly be a huge help, there will still be particles in the air that can irritate your sinuses and breathing passages.  A quality air purifier can be a great tool for managing these allergens.  Finding the right one for your home can be a little easier if you understand a bit about how they work.

Air purifiers work in a manner similar to vacuum cleaners.  There’s a motor that powers a fan that creates suction.  This suction draws air into the unit.  One or more filters or an alternate electronic capturing system snag even the most miniscule particles in that air and then send the cleaned air back into the room.


If pet dander is a concern, make sure that any filtration system or device is capable of capturing particles at least as small as 2.5 microns.  A HEPA or HEPA-equivalent filter system is more than capable of handling particles this small (and quite a bit smaller).  Many air purifiers use traditional filters, but some employ ionization or UV light.  There doesn’t seem to be a ton of hard evidence to indicate that “advanced” cleaning systems (like UV light or ionization) actually do a better job than traditional filters, so don’t feel like you have to spend the extra money on one of these models to get the best quality.  In addition to not necessarily doing a better job than traditional filters, many of these fancier models tend to require more maintenance than their “regular” counterparts.  This is especially true of models that trap dust and other particles on some sort of plate or rod.  These surfaces have to be cleaned much more often than traditional filters.  No matter which type of air purifier you choose, it’s important to follow cleaning and maintenance instructions in order to keep the machine functioning properly.


When shopping for your new air purifier, it’s important to know how much square footage you want to cover.  Different models will be rated to handle different air volumes.  There’s really no need to pay extra for a unit that will handle more square footage than you have.  It’s also worth noting that an air purifier tucked into a corner of a bedroom might be rated for a much larger area, but it’s not really practical to expect an air purifier behind a bedroom door at one end of the house to effectively clean the air at the other end of the house.  Instead of spending top dollar for a unit that handles as much square footage as your home contains, it might be wiser (and less expensive) to invest in two or more smaller models that you can place strategically throughout the house. Find yours from these best small air purifier reviews.

Another thing to keep in mind as you shop for an air purifier is that these machines can definitely help keep the air in your home cleaner, but they can’t replace regular vacuuming and dusting.  Quality models can keep a good deal of dust from settling onto floors, carpets, and other surfaces, but they can’t remove whatever dust does manage to settle.  If you notice that certain areas start collecting less dust than others, you might just need to tweak the positioning of your air purifier(s).  For the cleanest air possible, combine one or more air purifiers with a diligent vacuuming and dusting routine.


As far as cost goes, you should probably plan to spend at least $200 for a high-quality air purifier.  There are models that cost as little as $50, but these units don’t tend to be the best performers for larger areas.  At the low end, you might find models that can handle small areas (under 500 square feet) adequately, but you’re also very likely to have issues with longevity if you want to be able to run the units around the clock.


Having cleaner air when working is also a must and can help with productivity. So it’s best to shop for the best air purifier for your office.

Author | Ron Petersen Comments | Comments Off Date | April 9, 2017
  • About the Foundation

    The Mary Petersen Foundation was founded by the late Mary Peterson's children, Ron and Jill. Mary suffered from asthma her entire life, and Ron and Jill are dedicated to looking for new and innovative solutions to treat and prevent asthma. Interested in learning more? Please contact Ron at Thank you!