Most species of spider are harmless to humans but if you’re one of the many people who doesn’t like to share their home with any eight-legged friends—but don’t want to resort to causing spiders any harm-follow these top tips for keeping arachnids at bay.
1. Essential Oils
Spiders are repelled by strong scents that, happily, many of us already use as home fragrances. Peppermint is a particularly popular remedy; just add 15 to 20 drops of the essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spritz around the house. Other good options for this include tea-tree, lavender, rose and cinnamon. Changing the oil that you use regularly can help to ensure that the remedy continues to be effective.
Should the essential oils not work, this is another version of the same remedy. Fill a spray bottle with half white vinegar and half water and spray in corners, cracks and crevices to ward off spiders. Be careful to avoid varnished surfaces, as vinegar can be somewhat harsh on their appearance.
3. Get Cleaning
Spiders like to have places to hide and one of the best ways to prevent this is by keeping your house neat and tidy through regular tidying, cleansing and de-cluttering. Opt for plastic storage containers rather than cardboard boxes, as these are harder for spiders to crawl into. Also dust and vacuum regularly to rid your house of unwanted webs.
4. Protect the Exterior of Your House
Make sure spiders don’t get into your house in the first place by moving anything that they would be likely to hide in away from any exterior walls. This could include leaves, grass clippings, vegetation, compost or woodpiles. Check door openings and windowsills for any cracks that spiders could crawl through and seal these with caulk. Also fix torn window screens and cover vents and chimneys with fine mesh.
5. Get Gardening
Plant a eucalyptus tree in the garden. As well as being low maintenance and smelling wonderful, the strong medicinal scent will repel spiders. If you don’t have room for a eucalyptus tree, plant mint or lavender (or both) underneath or near windows, as again, the strong smell will drive spiders away.
Spiders supposedly hate all citrus scents, so rub citrus peel along skirting boards, windowsills, and bookshelves. Use lemon-scented cleaners and furniture polish, and burn citronella candles both inside and outside of your home.
7. Turn off your lights.
While light itself doesn’t attract spiders, it does attract the insects that spiders feast on, so turn off the outside lights to prevent spiders coming near the house. Stop indoor lights from shining through outdoors by using opaque blinds and shades. If you do need to keep the lights on, use yellow sodium vapour lights as these are less likely to attract insects.
Old wives’ tales have it that spiders are repelled by chestnuts. While not scientifically proven to work–like a peppermint spray is–scattering a few conkers on windowsills and in the corners of rooms certainly won’t do any harm, and many people swear by it as a spider deterrent.
Another scent that spiders are said to detest is cedar. Hauling a cedar plant into your home isn’t exactly practical, however, but there are many products on offer to give this one a try. Your local Home Depot probably offers a range of options to hang in wardrobes or put in drawers or corners. Sand them down every now and then to refresh the scent, what’s more the woody aroma is said to repel clothes moths too.
Known for its vampire-repelling properties, turns out spiders don’t like the smell of this pungent bulb, either. Depending on how strong a scent you yourself can cope with, either put whole cloves or crushed cloves into a spray bottle filled with water and use to scent the corners, floors, and skirting boards of any room prone to receiving unwanted guests.