How to get rid of spiders: a spider crawling on a carpet

Spider Control Simplified: Scout, Spray, and Sprinkle

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Where do you stand on getting rid of spiders? Some people think “catch and release” is the best form of natural spider control. I am not one of them.

Where I live, we have not just black widows and yellow sac spiders. We also have brown recluse spiders whose bites cause tissue damage. In my case, that meant having a golf ball-sized chunk surgically removed.

Now, I’m all in favor of leaving spiders in peace outdoors where they’re important to the environment. But inside? Hard pass. So, if you’re looking for no-nonsense advice to get rid of spiders in your home and keep more from coming back, I’m your girl. (Minus a golf ball-sized chunk.)

Why Am I Suddenly Seeing More Spiders?

You’ve probably noticed spiders show up more often when the seasons change. Things like Spring cleaning and rearranging furniture for the holidays disturb their hiding places, sending them scurrying for new ones.

It’s not that spiders are suddenly invading your home, but vice versa. They were already in it, and you’re bothering them. If you want to evict them, you’ll need to take steps to get rid of the spiders already in your house, then keep new ones from taking their place.

How to Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home

Step 1: Scout out Spider Infestations.

Spiders don’t like attention. They look for places to build their webs where they won’t be disturbed: corners and high ledges, cramped closets, basements, attics and garages full of boxes and junk, under sinks, behind appliances and furniture—even underneath things like sofas and beds.

So, natural pest control always starts with go through your home methodically, starting at the top, to figure out where the problems are. Take along a flashlight and one of the DIY spider repellents below. Even if you don’t see live ones, cobwebs or spider carcasses are signs of trouble spots.

Step 2: Spray on DIY Repellents or Shavings.

Once you’ve checked a spot for spiders, spray it with a DIY repellent or sprinkle the space with shavings to discourage new ones from moving in. If you find live ones, use the saline spray first then apply a repellent.

Saline Spider Spray

To make a saline spider killing spray, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 2 cups of warm water and spray it directly on any spiders you see. (Use distilled water if you plan to keep it on hand.) The salt clings to their skin and dehydrates them.

Homemade Spider Spray Repellent

Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water, and 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle and apply. Both lavender and vinegar are strong scents that are unappealing to spiders, so the combination can help keep them away.

Other essential oils besides lavender that repel spiders are: cedar, eucalyptus, citrus, mint and peppermint. It’s important to note that of these, only lavender essential oil is pet-safe.

Cedar Shavings

There’s a reason Granny kept quilts and other linens in a cedar chest: the smell repels a variety of pests, including spiders. You don’t have to panel your home’s walls in cedar, though.

Tuck bowls of cedar shavings on storage shelves or stuff some in muslin bags to make sachets. Then use cedar mulch around your home’s foundation and top it off twice a year.

Step 3: Sprinkle DE to Eliminate Spiders.

Also known as DE, diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. It’s safe around pets and kids—there’s even an edible food grade version. 

Although DE feels like a fine powder to humans, to insects and spiders it feels like shards of glass. Those shards stick to their bodies and dry them out while the abrasiveness speeds matters along. Bye-bye, Boris!

How to Keep Spiders Away

Even if you call pest control professionals, more spiders will show up unless you make your home less inviting. So don’t consider the problem solved until you do the following things to keep spiders away.

Routine Cleaning

Spiders and other insects look for undisturbed places, which regular cleaning deprives them of. So, follow a cleaning routine that goes beyond mere dusting and vacuuming to get behind and beneath furniture frequently, too.

Keep a Clear Space

Shrubs or wood leaning against your home’s foundation provides spiders cool shelter in warmer months. Once temperatures dip, they look for somewhere nice and warm, like your home. Don’t tempt them: keep a space of at least 12 inches clear around your foundation. As a bonus, you’ll deter mice, too!

Change Lighting

Even LED bulbs attract a few insects, though not as many as the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs did. But anything that attracts insects attracts hungry spiders. Switch your bulbs to yellow bug lights, at least near the less-often used entrances to your home, to attract fewer pests.

Seal Gaps

Wherever something enters your home from outside, it creates an entrance for spiders and other pests to enter your home, too. Check and caulk around cables, pipes, and windows. Look for cracks in your foundation and seal them. 

Tend the Fireplace 

If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when it’s not in use so your chimney doesn’t serve as a highway into your home. And if it’s not a working fireplace, open the flue every week and slam it shut, so spiders know it’s not a safe place for them to make their home.

Do you have any good tips to keep spiders away? I’d love to hear about them!

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  1. Robyn Taylor says:

    Will using this spray on aluminium windows, damage them, with it containing vinegar.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Vinegar can discolor aluminum window frames but that’s not the same as damaging the frame. I do recommend spraying the window sill, which is the wood part surrounding the window, and not the aluminum frame itself.

  2. Hiya my fear is when i spray peppermint I feel it was disturbing spiders and they were coming out more? Is that true?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Mary,
      It’s not the peppermint oil that’s bringing them out. Moving things around and cleaning can all bring spiders out of their hiding places in search of new ones. So, keep at it with the peppermint oil and they’ll figure out the best place for them to hide is outside, not in your house.

