Pests, Be Gone! 10 Natural Ways to Make Your Home Critter-Free

No need to use chemicals—instead, use these herbal, fruity, or soap-laden solutions for problems with pests like ants, mice, and mosquitos.

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  1. Block Flies with Basil


    Flies hate the smell of basil. To discourage them, place pots of basil at doorways and windowsills and on the kitchen counter. Don't have enough sun for potted basil? Put dried basil in a small muslin pouch, rubbing it occasionally to keep the scent strong.

  2. Scare Off Spiders with Citrus


    Spiders are not fond of citrus. In a spray bottle, mix water and unsweetened lemon or lime juice. Wipe your countertops with the mixture or spray down doorways and windowsills. You can deter spiders in your garden by spreading around lemon, orange, or lime peels.

  3. Avoid Ants with Vinegar


    Use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to wipe down countertops and other surfaces—anywhere you've spotted ants. For best results, repeat this several times a day. Doing so destroys the scent trails that ants use to navigate.

  4. Feed Mice to the Owls


    A pair of barn owls and their brood can eat over 3,000 mice in a nesting season. Attract them to your property with an owl box, if a quiet rafter or tree crook is not available. Should the food supply be dependable, the same owls may return season after season.

  5. Fake Out Wasps with a Fake Nest


    Wasps are incredibly territorial and will not build a nest within 20 yards of another one. So build or buy your own fake nest! It’s like a scarecrow for wasps. Hang one in the front yard and one in back, and you’re done.

  6. Combat Mosquitos with Catnip


    Cats love it. Mosquitoes? Not so much. According to Science Daily, catnip repels mosquitoes more effectively than DEET. Grow it in your garden or apply undiluted catnip oil to the skin for up to two hours of protection.

  7. Repel Fleas with Salt


    Alternately salting and vacuuming your floors will kill flea eggs. But since fleas have a three-day reproduction cycle, you have to be diligent: Salt every day for nine days and vacuum every third day. Don’t forget to empty the vacuum every time, or the live ones will crawl right back out again!

  8. Diminish Dust Mites with Cinnamon Oil


    Cinnamon bark oil has been shown to control dust mites. Mix several drops into a 50/50 solution of water and denatured alcohol. Spray bedding, carpets, and any other places where dust tends to collect. Added benefit? Your house will smell like cookies!

  9. Eliminate Fruit Flies with a Deadly Recipe


    Trap fruit flies with this simple approach: Fill a glass three-quarters full with vinegar or cider vinegar, then add six to eight drops of dishwashing liquid, and fill to the top with warm water. Gruesomely effective.

  10. Deter Deer with Irish Spring


    Who could call Bambi a pest? A gardener. Many have had luck deterring deer with Irish Spring soap. Hang it or spike it to a stake near things that deer like to eat. Alternatively, sprinkle shavings or small chunks on the ground.

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