Top 10 Natural Ways To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Home

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Top 10 Natural Ways To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Home
Top 10 Natural Ways To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Home. Graphic © Photo – cheetah100 – lic. under CC 2.0

Ahh, spiders! Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) is probably one of the most common phobias. I even have it myself, but curiously, although I would scream if I saw one crawling across my hand, I can’t bring myself to kill them. And as for using any kind of chemical pesticides, well I just don’t ever want those poisons in my living environment where I might absorb them by breathing or touch.

The reason for this “pacifism” is that aside from the fact that I do my best not to kill anything unless I really have to, I can’t help admiring spiders (even though they creep me out). They are truly amazing creatures in so many ways that I hardly know where to begin describing their many astounding attributes.
Over 40,000 species have been identified so far. Spider silk is incredibly strong for its weight and has superb elasticity compared to even the best synthetic materials. But here’s the “spider factoid” that amazed me most of all: During courtship (yes, spiders have elaborate courtship rituals!) the males create a precise pattern of vibrations on their webs (is this a kind of music??) and do various movements and dances to attempt to impress the females! But let’s not talk about they part where the males get eaten afterwards. [1]

You have to admit, they are remarkably clever little creatures. And I must confess, I can’t help thinking of them as having magical powers. But regardless of whether your sentiments towards spiders are those of fascination or horror, there are good reasons why you might want to serve an eviction notice or a “no trespass” on spiders in your home: Some spiders are dangerous, even potentially deadly. A bite from a brown recluse spider is a serious incident and something to avoid at all costs – though many of the reports of brown recluses (aka. the “violin spider” or “fiddleback”) turn out to be misidentification. Did you know that in addition to the violin-shaped marking on their bodies, recluse spiders also have 6 eyes (3 pairs) as opposed to the 8 (4 pairs) of most other spider species. Although many people will not want to get close enough to figure this out, you could use a magnifying glass.

It’s worth also bearing in mind that most spiders actually prefer living outdoors – there is more food there for them. So with all the above in mind, we’ve researched and found ten ways to deter spiders from your home.

1) Keep up on cleaning. This is #1 for a reason, it’s because it may make the biggest difference. A clean home is less appealing to critters in general, giving them less places to hide, less things to eat, less food for the other bugs that spiders eat and so on.

The less there is for them to eat, the more likely they are to go somewhere else – and you may find that if you keep the place super clean, they simply move out of their own accord. Really thorough vacuuming will also clean up most eggs and also the eggs of other insects which may act as food for the spiders. Oh – and empty the vacuum afterwards / take the refuse outside the house. So start by giving your house a very thorough spring cleaning! Every drawer, cupboard and closet, top to bottom. And if you find spiders in the process you can catch them in a plastic tub or jar and put them outside. 🙂

2) Eliminate obvious “spider hangouts” outside the home. Have you noticed how if you are chasing a spider, they will dive under the nearest thing that offers protection? This is because they have an instinct to hide in places where bigger predators can’t get them and so they love to lurk under things or in cracks. See what you can do to eliminate these habitats from right outside your home. Spiders like to party in wood piles and vegetation – so you might want to consider moving such things a little way away from the house if you can.

3) Seal the cracks. It stands to reason that if there are no ways for them to get in, they won’t get in – and neither will things that they eat. So you could consider donning the caulk gun and a fresh tube and simply going around sealing up whatever cracks and holes you can. Obviously, if you live in an old house this task might be difficult to impossible. Check window screens also for holes and replace the mesh if it is torn (window screen mesh is fairly cheap and will also deter other flying insects). Also, see if there is anything you can do about doors and windows fitting well and having draft proofing.

4) Peppermint essential oil. This is now well documented and well known. We’ve written a page about it here: You may also find other essential oils have a deterrent effect on spiders – try rose, eucalyptus and others. Bonus points if you can find one that works and smells amazing 🙂

5) Vinegar. This works in similar fashion to the peppermint essential oil, but the trade off is that while it’s super cheap, it doesn’t smell so nice. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water, and spray it around the cracks gaps and other places where spiders might enter your home.

