10 Ways to Get Rid of Spiders and Keep Them Out of the House
I HATE spiders with a passion. They're creepy and bug me out (no pun intended). Every time one of these eight-legged insects appear in my house, I immediately run to get the vacuum and suck up the little bastard with a 6 ft. extension wand (because, ya know, I'm scared). I always feel a small morsel of pity for the poor guy, but my fear of their kind compels me to wipe them out completely.
The following are all of the methods I've used to get rid of spiders already in the house and prevent new ones from coming into the house. There's also a section on how I kill spiders too, but I recommend taking measures to keep them out first so you won't have to do the dirty deed once they're inside.
1. Seal All Entry Ways
Spiders come into the house through 3 entry ways:
- doors and windows
- cracks and gaps
- the chimney
The best way to prevent spiders in the first place is to seal up gaps with caulk. Gaps are commonly found in the corners and edges of the floor or ceiling, as well as where pipes enter the building.
To prevent spiders entering through vents, use mesh screens.
Doors and windows should shut properly. If there is any space for insects to crawl through, replace the weather stripping and door sweep.
Close the chimney flue when it's not in use. This saves you money on utility bills as well.
2. Use Peppermint Oil or Tea Tree Oil
Spiders are repelled by the strong scent of essential oils—peppermint oil and tea tree oil are two of the worse.
Spray Around Entry Ways
I will use about 20 drops of one of these oils mixed with some water, and spritz the fragrant concoction around windows and vents.
Use a Diffuser to Fragrance the Entire House
Many people enjoy the smell of essential oils, and if you are one of those people, I recommend using an essential oil distiller. You can choose either a steam diffuser or a nebulizing diffuser. I highly recommend a nebulizing one if you get a lot of spiders because it doesn't require water, which means you won't dilute the scent as much as using a steam diffuser. That said, a steam diffuser is much cheaper, and can easily be purchased at a Target or online, and does the job really well. I use the VicTsing Diffuser in addition to spraying the entry ways with peppermint or tea tree oil because I don't think the aroma is strong enough as a deterrence alone.
This oil diffuser has worked wonderfully for me, and it looks pretty too. It makes the entire room smell of essential oil, and if I can smell it, then it is definitely going to repel spiders.
Other effective essential oils: Cedar, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, citrus oils, neem oil
3. Spray Vinegar Around the Exterior Perimeter of the House
Like humans, spiders are also deterred by the smell of vinegar. Since we and our spider friends share that in common, it's hard to put up with the smell inside the home, so I recommend spraying distilled white vinegar around the parameters of your house, especially in nooks and crannies in the foundation or near pipe openings.
Many people prefer to use 1 part water and 1 part vinegar, but I use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle. The stronger the smell, the stronger the deterrence power!
4. Remove Clutter Inside and Outside Your Home
Inside your home: Spiders like to find cluttered places to hide and build their webs. Clear piles of books, clothes, old paper boxes, and other knick knacks from under your bed, under your sink, and in crawl spaces or sheds. Dust and vacuum regularly to remove webs.
Outside your home: Remove or move woodpiles, compost, grass clippings, and other organic matter from the exterior of your house. Spiders love dark places, so piles of things create perfect crawl spaces for them to hide. Wash away cob webs on the exterior of the house as well.
5. Plant Lavender, Mint, or Eucalyptus Under or Near Windows
Just as essential oils from these plants repel spiders, so does planting the actual plant. Not only will these plants keep spiders at bay, but you will also have a very pretty and fragrant garden to be proud of.
Although fragrant herbs and trees like the ones mentioned above will deter spiders, most other bushes and plants make welcoming homes for spiders. Avoid growing anything near the physical exterior of your house.
6. Keep Flies and Gnats Out of Your House
Spiders feed on flies and gnats, so it is crucial to keep the fly and gnat population down.
- Install screens on doors and windows to limit flies from coming through.
- Take the trash out frequently or cover it securely with a lid.
- If you have fungus gnats or fruit flies, clean up decaying leaves on top of the soil of your potted plants and don't leave food out.
- Reduce lighting by installing yellow lights instead of bright white lights. Flying insects are attracted to light and spiders will build webs near light fixtures or windows to catch the bugs drawn to the light sources.
- Paint your house a darker color. Light-colored siding is more attractive to the type of bugs that spiders feed on.
7. Set a Trap
If you have Brown Recluse spiders, then you're probably aware that they don't make webs. They like to climb all over walls and floors, so those are the best places to place the traps. I recommend this because it doesn't contain any toxic chemicals. The spider gets stuck, and then you can dispose of the trap and the spider. I was able to attract a lot of spiders with this trap (I never knew I had so many until I placed these out. Ugh!) That's when I had to resort to a commercial spray to prevent them from coming in the house so I could sleep with my eyes closed at night. non-toxic glue trap
8. Use a commercial spider repellent for infestations
This is my last resort because I only like using natural methods. Unfortunately, natural methods aren't effective if you have a spider infestation. I used to live in wooded area in Dallas where spiders ran rampant. I used the Miss Muffet's Revenge Spider Killer Spray, and it was the only thing that gave me immediate and lasting results. I recommend spraying it near entry ways. Note: If you're going to buy a spray, don't opt for an "organic" or "natural" one because it has the same effectiveness as using essential oil.
This is the only thing that worked for me when I had a spider infestation. It is odorless and works by creating a barrier that is toxic to spiders, but non-toxic to humans and pets. The label says this spray lasts a year, but it lasted about 8 months for me. During those 8 months, I saw only 1 or 2 spider. That's a huge improvement compared to the 1-2 spiders I ran into every week before using this.
9. Use a Spider Catcher
This is a great tool for those who don't want to harm any spiders. I have not used one myself, but my friend uses it and prefers it to squashing spiders or sucking them up with a vacuum.
The spider catcher is a long wand that grasps the spider. Then you can release it in the garden. You can find several types on Amazon. I've included a video to demonstrate how it works.
10. Vacuum them up
If I catch a lone ranger spider, I'll get a vacuum and use the wand to suck it up. They die immediately from the pressure because they have soft exoskeletons, so no need to worry about them crawling their way out of your vacuum cleaner!
Do Conkers Repel Spiders?
It's an old wives' tale that scattering conkers (horse chestnuts) around the house keeps spiders at bay. There is no scientific evidence that this method works. Some people swear by it while others say they see spiders running right pass the conkers.
What Are Spiders Attracted to?
- Insects: They feast on flies, mosquitos, gnats, and moths.
- Warmth: They seek shelter from the cold by finding their way indoors.
- Trash: Trash attracts other insects, like flies, so spiders will find their way to trash cans and build their base there in the hopes of catching prey.
- Privacy: They are quite shy. This is why you'll find them in dark, abandoned corners and crevices, or in dark basements or attics with low to no traffic.
- Fruits: Rotten fruits attract fruit flies, so spiders gravitate towards the smell of ripened fruit.
- Overgrown shrubs and trees: Tidy up your garden. Spiders love building webs in cozy hedges.