Skipping This Cleaning Step Will Attract Bugs To Your Home

Like clockwork, finding bugs in your home is pretty much inevitable. More specifically, it's those recyclable plastic containers with traces of foods and liquids that entice bugs and leave you with the painful job of exterminating them. Let's face it—it's not easy to keep insects out of your house, but one way we can lessen our efforts is by rinsing out our food containers before tossing them into the recycling bin. Once you've used that plastic container to store leftovers, consider giving it a quick rinse, wiping it dry, and sprinkling a dash of diatomaceous earth before tossing it into the recycling bin.

According to The Recycling Partnership, approximately 60% of people think recycling is confusing, especially due to the varying rules of 9,000 different community recycling programs in the U.S. Between aluminum foil, cardboard, and the large population of people who tell you not to throw out your plastic takeout containers, it can be hard to find an effective answer in the cognitive dissonance of it all. We're here to clear things up for you: Plastic containers can and should be recycled, but not without a proper rinse first. If you skip this step, you might just be attracting bugs to your home.

How to properly clean your plastic containers

Start by collecting the handful of plastic containers you're finally ready to toss out. Empty any remaining solids and liquids into the trash or garbage disposal before soaking each container with warm water. Focus your efforts heavily on containers that once contained products like milk, juices, sauces, and oils, as they're the hardest and stickiest consistencies you'll work with. If any ingredients are particularly stubborn, add a dash of dish soap and allow it to soak in the warm water. Don't forget to give their appropriate lids a quick rinse, too!

Once you've rinsed these containers clean, allow them to air dry completely before tossing them in the recycling bin. This will give you additional time to wipe your recycling bin clean as well since it harbors most of the bacteria that doesn't make it from your house to a manufacturing facility (hence the pesky insects). After a few hours, your recyclable containers should be completely dry and ready to be closed with their assigned lids. As an added effort, you may sprinkle some diatomaceous earth into the bin to kill any potential insects.

Preventative cleaning measures to avoid bugs

Besides rinsing out our recyclable containers, there are a few preventative ways to avoid attracting bugs into your home. For starters, vacuuming once or twice a week can make a world of difference. Use your biweekly vacuuming as an opportunity to target dust, crumbs, and small insects you may come across. Additionally, mop any hardwood surfaces approximately once a week to get rid of anything hard and sticky that bugs may be drawn to. If you're a homeowner with pets, wash their bedding regularly to avoid fleas.

Moisture is another factor that can end up being a breeding ground for insects. Consistently inspect your house for any leaks or cracks that have allowed moisture in—you may feel equipped to repair the damage yourself or hire a professional to help eliminate any potential insects from gathering in the damp area. Investing in a dehumidifier is another preventative way to ward off insects, especially in moisture-heavy areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. Lastly, wipe down each countertop after every use. Your home should slowly become a pest-free residence.