May 14, 2018

How to get rid of Moths, Dust Mites and Bed Bugs

How to get rid of Moths

Clothes moths, or ‘Tineola Bisselliella’, are a fairly new problem for homeowners. While they’ve always been around, we’re starting to see them breed in greater numbers, which is causing more noticeable (and costly) damage throughout the home. In the past, clothes moths would die out in winter, returning in small numbers during the summer, but now that we’re maintaining that warm, summer atmosphere across the year thanks to central heating, the moths can breed all year round, and they can start to become a nuisance.
Have you found yourself wondering how to get rid of clothes moths? Unlike other species of moth, they’re not attracted to light, and instead prefer dark corners which can make them very difficult to spot. In most cases, you’ll only know you’ve got an infestation once you start to see patches of carpet being eaten bare, and holes appearing in wool and silk garments. You could, of course, choose to fumigate, but not only is this expensive, it can also be very inconvenient and the lingering chemicals could pose a risk, especially to young children. Instead, this comprehensive guide will give some safer, simpler ways to rid your house of moths.

Three Things to Help Get Rid of Moths

Skip the Mothballs
• Traditionally; mothballs are what are used to get rid of moths. You can buy these from any DIY store, and they work by emitting chemicals that naturally repel moths. However, there are problems with these products. First, let’s not mince our words here – they stink. Mothballs have a smell that’s worse than steamed cauliflower. The smell will be absorbed into all your fabrics, leaving your clothing, and your home, smelling absolutely foul. Second, they might not be strong enough to kill the bigger moths. Some homeowners prefer to use cedar balls – a more natural, safer alternative – but moths can become immune to the effects of the smell, so you may find this is only a short-term solution.

Getting Rid of Moth Larvae through Washing.
• One of the best methods of removing larvae is to wash your clothes at high temperatures – at least 48 degrees celsius is needed to kill the moths. Washing is also important because moths are attracted to the sweat that accumulates in the sleeves of the clothes, so to remove this entirely, it is necessary to wash any dirty clothes with a laundry detergent. Be sure to choose an appropriate laundry detergent for the type of fabric, like one from the range Persil offer, and to read the instructions on the product’s label. Of course, there’s a big problem with this – the types of material moths are typically attracted to, such as wools and silks, should not be washed above 30 degrees to prevent damage and shrinkage. So what’s the solution?

Make Some Changes to Prevent Moths.
• When looking at how to get rid of moths, some homeowners have found that freezing clothes is just as effective as boiling them. Simply pop your clothes into bags and place in the freezer for two hours. Remove and wash as normal using warm, not hot, water and following the directions on the care label. This method will kill any larvae attached to your clothing, and it should reduce the extent to which moths are attracted to your clothes, but it won’t solve your problem entirely. There may still be moths hiding in your wardrobe that can breed to produce new larvae, and you’ll be back to where you started. Ridding your home of moths is about tackling the problem directly, and then keeping up with regular maintenance to reduce the likelihood of them becoming a nuisance once more.
You may wish to make some small changes in your home to reduce the risk of moths coming back. Here are some easy ways to help protect your clothing a little better:
• Don’t leave dirty clothes lying around for too long – keeping on top of your laundry is one of the best methods of stopping moths becoming a problem.
• Consider removing some jumpers from your wardrobe, folding them, and storing them on open shelving. Moths prefer dark spaces, rather than being out in the open.
• Have a clear out of your wardrobe – more space between clothing means there’s less of a chance that moths can eat through multiple garments at once.
• Vacuum every corner of your wardrobe. Many people never think to vacuum inside their cupboards, but this is where the moths will be hiding.
• If you’ve got some old wool lying around, hang that among your other clothing – moths will almost always go for wool above all others.
Key Steps:
• Read the care labels on the affected items. If the clothes can be washed at higher temperatures, place them in the washing machine and set the temperature to at least 48 degrees celsius. For more delicate items that cannot handle high temperatures, place them in bags and leave in the freezer for two hours. Remove and wash as normal. Extremes of high or low temperatures will help to eradicate moth larvae.
• Once your items are clean and moth-free, you’ll want to make sure the moths don’t return. Vacuum your wardrobe on a regular basis and make sure your clothes are not packed into the closet too tightly. You could also consider alternative storage methods for items like wool jumpers (which are prime targets for moths), such as folding them on open shelves. Check out section three of this article for more tips on preventing moths.

