the invincible dusty smell
We just moved to a new city and bought a large 100-year-old house. Unfortunately, my wife and child have turned out to be allergic -- either to the city or to the house, we aren't yet sure. While we are working with the allergist to sort this out, I am trying to remove potential sources of allergens in my house. Here's the disaster:
The room that we thought would be a good children's room has a strange dusty smell that is impossible to eradicate. And boy have I tried. The smell hits you when you walk into the bedroom as a tingle in your nose. It doesn't smell bad, but it does smell like there is something in the air. It sometimes makes me sneeze a little, and I am not allergic. So...
I washed everything.
I tried airing the room out. This makes the smell harder to detect, but only while the windows are open, and this is not practical in our climate.
I removed the drapes and threw them away, replacing them with those spring-loaded rolling shades that collect less dust.
I removed the carpeting, now it is hardwood floor.
I washed everything again.
Someone told me that the smell might indicate termites. I had a termite inspection. (No termites.)
I installed a new extre-large $350 sharp plasmacluster high-capacity HEPA air filter with an impurity sensor. It gives the room a "green" rating, but everyone agrees it smells dusty in there.
I've tried to control the humidity and the temperature in the room, keeping both down with a/c and a dehumidifier (humidity is now 45%).
I got rid of the bed in case it was harboring dust. I replaced it with a new mattress with an allergy cover.
There is one ceiling a/c vent. Just in case, I have scheduled a professional duct cleaning for the a/c system but honestly the vent looks pretty spotless now. If anything, we all think the dusty smell is BETTER when the a/c is running.
I moved my child's stuffed animals.
There is radiator heat. I washed the radiator very thoroughly.
You can see I'm getting desperate now.
I removed everything from the room.
I removed the fixtures and outlet covers and vacuumed them out and looked around for dust. (No dust, nothing unusual.)
I washed the walls and floors with trisodium phosphate.
I am planning to paint, but as far as I know this is unlikely to do the trick.
The smell is entirely localized to this room.
Does anyone have any ideas? This is REALLY driving me crazy. Obviously.