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Say “So Long” to Dust Mites with These 5 Easy Remedies

While it would be ­­­great to say a permanent “good-bye” to dust mites, we can only ever say “so long”. No matter how many we eliminate, more of these microscopic organisms can always be found living in our mattresses, upholsteries and carpets.  

Even though they are always present in our homes, we rarely give dust mites a second thought. However, for people with asthma, dust mite allergies or eczema, exposure to these tiny nuisances can cause re-occurring asthmas attacks, allergic reactions and eczema flare ups. Additionally, children who are exposed to high-levels of dust mites are more likely to develop a dust mite allergy later in life.

Now, just because you can’t completely eliminate every dust mite from your home doesn’t mean you can’t keep these tiny organisms at bay or that you have to make their stay in your home a comfortable one. Here is a list of our favourite, easy, and chemical free tactics for dealing with dust mites:

  1. Regularly Wash or Vacuum Your Fabrics
    Dust mites thrive in warm and humid places like our bedding, curtains, throw rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture. An easy way to keep dust mites in check is to regularly wash and dry as many of these items as possible in at least 140 F temperatures. Since your body comes into close contact with your sheets for extended periods of time each day you should wash your bedding at least once a week to reduce asthma attacks and allergic reactions. All other washable fabrics should be laundered on a bi-weekly basis.

    Items that cannot be washed, such as wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs and upholstery, should be professionally steam cleaned at least twice a year.  The extreme heat from the cleaning will kill the mites and remove any of the debris left behind from deep within the carpets. In between steam cleanings, vacuuming your carpets and area rugs at least once a week can help remove some of the dust mite debris that can cause health issues for you or your loved ones.
  2. Freeze Them Out
    If you can’t wash or professionally clean something, consider freezing it. Simply put the item(s) in a plastic bag and place them in your freezer for 8-10 hours. This deep freeze approach is especially useful for fabric toys and throw cushions.
  3. Make Your Own Repellent with Essential Oils
    Luckily, the smells we tend to love are the same smells that deter dust mites. This means you can create a lovely scented “repellent” that not only dissuades dust mites from living in your fabrics, but also leaves your fabrics smelling quite nice.

    To make your own dust mite repellent mix a few drops of clove, lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus into a bottle filled with water and then lightly spray your mattress, furniture and curtains.

    Note: Before spraying your new repellant on any fabric for the first time, be sure to test your solution on a small corner of the fabric.
  4. Use Dust Mite Covers
    Dust mite covers completely encase your mattress and/or pillow, keeping the mites inside and away from you and your loved ones. Assuming you wash your sheets every 7 days, your covers only need to be washed every 6-8 weeks.
  5. Clean with a Damp Cloth
    When dust starts to accumulate many of us will reach for a dry cloth, an old sock or a feather duster to remove the build-up, but if you want to take on the dust mites, you will need to step-up your game. Instead of using a dry cloth or duster, use a damp cloth so that you can collect the mites instead of dispersing them into the air and allowing them to land somewhere else in your home. You’ll also want to start giving your home a thorough dusting each week to ensure excess dust and dust mites do not have time to build up.

    If you want to take your dusting a step further, add a drop of one of the essential oils listed above into your damp cloth so that the smell of the oil is left behind as you dust.

By consistently following these 5 simple steps you will significantly decrease the number of dust mites in your home. However, if you need help with your dusting, vacuuming or steam cleaning the Steamwise team is here to help. Contact us to learn more about our home cleaning and steam cleaning services.  


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8 Simple Ways to Make Cleaning Fun

With the holidays just around the corner, there is a lot of cleaning to get done. Whether you are cleaning to prepare for a Christmas or new year celebration here are some simple ways to make this chore fun.

  1. Turn Cleaning into a Game
    Turning cleaning duties into a game, with a reward for the winner, is a great way to get everyone in the family excited about cleaning. Assign points to each task and then post the list with the allotted points in a common space. When someone completes the task, they claim their points by putting their initials next to the task. The person with the most points at the end of each week wins a prize.

