Black dust, also known as black soot, is a chemical blackening primarily found in new or renovated homes. It is formed as a result of combustion or separated from fuel during combustion. Given this fact, what causes black dust in your cabinet?
Aggregated soot particles caused by kerosene lamps, wood, or candle burning, mixed with dust, can cause an accumulation of black dust in your cabinet.
Air movement picks up dust from the environment and deposits it onto furnaces. When the dust comes into contact with heat, it carbonizes and turns black. It is recirculated again and deposited onto your cabinet as black dust.
What Causes Black Dust in My House?
If you burn furnaces or wood fires at home, this could be the main culprit for black dust. It is normal to have black dust in your home; however, excessive dust may cause an accumulation of dangerous amounts of black dust.
As mentioned earlier, black dust results from dust blown onto furnaces by air circulation and later carbonizes into black dust. Another cause of black dust is soot, mostly from wood fires and candles.
Wood fires produce carbon soot that deposits on walls, cabinets, and other surfaces that are not cleaned daily. Incomplete combustion from candle oils also produces soot. Soot particles collect over time into larger particles that we know as black dust.
Black dust may gather in your home if you have poor ventilation. If your house is tightly packed, soot particles may not exit your home and may accumulate in crevices, behind doors, on the walls, cabinets, and windows.
You will also find black dust at the base of your door because carpets block air movement to and from the door, trapping the black dust beneath it. Static electricity from sockets and wall switches may also cause soot particles and later black dust.
Ghosting on walls also causes black dust in your home. Ghosting occurs when dark streaks, stains, or patches appear on your walls and other areas such as refrigerators, cabinets, and ceilings.
Poor insulation causes ghosting, whereby cold spots form on these surfaces. These cold spots are damp, and soot from candles, furnaces, or even tobacco smoke cling onto them. Dust from outside, vents, shoes, or chimneys also clings onto the damp spots resulting in black dust.
Excess moisture around rooms will also cause dampness on your walls, floors, and ceilings. Moisture is caused by overusing humidifiers, hanging wet clothing in indoor racks to dry, or leaving windows open during wet seasons.
Too little moisture, on the other hand, increases the buildup of static electricity that charges the soot and dust particles, making them stick to walls and ceilings as black dust.
How Do I Identify Black Dust?
If you want to ascertain that the black powdery substance stuck to your surfaces at home is black dust, rub the spot with a bit of bleach and a paper towel or cloth. If the black color remains, it is black dust or soot particles, so you should gear up for thorough cleaning.
If the stain goes away, it is mold, and you should deal with it immediately before it spreads.
How Do I Get Rid of Black Dust in My Cabinet?
Remove all items inside your cabinet to leave room for cleaning. Vacuum the surfaces to remove the dust particles and then use a sponge, warm water, and dish-washing detergent to scrub away dark spots.
You can also use a melamine scrubbing sponge or soot sponge to get rid of black dust. An alternative to dish-washing soap is ordinary table vinegar which works wonders against black dust.
How Do I Prevent Black Dust?
Identify the source of your black dust so that you know how to prevent its buildup. Cleaning black dust and soot particles without identifying their sources are useless since the problem shall arise again with time.
Preventing Black Dust Buildup
If you use wood fires, wood stoves, and furnaces, it is best to take precautions that reduce soot production to prevent buildup. Burn well-seasoned wood in your furnace, chimney, or stove to increase the quality of your fire and make it less smoky.
Burn hardwoods like oak and cherry, as softwoods have a high sap content that will lead to incomplete combustion and emission of smoke and soot.
Allow proper circulation of oxygen, a good combustion agent, within your wood fire or stove. If you have a chimney, ensure it is clean, and the airflow is not blocked.
Also, pack your logs within the fire at a slow pace. Clogging them at once will smother the fire, and logs will not burn properly, resulting in smoke and soot.
If you use candles, open your windows to aerate the room and direct smoke from the unburn oils outside the window. You can also consider using a one-wick candle rather than a multi-wick candle. A multi-wick candle will emit more soot into the air, depositing it onto your surfaces.
LED candles and candle warmers are an excellent alternative to regular candles as they are environmentally friendly. Candle warmers melt the wax using a heated platform and not a naked flame. No flame produced means no soot produced either, reducing the occurrence of black dust.
Aerate your home. Excessive dust will indeed cause black dust in your house. Even if you take preventive measures while burning wood or candles if there is excessive dust in the air and exposure to the flames, it will carbonize and turn into black dust.
Vacuum or deep clean your carpet regularly as it harbors pounds of dust that you will not see with the naked eye. Even when air circulates the room, it will carry no dust if your carpet is clean. Sweep underneath your bed, couch, and other furniture that dust may accumulate.
A cheap or dirty HVAC filter will allow dust to slip through and circulate the room along with air, depositing dust on your surfaces. Keep your HVAC filter clean, or replace it when it produces warm air or gets too hot.