78

While cleaning up my room with a broomstick, I use the dustpan to collect dust and garbage, but those last lines of dust don't go into the dustpan. That's why I have to leave it there.

How do I get the last lines of dust into the dustpan?

  • 10
    1/8 of papertowel + a wee bit of water = Dust magnet – Michael Tran Nov 17 '16 at 6:05
  • 1
    I skip the dust pans and sweep into piles around the house. Then I suck them up with the vacuum. Then I swiff for dust that blows around from the broom. – Chloe Nov 22 '16 at 5:31
109

Just keep sweeping the remaining line into the dustpan. It'll shrink more and more each time you sweep it, until in the end there's nothing left of it.

It also helps to change the angle of sweeping each time; that way, what was a long line becomes a shorter line relative to the new angle of direction.

picture

  • 2
    Also, sweep a few times in each direction and scoot the dustpan back an inch or so each time you sweep, so the dust isn't right against the edge of the dustpan, and has a chance to get swept up into it. – Zack Nov 16 '16 at 18:24
  • 1
    I find the easiest thing in combination with this is to flick the dust into the air slightly, just enough to get it over the lip, instead of hitting the pan with the broom. – Tanath Nov 16 '16 at 22:09
  • Without Tanath's additionl, you'll end up with a dot of dust. – reinierpost Nov 22 '16 at 10:26
  • 1
    I feel relieved to learn that there is no better solution to this problem than what I had already been doing. – thomasrutter Nov 23 '16 at 23:52
85

Just blow it back around the floor and pretend it never happened.

If a rug is available, traditionally you would sweep it under the rug.

Explanation: if it's not enough dust to sweep up it's not enough to care about.

I don't have any citations for this. It's a technique I came up with myself and I haven't documented it anywhere else. Maybe someone else has covered it, I can update if needed.

  • 8
    Best answer =). It's wasteful to "waste" a paper towel or piece of tape every time you sweep something up. This could be hundreds of times per year, year after year. – Kevin Fegan Nov 16 '16 at 4:24
  • 1
    Whoever the individual was who felt the need to mark this answer as not good enough really needs to remove the stick. A similarly practical answer -- use a Swiffer instead of a broom. – Brian Vandenberg Nov 17 '16 at 0:22
  • 2
    If you don't have a carpet, but tiles, put the end of the dustpan between the tiles (on the fugue). Sweep few times - the final line will be small. And not visible, because it stays between the tiles. – nuoritoveri Nov 17 '16 at 15:06
  • If you really wanted to get it fully clean, you'd mop it or wipe it with a wet cloth. For everyday sweeping, this is fine. – sondra.kinsey Nov 19 at 13:15
52

This is a widely known lifehack. Use masking tape - just tape the front of the dustpan to the floor. It should cover the gap between the floor and your dustpan.

A dustpan taped to the floor.
(Image taken from this Reddit thread.)

  • 2
    Incidentally, use the same approach when drilling holes in the wall for dust collection purposes :) – Immortal Blue Nov 15 '16 at 13:46
  • 15
    Also, if you're sweeping a tile floor as shown in the picture, moving the dustpan to the grout line helps lower the dustpan lip to the same level as the tile and might eliminate the need for tape. – zundarz Nov 15 '16 at 16:40
  • @zundarz Thanks, I use this technique myself, but I couldn't explain it in English. :) – user31389 Nov 15 '16 at 17:01
  • 27
    This seems like a lot of work, why not just tape over the line of dust on the floor (without the pan) then strip that up and throw that out? Like you are giving the floor a body wax to remove dust. – Captain Man Nov 15 '16 at 21:31
  • 2
    @CaptainMan The tape may not always remove all the dust, depending on amount of dust and the size of the particles (e.g. sand doesn't stick very well to the tape). I would pick some other answers over that - either use a dampened paper towel/toilet paper or just scatter the dust if there's not much of it. – user31389 Nov 16 '16 at 9:16
29

I use a hand held vac on the small particles of dust that won't sweep up.

My mother always dampened a paper towel and wiped up the dust that way.

Either is logical and works perfectly.

  • 6
    Why use the dustpan at all if you're going to use a vacuum? – David Richerby Nov 17 '16 at 0:22
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby For the bigger/heavier pieces that can't be contained with a hand held vacuum. – Mast Nov 17 '16 at 17:56
12

move the dustpan backwards when sweeping the last few bits into it. I've done this for years and it helps greatly. 2-3 of those usually gets it all.

7

Modern dustpans have evolved a compliant rubber lip that already assists with this task.

Using a feathered bristle brush with light downward pressure also moves the dust sideways over the lip instead of down and under the lip.

The bristle type I mean is illustrated in this car washing brush but common these days on those sold with dustpans as well.

  • 12
    I think that one might actually be intelligent design rather than evolution. ;-) – David Richerby Nov 17 '16 at 21:08
6

As a computer guy, I realized that the remaining dust is an exponential problem. This realization would have been bad for a mathematician: It means that true cleanliness can only ever be approached, never reached. Alas, I am an engineer, and for me exponential decay is very good news. It means that I can get the amount down a lot with just a little persistence; and where a mathematician only has an infinite featureless floor, I have djechlin's carpet which will take care of the rounding errors.

The underlying observation was that even versus the end of the "shoveling-into-the-dust-pan-process", each sweep does move a certain fraction of the dust into the dust pan, which is of course the reason for exponential reduction.

As an engineer I'm bound to link practice and math. On the practical side, the removed fraction can be increased by:

  • Moving the dust pan an inch or two backward each time to expose any dust that got under the lip before, and to give the dust space to "jump up" a bit into the pan;
  • tilting the pan forward a little so that the rubber lip is nestled better against the floor, leaving a smaller gap for dust to go into;
  • sweeping in a more "upward" movement, rolling the hand brush around its handle axis.

In this fashion I sweep half a dozen or a dozen times in quick succession, each time moving the pan back a little, each time catching another fraction of the remaining dust. The operation only takes a few seconds and needs maybe one or two feet of space. Because my floor is not featureless I can take advantage of seams and gaps where they are available.

On the math side of engineering we can estimate the remaining amount of dust after n sweeps: Even if each sweep only removes 20% of the dust, i.e. 80% of the dust remain, then each three sweeps halve the remaining dust; 12 sweeps reduce it exponentially to 0.8^12 = 0.06, or 6%. That is often good enough to move on to djechlin's strategy ;-).

5

Sand the edge of the dustpan down to a knife's edge. Reason the the bigger stuff gets swept up and the fine dust doesn't, is the edge of the dustpan is dull and rounded. You need to sand it down to a point so that it meets the floor like >← and not like )←

As an added bonus, if you're ever attacked by burglars or isis or whatever while you're sweeping the floor, you can take out their carotid artery with your sharpened dustpan. As an added added bonus (bonus x2), you'll be able to sweep up the entirety of your attacker's mess without leaving behind those annoying last few lines.

3

A sheet of paper can serve as a makeshift dustpan. Hold it in the middle on one of the long sides, giving it a slight crease with your thumb. When applied with gentle pressure, and at a rather steep angle, the leading edge should hold true to the floor.

No other technique using a broom can get more dust into the 'pan' and less into the air.

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