Dyson’s global dust study suggests that heightened cleaning schedules are being abandoned as the world reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic

Media OutReach – 27 April 2023 – Today, Dyson announces the results of its annual global dust study, investigating cleaning habits and behaviours, our understanding of household dust and its potential impact on our well-being.
Dyson’s team of in-house microbiologists have been studying real dust from around the world for almost 20 years, analysing particles measuring 70 microns in size – the width of human hair – right down to 0.1 microns, the size of a virus. Dyson’s labs are also home to a farm of dust mites, enabling scientists to collect their faeces and learn more about dust mite allergens. Only through this extensive research can Dyson engineers continue to engineer new vacuum cleaner technologies, to better deal with the conditions they face in the real world.
The global dust study[1], undertaken by over 30,000 people from 39 countries, reveals that post-pandemic, cleaning habits globally are slipping.
60% of people now admit to only cleaning when they see visible dust or dirt – this number has risen by 20% since last year. Over the past year, Hong Konger’s attitude towards cleaning their homes have drastically changed. They have become less proactive and more reactive in cleaning noticeable dust. This is evidenced by seeing
56% of them only motivated to clean their home when they see dust. This figure rose by 50% from last year’s global dust study. Hong Kong respondents claim that they understand the importance of having their home properly sanitised more than their peers in the Greater China region. But
only 1 in 4 Hong Kong people clean their homes regularly –
a major decline from last year (43%).
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the presence of viruses in indoor environments and emphasised the need for regular cleaning to maintain a healthy home”, said Monika Stuczen, Research Scientist in Microbiology at Dyson.
“This significant increase in the number of people only cleaning when they spot visible dust is a cause for concern, as many dust particles – including viruses and bacteria – are microscopic in size and not visible to the naked eye.”
Are people neglecting hidden spots for a proper cleaning?
Dyson’s study reveals that awareness of what’s in our household dust – and therefore what we’re trying to remove – is low. Hong Kong people’s overall awareness of the presence of viruses in dust stands at 1 in 3 people across the region, lower than the global average.
Only 17% of Hong Kongers know that sofas can harbour viruses. What is more striking is that
only 2 out of 5 Hong Kongers clean behind their sofas, which is the lowest in the Greater China region. Bed linen is another place that is being overlooked by Hong Kongers when they are cleaning their homes.
Only 1 out 2 Hong Kongers clean it on a regular basis. On average, this is less often than in other parts of the world.
“COVID-19 highlighted transmission via respiratory events such as coughing or sneezing but there is growing evidence that small aerosol droplets can be carried around indoor environments on air currents, like cigarette smoke, and settle on surfaces” says Monika. “If people are more aware of what’s in their dust and how it can be spread around the home, they can better focus their time and attention when cleaning to support their wellbeing.
Are people underestimating the importance of filtration in vacuum cleaning?
Ensuring a healthy environment is the top reason globally for people wanting to rid their home of dust. While many people assume that if dust and dirt is picked up then the problem is solved, vacuum cleaning is pointless without thorough filtration.
Dyson’s dust study reveals that awareness of filters overall is low, and despite it becoming a buzzword during the pandemic, just
1 in 4 Hong Kongers understand the importance of effective filtration when it comes to removing dust. About half of them believe that HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) does not need to be replaced.
HEPA filter vs. HEPA product
A common misconception is that any machine equipped with a HEPA filter makes it a HEPA product. According to ASTM, a world-leading standards institute, it is not enough for just the final, post-motor filter to be HEPA-grade; every single filter and seal throughout the machine must be HEPA-grade for it to be considered a HEPA product.
“The best filter cannot provide clean air if there is an opportunity for dirty air to leak out of the machine – so our engineers worked hard to ensure that all our Dyson vacuums have whole-machine filtration. In our Gen5detect vacuum, we went a step further with HEPA filtration to ensure that even virus particles as small as 0.1 microns remain trapped in the machine.” Charlie Park, Vice President of Floorcare at Dyson
The importance of keeping pets clean in Hong Kong
Only 1 in 3 households in Hong Kong that have a pet keep their animal clean on a regular basis. Most of them seek to trim their pet’s hair when grooming but
only one-third of them remove viruses that could possibly be on their pet’s fur. Only 16% of Hong Kong pet owners use a pet-focused vacuum tool to remove possible viral particles from their four-legged friend. Despite 41% of pet owners in Hong Kong are aware that their furry friends can carry viruses,
almost one-third of them allow their pets to sleep with them.
“We hope our latest global dust study will continue to encourage people to think about what can reside in household dust, and how that might impact the well-being of those in their household.
The best way to remove dust is by using a vacuum cleaner with effective filtration and sealing technology, to ensure that whatever you vacuum remains trapped and is not expelled back into the home.” Monika Stuczen, Research Scientist in Microbiology at Dyson.

[1] 33,997 online interviews across a representative sample of 39 countries. Fieldwork was conducted between 11th January and 6th February 2023. Data has been weighted at a ‘Global’ level to be representative of different population sizes.

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