Let's talk about dust, shall we? I'm not fond of it. As I write, every flat surface in my home has a layer of the finest dust you can imagine.
It's so bad I am tempted to adopt the philosophy that dust is a protective coating for fine furniture so I should just leave it be!
Here's what happened: We just had the wood floors in our home refinished. That required one full day of sanding through all the layers of finish and stain, right down to the bare wood. Even the biggest, best "dustless" sanding machine cannot boast 100 percent effectiveness. The machine collection system got most of the sanding debris, but the rest was uniformly distributed to every flat surface throughout the house.
Years ago, I would have loaded up on aerosol cans of Endust, but those days are gone. Now I make my own dusting spray -- cheaper, better and faster. I love it because I know what's in it; it doesn't make me cough the way I used to whenever I would spray Endust; and instead of $5 a can, I make twice the amount for just pennies using natural ingredients from my pantry.
DUSTING SPRAY FOR WOOD FURNITURE AND PAINTED SURFACES
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
10 to 15 drops lemon essential oil, optional
16-ounce amber glass spray bottle
Pour all ingredients into the spray bottle and shake vigorously. Spray directly on furniture (being careful of overspray) and buff with a clean, dry cloth. Because oil and water don't stay mixed, shake often between sprays. It's safe for all wood furniture and surfaces.
About the ingredients:
VINEGAR. White distilled vinegar cuts through grease and grime. It also acts as a mild disinfectant. Note: Do not substitute with wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Both contain scant amounts of sugar and yeast. You don't want to leave that kind of residue.
OLIVE OIL. It shines and protects wood.
ESSENTIAL OIL. It makes my home smell naturally fresh and clean. If you leave it out, the dusting spray will retain its effectiveness. Or opt for a different oil like orange or cedarwood. Or come up with your own combination of several oils.
AMBER GLASS. I use an amber glass spray bottle for this dusting spray because both olive oil and essential oil should be stored in the dark to slow the oxidation process that can cause a reaction that makes plastic feel sticky.
By the way, the floors turned out beautifully, which is helping to make all this dusting more than worth the effort.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at email@example.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.