6) Cats. Cats are renowned for pouncing on spiders – although they may simply play with them for a while before getting bored – depends on the cat. There are better reasons to get a cat, to be truthful…

7) Cedarwood chips. In addition to deterring moths, cedarwood chips are reported to deter spiders. So you could sprinkle them around the outside of the house – and also put them in cupboards or other places. Cedarwood essential oil mixed with water and added to a spray bottle is another great option and also considered a valuable bedbug deterrent.

8) Citrus oils. Another natural deterrent. Use these in a similar fashion to the peppermint EO – add to some water and spray round the cracks and other places they get in or lurk.

9) Baking soda. Apparently they don’t like it and sprinkling a little around will act as a deterrent.

10) Chestnuts. Ok well we had to throw in at least one “weird” one. Apparently, chestnuts will deter them and putting them on windowsills or baseboards will deter them from lurking there. Is there any truth in this one? I don’t know and will have to wait until the fall to put it to the test!

[1] Spider.

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  • By Charles DeLattre, August 6, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    I was always told that hedge apples will repel spiders. I have put them in my basement for years, with pretty good results

  • By Cleo, August 7, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

    Have used chestnuts to deter spiders for several years now, and surprising as it may seem, they really do work!

  • By Grace, August 7, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

    My father always puts osage oranges – the big nobby inedible fruits of what some people call snowball bushes. He puts them in the corners and under the bed and they last all winter. I tried it and it worked for me as well. I think diatomaceous earth can also be used & it’s effective against fleas, ants, bed bugs and many other things the spiders could feed on – non toxic – it just sticks to them & dries them out.

  • By Ingrid, August 31, 2013 @ 2:15 am

    We had floors in France made out of chestnut wood. We lived in the country side with big black spiders in the garage. Not one spider came crawling inside where the wod floors were! No spider webs nothing!!!

  • By Shirley, September 8, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

    Hmm… cats, huh. I haven’t seen mine pounce on a spider, but I have wondered if that is what my Tobey has done with his little paw…maybe a spider bite?

  • By Vicki, September 15, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    Chestnuts do work. I have them in my basement, and since putting them in 3 years ago, have not seen any spiders. We use to have lots come in there, very big ones.

  • By Mary G., September 16, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

    Cautionary tale about cats & spiders: while living in Tucson years ago, I noticed my 6 month-old kitten, Cinnamon, following after something in the back yard; it turned out to be a wolf spider as big as my hand. I did not realize that the spider apparently bit him until the next morning. The poor little guy could barely walk down the stairs. I took him to the vet immediately, and he was treated with injectible steroids & antibiotics. It saved his life, but I made sure there were no more wolf spiders lurking in or around my home!
    Wolf spiders are far from being the only poisonous spider. Be careful!

  • By bitho, October 9, 2013 @ 3:19 am

    Very good info.

  • By JC, October 25, 2013 @ 12:29 am

    Peppermint (and mints in general) are also good for repelling mice. I put several drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and put them under cabinets and places where I’d seen a few mice.

  • By LyNel Gross, November 16, 2013 @ 6:16 am

    Now if you could just have a cure for my Pack Rat that loves to make a nest in the wood pile & under the hood of any vehicle & eats the wiring. They are cute & have the most wonderful bushy tails. We do live trap them & take them 45 mi. to the waterfall where there are rocks & trees.

  • By Vanessa, November 16, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    I can verify that baking soda does not work on wolf spiders. They don’t give a darn about it. They seem not to like dryer sheets very much though.

  • By Lisa, November 16, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

    These may seem like silly questions, but do you just leave the chestnut in the shell & how many/how far apart do you put them?

