Dust mites? Nah.
During an internship with the Michigan House of Representatives, I was in charge of booking a hotel to help with a political campaigning event. Another intern and I were heading to a small town that was pretty much in the middle of nowhere up in northeastern Michigan. Hotel options were limited. There was a super cheap hole-in-the-wall motel, an averaged-priced motel, and a super-expensive hotel. I didn’t want to pay any out of pocket expenses for this trip and I didn’t trust the super low priced motel.
Little did I know that I was traveling with a huge germaphobic… Of course, problems came up the moment we drove into the parking lot and walked through the doors. The imagery reminded me of any one of those horror movies people go to die by creatures of the night or mass murderers. You know… Motels with individual keys and one front desk area where the key keeper is actually dead or involved in the killings.
I swear this girl was going to kill me. Her eyes glared at me in disgust, hatred and belittlement.
In my defense, it didn’t help that this town was SUPER rural and that we arrived after dark. On top of that, I think she expected a fancy Holiday Inn or something because the dim lights, cobwebs and outdated decorations were not cutting it for her. Truthfully, it was fine. It only creepy due to the unknown rural-ness of it, but I had stayed in much worse places sleeping in youth hostels across Europe. Seriously, I didn’t have money from parents or some grand savings bank to pay more for this trip like she probably did.
She was absolutely appalled, but started setting up for bed. We didn’t have more than 5-6 hours to sleep before we had to wake up and start prepping for Election Day. She laid out her large sleeping bag and pillow she brought from home. I questioned her because I had never heard of anyone bringing their own bedding to a hotel. She explained about germs, bed bugs, whatever… I rolled it off and dove right into my visually clean hotel bed.
Guess how the story ended. We both woke up and continued on with our lives without any bed bugs, dust mite diseases or unnecessary money wasted. She survived. I survived (as she didn’t kill me in my sleep).
So – how many times have you heard people complain about the cheap hotels, used furniture and mattresses from Craigslist, and thrift store stuffed animals?
One trillion five hundred.
It had never occurred to me that the only way to survive in life is to buy everything brand new. If that was the case, I’d only have a couple appliances and a mattress tossed on the floor. We buy new things when we can and used items if we can find them. Besides, there are plenty of tricks to clean furniture without breaking the bank.
And then I really discovered dust mites.
I never paid much attention to people’s fear of germs or dust mites until a couple days ago…
A week or two ago, I placed two halves of potatoes in my mealworm farm. (I have a mealworm farm for my chickens.) Apparently, those potatoes were slightly rotten because I walked into my office and noticed that the entire tank was covered in dust. I thought it was strange that the tank suddenly became super dusty so I moved in to take a closer look. Those tiny, white dust-sized specks were MOVING. There had to be a couple thousand super tiny, creepy-crawly bugs moving inside, outside, and around the tank!!!
Pretty sure the blood drained from my face… I freaked out slightly and decided to look again.
I decided to handle the situation effectively and turn off my I’m-incredibly-disgusted-fight-or-flight-please-burn-down-my-house emotion. I grabbed some rags and a can of non-environmentally nor health-friendly Lysol and sprayed the outside of the tank and surrounding areas. I set it outside and went back to essentially Lysol-bomb my office.
Then I went to bed.
Yeah, right… All I could think about was those tiny specks moving around. This youtube video shows exactly what I saw.
There are literally thousands and thousands of dust mites living in your home with you at any given time.
I laid in bed researching dust mites for an hour and pretty much freaked out again because dust mites are literally everywhere. They are in the mattress under my body and in the pillow behind my head…
Clean house or dirty house. The only difference is your ability to reduce the number of dust mites by keeping a clean home. Simple chores like routine bedding laundering in hot water, steam mopping, vacuuming, carpet washing, and furniture cleaning help reduce their numbers.
You should not see masses of dust mites unless you have a mold problem or a house full of dogs, cats and people who don’t clean. Humans and pets create a ton of dead skin, which is a buffet for dust mites.
Dust mites don’t harm humans, but their excrements can trigger allergies. Instead of reaching for the Lysol, there are more natural solutions which are equally effective. You can use Cymex Insecticide which is safe for indoor use around pets and children when used as directed. Since it kills instantly, maybe hotel-bed-o-phobes should carry a bottle of that on vacation?!
Guess what natural product I used in order to sleep peacefully after my dust mite infestation?! Diatomaceous Earth (DE): My best friend, which is safe for human consumption, yet deadly to insects as it effectively dehydrates them. I tore off my bed sheets and sprinkled DE all over my mattress. I thoroughly rubbed the powder into each crevice and put the sheets back on. Then, I sprinkled DE inside each pillow case. And to completely protect myself, I took a long powder bath in it. Not really.
But I was able to sleep well and wake up peacefully not caring about dust mites anymore.