Although the kneejerk reaction when seeing a spider might be to grab a can of Raid, there are several other alternatives to get rid of spiders naturally without exposing yourself to harmful toxins. Instead, try one of these 8 Natural Spider Repellents listed below, such as the spider spray. We also encourage you to check out the tips to get rid of spiders in your home by making it a less welcoming habitat.
Please note, eradication of all spiders from a home is difficult and unnecessary. Simple capture and removal of spiders is recommended whenever possible. Not every option will work with every spider, so it may take some additional encouragement to get the spiders to relocate.
Natural Spider Repellents #1 – Herbs and Essential Oils
Herbs have been used for centuries as a pest repellent and are still just as effective today. Essential oils in these plants act as nature’s bug repellent and insects tend to avoid them. You can make up small sachets of the dried herbs and tuck them around your home, or mix up a spider repellent spray. (You can also purchase herbal pest repellent sachets online here.)
Spider Repelling Herbs and Essential Oils include:
One drop of any of these essential oils will kill a spider. Please note: Do not get undiluted essential oils on skin, clothes or wood. Keep essential oils out of reach of children. See “Herbs or Essential Oils – Which is better?” for a discussion of herb and essential oil use.
Do spiders really not like peppermint oil?
I think everyone on the internet has seen images passed around that say “spiders hate peppermint” or “use peppermint oil for spiders”. It's true that spiders generally don't like peppermint oil, but you can also use any of the other oils listed above. It's your choice. Use one or more of the essential oils above to make your own peppermint spider repellent spray or essential oil spider repellent spray as shown below. (If the video demonstrating the recipe doesn't display, please make sure your ad blocker is disabled.)
DIY Spider Repellent Spray (Peppermint Spray for Spiders)
- 5-10 Drops of any of the above essential oils, such as peppermint oil, or a combination of the oils
- ¼ tsp Dish Soap
- 12oz of Distilled Water
Mix all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle and spray effected areas weekly until you no longer notice spider activity.
Natural Spider Repellents #2 – Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth along the areas where you see bugs or spiders crawling. Make sure that the DE is distributed evenly, like a thin layer of dust.
Remember, DE won't stop bugs in their tracks, it will slowly dehydrate and kill bugs after coating them. The idea is to get bugs to move through DE in order to get exposed. House spiders are prime targets for DE. They are in a dry environment and can be dehydrated by DE quickly.
If you live in a trailer or on a crawlspace, spread DE underneath your home. You can also add mint essential oil to cotton balls and place under your house.
Natural Spider Repellents #3 – Add Plants that Repel Spiders
Add spider-repelling plants around the perimeter of your home to deter spiders from taking up residency.
Spider repelling plants for your garden include:
Cedar mulch also helps deter spiders. You can also shake cinnamon around the exterior of your house. Cinnamon works great for ants, too! See also “Plants that Repel Mosquitoes“.
Natural Spider Repellents #4 – Nuts
Place chestnuts around the outside of your home, under furniture or on windowsills. Horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) or walnuts can also be used.
…scientists are divided over whether the saponin compound found in conkers is an effective spider repellent, with some describing it as ‘an old wives' tale'.
Spider expert Jack Fenwick said: ‘The jury is out on whether it works but my cousin, who is very scared of spiders, tried conkers in her home and said it worked very well.'
Some experts say saponin gives the seeds a bitter taste and a smell that could act as a natural repellent.
Natural Spider Repellents #5 – Sticky Traps
According to experts, glue traps are the single best way to get rid of your spider population and other insects. You can place them anywhere and they are non-toxic. You can easily buy traps at any hardware store but you can get the family involved and make them yourselves.
Natural Spider Repellents #6 – Tobacco Spray for the Yard
To make a natural spray repellent to use in your garden and in your yard:
- Boil 1 gallon (4 l) of water.
- Add 1 package of pipe or chewing tobacco to the water and let the tobacco soak until the water cools to room temperature.
- Strain this mixture into a clean container.
- Put 1 cup of the tobacco juice and 1/2 cup of mint into a hose-end sprayer.
Attach the hose sprayer to your garden hose and spray problem areas of your yard. This mixture will also repel mosquitoes and other pests. Be selective in your spraying! This mix will also kill all the many beneficial insects in your garden, like lady bugs and beetles. Spiders are beneficial in the garden as well – eating lots of mosquitoes and plant pests.
Natural Spider Repellents #7 – Spider Repelling Air Freshener
Citronella repels more than just mosquitoes – it also repels spiders! Add a couple of drops of citronella essential oil to your candles or air filters. Spiders hate the smell of citronella and will avoid areas with this oil. Using lemon dust cleaner helps too. Click here to buy citronella essential oil online.
