natural indoor spider control suggestions?
June 3, 2008 8:03 PM   Subscribe

What are some natural spider repellents I can use in the house? Google searching leads me to believe that there are a number of essential oils that might be effective, but do you have any first-hand experience? With which ones? How to apply? Any other natural cures that I won't mind putting around my house? Also, are there certain things that attract spiders that I should avoid having around? I know they are generally harmless, but they make me so uneasy.
posted by foxinthesnow to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Hey, spiders make me uneasy too, almost to a phobia level, but I've learned that they are useful to leave around, as long as they aren't poisonous. They generally keep to themselves and enjoy feasting on various bugs. Consider them a natural bug repellant.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:17 PM on June 3, 2008

Spiders are indicative of another pest...get rid of THAT pest, and the spiders will follow.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2008

I've heard that osage oranges can repel spiders. I don't know where you can easily get them if you don't have access to a tree, but I have seen Boy Scouts selling them once.

(Yes, I'm from a small town. What?)
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:50 PM on June 3, 2008

One of the essential oils you probably found was citronella oil. My experience has found that dabbing that around windows and door frames is quite effective. It works because spiders taste with their feet, and hate the taste of citronella almost as much as I hate the taste of gasoline. So they turn around and go away.

It does kind of make your house smell a bit like a dodgy candle, though.
posted by randomination at 4:51 AM on June 4, 2008

Cats are good spider control, I've found. Mine hunts them down mercilessly. But be sure and get neutered cats, or you'll soon have a cat problem, and you'll have to bring in dogs to control the cats, then llamas or's a never-ending cycle.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:16 AM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Just keep the place clean by vacuuming them up along with the insects which provide them with food. You might want to check under their webs to see what they are eating and then try to get rid of those as well. Check for spider eggs in their webs and suck those up with the vacuum cleaner.
posted by JJ86 at 7:27 AM on June 4, 2008

Diatomaceous earth might work. However, be careful. Read up on it before you use it, and understand how to use it in such a way that it won't harm you or pets.

I'd also avoid using it in the house.

Personally, I'd leave the spiders around. They're good to have. Unfortunately, where I live there's good reasons to use this in my shed and garage (black widows, scorpions, etc).
posted by krisak at 10:07 AM on June 4, 2008

Better the spiders than whatever they're eating. They're almost all venomous, but very few are capable of doing any harm to humans. None are poisonous (poison is transmitted through absorption or ingestion, venom via bite or sting). A friend of mine used to swear by ashes as spider repellent, but I think that was just because she had a tendency to knock over ashtrays.
posted by notashroom at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2008

Yeah what they said about you having bugs.

I'm used to big hairy disgusting spiders.. touching things with their big hairy disgusting spider legs (ICK!!) I do not like them on the same wall as my bed or any part of the roof you would consider as belonging to a wall touching my bed! So if you have those, I can tell you that

1.They are scared of brooms and will run in the opposite direction (out the window? good).
2.There is a point where they will feel cornered and turn to fight by leaping onto the broom! (also good) BUT now is the tricky bit. You have seconds to toss that broom out the window as the spider will start climbing the handle (argh!!).
3.SO! Before you start make sure you can more swiftly, put the stupid dog, squealing kids elsewhere. Open window and doors!

There is nothing worse than watching a steadily advancing spider while you're trying to see why the 'fucking thing' won't open. It gets too close so you have to drop it run away squealing. Then tentatively figure out where exactly it's hiding and chase it back onto the broom... (Which of course it's just scared of now so you have to herd it from one end of the house to the other).
Another person, also issued with a broom, would be advantageous. Keeping it on broom one or passing it back and forth will save you A HELL OF A LOT of BS.

Wouldn't killing it just be easier you might say? Well no, it's a friend and it's doing you a favor and whatever it's munching on is far grosser. (And aint doing you any favors.)

But 'outside dogs' can still just live outside!!
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 11:58 AM on June 4, 2008

One thing worse than what you outline, mu~ha, is having a spider outrun you at full sprint. That's disconcerting...

Cats can be good for controlling spiders. Unless they're like mine, and run away from bugs (had to save one from a cockroach once). Also, I've seen a cat bit on the nose by a spider it cornered. Not a happy cat.
posted by krisak at 12:20 PM on June 4, 2008

If you are talking about spiders in the basement, keeping it clean and dry will help a great deal. Cardboard boxes generally attract spiders, so store your stuff in plastic preferably clear containers.
posted by olegchet at 1:58 PM on June 4, 2008

But be sure and get neutered cats, or you'll soon have a cat problem, and you'll have to bring in dogs to control the cats, then llamas or's a never-ending cycle.

If you work your way up to gorilla's they'll eventually die off come winter.
posted by Octoparrot at 8:22 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I found out from a similar concern over seeing a house centipede that spiders are food for house centipedes.

So, just go down to the house centipede store and get a batch of the creatures and cut them loose in your house. They will eat the spiders and voila.
posted by SparkyPine at 6:27 AM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have first hand experience with black widows infesting my yard and my home. I use essential oils for just about everything, and I discovered that Peppermint (Piperita) essential oil is GREAT for killing black widows. I caught on in a jar and put a drop in with it. It killed it immediately. I keep some Peppermint (Piperita) essential oil in a spray bottle and spray whenever I see any type of spider or ants. It doesn't work as a barrier though - so I am forced to buy a more commercial insecticide to spray closets, corners, under kitchen sinks, etc. I spray the peppermint around my bed at night, as it does seem to act as a good temporary barrier. Nothing long term though.
posted by earthmother at 2:30 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

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