How much dust is really dead skin? An investigation

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Yeah, I’ve always thought the “human skin” claim was bullshit. Whenever I dust, what comes up seems like 90% fibers from clothes, bedspreads, carpets, whatever.


It is a surprisingly high amount of dead skin! Cloth and carpet fibers and outside dirt is the rest of it.

I watched this video yesterday. It was really interesting.


I’m sure it’s area dependent as well. When I lived in a hardwood-floored apartment in San Francisco I expect it was probably 90% dead skin and 10% diesel. Now living in the desert I expect a much higher percentage is dust-dust (with a liberal sprinkling of coccidioides of course).


He mentions that in reference to the Dutch study that may have led to the 70% skin claim that widely circulates… like dust in the wind.


Some studies I’ve seen put the amount of dead skin at a small fraction of the total contents of dust, with most of it being plain old dirt in those cases.

Yeah, there must be huge variability depending on the context of the dust being measured - e.g. the location of the rooms being examined (both in terms of geography, urban vs. rural and where they are relative to the ground/entryway), whether people in the space are taking off their shoes, coming directly from outdoor areas, the age and construction of the building they’re in, the number of carpets, drapes and rugs, etc.


A couple of months ago I bought a high-powered 365nm UV Flashlight. I cannot say for certain what my own private dust might be but looking at my keyboard under UV shows that there are at least three distinct colors of dust particles lighting up in every crack and crevice. Little fibers to but those are pretty self-explanatory. Probably some of this residue is my breakfast since I invariably finish that up in the office while checking the sites but I’m not sure what color English muffin crumbs luminesce. I also discovered along the way that it is, so far at least, impossible to remove those glowing particles so I just try to forget what I saw. If you tend toward germophobia you probably don’t want to buy one of these lights.


Do I really have to watch it? C’mon with the SPOILERS already.

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I’m glad they clarified it as “household dust” in the body of the article…

I rode my motorcycle through a dust storm about a year ago outside of Yuma AZ and the headline gave me the willies to think that it had been mostly dead skin I was riding through.


maybe less in Yuma, but outside dust contains probably a lot of animal poop. (yes i’m evil sometimes)


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