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When it comes to how to get rid of spiders, it turns out there are much better ways than the old pint glass and piece of paper trick. A method that, let's be honest, leaves you perilously close to the eight-legged intruder that you're trying to remove.
The spider situ is by far the worst in the autumn when temperatures drop, but they do tend to arrive unannounced any time of the year. So, besides regular care and cleaning of our homes, what keeps spiders away and what are the best ways to show them the door?
How to get rid of spiders in the house
John Stewart from Pest-Stop (opens in new tab), the UK’s leading manufacturer of high-quality pest control products, reassured us that of the 650 species of spider found in the UK, only about 12 have been recorded as being able to bite us, and only two of those give a bite that causes any significant pain.
'Spiders are beneficial insects that perform pest control on our behalf,' John argues. 'Most spiders would prefer to live outdoors in sheds, garages, and around our windows, with light attracting insects like moths.' As they don't cause us any harm, we have focused on humane and natural ways to send spiders on their way. However, if you have a serious, persistent problem, it's time to call in the professionals.
1. Repel with peppermint oil
It's a scientifically proven fact that peppermint oil repels spiders. Another fun fact: spiders smell and taste through their legs. So, crawling through an area scented with peppermint is a highly unpleasant experience.
You can pick this essential oil up cheaply at your local pharmacy, or places like Muji. Use an oil diffuser or burner and enjoy the relaxing scent it creates, or mix with water in a spray bottle to target specific areas.
Peppermint oil also happens to be a great way to get rid of mice, so you can kill two birds with one stone. Pour drops of the oil on cotton pads and place in cracks through which these pests could be entering your home.
2. Stave off spiders with spicy cinnamon
Next up, a good old cupboard staple: cinnamon. Discreetly place cinnamon sticks in areas where you've seen spiders in the past, replacing them every couple of months as the scent fades. Cinnamon does stain, so one good option is to push the sticks into the soil in your pot plants around your door, or, failing that, you could use cinnamon oil.
3. Use the old-fashioned conkers method
It might be an old wives' tale, but people still do it, so surely there's something in it? Placing conkers on windowsills and in corners of rooms remains a common way to get rid of spiders. If you have pets, make sure you check with your vet as conkers can be poisonous.
4. Spritz white vinegar
Another household item that doubles up as a natural spider-repellant is vinegar, says Adam Pawson, from Safestyle UK (opens in new tab), the UK’s leading window provider. 'Spray half water and half vinegar all over the crevices of your window, being careful to avoid varnished surfaces, as vinegar can be harsh on these.
'Not only will you be keeping spiders out, but vinegar is also a great repellent for anyone struggling with ant infestations,' he says. Whether you want to get rid of ants or spiders, you can use normal malt vinegar or white vinegar.
5. Embrace your inner neat-freak
The next tip is all about keeping on top of household chores. Spiders love to find hiding places in rarely-visited spots behind furniture, so keeping your home tidy and clutter-free will make a big difference. Prevention's better than cure!
About once a week, if you can, run your best vacuum cleaner under the bed, behind the sofa and around all pieces of furniture. Likewise, in the kitchen, try and keep your sink and worktops free of crumbs and spillages, as these will attract ants – which will attract spiders. It's all about the food chain.
6. Turn the lights off
Adam Pawson also points out that like many insects, spiders are attracted to light. So making sure that your lights are turned off overnight and while you’re not in the house is one fool-proof way to make sure you’re not inviting spiders in – and you’ll be saving energy at home at the same time.
7. Blow away the cobwebs
Get rid of cobwebs with your vacuum cleaner or a broom to encourage spiders to go elsewhere. Remove any webs from coving areas and around your windows as soon as you see them, which will also go a long way in making your space feel fresh and well kept.
'Spiders will often lay their eggs in sack, held in position with sticky silk around windows and doors,' comments pest control expert John Stewart. 'Removing these with a hard bristle brush will help to keep their numbers in check around the home.'
8. Purchase a spider catcher
'Handheld devices like the Pest-Stop spider and insect vacuum (opens in new tab) offer a quick, safe, and scare-free answer to banishing these eight-legged intruders and other insects from the home,' says John Stewart.
Spider catchers allow the user to pick up a spider at arm's length, and release it outside by pressing a trigger. Could this be one of the best inventions of the last decade?
9. Try cedar wood balls
Another green option is to buy some natural cedar balls, at Amazon (opens in new tab). These aren't proven to work, but they're worth a try. If you're looking for a natural and budget-friendly option that will repel both moths and spiders, it certainly won't do any harm.
10. Grow lavender, fresh mint or eucalyptus
A window box of lavender will help to ward off spiders, as well as giving window ledges a Southern France vibe. Be sure to include some fresh mint in your mini herb garden, too, and if you have space, grow some eucalyptus. Spiders aren't fans of any of these.
11. Order a spider-repellent spray
Just want something quick and happy to spend a fiver? Order a pre-made spider repellent spray that won't harm spiders, available at Amazon (opens in new tab). This one has a four out of five star rating on Amazon, with customers claiming that it has helped keep spiders at bay. One reviewer even said they hadn't seen a spider in their house in 2 years since using the spray.
12. Deter with zingy citrus
'Spiders despise citrus fruits, so mixing your leftover lemon, lime, or orange peel with water can create an excellent rub to spread over your windowsill,' says Adam Pawson. 'You can also find citrus-scented diffusers to place on your windowsill. The smell should also act as a great repellent.'
Be careful if you're spraying essential oils around, though, as although it can prevent spiders and get rid of flies, it's not such good news for your wooden floors. Flooring expert Michael Barnes at FlooringSupplies.co.uk (opens in new tab) suggests drying the peels from citrus fruits instead. Put them through a food processor when they're totally dry, and sprinkle a fine powder into the corner of your room.
13. Fill over any cracks
Spiders enter the home via gaps under doors and around windows, so ensure that there's a good seal around window frames. You could also try fitting excluder strips to the bases of doors to help to prevent them from scuttling in.
What gets rid of spiders instantly?
'The safest and best way to deal with spiders is to simply pick them up and transfer them gently outside where they can be of benefit,' says John Stewart. Once you've removed them, you can use any of the methods above to stop them returning.
What's the best spider repellent?
'Your best bet is to mix essential oils, such as tea tree, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella with water in a trigger spray bottle,' says John Stewart. Spray around the floor wall junctions, paying attention to the corners of the rooms. It'll help rid your home of spiders and give it a lovely fragrance.
How to get rid of cellar spiders
'To control cellar spiders the best method is to vacuum or use a broom to remove egg sacks and spiders,' says John. 'Reduce food availability by preventing insects from entering the home. You can do this with fly screens and by sealing cracks and crevices around doors and windows to prevent insect ingress.'
Ensure that your home is properly ventilated to reduce humidity; this prevents insects thriving in your home and denies food for spiders.'
Millie Hurst is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She first joined the team at the start of 2021. Previously, she worked in women’s lifestyle and homes news, writing about everything from budget kitchen makeovers and gardening tips to homeware dupes and cleaning hacks. Millie can often be found looking up trending terms, spotting news stories our readers need to know about and finding ways to decorate her rented flat.
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