My sister and her family are coming for Easter. They arrive in the evening on Saturday, and stay just over a week. It's eighteen months since we've seen them, though we correspond fairly regularly via email.
The family staying in our guest flat at the end of last week left yesterday. So, given that we got the house ready for them, and they tidied and stripped the beds before they left, it shouldn't take long to get ready for our next visitors.
Or so I thought.
Of course there was quite a lot of bedding and several towels to wash, with six people having stayed there. But the weather is fine, so I thought I'd do a couple of loads a day in the guest flat washing machine and hang them out where they catch the breeze. No problem. In fact that's all I did in the guest flat yesterday.
My brother-in-law is allergic to cats, and also to dust mites. We keep the cats out of the guest flat (mostly) and the lack of carpets should help on both counts. I dust and mop (dry and wet) the guest flat every week anyway, so I thought I'd just do it a little more thoroughly than usual. And maybe wash the pillows, which haven't been washed for at least a year. The mattress on the double bed is pretty new, as is the duvet, so they shouldn't be too bad...
My sister told me not to worry too much - her husband will have his anti-histamines with him. But, silly me, I googled for 'dust mites'.
I don't recommend doing so, if you want an easy life.
These microscopic creatures are, apparently, just about everywhere. They like humid conditions (Cyprus is very humid in the summer). And the magnified images shown on most of the sites I found are disgusting. There are millions of them in most beds and quilts and blankets and sofas.... Even without being allergic, I don't think I want them.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the number. Washing all bedding at 60C is one method. Hanging it out in the sunshine and breeze helps too, as does ironing, and generally keeping a house well-ventilated. And for un-washable cushions and toys, freezing is another good way of getting rid of dust mites. Plus, of course, general - and frequent - vacuuming, shampooing, and also keeping other insects under control as dust mites feed on dead bugs as well as dust, scales of skin and pet fur.
This morning I ironed not just the freshly-washed pillowcases and duvet covers, but also the sheets. Ironing fitted sheets is NOT easy!
I also washed the cushion covers, and stuck all the cushions in the guest flat freezer. I just hope I remember to take them out before Saturday as it wouldn't be very comfortable sitting on frozen blocks of ice!
Richard also got out our Bissell 'Big Green Cleaning Machine' otherwise known as the BGCM. It's basically a carpet-shampoo machine, which - as we don't have any carpets in this house - we haven't used for over a year. But it has an upholstery tool, so I thought I'd give the sofas a quick shampoo.
Since I'd completely forgotten how to fit it together, I had to find the instructions, but thankfully I had filed away appliance instructions in a box when we unpacked, so it was easy to find.
Unfortunately, the upholstery tool didn't seem to work. There was a leak somewhere, or so it seemed - the spray function simply dripped the solution everywhere. So I had to use the carpet-cleaning attachment which isn't so easy on sofas, but at least it worked. I hope. The one I've done so far does, at least, look cleaner!
I still haven't done the dusting and mopping, but that would probably be better done on Saturday morning.
Incidentally, my possible 'cold' didn't come to anything. I know many people don't believe in using Vitamin C, but I'm convinced it makes a difference. So long as one takes sufficiently large doses at the early onset of a cold.