By Sam Wasson
Updated Dec 2, 2022
Most spiders are harmless and important members of our ecosystem. However, some spider bites are dangerous, like those of the black widow and brown recluse. Therefore, coming across a spider in your home can be a frightening experience.
For those spiders we don’t want in our homes, insecticides and repellents can be helpful solutions. Many store-bought sprays, powders, and traps can work wonders but contain toxic chemicals harmful to pets and children. Thankfully, there are plenty of more natural, homemade methods for killing spiders and keeping them away.
Before we get into recipes, we should review common misconceptions about homemade bug sprays. Many articles espouse the “spider killer” abilities of many of the mixtures and ingredients on this list. Unfortunately, there are very few home remedies that outright kill spiders. Instead, these solutions act as deterrents, meaning they keep spiders from entering a home in the first place. While we have one recipe on this list that is an insecticide, the rest are effective and proven repellents. For example, spraying a spider with peppermint oil won’t kill it. Instead, if you have an active spider problem, you should use a vinegar spray, commercial insecticide, or contact a pest control professional.
One of the few recipes we could find that is a pesticide and will kill spiders is a combination of vinegar and dishwashing soap. Combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of white vinegar, and add 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Fill a small spray bottle with this mixture and apply directly to spiders and locations they frequent (cobwebs, cracks, wall corners, etc.) Vinegar is an all-around insecticide that uses acetic acid to kill bugs like ants or wasps. This mixture uses a higher-than-average amount of vinegar and can be irritating, so avoid getting it on your skin and in your nose or eyes.
One of the most popular homemade spider sprays combines peppermint essential oil and water. While many may be skeptical about the validity and effectiveness of this spray, there is scientific evidence that it works wonders for repelling spiders. To create this deterrent:
One final note on this peppermint spray — it’s not pet friendly. Peppermint oil can make dogs and cats sick if it gets consumed or on their skin. Do not use this solution if you have four-legged friends running around.
When combined with water and soap, garlic extract makes for another effective DIY spider repellent.
Like peppermint oil, garlic extract is poisonous to cats and dogs. Garlic contains chemicals called disulfides and thiosulphate, and these compounds damage your pet’s red blood cells when consumed. While garlic poisoning in pets is rarely fatal, and they would have to consume the spray, we still do not recommend using this mixture if you have pets.
The difficulty with combating spiders is that most species are nocturnal, so you won’t come across any unless you discover their hiding places. One way around this is to construct some spider traps to ensnare them while they hunt and skitter around. There are plenty of effective store-bought spider traps you can use, but there are also some all-natural, DIY traps that work just as well.
A sticky trap is one of the most effective at-home traps you can construct for spider control. All you’ll need is a thin cardboard sheet (like the side of a shoebox or a cereal box), an adhesive, and a location where spiders frequent.
Beyond sprays and traps, plenty of natural plants and objects repel spiders. What follows are some of your best options.
This natural mineral repels and kills many pests. If you sprinkle a small line along the outside of your home or any other outdoor location spiders love, like woodpiles, it will kill and repel them. On the plus side, it’s safe to use around pets, children, and humans.
Basil, a delicious herb in cooking, is also an effective spider repellent. You can grow basil plants along the sides of your doorways or in flower beds under your windows to help deter spiders. Basil is also non-toxic to dogs and cats.
Speaking of wonderful herbs, if you’re looking for one that is both beautiful and spider-stopping, look no further than English lavender. This plant fills the air with a scent that naturally repels spiders and smells great to boot. Be sure to watch your pets with this plant, as lavender contains a chemical called linalool, which can be toxic to dogs and cats if eaten in large amounts.
Instead of using mint oil or extract, why not tap into the source? Mint plants work well as a natural spider stopper. Your best bet is to go with peppermint, which produces the strongest scent. Spiders hate peppermint, and its smell will keep them at a distance. Remember that all parts of the mint plant are toxic to cats and dogs, so keep your furry friends away from them.
Few homeowners enjoy sharing their spaces with creepy-crawlies. While these eight-legged arachnids are valuable members of our ecosystem, they’re unwelcome guests in most homes. There are plenty of excellent DIY spider sprays and natural repellents to keep these pests outside and eliminate them if they find their way indoors. However, if you keep seeing spiders, you may have an infestation on your hands. In these situations, especially with highly venomous spiders, your best bet is to contact a pest control company to assess the danger and provide professional help.
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