Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Home remedies: bugs, vomit and blood stains!

Hi all! Sorry it has been a while, you know, life and all...

Lately I've had quite a few "fun" experiences. I love looking up remedies online and am excited to say that a lot of the natural remedies work great! AND you may already have it sitting in the cupboard - which was great today. My son had a bloody nose and it's a blizzard outside (literally!). Well, here's the breakdown of what I've tried. Next step: clean the ENTIRE house!!!!

1. Get vomit smell out of carpet with baking soda

Okay, so for some reason the carpet in my son's room is off-white. I do not recommend this! In fact, go for hard wood if you can... One day he was sick with a pretty bad stomach bug. My husband told him not to wake up Mommy, so he didn't. Even though he had vomited all over the said white rug. So, when I finally found it, it was set in and smelled horrible! I scraped up the pieces that I could and then cleaned it with dish soap and cold water. That worked pretty well, but there was still a light stain and the stench remained. I went to the store and got some carpet spot cleaner for the rest of the stain and it still smelled horrible. I used Febreze which masked it temporarily. I tried the scented carpet sprinkle - then it smelled like flowers AND vomit - not exactly an improvement. My husband could still smell it when he got home from work. Finally I decided to try baking soda which I had read about online. It worked awesome!!!! I sprinkled it very generously on the stinky area and left it for half a day. Then I vaccuumed it up, and voila the smell was gone! No perfumy smells needed to cover it up either.

2. Get rid of lice with salt and a metal comb, repel them with tea tree oil.

Another day my son was sitting with me watching a movie and I saw something crawling in his hair - ewwww! He had gotten lice from preschool. Well, I went right to the drugstore for the pesticide shampoo that my Mom used when we were kids and followed the directions. It seemed to help, but the plastic nit comb to get the eggs out didn't work at all and I spent more than an hour picking the eggs out by hand. I also vaccuumed and washed everything (linens, hat, clothes, etc.) in hot water and dried on high heat. He still had some live ones, but a lot fewer, so I repeated the procedure as recommended by the product. A week later he STILL had them and managed to spread them to me as well! I have long thick hair, so needless to say, I was NOT happy! So I repeated the chemical shampoo on both of us and had my sister help comb my hair. Then I started reading up on other experiences and found that lice are becoming resistant to these insecticides. Not only that, but they are dangerous to humans and the environment. Tea tree oil was recommended to repel lice, so I bought some shampoo and conditioner with tea trea oil. I figured I would just use this and then get a good metal comb and comb all the little buggers out. Time consuming, but safer. Well, I couldn't find just a lice comb but I did find this stuff called Licefreee! which had a metal comb included in the kit. It is homeopathic remedy that doesn't use chemicals - it uses a salt solution to dehydrate the bugs AND the nits (chemicals only kill the adults). It smelled kind of wierd (like black licorice) but worked great! The metal comb gets out all the eggs and bugs and the salt solution worked on both of us after only ONE treatment. Now I use the tea tree oil conditioner on both of us to keep them repelled. I still use the metal comb occasionally to make sure we aren't reinfected - so far so good! I would definately buy the Licefreee! again but you could also make your own salt solution at home.

3. Drown fleas in soapy water and vaccuum them up

Then... my cat got out, for like 30 seconds, and ended up with fleas. Well, the metal comb gets the fleas out great and then you dunk them in soapy water (they jump right out of regular water!) If I had the patience, I would just keep combing her, but she really freaks out. I wanted to try the tea trea oil, but found out it can be toxic to cats. I also didn't want to traumatize her with a bath. Some people recommend using dish soap, but cats' skin and livers are so sensitive I didn't want to try it. In the end I went with the vet recommended chemical spot treatment and vaccuumed really well. I did not want to use the chemical sprinkle for the carpet and stuff, though, and just vaccuuming seems to work. The vet told me that vaccuuming eggs from the carpet will make them hatch, so be sure to get rid of the bag right away. I also read about sprinkling some DE (a dust sold in landscaping stores) but it sounds like it might be dangerous as well (inhaling dust) and you have to let it sit on your carpet for like 24 hours. Still waiting to see if they are all gone, she just got the spot treatment 2 days ago.

4. Get blood stains out of carpet with salt and hydrogen peroxide

So my most recent adventure consisted of getting the blood out of my son's carpet (yep, same one he vomited on) and also our living room. My husband got to deal with this one, but when the carpet spot cleaner didn't work, he gave up. And it just sat there.... until I finally decided to clean it myself. So, now it is nice and dried in. Back to the internet to see what other people had tried. Again, I'm trying to keep the house safe and environmentally friendly so I wanted to avoid chemicals if possible. I found that table salt and peroxide both seemed to be widely recommended, could be used together, and I had both in the cupboard! So, I sprinkled salt directly on the stains and then dipped a washcloth in a 50/50 water/peroxide solution and rubbed the stains out. The salt absorbs the blood - I think it works better when the blood is fresher, though. You know how peroxide bubbles on your skin? It does the same thing on the carpet and seems to eat the blood away. I noticed a difference right away! There were some tougher spots that required more than one go at it, and I think some of it got rubbed in too far in the fibers, but it is gone in most spots and barely visible in others. It got the stains out of both white and blue carpets. I was afraid the peroxide might fade the color, but it didn't at all. After it all dries, you can vaccuum up any excess salt.

So, there you go! A few easy home remedies to try out. Good luck, and I'd love to hear from you guys any great tips you might have!

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