  • By Lisa, November 16, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    chestnuts do definately work

  • By Matt, December 2, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

    Wow, there are a lot of methods I hadn’t thought of. Here in Sydney, Australia we have a few pretty nasty ones – redbacks can kill a child with the bite, funnelwebs (they’re aggressive and the bite can and will kill without very fast medical treatment) and white tail spiders, the bite of which can cause a sort of rotting flesh disorder.
    Mostly though, we have huntsmen spiders, they terrify people but having a few in the house in Sydney means they’ll eat the dangerous ones.
    A huntsman bite is a bit painful but they are very timid. They look large but are the labradors of the spider world. In Sydney, in an old house like this, there’s no really effective way to keep them out. Sometimes a spider is a good way to get rid of other spiders 🙂

  • By Tonya, December 2, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    Cedar chips is a no no because in turn you’re attracting termites which in the long run can cause BIG problems for your home. but this is a good article overall, thanks for the tips!

  • By Jeni, December 2, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    Yes peppermint is good for spiders and mice but not only in your house but also for your automobile
    I had bought a new car and 6 months after I had to shell out over $300.00 to replace my wireing harness because of mice. And I learned after the fact that I could have saved myself some money by putting peppermint oil under my hood of the car so now It is in there always .

  • By Brian McHargue, December 2, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

    Hedge Apples do word. Hard part is finding them.

  • By Leah, December 4, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

    I’m not sure about cats but we’ve trained our Jack Russell to eat spiders.. She loves it!! Her new name is Spider Pig!! I’ll have to look into these other options to help prevent invasions

  • By Leslie, December 26, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

    Here in BC we have giant Horse Chestnut trees, the nuts that fall to the ground are supposed to deter spiders, so we put them in corners, any spots where spiders can enter. They are inedible (not regular chestnuts) so great that they can be used beneficially to deter those creepy crawlies. Spiders are so beneficial to the environment, just not in my house where I freak when I see them … they can get soooo big out here.

  • By Rochelle, December 26, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

    For critters getting into the car/engine – a mechanic told me to use dryer sheets tucked in and around the hood, etc. It worked. No more nests in the air filter, etc.

  • By Liss, December 27, 2013 @ 2:26 am

    I have a lot of spiders, but I can’t put out anything for the spiders, the ants will have it eaten in no time. I have tried the vinegar and the ants just laugh at it 🙁 HELP what do I need to do?

  • By cheryl, December 28, 2013 @ 6:02 am

    Does anyone know anything about keeping termites out … When I moved into my home …I was the queen of spiders. I had termites and ANTS! mY HOME WAS TENTED… The yard and house were sprayed… it appears that when termites die they attract ants and ants attract SPIDERS!I didn’t believe in pesticides… the house was infested. There are stacks of wood all over the property and I just keep finding more… If Any one has Any clue Please help the ant , spider, termite Queen… Inside and out … I am a vacuuming fool!

  • By Vyvyan, January 8, 2014 @ 12:44 am

    i had to laugh at the chestnuts on the windowsill idea! maybe this works for spiders but you gotta watch out for the worms in the chestnuts! years ago, i picked a bucketload one fall, brought them in the house and within a day or so the whole kitchen was crawling with worms. apparently the worms hatch because of the warmth inside the house, and if the chestnuts are kept cold enough (freezing works well), the eggs remain dormant. live and learn!! 🙂

  • By Robyn Bradley, January 8, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

    Vinegar works great for spiders n webs. Put with water in a squirt bottle n spray on the foundation n parimeter outside n inside ur house I just put it widows are prevalent in las Vegas spring n fall…I deathly afraid of cat’s like cockroaches from the pool they wait by the front door to play st night..but no spiders yipee!!!

  • By Helen stine, January 9, 2014 @ 5:04 am

    What is good for wasps?

  • By josh, January 11, 2014 @ 10:39 am

    Thanks for the info.. I live in a basement and at times get woken up by wood and wolf spiders and on occasion a brown recluse.. shall try chestnuts first

  • By niti, January 28, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

    we moved to a home that had fleas in the carpet. Cleaning didn’t help.
    I hear rock salt works. put it in little paper cups, behind drapes, under furniture etc., and wow, they left. It worked great.

