You probably have heard the statement that you are “always within a few feet of a spider.” Several Internet sources cite a 1995 article by arachnologist Norman Platnick as the origin of that statement, which is a myth.
Spiders simply do not thrive everywhere humans go, so there are plenty of times you are far away from the nearest spider. Additionally, people often mistake other bugs – including dust mites, fleas and lice – for spiders.
However, it is true that most of us frequently find spiders inside our homes. Spiders like to hang out in corners and other dark spots, behind or below furniture, in cabinets, in basements, in garages and in the cracks and crevices of our homes.
Although most spiders are not dangerous, most of us would prefer they not take up residence where we do, especially if babies or small children are in the house. Here is our list of time-tested natural ways to keep your home spider-free.
1. Clean up the clutter inside. One of the main reasons we find spiders in basements, garages and attics is because we tend to have boxes and other stuff there where they can easily hide.
Reduce the clutter and sweep up dust and debris to make these areas less attractive for spiders. Also, remove cobwebs when you see them.
2. Cut back vegetation outside. Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed away from the exterior of your home, especially near doors and windows, as they provide good places for spiders to hide.
In addition, keep woodpiles, leaf pikes and other debris away from your home. Spiders will often live in these areas and then make their way into your home if it is close by.
3. Seal cracks and holes. An effective way to keep spiders out of your home is to lock them out by sealing cracks and holes in doors, windows and siding. (This, of course, is essential for keeping other insects out, too.) Install weather stripping and secure screens.
4. Adopt a cat. Cats enjoy chasing, catching and even eating spiders. Maybe this is your opportunity to adopt a furry friend.
5. Essential oils. You can make a natural “spider spray” with water and a few drops of essential oil. Spiders detest the smell of peppermint, making it an excellent choice. Simply fill a spray bottle with water, add about eight drops of oil, shake to mix and then spray wherever spiders frequent.
Another idea is to add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball and place it in areas where you have seen spiders.
Not into the smell of peppermint? Other essential oils to try are lavender, citronella and eucalyptus.
6. Diatomaceous earth (DE). This is a natural powder-like substance that that comes from the fossilized remains of phytoplankton. Sprinkle it around the perimeter of your home to keep spiders out. It works on other insects, too.
7. Vinegar. You may have read about amazing uses for white vinegar in your home. Here’s another one. Fill a spray bottle with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar and spray it in cracks, crevices and corners of your homes. It will do a great job of repelling spiders.
8. Citrus. Save your lemon, orange, grapefruit and lime peels and then place them along baseboards, in corners or along windowsills to repel spiders. You will need to replace the peels every few days for best results. You also can use essential oils in citrus scents to get rid of spiders.
9. Baking soda. Like white vinegar, baking soda is a powerhouse around the home. You can sprinkle it in corners, doorways and windowsills to keep spiders – and other bugs — at bay.
10. Chestnuts. Here is one you may never have heard before. The odor of chestnuts really bothers spiders, so you can deter spiders by placing chestnuts in trouble areas. Poke a few holes in the nut to release the scent more fully.
11. Turmeric. This fragrant spice, which is in curries and other Indian dishes, is repugnant to spiders. Mix two or three tablespoons of pure turmeric powder with water and stir to make a paste. Then apply the paste with a spoon to areas where spiders congregate. (Please note that turmeric can leave a yellow stain, so take care where you place it.)
12. Salt. Common table salt can get rid of spiders. Simply make a saltwater solution and spray it into cracks and crevices to keep the creatures from entering your home.
Most common spiders are not harmful to you, your family or your pets. However, if you are unsure if a certain spider is poisonous or not, check out the Centers for Disease Control website.