Pest Prevention Guide: 8 Cleaning Tips for Chinese New Year

祝你牛年吉祥!

Chinese New Year is coming up on Friday, February 12th. Did you know that spring cleaning plays a huge part in this tradition? Tidying up before the start of the new year symbolizes ridding your home of last year’s bad luck to make room for this year’s prosperity and fortune.

Traditionally, spring cleaning entails decluttering your home, making repairs, and discarding old unwanted items. Whether or not you celebrate the Lunar New Year, these are also effective ways to prevent pests from infesting your home in 2021.

Before we get into the 8 cleaning and pest prevention tips from the experts at MMPC (無敵殺蟲), take a quick second to consider professional pest proofing for your home. Pest proofing is a service that makes it extremely difficult for insects and rodents to invade your home by sealing up entry points and repairing conditions that cause pest problems.

Without further ado, here are 8 spring cleaning tips for Chinese New Year to help you prevent pests.

#1: Declutter these 5 things

Decluttering is a no-brainer when it comes to preventing infestations, but it’s often easier said than done. Trying to figure out what to keep and what to discard can quickly become an overwhelming task.

Borrowing a page from Marie Kondo, focus your efforts on decluttering these five categories of items:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Miscellaneous Items
  5. Sentimental Items

The first three types of items on this list (clothing, books, and paper) are mostly made from cloth and paper. The fibers in these materials can be an attractive source of food for insects like cockroaches and moths.

When stacked or piled up, they also provide convenient hiding and nesting spaces where these pests can quickly multiply. If you want to spark joy while preventing pests in your home, declutter these first!

#2: Replace cardboard boxes with plastic containers

Just like with books and papers, cardboard is an attractive source of food and shelter for pests. Insects like cockroaches, silverfish, termites, carpet beetles, and booklice enjoy munching on the starchy paper products and glue that cardboard boxes are made of.

Cockroaches in particular love to live around cardboard boxes. Cardboard is a porous material is easily saturated with scent secretions from cockroaches, which in turn attracts more cockroaches.

To stop your basement or storage closet from becoming a nightmarish roach colony, start replacing cardboard boxes with sturdy plastic bins with tightly-fitted lids.

In addition to keeping roaches at bay, plastic storage bins will last a lot longer and make your space look more organized than stacks of old cardboard boxes.

#3: Scrub garbage cans and recycling bins

As any experienced exterminator will tell you, you should empty out kitchen trash every night. The smell of garbage creates a chemical signal that attracts hungry pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches. If left alone, the odor can even attract pests from outside.

Here’s our special spring cleaning tip: In addition to taking out the trash each night, every so often you need to scrub down the trash can in your kitchen. You might be surprised how many food bits and unknown liquids make their way past the inner liner of your trash can or recycling bin.

Here’s how to give your trash cans and recycling bins a pest-free cleaning:

  1. First empty out your trash, removing any liquids or crumbs that might have accumulated along the sides or at the bottom.
  2. Wash out the bin with a hose or in the bathtub, then pat it dry with a paper towel.
  3. Spray both the inside and outside of the bin with a household disinfectant cleaner. Remember to wear gloves.
  4. Scrub the can with a clean brush, then wait at least 5 minutes before rinsing and drying.

#4: Clean and reorganize your pantry

The kitchen is always a problem area when it comes to pests. Most people don’t clean their pantries and cabinets on a regular basis, allowing dust and crumbs to pile up over time. If you’re one of these people, we highly recommend doing a deep clean of these areas.

Temporarily clear out items from your shelves and vacuum up any dust and crumbs. Throw away any expired flour and spices, which can attract pantry pests like beetles, moths, and ants. Lastly, move any foodstuffs in open boxes to sealed containers or bags instead.

#5: Vacuum behind and underneath furniture

Pests like to hide in dark, dirty, cramped spaces like the small gaps underneath your couch, bookshelves, or refrigerator. To make things worse, pests like mice and cockroaches will leave behind various odors in these places to mark their territory.

Pests also like to travel along the crevices between furniture and your baseboards. Mice and rats use these as regular routes, sometimes leaving behind grease marks as their bodies brush against the wall around holes and corners.

Now is the time to clean out these spaces. Move large furniture and appliances at least 3 feet away from the wall, then vacuum up any dust, crumbs, or other unpleasant surprises.

Take note of any dead pests or droppings, which will help you determine what kinds of pests you have and how bad the infestation is. If you see something that you can’t identify, send a photo to MMPC’s free pest ID center.

#6: Inspect pipes and sink cabinets to eliminate standing water

Aside from access to food, pests also need access to water in order to thrive. That’s why you usually find them in your kitchen, bathroom, or basement. A tiny leak that allows moisture to build up or a clogged pipe in a slow-draining sink are examples of small things that may eventually lead to an infestation.

As part of spring cleaning, do a thorough inspection of all places where water or moisture is present. Make the necessary repairs to ensure that everything is dry and tightly sealed.

#7: Install door sweeps

Did you know that a grown rat can squeeze through gaps as small as 1/2 of an inch? A mouse only needs 1/4 of an inch and cockroaches only 1/10.

That’s how easy it is for pests to enter your home, especially in cold weather seasons. The gap under your front door, as well as any side doors or balcony doors, is a common entry point for pests coming in from outside.

Door sweeps are designed to seal gaps underneath doors, preventing pests from entering. They also help keep insulate your home, helping you save money on heating and cooling.

#8: Seal up cracks, holes, and crevices along walls and baseboards

Nobody likes seeing cracks or holes in the walls. Not only do they blemish your décor, but they also create potential entry points for pests.

Do a thorough check around your home, paying extra attention to gaps between the baseboard and the floor. Take note of common problem areas under windows and doors, along the foundation, roof, attic, and vents, and around holes used for electric, gas, and plumbing lines.

Use a water-resistant sealant to seal up any small cracks or crevices that you find. For large holes, fill them with foam or steel wool and cover them with a fine wire mesh to prevent pests from chewing their way through.

Need Professional Pest Proofing Help?

Some of the steps listed above require an experienced eye and should be done by professionals for optimal results. Although proper pest prevention can seem like a hefty investment, it undoubtedly saves money in the long run by stopping costly infestations before they happen.

MMPC is the #1 highest-rated pest management company in New York City, and we specialize in pest proofing and prevention services. If you’d like to learn more about keeping your home free of pests in 2021 and beyond, contact us today!