11 Natural Pest Repellents
Crawling critters love to make their way into your inviting home, quickly setting up camp and taking over your space. From spiders to insects to rodents, make your house a little less welcoming with the natural pest repellents below.
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Any discussion on the topic of pest control should include diatomaceous earth (DE). It’s a long name for a substance that is non-toxic but it's safe to use around children and pets. Plus, it’s inexpensive, easy to find, easy to use, and hated by many of the creepy crawlers in your house. Fleas, cockroaches, dust mites, ants, bed bugs, earwigs, stink bugs, spiders, and more can be eliminated with the use of DE.
It works through dehydration. The goal is to leave trails of DE in areas the pests frequently traffic. You want them to stomp through the DE. Once exposed, they will go back to where they came from, dehydrate, and die within a few days. You can apply DE in your crawlspace, on carpets, around the outside border of the house, on mattresses and furniture, in the back of cupboards, in window sills, and along baseboards. Focus on areas that you’ve seen pest activity and those spaces infrequently visited by the vacuum. When applying DE, create thick lines in focused areas rather than lightly spreading it.
Boric acid deters many pests. For insects that like to perch in high places like cockroaches, apply the boric acid above cabinets. Boric acid is toxic to ingest so keep it away from children and pets. For sugar ants, mix one part Borax with three parts powdered sugar and put it in a container with small holes for access.
Your vacuum is one of the best deterrents you own. Use it frequently and target baseboards, the top of curtains, bed mattresses, and under furniture in addition to the main traffic areas.
There is some dispute as to the effectiveness of herbs like mint, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, cloves, bay, eucalyptus, and basil in repelling pest. There’s no harm in trying them out. Make satchels to put inside drawers or soak cotton balls in essential oils and leave them in areas where you suspect pest activity.
Many sensitive rodent noses will avoid strong scents from spices too. Use cayenne pepper, pepper, and cloves to deter them.
6. Cider Vinegar
An age old recipe for getting rid of fruit flies is apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap in it. It attracts flies, but does not allow them to escape. You can also attract them into a jar filled with some red wine or fruit. Cover it with plastic wrap and puncture a few small holes as an invitation.
Ammonia resembles the smell of animal urine and can keep threatened pests away. Fill small caps with it and leave it out near doors and other entrance points.
8. A Cat
If mice are your problem, a cat is your solution.
9. Steel Wool
Plug any open spaces, holes in cupboards, or entrance points around your furnace with steel wool. It is about the only thing that mice won’t chew through.
10. Fabric Softeners
Fabric softener sheets are said to deter mice so you can lay them out in cupboards or drawers. Mosquitos may also be repelled by the scent so tuck one in your pocket during the height of the season.
11. Snake Feces and Cat Litter
Yep, it sounds weird, but mice are smart. They know who their natural predators are. So leave your cat’s litter box in trouble spots or pick up some snake feces at the pet store to leave an unwelcome scent in the area.