What Is a Feather Duster?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Dead skin cells from animals can create dust in a home.
Dead skin cells from animals can create dust in a home.

A feather duster is a cleaning tool which utilizes the principles of static electricity to pull dust and dirt from the surfaces it is applied to. While some people think of the feather duster as an outmoded cleaning tool which has been replaced by other, more efficient things, this cleaning tool is actually quite useful, and it can be a valuable addition to the cleaning closet. Many shops sell dusters, in a variety of materials and a range of qualities.

A man dusting.
A man dusting.

There are two basic parts to a feather duster: the duster head and the handle. Traditionally, the duster head is made from ostrich or rooster feathers, which are long and well suited to dusting. Other feathers can be used as well, with some manufacturers preferring synthetic fibers since they are consistent and reliable. The handle gives people something to grip as they use the duster, and it may have a telescoping design, so that the duster can reach high places like the tops of bookshelves.

Ideally, a duster should be used every few days to keep dust down to a minimum. The duster is lightly run across any surfaces which need dusting, and then shaken outdoors to get rid of the dust. If a surface is especially dirty, it is a good idea to wipe it down with a rag first and then dust it, as feather dusters cannot cope with sticky or dense messes, like a jam spill.

If you have a duster made with real feathers, always hang it after use. If the duster starts to become a bit limp and oily, you can puff it out with the assistance of a hair dryer set on low, or with steam from a kettle or pan. In the event the duster gets really dirty, you can wash it with mild soap and warm water, inverting the duster in a jar or vase to dry, and then fluffing the feathers out with the assistance of a hair dryer.

There aren't too many things to consider when purchasing a feather duster. You may want to give the duster head a surreptitious pull, to make sure that the feathers or fibers do not come out, and you should look for a duster which has a sturdy handle. You may also want to remember that cats have a deep interest in the physiology of dusters, so it you happen to have felines around the house, make sure to store the feather duster out of their reach. Otherwise, your cats will helpfully hunt it down and kill it for you, leaving a trail of feathers or fibers across the house in the process.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

anon124504

afaik, feather dusters don't use static electricity. In fact, real feather dusters are rather resistant to static.

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    • Dead skin cells from animals can create dust in a home.
      By: Michael Pettigrew
      Dead skin cells from animals can create dust in a home.
    • A man dusting.
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      A man dusting.