Dusting is an essential step for every home cleaning session and this is no exception for our part time maids at Homefresh. Usually, when we get to this step, our clients will bring out their favorite feather dusters and offer it to our cleaners. 80% of the time, we respectfully decline because the feather duster that they have is just simply ineffective and even counter productive. So we’ve decided to write an article to share what feather dusters are effective, why they are effective, and how using the wrong duster can be detrimental! Read on to find out more.


What types of feather dusters are effective?

feather duster for cleaning

In a word, if you want to use feather dusters in your home, you should be using the ostrich down feather duster. The chicken feather duster may be great at beating up baddies in Ip Man but isn’t all that great when it comes to dusting, and the synthetic plastic dusters fare even worse.


Why only the ostrich down feather dusters?

ostrich vs chicken feathersWhat enables a feather duster to trap and collect dust are the tiny barbules on the feathers. You can basically think of them as the mini-feathers that make up each feather. Look at the ostrich one on the left – they are like furry little fingers that are perfect for collecting and trapping dust. One the other hand, the barbules on the chicken feather are straight and smooth, which makes it difficult for them to gather and retain dust. Synthetic dusters where each filament is made of smooth plastic are even more ineffective.


Why shouldn’t I keep using my current feather duster

1. It is going to get a lot more passes to remove that bit of dust
2. When you do get that dust off your furniture, it goes straight to the floor. For an ostrich down duster that gets caught in the feathers and you can shake it out at the end of the session by tapping it against a solid surface
3. It really gets dust particles into the air. As if the haze in Singapore wasn’t enough!


The Bottom Line on What Makes an Effective Duster.

At the end of the day, the most effective feather dusters are the ones that have the greatest number of fibers per unit of surface area. Think of these fibers as a net. With smaller and closer knit fibers, the net is tighter with smaller gaps so less dust particles are able to pass between the fibers. The smaller gaps between the fibers also enables the dust to remain trapped in the space between the fibers, which prevents them from getting into the air and becoming irritants that eventually just settle back down onto the surfaces you just painstakingly dusted!


Fun Facts about Feather Dusters

1. The largest manufacturer of ostrich feather dusters is in South Africa
2. The feather duster was invented by a woman named Susan Hibbard in the U.S. But due to gender discrimination, it was attributed to her husband Ron Hibbard instead. It took a hard fought legal battle for Susan to be again recognized as the inventor of the feather duster.


Editor’s Note:

After showing this to our readers, we got the tip that microfiber dusters can also be very effective as a home dusting solution. We did a little more research and confirmed that due to the small and close knit fibers they are also quite effective at trapping dust. So in case your neighborhood market doesn’t have beautiful ostrich down dusters, microfiber ones come in a close second!