How To Prevent Dust From Collecting on Your Desk

Nobody likes a dusty desk. We can always clean it off, but we don’t like doing that too often either.

In this article, we will talk about how you can clean less by preventing that dust from landing on your desk in the first place.

aothia desk shelf with ultrawide monitor on desk

Key Takeaways

  • Dust on your desk is inevitable, but we can certainly reduce it.
  • Most dust comes from the outside world, so close your windows on windy days.
  • You can reduce the dust in the air by keeping your floors and other furniture clean. 
  • Dust easily lands on your desk when it is stirred up in the air.
  • Prevent even more dust by using an air purifier and dust-repellent spray cleaners

Why Do Desks Get So Dusty?

If you don’t have any high-tech HVAC systems, dust build-up is pretty much unavoidable, and resistance is futile. 

Dust is mainly composed of dirt, fabric fibers, and also skin cells – gross. There is also a lot more that can contribute to dust, but that varies based on your environment.

With that being said, it’s clear that dust is always present in our homes. The outdoors can always bring in more dust, and by moving around, we stir it up. 

Desks are large surfaces that make a nice landing pad for all the dust in the air. That’s mainly how desks get so dusty. To prevent dust from collecting on our desks, we have to reduce the dust that is in the air.

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How Dust Gets In The Air

Whenever we open doors and windows or walk through the house, we bring in more dust and stir it up. If you live in a breezy area or you love having the windows open, you probably have more dust in your home.

As you walk through the house, you unknowingly kick up all that feather-light dust that comes in, and it has to land somewhere. Your desk is a nice large surface for these dust particles to land on.

Now that you know how our desks get so dusty, let’s talk about the best preventable methods you can start today to reduce the dust on your desk.

Prevent Dust From Collecting On Your Desk

1) Clean Your Floors

A much larger surface that catches way more dust than your desk is your floor.  This is where most of the dust is lying.

As you walk around your house or apartment, you unintentionally kick up all that dust because it’s super lightweight. 

When you reduce the levels of dust on your floor, you reduce the amount of dust that gets kicked up into the air. Thus, you reduce the amount of dust that lands on your desk! 

Try to keep your floors clean as much as possible. You will see a difference in the dust on your desk if there is less on the floor. 

This is especially true if your desk is near a door that people use often. Dirt and dust are constantly dragged into your home from entrances. Most people likely have more dirt near their doors than anywhere else in the house. 

If you are near a door, or if you see a ton of dirt accumulating by any of your doors, consider the following.

No-Shoe Policy

Start a no-shoe policy. Take off your shoes when you get in or leave them outside. 

Walking throughout your house with your shoes from outside is a sure way to bring dirt into the house. Remember, whatever’s on the floor and is light enough to fly around can end up on your desk. 

Use Doormats

Add a doormat on the outside of your door or on the inside. Better yet, both! These encourage you or guests to do a quick brush before walking into the house. 

That means more dirt stays outside without any active labor!

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Consider A Robo-Vac

To make this extremely passive, invest in a fancy robot vacuum that cleans the floors for you.

There are some great budget-friendly options these days. Here is a robo-vac buying guide from Tom’s Guide. 

Robot vacuums – isn’t it great living in the 21st century?!

2) Close Your Windows & Doors

Fresh air is nice and all, but unfortunately, the fact is that open windows and doors can introduce more dust into the house. 

Breezes, local construction, leaf blowers, etc.; are a few examples of why opening doors and windows to the outside world can introduce a ton of dust.

This is especially true if your neighborhood has a number of dirt lots nearby. Or if you just live in a desert environment.

You don’t have to board up your house like a storm is coming though. My advice is to just reduce the amount of time your doors and windows stay open.

Choose to keep windows closed on windy days, construction days, and whenever the neighborhood gardeners are working. Keeping windows closed during the high dust hours will reduce the amount of dust you introduce in the house. 

3) Consider a HEPA Air Filter By Your Desk

I would highly recommend placing a replaceable HEPA air filter next to your desk.

That stirred-up dust floating in the air and trying to land on your desk will instead be pulled in by your air filter. Not only will it be pulled toward your filter, away from your desk, but the dust will actually be trapped in the filter. 

That means each minute the filter is turned on, less dust will be circulating in your house overall!

Here is the HEPA filter I use, thank goodness it came in black!

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HEPA Specific Filters Are Critical

No matter what air purifier you get, just make sure it has a HEPA filter. HEPA is an acronym for “high-efficiency particulate air” filter. HEPA filters are able to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns

For reference, human hair is about 50 microns in diameter. So a HEPA filter can filter out particles 100 times smaller than a human hair! That’s why HEPA-rated filters are so important. 

Active carbon and other types of purifiers are great too, but the cost can start adding up if you get all the bells and whistles. A basic HEPA air filter will make a difference and cost a bit less, around $50 or so. 

