If you are the type of person whose idea of a spring-clean is a quick once-over with the vacuum cleaner every few months, then you could be harbouring some nasty life-forms in your home – the scary thing is, often, these critters will not be visible to the naked eye, whilst the ones which are will only make themselves seen when they outnumber you by a large gulf.
By following strict, but simple cleaning guidelines, you can avoid dealing with the uninvited guests who will turn up under your nose: but first, to show you what can happen if you don’t act quickly enough, let’s take a look at three of nature’s worst household horrors…
House Dust Mites
If someone told you that millions of creatures crawl over your bed at night, feasting on your dead skin, you might be forgiven for thinking that they have been reading too many conspiracy-theories online: however, the truth really is out there: house dust mites are an inevitable part of human existence; unfortunately, their droppings (and even their bodies) can lead to a whole host of allergic symptoms and exacerbate conditions such as asthma to worrying levels;
Whilst it may never be possible to entirely eliminate these mites from your life, you can certainly cut their numbers (and the associated side-effects which come from living side-by-side with too many of these critters) by regularly washing bedding and vacuuming carpets or any other place where dust gathers and moisture collects.
You might not think of the black ooze that grows in your bathroom grouting or crusty grey chunks which form around your windows as living things, however, moulds are very much alive: and they seem hell bent on making your life a misery!
The problem with allowing such organisms to grow in your home is that many moulds can be harmful to your health: and indeed, to the very structural integrity of your property.
Exposure to mould is something which is, sadly, often a daily part of our lives: it can lead to a whole host of health problems, such as lung and sinus problems, nasal blockage, migraines, rashes and more; with this in mind, it makes perfect sense to spend some time removing all traces of mould in your home.
You can remove most moulds by scrubbing with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, or you can buy purpose-made anti-mould solutions at most hardware stores: remember to wear eye protection and a face-mask, to avoid spores from falling into your eyes or ending up embedded in your lungs.
If you happen to catch a glimpse of a small, dark, shadowy shape darting by your skirting board from the corner of your eye, don’t worry: you are not going crazy – there is a good chance that you have just seen a mouse;
The problem with seeing a mouse is that this is typically a sign that you have an infestation, since these bashful rodents generally won’t make the mistake of showing themselves anywhere near a human being if they can help it.
Although they are cute and cuddly looking, mice can cause serious damage to your property – they have even been known to chew through electric wiring, triggering fires and killing their fair share of humans as a result.
Aside from their ability to easily chew through a brick wall with their razor-sharp teeth, which can be problematic in itself, mice have a nasty habit of urinating on pretty much anything they come in contact with, as well as leaving their droppings on food-preparation surfaces, or other items which are contained within easily chewed-through boxes (such as your crispy honey-nut cornflakes): aside from making your home stink, the toilet habits of mice can end up making you very ill indeed.
Avoid attracting mice by sealing all of your food in air-tight containers, which should be placed secure cupboards, preferably high up: look for points where the furry intruders could be entering your home and seal up the holes as best you can.
Clean up any food crumbs or residue religiously after cooking and eating each and every meal and snack: a few salty fragments from your crisp packet or drops of gravy on your kitchen floor might not look like much, but they will be like manna from heaven to these creatures.
Finally, depending on how you want to deal with the problem, the last step is to reduce their numbers in your home: you can try traditional lethal-traps or live-capture humane versions;
However you decide to capture or kill mice in your home, avoid touching their bodies, to lessen the chance of you picking up something nasty;
If you do insist on live capture and reintroduction to the wild, make sure to travel a significant distance from your home, as their keen navigational senses will most likely lead them straight back to where you caught them in the first place.
If all of your efforts to control the situation fail, call in a professional pest control firm to control the problem, before you end up living in mouse-central.
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Aaron Ross runs a franchise which provides cleaning services for home and office alike.