  • By beryl, February 12, 2014 @ 7:35 am

    To keep rats and mice out of car engines put a few mothballs in a plastic bag, tie and place in engine compartmemt of vehicle. Useful to leave bonnet open if possible.

  • By brenda, March 11, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

    For ants: mix powdered sugar and baking soda. The sugar attracts them, the eat the soda and die.

  • By Eben, March 11, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

    When I was at someones’ home one day, I noted dead spiders on the floor and I asked the cleaning laady about it. She answered that she put spiritus ( purple stuff) in the water that she mopped the floor with.

  • By Carol, April 7, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

    For Eben: WHAT is spiritus (purple stuff)? Never heard of it.
    Where are you?
    I live in Pacific NW, USA, you must be in different Country….
    Would like to know what it is, and if it is toxic…
    Also, someone else asked, but no answer: chestnuts in their shell, or out….be more specific, please!
    Thanks for a great article.

  • By Carol, April 7, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

    Also, as someone here mentioned: Diatomaceous Earth: it is super cheap, and it acts like crushed glass, and kills all insects that crawl over it, so many don’t even try entry.
    I use a mix of bay laurel and peppermint essential oils mixed with water and spray on all insects. It kills on contact the tiny sugar ants, takes a bit more for the larger black ants that like….. not sure, grease maybe? And it does kill spiders, the smaller ones on contact, larger ones will have to be doused in it well. I think many of these could be used in combination: try putting the cedar chips OUTSIDE, then putting diatomaceous earth inside the walls, and using the essential oils on any that actually breach these two barriers…
    BTW: diatomaceous earth is ok if you or your pets ingest it. It is actually a great detox for toxic metals…. just be sure to use food grade quality, and again, it’s cheap!!!

  • By Larry, April 10, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

    As an aside here on the value of having cats, we lived in Costa Rica for a dozen years on a farm. We found out pretty quickly that cats are the bane for snakes of all kinds. They are actually much quicker than any viper and have a tendency to play with them, driving them away. The first year we lived on the farm, 1998, we killed a dozen Fer-de-lance in our yard alone (it was a full quarter acre), not counting the surrounding pastures. After getting three cats we seldom even saw them.

  • By Pat, May 4, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

    Do the chestnuts have to be open? or do you just put them out in their shell?

  • By anne, May 7, 2014 @ 7:11 am

    By Carol it could be methylated spirit that’s purple in colour

  • By Karyn, May 29, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    Yeah, chestnuts. In the shell or out? If worms are inside (as one post said) how do you rid them before placing them out?

  • By Christine, July 20, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    I use a spray made of chestnut oil, and it works very well as a spider deterrent. I spray around possible entry points and around the edges of the floor. It has a bit of a smell, initially, but the smell fades quickly. Highly recommended.

  • By Liz, July 20, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

    Actually, Chestnuts do work! I use them as often as I can get them (they have to be changed out yearly). I take two (2) chestnuts and pierce 2-3 small holes in each one or you can drill a hole right through each one and string them together. I put a small group of them beside my doors and one by (not on!) each baseboard heater. It is the smell from the evaporation of the oils/sap in the nut that drives them away. Horse Chestnuts is what I use.

  • By Deb, April 20, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

    I sprayed cedar oil, kept spiders away for over a year.

  • By James Bergman, March 11, 2016 @ 6:26 pm

    I like the idea of using peppermint and citrus oils to keep spiders out. Nothing better than keeping pests out while freshening up the home. I mostly struggle with them in my basement though and try to keep my window wells clean. I know it is not for you, but the best way I have found is to have pest control come and spray in the window wells. I try not to do it in my house, but I used to clean windows and hate having spiders in them.

  • By Noreen, April 18, 2016 @ 6:57 am

    My mom uses chestnuts for spiders. She has my dad drill holes into them. They work better.

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