Different measures for different properties
To reduce the wear and abrasion on surfaces, loose surface dust is cleaned off only when it is really necessary.
Cleaning becomes necessary when dust spoils the presentation of a room, but this depends on the nature of the house.
Some houses such as Polesden Lacey are kept looking glittery and sparkling, to remind us of the glamorous parties once held there, so any visible dust is removed.
Other houses look more worn and dusty to remind us of their age and condition when acquired by the Trust, such as Chastleton House and Calke Abbey, where historic dust remains visible.
How we tackle dust
On days when properties are open and before visitors arrive, we remove dust from every floor our visitors walk on using a vacuum cleaner.
We also clean surfaces that show dust, such as dark and shiny wooden tables near the visitor route. For these smooth flat surfaces we use soft cotton dusters folded into a pad.
Each week we dust more delicate surfaces that are further away from visitors, such as chair backs and table legs. We use special brushes and collect the dust in a vacuum cleaner. We tackle two to three rooms each week in turn.
Every year we also dust every room thoroughly from ceiling to floor, including all its contents. Many surfaces are cleaned just once a year.
More fragile objects are dusted even less often: every three or five years for books in dusty locations, or ceramics in draughty cabinets; every five or 10 years for tapestries; every 25 for paintings.