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How to Clean Your Home of Critters

Warm weather brings lots of creepy crawlies who like to invade even squeaky clean homes. So what is a winning strategy to clean your house so it’s free from pests and doesn’t offer an inviting habitat for future visits?

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

Poorly lit, abandoned corners often sport brown recluse and black widow spiders and their baby-spider nests. This is particularly true of older homes. In fact, you might even find spiders hanging out in an empty bathtub or cupboard. Although most spiders are merely a harmless nuisance, desirable because they feed on tiny insects, the brown recluse spider is dangerous because it has toxic venom.

According to a report in the New York Times, one home Kansas City had more than 2,000 brown recluse spiders, which were removed over a six-month period. Although these spiders are not aggressive, they will bite if they are disturbed, with symptoms of their bites ranging from minor to severe skin lesions and, in extreme cases, death. The same is true of black widows, which prefer to nest in dark, undisturbed spaces.

So, to discourage spiders from taking refuge in your home:

  • Let the sun shine in. Open windows and turn on the lights.
  • Clean the corners from the baseboards all the way up to the ceiling.
  • Vacuum on a regular basis. Tiny spiders can nest in carpet fibers.
  • Dust hard-to-reach areas with a long-handled tool or use a ladder so you can get to crevices and corners.
  • When you clean your tub, sink or shower, run fresh clean water and product down the drain to discourage nest-building in bathrooms that don’t get a lot of traffic.

La Cucaracha 

Arguably one of the most disgusting of all household pests, the humble cockroach is said to be able to survive a nuclear bomb. These hearty bugs are less of a problem than they once were thanks to toxic cockroach baits—which are made by combining insecticide active ingredients and highly palatable foods to encourage consumption. Insecticide dusts that contain boric acid are also effective in controlling cockroaches, but should not be placed in areas where there are children or small pets. In fact, dust is most effective in destroying cockroaches when it is used inside walls.

Take these precautions to clean your home so it won’t attract cockroaches:

  • Move food to the fridge or freezer.
  • Cover anything and everything that is edible.
  • Carefully scrub countertops, stovetops and appliances to make sure they are free from sticky substances.


Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, you will likely encounter ants. Across the country, ants are considered the top nuisance pest in and around structures. In fact, according to a recent survey sponsored by the National Pest Management Association, the number of ant infestations is on the rise. Ants are most active during the warm months of spring through fall. Ants usually move indoors during environmental such as heavy rain, drought and temperature extremes.

The best defense against an ant infestation is to keep your home clean. Keep foods in sealed containers. Stow pet food bowls when not in use. Check your home for moisture problems (leaky pipes, poor drainage, clogged gutters, etc.) and correct these problems since ants will make nests outdoors under steppingstones or objects near your home and then will move from these sites to inside your home.

  • Keep foods that are attractive to ants in sealed containers.
  • Clean your kitchen.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes out overnight (even inside the dishwasher!)
  • Spray ant trails with blue window cleaner, which is relatively safe for animals and easy to wipe up.

No matter the pest, the best defense is to keep your home as clean as possible. The professionals at My Cleaning Lady can keep your home so that pests won’t have a chance to infest. My Cleaning Lady is a domestic referral agency.  The house cleaners we refer offer complete home cleaning services including thorough dusting at reasonable prices. My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency proudly serves Arcadia, Chino, Chino Hills, Duarte, Ontario, Pomona, LaVerne, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Montclair, Claremont, Phillips Ranch, Upland, West Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, and Sierra Madre. Visit call (909) 593-6690 for information or to arrange a free estimate.