How to get rid of dust mites

• Dust mites have a bit of a reputation for only lurking in dirty or unclean homes, but unfortunately that isn’t true. In fact, it’s difficult to find a home that is completely 100 percent free of dust mites – even the cleanest of homes have them. While we may not be able to banish dust mites completely, what we can do is keep their numbers minimal. This not only ensures a clean home, but can also improve our health; just read on for our 3 top tips on how to get rid of dust mites.

What is a Dust Mite?
• A dust mite is a tiny creature quite similar to a spider. It’s got eight legs, it’s definitely one of the world’s most itch-inducing creepy crawlies, and sadly, it’s invading our homes. Dust mites can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, so even if you just start with one, you’ll soon be calling hundreds of them your roommates. The main problem with these vermin is that they feed off dead skin, and as we’re constantly shedding, getting rid of dust mites can be tricky.
Why are Dust Mites a Problem?

• We can’t see them, we can’t feel them, they don’t get in our way, so why do we need to know how to get rid of dust mites? Like any other living animal, dust mites excrete waste, but the type of waste they excrete is a major allergen. Those of us with even the mildest of allergies can find our eyes streaming and our noses running when they’re around. According to Allergy UK, dust mites pass waste up to 20 times each day, so you can imagine how much they can affect our health.

Getting Rid of Dust Mites

• Getting rid of dust mites and keeping their numbers to a minimum is a twofold process. Firstly, you’ll want to kill as many dust mites as you can, and secondly you’ll want to take precautions to prevent them coming back in droves. You probably know how to get rid of dust in your home – vacuum regularly and keep it clean – but do you know how to kill off existing dust mites?

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites in Carpets

• Vacuuming carpets on a regular basis is the best way to prevent dust mite breeding, but you’ll also want to steam clean semi-regularly to remove existing dust mites. Steam cleaning works really well, as the mites cannot survive the hot temperatures. If you find you’re having a lot of trouble keeping your carpets clean, consider installing hardwood flooring, or even a washable rug that can easily be put in the washing machine.

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites in a Mattress and in Bedding

• Mattresses and bedding are a hotspot of dust mite activity – they see the dead skin you shed overnight as an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s actually very easy to clean sheets and other items of bedding – just put them through the wash with Persil bio liquid detergent on the highest temperature that the care labels allow – like 60 degrees Celsius – which will kill the pests. Mattresses are a little more difficult as they cannot be washed. It’s a good idea to use a small, handheld vacuum cleaner to give the mattress a once over, and then fit an allergy-reducing, breathable cover onto the mattress. This will prevent dead skin cells shedding into the mattress, and will hopefully keep the dust mites away – just be sure to wash the cover regularly.

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites on Clothing

• Clothing is also a very popular dust mite hotspot due to miniscule bits of dead skin that get caught in the fibres of the fabric. Obviously, washing your clothing regularly with a good quality detergent like Persil is very beneficial, but also take care to hang your clothes in a wardrobe, rather than throwing them onto the floor or keeping them in an exposed location where dust mites can easily find their way to them.

• Most of us are harbouring troublesome dust mites in our homes without even realising it. If you find yourself with streaming eyes and a runny nose in the middle of winter – well after hay fever season – then your problem could be dust mites. Keep your home clean and tidy, and take preventative measures to prevent dust mite breeding, and you could find your health improves almost instantly. Give it a try and see for yourself.

How to get rid of bed bugs

Do you have itchy red bites? You may have a bed bug infestation.

