DIY Pest Control

Pests, Be Gone! 11 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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Keep Pests Away with these Nontoxic Ideas

Chemical-formulated insect and rodent repellents aren’t just bad for the critters, they’re also harmful for you and your pets. However, avoiding toxic ingredients does not mean that flies, spiders, mice, and other pests get to take up residence in your house. Keep your house pest and chemical-free with these natural remedies.

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. 

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. 

Related: How To: Get Rid of Spiders

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.

Related: 20 Handy Household Uses for Vinegar

Battle Roaches with Borax

Use the classic laundry powder 20 Mule Team Borax to expel roaches from your house. In small containers, mix equal parts borax and sugar, and then leave them around windows, cracks, baseboards, and anywhere else you’ve spotted the bugs. The sugar attracts the roaches while the borax dehydrates and poisons them. 

Eliminate Fruit Flies with Dish Soap

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.

Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Dish Soap Can Do

Combat Mosquitos with Catnip

Cats love it. Mosquitoes? Not so much. According to a study from Scientific Reports
, catnip essential oil repels mosquitoes more effectively than DEET. Apply undiluted catnip oil to the skin for up to two hours of protection.

Related: These 13 Plants Really Repel Mosquitoes!

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!

Related: 9 Unexpected Household Uses for Table Salt

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!

Related: 20 Remarkably Easy Ways to Create a Dust-Free Home

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 online 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.

Related: How To: Make a DIY Wasp Trap

Deter Deer with a Bar of Soap

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

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.

Related: 11 Ways to Get Rid of Mice

Natural Pest Control

Employ these natural tactics to get rid of pests in and around your house before reaching for chemical products.