There are also tons of benefits to having cleaner air in your home. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, you’re going to feel those benefits with an air purifier. 

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One of these powered air filters right next to your desk will significantly reduce the amount of dust floating in the air, and thus the amount of dust that lands on your desk. 

When you get one, try placing it in different positions for a week or so. See how much dust gets trapped in the filter at each location. That way you can zone in on the high-dust areas around your desk and get the most effective air clean. 

4) Don’t Use Electronic Air Blowers!

I see air blowers being recommended as a desk cleaning method all the time. Do not use compressed air or electronic air blowers at your desk!

We’ve been emphasizing that the dust stirred up into the air is the main culprit of dust on our desks. All air blowers do is push all that dust back up into the air. It’s super counterproductive. 

If you need to use compressed air or an air blower to get dirt out of certain devices, such as your keyboard or your computer, do that outside. A ton of dust can be trapped in those devices and blowing air here is a sure way to get a ton more dust in the air and on your table. 

Do yourself a favor and don’t use any type of air blower indoors. 

5) Keep Your Environment Clean

We started this list by saying your floors should be cleaned right off the bat. That’s because as you walk around you kick all that dust up into the air. 

Well, the same is true for pretty much any surface you interact with. If you have dust collecting on your bookshelf, you’ll stir up some dust when you grab a book. If you have dust on your curtains, you’ll loosen that dust into the air as you move them around. 

Preventative cleaning around our desk will reduce the amount of dust at your desk. If you are a bit lazy like me, just do the preventative cleaning in the area around your desk. 

using a lint roller on a desk mat
Rolling up lost dust on my desk mat with a lint roller.

If you have a desk mat or pad, give that a good clean occasionally as it can trap dust. We have a dedicated article on cleaning those desk mats thoroughly as well as a review of wool desk mats

Making sure the environment around your desk is getting some preventative cleaning will reduce the amount of dust that is agitated into the air and onto your desk.

6) Consider An Anti-Static Solution (Dust Repellent)

I plan to do a dedicated review on one of these off-the-shelf anti-static dust-repellent sprays in the future. The benefits are too promising to not try it out myself. 

If you haven’t heard of these types of sprays before, this is a spray that you apply to your furniture, and it claims to reduce the static charge on surfaces. This static charge is supposedly what can attract dust to your desk.

When you reduce the static charge, the dust is apparently repelled away. Heavy dust or dust that is not as affected by static will probably still settle, but you will likely see less dust on your desk. 

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The reviews on this product are pretty promising which is why I plan to test this out sometime soon. This would be a terrific way to prevent dust on your desk.

Don’t get this confused with Duster Spray which is made to be sprayed on a cleaning cloth to actually attract dust!

Ways To Actively Keep Dust Off Your Desk

Now that we got all of those preventative methods out of the way, let’s quickly touch on the active methods if you have dust on your desk right now. 

Microfiber Cloth

Keep a Microfiber Cloth Nearby

Microfiber cloths can remove dust better than other types of cloth. The dirt and dust will get trapped within the cloth itself as you wipe down your desk. 

Be sure to throw it in the wash every month or so. If it’s overloaded with dust, it won’t be able to trap dust anymore and might spread it instead.  

Consider A Reusable Duster

duster wand wiping down wood desk

If anyone here uses a Swiffer with those single-use attachments, reconsider your duster of choice! 

Swiffer doesn’t do a much better job than a microfiber cloth when cleaning a desk. That’s why you should consider using a microfiber duster with a washable duster instead. 

DELUX Microfiber Feather Duster Set

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You don’t have to keep spending money on single-use dusters anymore. You get the microfiber benefits and the reusable benefits with microfiber dusters.

You’ll save money in the long run and will have a fresh duster right after it goes in the wash! Reusable dusters are the best way to wipe the dust off your desk

Clean Your Furniture in Order

I never really thought about cleaning in an orderly fashion. Turns out it can make a huge difference in how effective your cleaning is. 

Typically, you want to clean with a top-down approach. That means start cleaning the tallest and highest items around your desk first. Dust will fall from those high places and land on the next highest thing, which you will then clean next. 

Lastly, after you cleaned all your furniture, chances are a ton of dirt landed on the floor as a result. Once you clean or vacuum the floor at the last step, you have a more completely clean room! 

This reduces the amount of dust in your environment as a whole, which we know can be a great preventative method to reducing dust on your desk. 

Keep Your Area Tidy

It’s always hard to clean dust from a messy space. Keeping your desk and workspace tidy just makes it way easier to clean. 

With a tidy desk, you expose more of the desk surface which means you can clean that surface more completely. 

If stuff on your desk doesn’t have a home, check out our article on desk organizers, and also grid wall organizers.

Photo of author


I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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