Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preventing Bed Bugs Naturally, Organically - New York City Green, Eco-Friendly Home Cleaning

With all the hullabaloo recently about bed bugs invading our city and homes I wanted to advocate here for an ounce of prevention. The best way to deal with these insistent insects is to not let them in your home. Well, duh, you say, right? But, I don't hear people really talking about preventive measures, only what actions to take once an infestation has turned your life topsy-turvy. So perhaps you'll be relieved to know that there are measures we--those lucky to not have been visited by this contemporary scourge--can take to augment our luck, and hopefully, though with NO GUARANTEE, keep them out of our homes and off our bodies, and do so without harmful chemicals or drastic efforts.

Here's a list, not exhaustive, of non-toxic, eco-friendly bed bug prevention measures:

1. Keep your home clutter-free and clean! Give the critters as little reason to visit and places to hide as possible. Keep bed slightly away from wall, clothes and mess off the floor. Add a few drops of essential oils to your eco-friendly cleaning solution. Use several of the following: thyme, tea tree, eucalyptus, patchouli, cedar wood, or oregano. Clean frequently, making sure to get floor and moldings around bed, as well as the bed frame itself. If you live in NYC, call Ms. Green-Clean for a cleaning appointment!

2. Wash bed linens frequently, and add a few drops of the essential oils mentioned above in the rinse cycle.

3. Make a simple linen spray in a dark glass bottle with water and a few of the above essential oils. Spray on mattress and sheets regularly. Also spray clothes in closets, towels in bathroom, etc...

4. Eat a diet rich in garlic and other herbs and spices. Make your blood not as tasty for bed bugs. They live off human blood.

5. Wear essential oils on your body instead of perfumes. Wash with soaps that contain essential oils.

6. When traveling, make sure to check room, especially around and behind bed and frame and the mattress. Do a Google search on "bed bugs" to arm yourself with plenty of images of them at all points in their life cycle, and of their excrement. Do not set your suitcases on the floor or bed of the hotel room. Keep them on the provided luggage stand or shelf. When you return home from a trip wash all your clothing in very hot water. Spray luggage inside and out before and after trip with essential oil spray described above. Store them in as hot a place as your able, an attic if you have one.

7. Use a bed cover made especially to deter bed bugs.

8. In addition to the essential oil spray already mentioned, spray area around bed, and mattress if you want with a similarly made spray of black walnut extract and water. Black walnut is said to be effective in killing bed bugs.

9. Use common sense when purchasing used goods! I hate to say don't do it, because it is green to recycle, as we know.

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