    Tip: To ensure every task always gets done, consider awarding prizes for the person with the most points at the end of each month or even the end of the year.
  2. Sing While You Clean
    Singing or even humming while you work, can help keep you focused on a tedious task like scrubbing the bathtub or doing the dishes. If you really want to have some fun, cue up your favourite songs and sing along, your broom or mop can make a great microphone.
  3. Multi-Task
    Cleaning takes time, but it does not take a lot of brain power, giving you the perfect opportunity to multi-task. Try calling a friend to catch up or listen to a podcast or audiobook.
  4. Clean with Family
    Since a lot of houses are open concept, cleaning can be the perfect time to catch-up with your family. Everyone can be working in a different room but also sharing stories, jokes or advice with one another.
  5. Take a Break/Do a Little Each Day
    Cleaning the entire house at once can be overwhelming and exhausting. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, take a break between each activity and do something you enjoy, just make sure you come back to your cleaning. You can also break down your cleaning list and do a little each day to avoid help avoid exhaustion and boredom.
  6. Count Calories While You Clean
    Cleaning is a physical activity. When you are scrubbing, mopping or vacuuming you are actually burning calories. Use your calorie counter to track how many calories you burn while your clean, it might be just enough for you to have that extra piece of chocolate after dinner.  
  7. Appreciate Your Hard Work
    Cleaning is hard work, once you are done cleaning anything, take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done for yourself and your family.
  8. Reward Yourself
    Sometimes all you need to motivate yourself to complete a daunting task is a little reward. Set your cleaning goals for the day or week and when you complete them give yourself a reward. The bigger the job, the bigger the reward. Based on the reward system, spring cleaning may become your favourite time of year.

Still dreading having to clean the house? Let us handle it for you. The Steamwise Cleaning team is now offering home cleaning services for residents of Northumberland, Peterborough and Quinte, Durham and Clarington. Contact us today to set-up a complimentary consultation for your home.

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Is Clean Really Clean?

Would you say your house is clean? What would you see if you ran a white glove across
your nightstand or across the top of your refrigerator? When was the last time you
cleaned behind your stove or disinfected your kitchen sink? Most people sweep and
vacuum regularly, they wipe down the kitchen counter and brush the crumbs off the
coffee table. Our homes generally look presentable, but rarely are they truly clean and,
unfortunately, a home that is not properly cleaned on a regular basis will accumulate
large amounts of dust and bacteria, which can have negative affects on your health.

Dust can never be completely eliminated from our homes, but it can be well managed.
House-hold dust is a mixture of dead skin cells, fibres from carpets and upholstered
furniture and dirt that is tracked or blown in from the outdoors. While exposure to dust
is not fatal, consistently inhaling high levels of dust can cause irritation of the eyes,
coughing, sneezing, hayfever and asthma attacks. For people living with respiratory
issues such as asthma or emphysema, small increases in dust concentration can make
their symptoms worse. Small children and seniors also tend to be more prone to
developing health issues from consistent exposure to high levels of dust.

In addition to dust, most people are also living with dust mites. These microscopic
organisms live in warm places such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, sheets and
pillows. Dust mites are one of the world’s most common allergens and, if you or
someone in your house is allergic to them, without regularly cleaning the items
mentioned above you can find yourself consistently suffering from an allergic reaction.

Exposure to bacteria can also have negative effects on your health or the health of a
loved one. Funnily enough, two of the places bacteria is most commonly found are the
places where we clean our food and our bodies, the kitchen sink and the shower.
Bacterias found in the bathroom include Gastrointestinal viruses, which can cause
stomach pain and remain on a hard surface for up to a week, and Dermatophitic fungi,
such as Athlete’s Foot, which can be shared by simply walking barefoot in a bathroom.

How to Combat Dust and Bacteria
Regularly cleaning your home can help eliminate a lot of the dust and bacteria that
builds up without us noticing. Here are some weekly cleaning tips:

  • Sweep and mop all tile and hardwood floors, and remember to move and sweep under larger pieces of furniture such as sofas and chairs
  • Vacuum area rugs and carpets
  • Use a damp clean cloth to wipe down table tops and any other hard surfaces
  • Disinfect your sinks, showers/bathtubs and toilets

Every month or so you should also:

  • Dust and mop under bigger appliances (fridge, washer, dryer, etc)
  • Wipe down your walls and baseboards
  • Clean any light fixtures or fans
  • Wash your curtains and wipe down your blinds

You should also have your area rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture professionally cleaned at least once a year. Professional cleanings not only removes dirt, dander and bacteria, but also helps to keep your items looking like new. Not sure if your carpets or furniture require professional cleaning? Turn your vacuum on and place a white cloth over the end of one of your vacuum attachments. Now vacuum one of your carpets or pieces of furniture with the white cloth covering the vacuum. Once you are done look at the cloth. If it is no longer white, it is time for a professional cleaning.

Keeping your home clean will help to ensure the long-term health of you and your loved
ones. However, it can also be a time-consuming task that keeps you from spending time
with your friends and family. The Steamwise Cleaning team is now offering home
cleaning services for residents of Northumberland, Peterborough and Quinte, Durham
and Clarington. Contact us today to set-up a complimentary consultation for your home.

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