Everyone loves summer—including bugs and pests! It’s that time of year where insects start to creep swiftly into your home through open doors, windows, crevices, and even on your clothing and shoes! Bugs can cause bites, stings, and allergic reactions, and they can contaminate food, furniture, toiletries, and walls. Plus, they aren’t very appealing!
In keeping with HomeRev’s mission of eco-friendly, sustainable products, we’ve come up with the ultimate guide to getting rid of these summertime pests in a natural and safe way. We chose the following solutions based on their effectiveness, so you can choose one or two options to rid all types of pests. Plus, we wanted solutions that were inexpensive, smell great, look appealing, and improve overall air cleanliness.
So, here are the 6 natural ways that will get rid of pests while enhancing the overall quality of your home space.
Peppermint is the ultimate way to get rid of wasps, roaches, and mice inside and outside of your home. One study even found that peppermint and other essential oils could be an even better repellant (especially for mosquitos) than drugstore power-sprays. I keep a stash of peppermint essential oil ready just in case I see any little critters—or if I just want a fresh, clean, and minty smelling home! Even if you haven’t seen any bugs yet this season, peppermint essential oil is an inexpensive and easy way to keep them away all summer long.
While wearing gloves, soak cotton balls in peppermint essential oil. Place the cotton balls throughout your home and outdoor spaces in holes, corners, and entry points. These cotton balls only need to be changed every two to four months to ensure the scent stays strong and your house stays pest-free.
Note: Peppermint oil without dilution can be very potent and powerful. I have found that peppermint-soaked cotton balls can actually stain white walls orange! In this way, you may want to dilute peppermint in a water solution before soaking the cotton ball; or you can wrap the soaked cotton ball in a paper towel to keep the scent strong without potential damage.
Similar to peppermint, the strong smell of citrus frightens off spiders and larger insects. This is one of the best natural solutions to deter pests because it can also help keep your air bacteria-free and smelling fresh!
Mix the juice from half of a lemon or lime in with two cups of water. Do not use sugared juice, as it will actually attract bugs! You can then use a spray bottle to disseminate the solution around doorways, window sills, corners, and shelves. You can also use this mixture to clean your kitchen countertops, which will keep spiders away from food. Spray it in your bathroom sink to prevent creepers from crawling up pipes.
If you have bug problems in your garden or outdoor seating area, spread lemon, lime, and orange peel around to keep buggies at bay. (Remember, though, insects can be beneficial to plants, so you only want to use this solution if you have a spider or insect infestation.)
Because of the lightening properties of lemon, be careful when applying to fabrics or darkly stained woods.
You’ve seen citronella before in mosquito sprays, candles, and lanterns because it is known for its mosquito repellant properties! But these commercial candles can often contain a lot of harmful chemicals for the home and family.
Instead, buy a citronella potted plant! Citronella plants are not as smelly as drugstore candles, so they will be more comfortable to live and host with.
You can also buy citronella oil. Dilute this oil in water, soak a cotton ball in the mixture, and place around your outdoor space or at entry points to keep away mosquitos and small flies.
Check out our article, The 7 Benefits of Houseplants, to learn about other plants to keep around the house!
Vinegar is one of the top natural cleaning solutions, and at HomeRev we absolutely love it—but ants hate it! Did you know that when one ant finds its way into your home, other ants are able to track that first ant’s trail into the house using scent? This is how you can quickly get an infestation without even realizing it!
Mix a solution that is one part white vinegar and one part water. Using a rag, wipe anywhere you’ve seen ants in your house. This disinfects and deodorizes the area, killing that scent trail that ants use to navigate around your home. Killing this trail will mean ants can’t find their way back into your home or to their ant cohorts, and they’ll return back to their original nest. Even better, you won’t be able to smell the vinegar after an hour, so you won’t have any extra scents in your home.
After you’ve cleaned off their trail, you can further deter them from coming in with cinnamon. Sprinkling ground cinnamon or placing cinnamon cloves at entry points can ensure they don’t find their way back into the house. You can even sprinkle cinnamon in your children’s sandbox or outdoor play area to keep away bugs in a safe way!
Ants aren’t the only enemies of cinnamon. Cinnamon bark oil has also been shown to control and deter dust mites, which can be harmful to health and home air quality.
Mix a few drops of cinnamon bark oil in two cups of water. You can usually find cinnamon bark oil with other essential oils in the drugstore or online. Using a spray bottle, distribute the mixture on beddings, carpets, furniture, and anywhere that collects dust. Dust mites will flee away in a hurry, and your home will smell like freshly baked cookies!
Flies, wasps, and bees hate the smell of basil, rosemary, and mint. Growing herbs in your garden or in pots in your home will keep away insects and give you a delicious addition to your food. Place pots of basil, rosemary, or mint at doorways and windowsills.
If you live in an environment that is not ideal for growing herbs (since herbs need a lot of sunlight), then you can place dried herbs in a small muslin pouch or tie them together in a bouquet. Place them at the doorways and windowsills instead. Rub the package occasionally to keep the smell fresh and strong.