Ants can be a massive hassle to have in your home, and if you aren’t paying attention they can quickly get a foothold that makes them hard to get rid of. To avoid getting ants in the first place, make sure that you keep your counters free of crumbs and sticky temptations, and that you cut off water sources like leaky taps. You can also try these:
- Leave some mint tea bags around the areas where ants seem most active. You can also use dry, crushed mint leaves, or even cloves as an ant deterrent.
- Trace the ants back to the point where they’ve entered your home. When you have found this point put either cayenne pepper, citrus oil, lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds in a line right at the entrance. The ants will not cross that line.
- Take one teaspoon of Borax and mix it with one litre of water and a cup of sugar until well combined. Soak cotton balls in this mixture and leave them around the house in containers (like takeaway or yoghurt containers) with the lids on a small holes punched in them to allow ant access. Spread the containers around your house, particularly where ants are active. The ants will carry your homemade bait back to their colonies, where the Borax will eventually kill the colony. Be aware that your baits must be kept away from pets and children.
Dust mites are very common, and you’ll find them in just about every home you look at, although you can’t see them. These mites live in our beds, clothes, furniture, books shelves and stuffed animals. Usually they aren’t a big deal, but they become a problem when someone in your home has dust mite allergies or asthma. You can reduce the dust mite population in your home by doing the following:
- Always vacuum mattresses and pillows when you clean. It is possible to buy dust mite bedding that is zippered with allergen-blocking casings to stop the mites.
- Wash your sheets and all bedding at 55 degrees celsius or higher. Although many detergents and laundry products can get rid of mites, they will only work at higher temperatures.
- Keep books, plush toys, rugs and laundry baskets out of the bedrooms of people with allergies, and make sure to wash plush animals more regularly, again with hot water.
- Dust your home with tannic acid, a material that neutralises the allergens in dust mites and helps people to deal with living with them. You can get tannic acid at health food shops and even pet stores.