Thursday, 24 March 2016

Confessions of a Germ-a-phoebe | Lice, Mice and our favourie All Purpose Cleaner Hack

I debated on writing this post, is it TMI? Is it gross? Distasteful? Well, it keeps popping into my head so I thought writing it would help to get it out.  Hello, my name is Laura and I am a self professed germ-a-phoebe.  Kind of... sort of... well okay I am. There I said it. Ha!

I wasn't always, but back when we were fostering and had up to 7 kids at a time in the house at a time I became a little panicked when one would come down with a bug that we would get the whole domino thing going on.  That is a lot of sick time and clean up for a family of 9.

About a billion years ago, or 15, we used to use an all purpose cleaner like Fantastik  and/or the No-Name equivalent or some such thing that claimed to kill germs, to clean the baths and kitchen.  I am sure they worked well enough, but they made me really ill.  I would get head aches and numbness in my arms and hands each time I used them.

After a while I switched to using bleach (diluted) in a spray bottle and Windex for any mirrored or glass surfaces.  Which didn't give me any side effects, other than the occasional ruined top or bottoms. But at least I felt like it was killing bacteria etc.

Then we moved to the country, and have a septic system.  Bleach is not good for the health of a septic system.  So I did some research and found out that vinegar was septic safe and good for killing germs.  I started mixing a concoction of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water plus a couple of squirts of blue Dawn dish soap into a spray bottle.

I was a little hesitant at first as to whether or not we would see a rise in the incidences of illness, or if the house wouldn't look or smell as clean as it used to. But I am happy to say that everything is just fine!

And man is it ever cost effective!! And much more environmentally friendly!

I use it on mirrors and glass (including windows, doors and my reading glasses) scrubbing it in and wiping it off with a microfiber cloth...

...on my stainless appliances for daily cleaning (though I still use a stainless cleaner about once every two weeks or so)....

... and I also use it weekly on our laminate floors.  It does a great job of cleaning up after muddy paw prints!

I go through about one large spray bottle of this solution a week, which now only costs me pennies opposed to the $6 or $8 a bottle that all-purposed cleaner costs, not to mention I do not use glass cleaner or floor cleaner any more either.  HUGE SAVINGS! Plus it doesn't ruin my clothing, or leave blue stains on caulking, etc. that Windex can.

Ian was worried the house would smell like vinegar, but honestly it only lasts for about 20 minutes or until everything is dry.


Another thing that I started back when we had a passel of kidlets, and still do, is add 4-5 drops of Tea Tree Oil to our shampoo bottles, each time we open a new one.

It is supposed to keep lice away, I believe it works.  Fingers crossed I am not jinxing myself.  (See germ-a-phoebe! LOL) But for this visually impaired mama lice is a nightmare - I just can't see them to remove them. Thankfully in my 26 years of parenting we have only had one outbreak, the use of Tea Tree Oil in our shampoo began promptly after that!

It is a little price-y but lasts forever, you may only ever buy one or two bottles.  So totally worth it!

Boy I hope I didn't give you the heebies jeebies like I gave myself!


The last thing  that I thought I would share today is another lesson that we learned when we moved to the country.  Wait for it....  Mice like to move indoors with the onset of cold weather.  Me in all my city slicker wisdom had no thoughts that this might happen. 

Imagine my surprise when I heard one in my house, which quickly became 6!  I couldn't sleep, I felt a little homicidal and totally GROSSED OUT!  

I plugged in an old second fridge we had and put all of our pantry items into it. Things that you may normally leave on a shelf like chips, crackers, peanut butter and school bag snacks.  Yes mice love all of those and since we had stock piled because Ian is out of town all week long, the little beggars had a field day in our storage room and pantry cupboard!  

I threw out all of the contaminated food. Then I scrubbed and cleaned.  I pulled out my emergency bleach, and bleached every surface in the kitchen and storage room. And killed all 6 of the mice that were in the house.

I also ordered these from Amazon, here.  You can also get them at Home Depot, but ths non driver  loves Amazon.

I was a little skeptical, but I will tell you they do work!  We have had no more evidence in the form of noises or droppings or actual mice in the house since I plugged them in.  I swear by them!!  Though I also think you should do your homework and put away (ie. spare fridge) all food sources.  I still have a couple of traps set, but I really don't think I need them.

Each unit is supposed to cover 800 square feet, we have one in the kitchen, one in the rec room and one in the storage room.  They do make a bit of a humming noise, but it is off and on and at different levels and I can only hear them once in a while. They do not bother our dog at all.  I checked that they were pet friendly before ordering them.  Though the mice didn't bother our doG either lol!

I ordered a second pack of 3 to plug in when we are out of town.  Just in case.  My logic is that if we are home I would know fairly quickly if any mice came in, but if we are away they would have a party and invite all their friends before we would know it!  Might be just my paranoia talking out loud, but for the $30. I am not taking any chances.

I might get braVe and unplug them for the summer. But maybe I won't.

Now that my phobia(s) are public knowledge, and the world knows that I may or may not be a wack-a-doodle, I will sign off.  But I thought I would ask you a little question first, do you share any of my fears? Help a girl out to not feel so CRAZY will yah!  Have a great one!

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