Spiders are everywhere. A recent study found that on average each square meter on our planet contains approximately 130 spiders. Which means if you’re reading this in a cubicle or kitchen nook roughly the size of a mattress, you’re being watched by about 1,040 beady spider eyes right now!
Their vast numbers are shocking, but nothing compares to spiders’ appetites. Research has found that spiders consume upwards of 880 million tons of prey each year; by comparison all 7 billion humans on earth consume just 400 million tons of meat and fish combined. In fact, the amount of meat spiders consume each year outweighs the total biomass of all humans on our planet—in other words, spiders could, theoretically, consume every human on earth in just one year.
The numbers are shocking, but in truth, spiders are all but harmless to humans. Without question, our lives would be overrun with insects were it not for the spider, nature’s ruthlessly efficient exterminator. It’s for this reason that spiders are considered beneficial. And unless you’re absolutely terrified by them—or commonly seeing venomous individuals like black widows or brown recluses—we encourage you to leave them at their work. If you fall into the above category, though, we’ve got you covered. Here are 9 ways to get rid of spiders without harsh chemicals.
Clutter and disorganization are a spider’s best friend, giving them ample space to hide and hunt. Consistently vacuuming, dusting, wiping down countertops, and de-cluttering your house will deter both spiders and their insect prey.
When organizing your home, use sealable plastic containers instead of items like cardboard boxes, which do not adequately seal, providing spiders with yet another place to set up camp.
Brush, stacked wood, unused flower pots, gardening equipment—spiders will make a home out of any outdoor clutter. Unkempt shrubbery, trees, and overgrown gardens also make ideal homes. Removing unnecessary clutter and keeping the lawn trim will reduce your spider population.
Even the smallest openings are a welcome mat to spiders. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, chimneys, vents—all are potential spider entrances. Seal your home by remedying these openings using caulk (don’t forget to check basements and attics, too).
The same process should be repeated outdoors as well, paying close attention to the roof and any cracks or holes in the foundation. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows, vents, chimneys, and doorways always remain firmly shut.
Traditional outdoor lights are irresistible to most insects, which makes them a dinner bell for spiders. Switching off these lights at night can do wonders for reducing spider populations. Indoor lights whose glow reaches outside are also a liability.
For the former, consider trading your bulbs for yellow sodium vapor lights (which do not attract insects). For the latter, plan on installing additional window dressing to limit indoor lights from bleeding outdoors.
The most effective method for deterring spiders is to remove their food source—this entails adopting a general insect control regimen, both inside and outside your home.
For outside: Using a non-toxic, plant-safe pesticide, thoroughly spray your entire yard, including all shrubbery, bases of trees, and anywhere else you think insects and spiders might be hiding. Repeat this process monthly—or more as needed—until you no longer see spider activity.
For indoors: Using a non-toxic pesticide/repellent, treat doorways, windowsills, baseboards and other suspected spider entry points. Continue treating these areas weekly until your spider problems are resolved.
Spiders can’t stand vinegar—in fact, a direct spray is often fatal. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to make a safe, all natural spider repellent. Using a spray bottle, apply this solution to doorways, window sills, known spider hangouts, and other possible entry points once a week until your spider problem improves.
Spiders actively avoid the strong smell of peppermint, making it an effective solution for spider control. 5-10 drops of peppermint oil in 16 ounces of water will make a handy spider repellent you can use throughout the home. As with the aforementioned vinegar, spray this solution in and around possible entry points and spider problem areas.
Citrus oils and peels are a highly effective method for repelling spiders. With a lemon oil spray or actual citrus fruit peels, you can deter spiders from entering your home. Place fresh peels skin-side-down along window sills and other spider problem areas, such as bookshelves, cabinetry and shelving. (Tip: citrus peels can also be used in your garden to limit spider activity).
For spider control, this chalky natural pesticide does double duty—killing and repelling not only spiders, but also spider-attracting insects. DE is highly abrasive, containing nearly microscopic edges which injure bugs that come in contact with it. Placing DE along spider problem areas and potential entry points will keep spiders at a distance.