Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I've gone on a killing spree!!

Here's a topic I haven't covered, and it's guaranteed to make you itch as you read. The cleanliness of our homes affects our emotions and our sense of well being as well as our general health, and lately I've been on a crusade to get rid of dust mites. This was spurred on by a couple of winters with chronic breathing problems at night. The more I learn about the nasty buggers, the more I realize the necessity to get and keep them under control. Did you know that 10% of the weight of a 2 year old bed pillow can be dead dust mites and their refuse? Yuck! They feed on our dead skin cells, and you've got them on your clothing, in your hair and on your skin right now. A female dust mite lives for around 80 days and can lay 100 eggs, so you have an idea of the exponential growth of a colony of dust mites, and they're so small that 3 of them could fit on this period. Breathing in their waste material and fragments of their dead bodies is what causes breathing problems. We recently got rid of our mattresses ( still in great shape but nearly 20 years old) and got a new one that's natural latex, much less likely to harbor dust mites, and I've got all new bedding. I would love to have all our carpeting removed, but Jim thinks his feet have to have the cushy softness. However, whatever mattress, bedding, pillows, carpet, etc., that you have can still be made healthier by frequent vacuuming and routine precautions, and most of us clean our homes but stop a little short of chasing dust mites.

I've also brought in the ladder and have been dusting the tops of cabinets, walls, and cornice that hadn't been cleaned in a long time. Today I'm planning to buy a better vacuum cleaner, one with a HEPA filter, and here's my latest use for one of the essential oils, which I've always loved for their scents. There are chemicals that you can spray to kill dust mites, but I shy away from chemicals because they usually have side effects that are as bad as the problem they're trying to solve, but eucalyptus oil will kill dust mites, and the best way to use it is to fill a spray bottle with vodka (Yeah, we're gonna let 'em die happy.) and then add several drops of eucalyptus essential oil (the good stuff like you find in health food stores) and spray carpets, drapes, bedding, stuffed animals, anywhere that they could be living. Let it sit overnight and vacuum thoroughly the next day to get the dead bodies. Another tip, when you finish vacuuming, dispose of the bag. Live dust mites can crawl out, bet you hadn't thought of that one. Your house will smell wonderful, and the light mist of vodka dries quickly. I bought Gem Clear which was the cheapest vodka in the store; hey, I'm sending 'em off happy, but Jim would have a heart attack if I gave them his Absolut. (Be sure and test it on fabrics that it might stain or spot) I think you could do the same with water & eucalyptus oil, but it may not mix quite as well or dry as fast. Here's wishing you a healthy and dust mite free day.............well, logically you can't get rid of them all, but you can make a big difference in their numbers and their effects on yours and your family's health.

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