By Michael Sweet | 1800 CLEANER
As the big day approached for the arrival of my first baby girl, I was anxious to get the house exceedingly clean. I bought all the advertised products and got to work. I scrubbed the bathrooms and washed the kitchen. Finally, I vacuumed the carpets perfectly with my new and very expensive vacuum cleaner.
Things looked great, at least for a day or two.
But then I started to notice the dust returning, and before long, I ended up in an obsessive loop. The more I cleaned, the more I saw the dust. The more I noticed the dust, the more I cleaned. I couldn’t seem to get rid of it. Coupled with this frantic effort to get the house perfectly clean was an imminent father’s paranoia about all of the things that could harm my child. I was becoming obsessed with germs and asthma. And any of the myriad things that could go wrong when a newborn baby is subjected to the impure things of this world.
At the time, I had a lengthy career in the advertising industry. And so, I was well-versed in reading detailed research material to create advertising campaigns for my clients. I put this skill to work on my primal desire to protect my child from the microscopic monsters of my imagination. At first, this only made things worse. Shockingly, I discovered what a dust mite looks like under a microscope.
Additionally, I learned of the harmful ingredients that comprise dust particles – finally disgusted by the thought of mould spores, pollen and dust mite poop being inhaled into my yet-to-be-born baby’s infant lungs. Distraught, I searched everywhere for answers and found very few.
What was this?
Haplessly I found myself staring out of the crack of the balcony window after another sleepless night wondering what to do. I was on the brink of utter hopelessness. Early one morning as the sun slowly crested the horizon, there through a shaft of sunlight I saw them. Ordinarily indiscernible dust particles twinkling through the air. Countless numbers of them glistening and suspended mid-air seemingly defying the laws of gravity and physics.
Through my sleepless delirium suddenly I was focused on them to the exclusion of all else. What made them float? Was it the fact that they were weightless? Was it a wind draft I could barely discern? Or perhaps something else? I shook the curtain in my first of what would become several hundred experiments. Many more of these particles were released. I shook again and again as many more emerged until the shaft of sunlight was a glistening column of particles that had somehow escaped my previous cleaning efforts. What was happening here? I was transfixed. Yet strangely hopeful.
My focus had now shifted diametrically from hopeless frustration to irrepressible determination. I was onto something here. I had to discover more and now I knew where to look. Well metaphorically speaking at least.
Discovery of the dust-drop effect
It was dust. But the dust in question was so tiny that under normal conditions we can’t see it with the naked human eye. It’s the aforementioned dust you can sometimes discern dancing in a bright narrow sunlight shaft. I needed to know all there was to know about dust and in particular how to get rid of it. To understand that I needed to know why it floats, how to stop it and how to capture it. What I discovered was to me truly perplexing.
The very act of cleaning itself contributes to making the microscopic dust particles, ordinarily invisible to the naked human eye, float. They float around above us as we perform our cleaning activities in a kind of dust-fog that we are unaware of but one which has us chasing our tails as it eludes our most strident cleaning efforts.
We can never seem to get the house clean enough
By now I could well understand why we humans can’t see the dust without the benefit of a sunlight shaft. Further, I could investigate why it can stay suspended mid-air for up to five days. Then to realise how it resettles again in the hours and days following the cleaning. I saw why this creates a situation where we find ourselves cleaning again and again in a perpetual cycle of regular cleaning.
When the dust resettles and clumps together in the days following the clean, we get to see it as that thin layer of dust that settles on open surfaces. So, we clean again, again and again and we’re getting nowhere. The worst part with this traditional cleaning approach is we never get to feel like our house is really pristinely clean with healthy fresh indoor air quality as we and our beloved families so deserve.
It seems that most cleaning activities are simply recirculating the same fine particle dust that stays infernally stuck in our homes. Dust is so light that even the most minuscule wind draft can send it airborne. Incredibly, it is also susceptible to the scientific phenomenon of static electricity which energises the particle with a positive charge when disturbed by motion which further exacerbates this floating dust quagmire. The solution after many long contemplations is as simple as all the great answers to life’s complex questions. We simply need to introduce mother nature’s wisdom into the equation ~ enter negative ions.
Aha – Negative ions!
With the help of an ioniser and a scientific and sequential approach to cleaning that accepts and works with the laws of how dust behaves we can introduce negative ions into the home to negate the positive static charge of the dust particles so that they begin to settle on the open surfaces. Then with microfibre cloths and a powerful HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, we can over time remove the vast majority of these particles down to a microscopic size of 30 microns. 30 microns is 1/30th the circumference of a human hair.
Not only did I discover the secret to why dust floats and how to solve the riddle I was also relieved to discover that those things I was paranoid about in the world that could harm my child were actually good for her in small doses as nature intended. That germs and environmental impurities had helped mankind develop resistance and immunity in a microscopic arms race since time immemorial.
I was looking for dust and, in the end, rediscovered something much more important. I could finally see things clearly and felt in my heart that this entire situation was actually a divine gift to my new baby and that miraculously she had been innately given everything she needs to thrive on this magnificent planet. That in fact my child’s exposure to germs and impurities caused her body to develop a strong microbiome; a little army ready to do war on those invasive little invaders of her future.
The miracles of the microscopic
Instead of fearing the tiny things I could not see I was transformed into a father that saw miracles everywhere in the microscopic world of those things I could not see. That this paradox was just so beautiful. I was so excited by the world of the microscopic and the cleaning solutions that I had discovered that I began to pivot my career in the direction of helping other families discover these secrets and to help them get their homes healthy for themselves and their families. We get so many calls from new mums and dads and I relish helping them get the house ready for their baby. I so love helping these families to rejuvenate their zest for life as had happened to me.
My previous life as an advertising copywriter gave me the skill to research a subject in depth and to apply creativity to further develop that knowledge with symbolism and imagery and what I settled upon was this: I did not need to worry about my child once she entered the world. I just needed to do what came naturally to me; to feed her, to clothe her, to shelter her and provide for her material needs. Most important of all I just needed to love her which is the most natural act of a father for his daughter in the world. To love his baby girl. The best news was that mother nature has got her back. The microscopic things of this world that she will encounter will make her stronger and we can all relax and enjoy our lives together.
We all deserve to live dust-free
Now my little girl is all grown up and about to turn 16 and her gift in turn to me is the manifestation of a career that has me bounding out of bed with excitement every morning. She is a magnificent human and the most gifted person I know and it is the inevitable adversities of her life thus far that have caused the resistance required to create the resilience that makes her so special and ready to take on the world. Dust and all.
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has over 30 years of cleaning experience.