Learn how to get rid of fruit flies and 5 other household tips like getting rid of mold/mildew, reducing pet dander, and keeping pollen out of the house.
In getting ready to move, I’ve been looking at a lot of houses. Some are small and cute, some are huge and airy. All of them have one problem or another to deal with and some can even damage your health. Here are a few of the things I’ve seen.
Six Natural Ways to Keep Your Home Clean
Some problems with homes can be minor, such as bad paint colors and ugly curtains. Some are major, like a leaky roof or an old furnace. But the problems you often don’t see can be the worst.
1. Get Rid of Fruit flies
This year seems to be especially bad for fruit flies. One bad banana and they’re all over. Combat them by keeping all the fruit and vegetables that you can in the refrigerator. Anything left out, such as bananas and tomatoes, should be used within a day or two of bringing them home. Make sure your potatoes and onions aren’t rotten, it seems to happen often. Empty and clean recycling cans and keep your compost covered (make your own kitchen compost container or purchase one like this) or take it out right away. Do your dishes right away and keep your sponges/dishrags clean. Check the water dispenser in the refrigerator. I’m not sure how they got there, but I saw this at one home. Eeewww! You can pour tea tree oil down drains to help keep them out of it. You can also make several types of homemade vinegar traps.
2. Mold and mildew
Many of the homes I looked at had basements, but they weren’t finished. If they are not waterproofed, mold and mildew can occur. Mold is one of the major causes of respiratory problems and can lead to other things such as infections. I have a mold allergy, and while it’s not bad, it can be irritating. Mold spores can become airborne and land on carpets, curtains, and clothes, not to mention messing up walls and floors.
One way to combat mold is to lower the humidity. You can read my article regarding household humidity here. You can also put several drops of tea tree oil in some water in a spray bottle and shake it well. Use this to spray on mold and mildew. (Find 100% pure tea tree essential oil here.)
Try hydrogen peroxide (3%) to remove mold or mildew stains on fabric and further disinfect. It’s gentle and won’t destroy fibers like bleach will.
3. Dust Mites
Dust mites live in bedding and carpets. They can also live on curtains and under beds. Vacuum frequently to keep numbers to a minimum. Try leaving your bed unmade a few times a week. Dust mites thrive in the dark, so leaving your bedding exposed can help in eliminating them. Spray your mattresses and pillows with lavender essential oil in water (like I described above) to kill them. (Find 100% pure lavender essential oil here.) You’ll also benefit by sleeping better from the scent of the lavender. Don’t forget the curtains, rugs, couch, and chairs too!
I love having the windows open, but that’s an invitation for pollen to just come right in and set up on whatever surface it lands on. Try opening your windows from the top to slow down the pollen drift. Clean your curtains and vacuum often. Cut your grass before it blooms and that will cut down on much of the pollen. Know the seasons when certain plants bloom. Another thing I’m allergic to is white pine and there are plenty around here. When they’re blooming, I amp up my intake of stinging nettle tea and keep the windows closed for the most part.
The thick layer of yellow dust on my car is a tell-tale sign that pollen is in the air. You can run the AC or heat pump on “fan only” to capture some of the pollen. Be sure to change out your filter more than just once a year. And speaking of filters, if you switch to a vacuum with a HEPA filter, you’ll catch more pollen there too. Can’t afford a new vacuum? Throw some food grade Diatomaceous Earth on the floor and suck it up with the vacuum. (Find it here.) This will clog the filter just enough to capture smaller particles like pollen. Be careful not to inhale DE and use only food grade powder.
5. Old Carpets
If your carpet is old, the fibers are more prone to breakage and these particles can cause breathing problems. Consider replacing your carpet, or at least pulling it up and going with a hard surface like tile.
6. Pet Dander
No matter how clean you keep your pet, dander will occur. Most breeds will lose dander from time to time. Vacuum often and keep your pet brushed and clean. Try adding an oil supplement to their diet if dander seems to be a constant problem. You can also add olive oil or egg to their diet to aid in reducing the amount of dander they produce. My Border Collie, Joker, loves to roll in the grass, so I need to remember to brush him before he comes back in.
There can be other things that may bother you in a new home, or at least new to you. New carpet can have odors to it as well as new paint. Be sure to thoroughly check your home before you move in. Existing homes can have many of these same problems, so even if you are not moving, you might want to look around the home you’re living in now.
Have you dealt with any of these issues?
Share any natural solutions you’ve found for them in the comments section below!