• Check your bedding for black spots – this could be dried bed bug excrement.
• Look for mottled brown shells shed by the bedbugs.
• Check for blood spots – you may have rolled over and squashed a bed bug.
• Inspect your mattress and bed frame to see if you can actually spot any bugs. Be sure to check all crevices and joints.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs: Identify Which Rooms Are Infected

• The sooner you start treating your home, the easier it will be to eradicate the bed bugs. Left untreated, the bugs will gradually spread from one room to another, latching onto clothes and crawling through cracks in search of new food sources. So find out first who is being bitten, and identify their bedrooms as the areas you will need to treat. Bed bugs will inhabit any room where someone sleeps. This can include your lounge or other rooms if your family members, housemates, or guests sometimes sleep on the sofa.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Flats

• If you live in a flat, terrace, or semi-detached house, you should inform the building manager and the landlord or your neighbours, as bed bugs can move between your accommodation and that of your neighbours. Getting rid of bed bugs should therefore be a collective effort, or your efforts will be in vain.

How to Kill Bed Bugs: Treating a Bedroom

Once you have identified which rooms to treat, you will need to be very thorough and methodical in tackling them. Bed bugs can easily hide in small crevices or cracks, and eggs are even harder to detect and treat. Here are the basic steps to take when eradicating bed bugs from a bedroom:

• Strip and treat all bedding — this includes not just duvet covers, pillowcases, bed skirts, and sheets, but also the pillows and the mattresses themselves. Read Step 7 to find out how to treat washable items. But the first step is to break down the bed into its component parts and treat them one by one.

• Vacuum the mattress and bedsprings — thoroughly vacuum all surfaces, using the vacuum extensions to get inside every possible crevice. When you are finished with the vacuuming, you will need to remove and discard the vacuum bag to prevent any bed bugs from climbing out.

• Treat the mattress and bed springs with insecticide — the most effective insecticides are a spray or dust, such as Diatomaceous earth (DE) dust or a low toxicity contact spray. “Bug bombs” or aerosol foggers do not reach all the crevices bed bugs can hide out in. Be sure to thoroughly apply the insecticide on all surfaces, crevices, and creases to prevent the spread of bugs. Make sure that you read the instructions on any products carefully before using, and take any necessary safety precautions and test the product on a small area first before continuing.
• Encase the mattress and bedsprings — Purchase a good set of bed bug-proof encasements. These are fabric sacks that zip around the mattress and bed springs. They are specially designed to prevent any bed bugs from getting out and feeding. Encasements are an essential tool when getting rid of bed bugs.

• Treat the bed frame and headboard — Again, you should vacuum all surfaces and crevices thoroughly, and apply insecticide liberally.

• Isolate the bed with interceptor cups — Bed bug interceptors are cups or platforms that sit under the feet of a bed frame, holding the bed away from the floor. These commercial products prevent bed bugs from climbing up or down from the bed. However, you also need to ensure the bed is not touching any curtains, walls, or furniture, as this can also form a “bridge” for bed bugs, allowing them to migrate.

• Remove all non-furniture items from the room and treat them — This is essential: in addition to the bedding and pillows, treat all curtains, toys, clothes, books, and personal items. Washable items should be either dry cleaned (having informed your dry cleaner of the problem), or machine washed in hot water for 30 minutes with a good quality laundry detergent (like Persil small & mighty) followed by tumble-drying for 30 minutes. Be sure to follow the guidelines on all garment care tags so as not to damage any fabrics and to follow the instructions on your detergent’s label. Alternatively, you can bag items in sealed plastic bags, so bed bugs have no access to food. Isolate them for 2-4 months to kill the bugs. If it’s hot out, you can place the bags in direct sunlight for several days to kill all stages of bed bug life. You can also place the bags in a freezer for 8-10 hours. Toys with hard surfaces can be cleaned with hot soapy water followed by an anti-bacterial spray and/or rubbing alcohol.

• Systematically treat the rest of the room — Vacuum all furniture, floors, and surfaces thoroughly. Apply insecticide as with the bed frame and headboard.

The above steps provide a helpful outline, explaining the basics of how to get rid of bed bugs at home. Remember when using any store bought pesticide to read and follow the instructions carefully, ensuring that you are using it effectively and responsibly. A DIY approach can save you a great deal of money compared to hiring a professional, but you do need to be very diligent and patient to make sure that even the resilient bed bugs are thoroughly eliminated from your home.

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