Natural Spider Repellents #8 – Saltwater
Salt is a natural type of spider poison, so it makes an effective pest control. Dissolve an ounce of salt (1/8 cup) in a gallon of warm water, and pour the saline mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the salty solution directly onto a spider to kill it. Salt water is also effective at killing spider nests. This works best with thinner skinned spiders and immature spiders.
5 Tips to Get Rid of Spiders in Your Home
While spiders have many admirable qualities, not everyone likes to have them as house guest. The best way to get rid of spiders in your home is to get rid of the things that spiders eat and the places they like to hang out.
#1 Leave the Lights Off
Lights attract mosquitoes and other flying insects, and spiders feed on these insects. Reduce a spider’s food source, and you reduce the number of spiders. See Natural Mosquito Repellents That Work for more information on how to get rid of mosquitoes.
#2 Remove Their Home
Remove stacked flowerpots, wood piles, bricks, firewood, and other debris that may serve as homes to spiders. Store these items away from your home and at the farthest part of your property.
#3 Protect and Seal
Caulk or seal cracks or gaps around the foundation, doors, and ground level windows that spiders might enter through. This also makes it easier to keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
#4 Clean House
Do regular housecleaning, including vacuuming webs or spider sacks. Make sure you get around windows and baseboards. See “DIY Natural Cleaners” for non-toxic cleaning recipes and Spring Cleaning – 6 Tips to a Clean and Organized Kitchen.
#5 Recycle and Declutter
Don’t let your recycling accumulate, otherwise you’ll be opening up a spider hotel with a neon vacancy sign. Remove newspaper stacks, cardboard, boxes or other clutter on a weekly basis.
Getting over a Fear of Spiders
According to statistics 30.5 % of the US population has a fear of spiders. That is over 97 million people that have a fear of our eight-legged insect controlling friends, and these 97 million people are possibly using some sort of toxic chemicals all around their homes (inside and out) to get rid of spiders.
I’m not trying to make light of those with Arachnophobia or any phobia for that matter, the fear is real and can be seriously debilitating. (Spiders are closely related to mites, ticks, and scorpions and are collectively known as arachnids. ) However, I would like to make some compelling arguments in hopes to persuade those to not use harsh or toxic chemicals and opt for a more natural approach.
If you would like to learn more about overcoming your fear of spiders, read Overcoming the Fear of spiders in Two Minutes.
5 Reasons to Like Spiders
#1 Spiders Provide Insect Control
Spiders feast on mosquitoes and other bothersome insects. More spiders = less mosquitoes. I’m more concerned about reducing the mosquito population than the spider population. The mosquitoes bite me more!
#2 No Spiders = Less Food for Humans
“If spiders disappeared, we would face famine,” says Platnick, who studies arachnids at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Although the magnitude of the insect apocalypse that would occur without spiders is not clear, the importance of spiders to agriculture certainly is. Predation and chemical control are the only ways to limit herbivorous pests, because there’s so much food available to them in our amber waves of grain. Read more at The Case for Spider Conservation.
#3 Spiders are a Food Source for Many Other Species
Spiders serve as a tasty meal to several other species including other spiders, wasps, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They're an important part of the food chain.
#4 Spiders Produce Valuable Resources
Spider silk has a higher strength-to-density ratio than steel. Think bullet proof vest, airplane products, medical supplies and more. When we lose a spider species we may lose a cure to a disease or an ingredient for a life-saving material.
#5 Spiders are Survivors
Spiders have been around for 300 million years, anything that lives that long deserves respect.
Home Spider Control – Conventional Pesticides vs Natural Spider Killers
How dangerous are conventional pesticides? Insecticides and Pesticides have serious health and environmental risks. At one time it was thought that pesticides only killed or injured spiders and insects. Now we know better.
From the McDaniel College Pesticides Risk page:
USA: Based on extrapolation of hospital surveys, an estimated 20,000 people receive emergency care annually for actual or suspected pesticide poisoning, and approximately 10% are admitted to the hospital. Each year, 20-40 people die of acute pesticide poisoning in the United States. Still unknown, however, is the number of affected workers in the United States who never see a doctor and who therefore go undiagnosed and unreported.
“The effects of pesticides on the nervous system may be involved in their acute toxicity, as in case of most insecticides, or may contribute to chronic neurodegenerative disorders, most notably Parkinson's disease.”
These natural spider repellents and deterrents for the home won't kill every spider, but they won't get you sick, either.
I'd love to read your spider control tips and spider stories. Please leave a comment below.
More Pest Control Tips
You may also find useful:
- Spider Bites – 6 Natural Treatments + Tips to Avoid Getting Bit
- How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Home and Garage
- How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
Originally posted in 2016, updated in 2018.
This is a guest post by Amber Bradshaw of My Homestead Life. Amber is a environmentalist, homesteader, garden and outdoor enthusiast. She is a wife, mother of three. Amber strives to get back into nature with a more sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle that fits a busy schedule and a tight budget.
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