I received an email from a reader today and I thought that I’d share it with you, since this is a pretty common problem — especially in our humid climate!
Hi there, I love your blog! Was wondering if you had any advice on an all-natural cleaner/pesticide for pantry pests? I’ve been invaded by tiny white mites (not termites) – I think they’re called flour mites – so I need to conduct a big clean-up and keep them away. Thanks!
Answer: Hi Jeannette! Thanks for the question! You’re right in not wanting to use chemicals, especially near your food! I had a similar experience recently and here’s what I have figured out:
Like with most things – prevention is key.
The first thing to understand is how the little mites got in to begin with. A lot of times – depending on where you buy your dried goods from – food can come with larvae that we can’t see and they can hatch in your pantry. It’s always best to buy from a trusted source, make sure the shop is clean. Some shops can sometimes be a bit unclean and little bugs might be getting in from there.
Also things like dog food, cat food and bird seed don’t have as strict of standards, so if you’re bringing those into your pantry – little bugs might be getting in through there as well, you definitely want to store them outside of your kitchen.
So, If you can figure out where the source came from – that might be good to help it from happening again.
Here is your action plan to get rid of mites in your kitchen:
- Throw out all of the contaminated food and clear out your pantry
- Vacuum inside the pantry and throw out the vacuum contents into the garbage outside your home.
- Give your pantry a good wipe with an all-natural cleaner — see the recipe below.
- Some herbs are natural bug repellents – so I like to infuse my cleaners with herbs like basil, mint & cinnamon – it makes a great smelling cleaner!
Then you’ll be ready to re-stock your pantry:
- If you want to be extra sure, when you buy flour, you can freeze it for a week or two to kill any larvae or little mites that might be harboring inside. (Remember, I know it sounds unsavory – but they’re harmless – we just don’t want them to hatch and multiply.)
- Keep your dried goods stored in airtight containers.
- You can keep dried bay leaves inside, which is an old farmer’s trick for keeping their grains safe from bugs.
All-Natural Cleaning Solution for Dust & Kitchen Mites
There are plenty of cleaners that use chemical agents to combat little terrors like dust mites and flour mites, but I definitely don’t want to spray toxic chemicals around my kitchen.
So I did my research… and I have found an all natural solution! Tea Tree Oil. This oil is amazing! It is a triple threat – antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal! This means it kills bacteria, viruses and fungus that harbor in our home and can cause all kinds of health issues. Tea tree oil is a volatile compound, which means it even kills bacteria just when sprayed in the air! You’ll want to use it all over your kitchen!
I created my Bye-Bye Mites & Mold spray and I now spray it all around my kitchen and on my soft furnishing to keep mites away. The idea is to create an inhospitable environment for them. I
If you think that you might have dust or kitchen mites or want to make sure that you keep them away– you’ll need a powerful, all-natural cleaner.
Take action and make it yourself!
Bye-Bye Mites & Mold – All-Natural Mites & Mold Killer Recipe
- 2 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil
- 1 dark bottle (not crystal clear – oils are light-sensitive)
Mix, shake and spray on affected areas. Spray periodically to maintain a clean environment. It has a strong odor, but that’s because it’s powerful – and the smell will dissipate after a short time.
Warning: Tea Tree Oil is highly concentrated. It is safe when diluted and in small amounts, even applied neat on the skin..but it should be used carefully! Always buy high quality, pure essential oil – you get what you pay for. Keep away from small hands and paws, never ingest and keep your home well ventilated when you spray.
Hope this helps!