About two months ago, Alvin decided to open our doors to a dust research study conducted jointly by the National University of Singapore and Dyson. It meant letting strangers come into our three-room flat to collect a dust sample. People say you shouldn’t air your dirty laundry, much less let them see how dusty your house is – but we were curious to find out what was inside our dust (something in the house seems to trigger Alvin’s allergies every once in a while), and so we said yes.

Dyson staff vacuuming the duvet for a dust sample.

Dyson staff vacuuming the duvet for a dust sample.

Collecting dust from behind the master bedroom door.

Collecting dust from behind the master bedroom door.

The Dyson V6 Fluffy comes with all sorts of attachments to help one clean every single imaginable nook in the house.

The Dyson V6 Fluffy comes with all sorts of attachments to help one clean every single imaginable nook in the house.

The Dyson V6 Fluffy can be used to clean the air-con vents too.

The Dyson V6 Fluffy can be used to clean the air-con vents too.

A member of the Dyson staff, armed simply with a Dyson V6 Fluffy and all its attachments, came over one morning and vacuumed 1 square metre of the dustiest spot on the floor in our home, our duvet, as well as some nooks and crannies above the floor which haven’t been cleaned since Chinese New Year. She emptied her dust bucket into a Ziploc bag which was later sent to a laboratory in NUS and analysed.

Our 1.1 g worth of dust.

Our 1.1 g worth of dust.

Here are the results of the 1.1 g dust sample from our home:

1. American dust mite density – 4.86 micrograms per gram of dust
2. European dust mite density – 0.15 micrograms per gram of dust
3. Cat allergen density – 0.04 micrograms per gram of dust

Thankfully, our dust sample tested negative for dog allergens, cockcroach allergens and mouse allergens. And thankfully, our dust mite density level wasn’t the highest among the 24 homes tested; the highest was 6.66 micrograms per gram of dust – at another private residence. I would be concerned – European dust mite allergen concentrations exceeding 2 micrograms per gram of dust indicates an increased risk of developing house dust mite sensitivity in genetically susceptible individuals.

At a presentation at the launch of the new Dyson V6 handheld vacuum cleaners last month, respiratory medicine specialist Dr Ong Kian Chung shared that a total of 70 to 80 per cent of the Singapore population reacts against this allergen. And within the house, the highest concentrations of dust mite allergens are found in mattresses. It’s no wonder, as that’s the best location for snacking on human skin flakes, which are the dust mites’ fave food.

Dust under the microscope.

Dust under the microscope.

In fact, on average, humans shed 28 g of skin flakes every month, the weight equivalent to a small packet of crisps! It’s not just the dust mites that can trigger an allergic response; their droppings too contain highly allergenic proteins that may trigger asthmatic symptoms or other allergic conditions.

Although my two cats live with my parents in Tampines as our apartment is literally too small to swing even one cat, we still have cat allergens because it turns out that they’re really sticky. Dr Ong explained that even if you have never touched a cat in your entire life, you may still end up with cat allergens at home. A cat, for example, could have rubbed up against a co-worker’s leg, and its allergens would have gotten stuck to his or her clothes. The allergens could then transfer to you when you share chairs or desks at the office.

And how does he propose that maintain the house in order to keep it at a manageable level? His tips:

  • No carpets, rugs or soft toys
  • Weekly hot wash of bedclothes and pillow cases
  • Go with blinds instead of curtains
  • Use mite-proof mattresses and pillow shams
  • Run an air purifier in the house
  • Use special vacuum cleaners which can remove house dust mites and allergens

This is where Dyson comes into play. Equipped with its own microbiology lab where scientists grow their own dust mite cultures to study their behaviour and the allergens they produce, engineers then take what they know about dust and apply it to the design of Dyson machines to make them more hygienic.

Shocking facts. about dust mites in your home and The Singapore Women's Weekly's features writer Sylvia Ong hugging a Dyson V6 Mattress.

Shocking facts about dust mites in your home and The Singapore Women’s Weekly’s features writer Sylvia Ong hugging a Dyson V6 Mattress.

The new Dyson V6 range of cordless vacuum cleaners is said to expel air cleaner than the air you breathe, thanks to a post-motor HEPA filter which prevents 99.97 per cent of the dust particles in the dust bucket from re-circulating into the air. The Dyson V6 Fluffy and DysonV6 Mattress remove 99.97 per cent of particles as small as 0.3 microns, such as allergens or smoke!

Heavy crumbs and fine dust are no match for the Fluffy.

Heavy crumbs and fine dust are no match for the Fluffy.

Heavy crumbs and fine dust are no match for the Fluffy.

At the heart of Dyson’s cutting-edge cyclone technology to suck up dirt is its digital motor, spinning at 110,000rmp – five times faster than an F1 car engine and the same power as a full-sized vacuum cleaner. Same power as a full-sized vacuum but they’re only 2 kg in weight! Best yet, they run for up to 20 minutes on normal mode, 17 minutes with the motorised tool, and for 6 minutes on boost mode.

With the haze set to stick around until 2016, you might be considering getting more efficient tools around the house to maintain a certain level of hygiene. Here’s what you need to know about the Dyson V6 range of vacuum cleaners.

Dyson V6 Mattress

Dyson V6 Mattress has a full-width brush bar and suction channel to ensure that the user can clean right to the edge of the mattress.

Dyson V6 Mattress has a full-width brush bar and suction channel to ensure that the user can clean right to the edge of the mattress.

The Dyson V6 Mattress brush bar has nylon brush bristles to ensure that your mattress gets a good clean.

The Dyson V6 Mattress brush bar has nylon brush bristles to ensure that your mattress gets a good clean.

– Mini motorised tool removes ground-in dirt and is suitable for tackling dust mites and dust mite faeces in mattress
– Post motor filter increases its efficiency to capture allergens and expel cleaner air
– Price: $499, online and at leading electrical retailers

Dyson V6 Motorhead

The Dyson V6 Motorhead has stiff nylon bristles which are perfect for vacuuming carpet

The Dyson V6 Motorhead has stiff nylon bristles which are perfect for vacuuming carpet. The entire brush can be detached for cleaning.

– Motorised cleaner head with stiff nylon bristles for carpet and soft carbon fibre for hard floors
– Mini motorised tool removes pet hair and ground-in dirt
– Post motor filter increases its efficiency to capture allergens and expel cleaner air
– Price: $899, online and at leading electrical retailers

Dyson V6 Fluffy

The Dyson V6 Fluffy has a soft roller cleaner which can be detached for cleaning

The Dyson V6 Fluffy has a soft roller cleaner which hairs won’t get stuck to, and can be detached for cleaning.

– Soft roller cleaner head (not unlike a squeegee mop head) removes larger debris and dust simultaneously
– Mini motorised tool removes pet hair and ground-in dirt
– Post motor filter increases its efficiency to capture allergens and expel cleaner air
– Price: $1,049, online and at leading electrical retailers

Look out for an upcoming review on the Dyson V6 Fluffy – we get to try it on our home and our car!