A Dirty Secret

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No, that is not mold and mildew on our ceiling fan, although that’s what I thought when I first saw it (and freaked out). It’s just dust. Thankfully it was easily removed with a Swiffer cloth and the fan looks good as new.

Still, I feel like I have been fighting a losing battle recently with our house, trying to keep it clean. Last week the fans were clean; this weekend they all looked they had developed a terminal condition. The windows are dirty again, and we have been invaded by ants.

Ever since we moved here I have been surprised by how much and how fast dust and dirt accumulates. We live in semi-rural area, with lots of open fields, unpaved roads, animals, and so forth which I assume is the cause of all the dust we seem to get. It doesn’t help either that many of the screens in our windows are old, with small tears that allow more dust to enter the house.

This past week though there have been epic levels of dust. Our landlord was busy pruning five or six years of overgrowth from the trees and bushes in the back yard, and the more he cut and trimmed, the more dust he sent flying. I sweep a couple of times almost every day, and was appalled by what I was gathering off the floor. I’m hoping all the rain we received this past weekend washed the remaining dust and dirt off all the debris that still needs to be carted off, as well as what’s left on the plants and trees left standing. If not, I’m sure I will be dusting down our ceiling fans again in short order as well as stepping up my sweeping again.

Brett and I washed all the windows, inside and out, just a couple of months ago, but every time it storms here salt gets on the windows, coating them with a dull film. Our landlord has said he will take care of washing the exterior windows, although when that will be is anyone’s guess. It’s still depressing though to see all of our hard work from this past summer gone in such a short time.

The ant invasion seems to be a result of both the recent pruning in the yard and the rain. The ants’ nests have been disturbed and they are apparently looking for food and shelter, and have decided the best place to find it is in our house. They are relentless. I keep a very clean kitchen but there are ants all over everything, checking to see if I have slipped up or left anything behind or uncovered. When I open up my laptop there are always a couple of the little guys climbing around. They’re in the bathroom, on the windowsill of the bedroom, everywhere. Much as I detest the ants, I’m still undecided which is worse: this year’s invasion, or the plague of mosquitos and gnats we suffered through last year.

I will continue to fight the good fight and try to keep on top of the dirt that seems to accumulate so easily here. Who knew though that a little island out in the middle of nowhere could produce so much dust, or so many bugs (the salt I understand). Our dirty little secret is out!

11 thoughts on “A Dirty Secret

  1. Ants do not like peppermint essential oil. In fact, if you dip a cotton bud in peppermint oil and draw a circle around an ant, it will not cross the line you’ve drawn. It will just go around and around in circles.

    When we were having a bad issue with them last year, I made up a spray with peppermint oil, lemon and orange, and sprayed all the windows and doors. Not only does it smell fantastic, but spiders do not like orange or lemon.

    I discovered where most of the creatures in this house get in – a small hole in the aluminium windows which is meant to let moisture out but was letting creatures in. I’ve since blocked all those holes with antibacterial wipes – because they fit well in those spots, not for antibacterial purposes – with drops of lemon, peppermint and orange. Our creature count has drastically dropped downwards.. 🙂


    1. Thanks for the tip on the peppermint oil. I’ve got to find something to overcome these invaders. They are worse today then they were yesterday!


      1. I like to get my oils from a place called Escentials of Australia. The pricing is excellent especially when you consider the US vs the AUD at the moment – it is .70 cents so you get 30% more for your money.

        I’ve bought the 100ml bottles before, and the 500ml flasks. For most oils 100mls will be the price you’d usually get 10-12 mls in a shop. There is a $100 minimum order for overseas clients but you will get a lot of oils for that $100 and won’t need to buy anymore for quite a while.

        I don’t know why but when I visited Oahu I found it difficult to find any essential oils especially any made in Hawaii which is what I really wanted. Then again I have found that we Aussies are a lot more into essential oils than people in the US. There would not be a day that goes by where I do not use oils for something. I even use them in the washing in place of fabric softener.


  2. Snoskred, those are weep holes in your window frame. If you get a hard rain, make sure they’re not plugged!

    I second peppermint oil, and I love the smell too. So dirt is an issue I’ll have to think about when I make the move? I’m a little on the OCD end of things, but my office is on the frontage road of a freeway, so I’ve had to let it go over the years. Hopefully I can manage when the time comes!


    1. Dust is definitely an issue here – it’s been a somewhat unpleasant surprise, but it could just be where we live vs. an island-wide issue. Oh, and the red dirt. No matter how hard you try, it just creeps up on you and finds places to deposit itself. The gray upholstery in the car now sports a lovely red glow, for example.


  3. The air here is grimier than New York City air!! Yes, cleaning constantly is a must. Plus we have the invasion of the geckos. Every morning is a search for poop. They stay up in the rafters and let gravity take the poop downwards. Supposedly they are good to have in the house. But, we also have the ant invasion. One of the landscape guys told Les that they live in the palm trees that are close to our cottage. Well, our geckos obviously don’t care for ants in their diet. Denise, is it all worth it?? YES. I’ve lived in some beautiful places but Kauai is the best. I wouldn’t leave this island for anything.


    1. Oh, the geckos. I do a poop search every morning too, especially on the window sills. And why won’t the geckos eat the ants – please! Win-win for me and the geckos! (Actually I spent last evening catching two geckos in the girls’ rooms and getting them outside. The girls are still terrified of them, so mom to the rescue).

      I can’t imagine living anywhere else either :-)!


  4. Hawaii is where we learned about simple geeen. Found often in the automotive section as a cleaner, the Hawaiian pest control guy told us to use it 🙂


    1. For some reason your message went to the spam folder! Have absolutely no idea why either. Anyway, we have Simple Green on hand and will add it to our collection of deterrents. The problem we’re having is that just when we seem to have things under control, our landlord comes and mows the property which stirs up all the ant nests out there, and they head for the house. Last year, when he couldn’t be bothered to mow, we didn’t see a single ant. Funny that.


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