  3. Lisa M Slagle says:

    Does walnuts in the shell, put in corners keep spiders away? I’d heard it, if it worked, my cats could play with them too…

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Lisa,
      That may have come from the old British practice of putting conkers in the corner, which do work to keep spiders away. Conkers are horse chestnuts (not the sweet chestnuts you might eat around Christmas), and they’re toxic for cats, so maybe not the best practice these days. ?

  4. Got up for work and found a spider which I tried to kill. But it got away. Its hard to kill any insect when your bedroom has carpet. Now I have to go to work and I’m afraid it will come out tonight while I am sleeping. Last month I found a spider that was dead but looked weird. My son in law said it was a scorpion spider. ? The spider that git away was near the same area that the dead spider was. Hope I find that spider before I go to bed tonight.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I hope you did, too.

  5. Joanna Pagan says:

    What type of vinegar,

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Joanna, I’d recommend distilled white vinegar. ACV can actually attract household pests because it can contain pectin.

    2. Joanna Pagan says:

      Thanks so much Katie .going to try tonight.

  6. I am always looking for natural ways to keep spiders out. Just sprayed the apartment and replaced the wall attachments. Today after returning home, I needed to use the restroom. I look down at my fliptop garbage can and see it covered in little dust like crawlies. I sprayed it down but don’t look forward to further cleaning. Feeling tramatized because they weren’t there an hour ago.

  7. crystal P says:

    does it work for mice? I have problems with both spiders that im deathly afraid of and mice bad this year have tried quite a few things to rid the mice but not having luck thank you for your help

  8. In one apartment I lived in, I would find spiders on the ceiling more often than anywhere else so I devised what I like to call my ‘spider defense kit.’ The kit contains an umbrella so if the spider falls it doesn’t get on you, an aerosol can of hairspray to demobilize spider, and a broom with a shoe on the end for smashing purposes. Worked 99% of the time. One time it didn’t, the spider fell and I couldn’t find it so I just left!

    1. Jennifer Jay says:

      Yesss! My sister from another mister! I have to try that!

  9. I have a lot of spiders on my apple trees and was wondering if I sprayed it with the peppermint oil if it will harm the apples?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I really don’t know what effect it would have on your apple trees. You should probably speak to a Master Gardener at your County Extension Office to find out for sure.

  10. Alexandris Ransom says:

    I am ready to burn this house down! For the past mth. I have had a spider crawl in my bed or on my body while in bed. I can’t take this much longer.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yikes! I can’t imagine how much you must be dreading bedtime. You might want to strip your bed completely and wash all of the bed linens then, while it’s bare, flip your mattress and vacuum under your bed. Hopefully one of those things will get rid of that spider.

  11. Cherry pie says:

    I live in hull and the last few weeks I’ve been killing at lot of little black and yellow spotted spiders but to night i saw the biggest one on my bed now am not afraid of alot of things but spiders i cry at I’ve got two very young babies one is a year old and the other 14 weeks but i can’t find the bastard thing now but i don’t want to get in my bed or put my little girl in my room in case its a spider that can do damage. …. I NEED HELP ASAP xx

  12. Pam Baker says:

    I have natural wood window sills & wood base around the floors. Will this spray harm the wood if I apply it & it doesn’t get wiped off?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Assuming your wood trim is sealed in some way, this is safe. I have wood trim around my windows and baseboards, too, and haven’t had a problem using this spray over the past 12 years.

  13. Silly question I suppose – should I spray BOTH the inside AND outside of the windows & doors with the peppermint oil vinegar solution?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It’s not a silly question at all! I think you’d get best results spraying both sides though, obviously, if it rains you’ll want to reapply outside.

    2. No silly question….I just woke up at 1:00 to use the restroom and a huge spider was sitting right next to my head..YIKES…….I am spraying inside; outside and it that doesn’t work I’m moving into a plastic bubble. Geesh it is really bad this year.

  14. I live in Ky and just within the last few weeks I have seen huge black spiders in my home. I have never seen them in the house before and certainly not in the numbers i am now!. Just tonight i have killed 5 of them,which are bigger than a quarter. I feel like I am stuck in a bad nightmare. I have a major fear of spiders so i hope these natural remedies help. All together i have killed 15 in the past week. Where are they coming from?

  15. Can’t wait to fill my squirt bottle and get to work around here!! Spiders are fine if they stay outside. They’ve just made themselves too comfortable here this year….

  16. I absolutely am terrified of spiders and even though sometimes I do try to kill every last spider on earth and get filled with a spider-killing vengeance I just want them to leave. If they don’t bother me I have no need to kill them, but alas, they never listen and they can’t say I didn’t warn them. I try to look for ways to keep them out with natural deterrents like peppermint oil. So this article was helpful.

  17. The best way to rid spider is the vacuum cleaner. Every year my aunt start a (cobwebs) spring cleaning in her garage and basement. There are so many giant Hobo-spiders, with large webs in there. After vacuuming we checked the full dust bag and all spiders were killed inside, most of them were split in several pieces! The suction was to strong for the spiders.

  18. Only spider I want in my house is one that doesn’t procreate, that spins a big web to catch all mosquitoes. Not sure which I loathe more….probably mosquitoes. I keep asking “Why God…Why couldn’t you have created mosquitoes and spiders in a way that would have been less annoying/harmful to humans, but still fit into the food chain!”

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Amen. I say that about mosquitoes, too!

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