While house cleaning was never a huge issue in our home, I recently ran into a small problem with bugs in our house. We clearly had an issue with mites or chiggers or some related pest brooding in our carpets and rugs. These darn critters would bite my feet and ankles and create extremely itchy spots on the skin. My family suffered through the same experience and it became obvious there was a need for pest control to step in.
I decided it was not necessary to use any commercial-grade pesticide as they are harmful to the environment and probably not healthy for kids to be around. After significant research, I came upon a wonderful solution that is natural, safe, and can eliminate any bugs that have an exoskeleton.
Diatomaceous Earth, or DE as it is known in many circles, is an essentially a silica-based powder that is extremely fine. This powder is safe to handle with your hands, but it is not something that should be inhaled. Essentially, silica and silica-based powders are very good at absorbing moisture. Why does that matter when it comes to pest control? At the microscopic level, DE has sharp edges (harmless to humans) that, when in contact with a bug, penetrates their exoskeleton and gets inside. The DE absorbs moisture from the bug and essentially dries it out and eventually it dies.
To address the problem of mites in my house, I sprinkled DE on my rugs and carpets and let it sit there for 1-2 days. Afterwards, I vacuumed everything up with my cheap Oreck vacuum cleaner. Be careful with your vacuum cleaner as DE is very fine and can really mess up some vacuums. I suggest you use a vacuum that has an HEPA filter so that the air going out of the vacuum is truly clean. A few passes of the vacuum did the trick and the end result was carpeting that was essentially ‘deodorized’. Best yet the mite problem disappeared.
I purchased my first bag of DE from Amazon – and yes, it was pricey. But there are other sources of DE you can find online that offer better deals. There is also the issue of whether the DE should be ‘food grade’ or not. From my research, I don’t think it really matters but food grade means it can be mixed in animal feed, which is often done by farmers to feed their cattle.
DE is really an incredible product for natural pest control. I plan to use it on my carpets every few months to keep things clean and most importantly to keep the pests away! After we vacuumed up the DE, we, of course, got a professional house cleaning to get the rest of the house ‘deodorized’.
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