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Dust mites: They live in your carpet – and your bed. Photo – FDA (public domain)
Every so often the time comes when your carpet needs something more serious than vacuuming – and the typical strategy is either to pay for professional cleaning or to rent the “rug doctor” machine.
In addition to the dust, stains and grime that accumulate over time, carpets make a wonderful home for dust mites – microscopic beasties that eat dust. A dust mite is around 0.04 millimeters long – in other words, you don’t see them – but they are a real health hazard for millions of people.
This part is gross, but true – their poop is (as you can imagine) so small that it becomes airborne… and we breathe it in! Each dust mite produces around 2,000 of these particles in a 10 week lifespan… and there are thousands if not millions of the infernal things in most carpets, pillows and bedcovers.
This is one of the reasons why it’s good to give the carpet a deep cleaning – and cleaning fluids are designed to disinfect unwanted life-forms as well as cleanse dirt. However, as is so often the case, industrial / commercial cleaning fluids typically contain powerful man-made chemicals – and some have been found to have adverse health effects.
So if you are into the natural lifestyle and (rightly) concerned about the level of chemicals in the home, we have an alternative! It also happens to be very inexpensive.
The “basic” formula is really simple – a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. There is also a natural stain/spot remover and a carpet powder at the link at the end of the article.
However I’ve done some research and “upped the firepower” a bit: Did you know that numerous essential oils have been found to be natural dust mite killers? Oh yes! I found a brilliant scientific study from 2006 which lists several essential oils which have been found effective in this regard.  Clove essential oil was found to be (by far!) the most effective of the ones examined in this study; followed by matrecary, chenopodium, fennel, caraway, rosemary and eucalyptus.
Several other scientific studies have found good activity of other essential oils against dust mites: A 2009 study found juniper essential oil to be powerful against dust mites.  Tea tree and lavender have also been found by other researches to have a good natural anti-dust mite activity.  Also, tea tree has also been found effective against scabies mites. 
So there are your weapons! Why not try concocting your own special anti-dust mite carpet cleaning fluid using 50/50 white vinegar and water – and adding a few drops of these essential oils to the mix? 🙂 If you are asthmatic, you might find an improvement in your breathing after giving your carpets a thorough cleaning. I would also suggest putting all bedding through a hot wash and hot tumble dry (assuming that is ok for the fabrics).
Here is the link to the original formula, including the stain remover and the carpet powder: http://naturehacks.com/house-and-home/how-to-naturally-clean-your-carpet
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