Bug Repellent Vinegar - Quicken Loans Zing BlogAh, spring. When you arrive, it means warmer weather and gardening season, which I love. But it also means it’s time for bugs to emerge from their winter hiatus. And who doesn’t like swarms of bugs hovering around them or invading their house? Am I right?

When buying a house, pest problems are certainly important to consider. This time of year most homeowners probably stop by the local hardware store and pick up a bug repellent to spray around the house to keep the bugs out. Sure, it works well and is fairly affordable, but some of these insect repellents contain dangerous chemicals that are toxic to humans and animals.

So if you’re looking for something that doesn’t cause skin and respiratory irritation, you’re in luck. Check out some of these inexpensive, effective natural insect repellents to protect your home.

Garlic, Cinnamon and Cayenne Pepper Powder

You can pick up a couple of bottles of garlic, cinnamon and pepper powder at the dollar store or get some huge bottles from a warehouse store for a few bucks. Sprinkle heavily around the foundation of your home every month to create a bug-proof barrier around your home.

Vinegar, Herbs and Water

Vinegar is a super multitasker around the home. Not only is it a great cleaner, it also keeps bugs at bay. Grab a large spray bottle and fill half of it with white or apple cider vinegar. Next add any or all of these herbs: mint, lavender, catnip, sage or thyme. Top it off with some water, shake well, and let it steep overnight. The next day you’ll have a super-pungent bug repellent.

Vinegar and Essential Oils

For an even more effective bug repellent, fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water and add 10-15 drops of any of these essential oils: mint, tea tree, spearmint, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, clove, citronella or eucalyptus.

Witch Hazel, Water and Herbs

This recipe is pretty much the same as the vinegar one above. Just two small changes though. Substitute witch hazel, which you can get at most grocery or drug stores, for vinegar, and distilled water for tap water.

Vodka and Essential Oils

Vodka is another versatile item to have around your home – and I’m not just talking about cocktails either. Fill a small spray bottle with your favorite bottom-shelf vodka and add about 20 drops of any of the essential oils mentioned above.


For extra protection, plant some of these bug-repellent plants in pots around your home.

Last year, I used the vinegar and herb solution because we noticed a lot of earwigs (so gross) and ants hanging out around the house. Within a day of liberally spraying the solution around the foundation, the bugs vanished. We continued to spray around the house and didn’t see any nasty little critters the rest of the summer.

Instead of spraying dangerous chemicals around your home, give natural insect repellents a try. They’ll keep the bugs at bay without dousing your home and yard without harmful substances.

When buying a house, beat the bugs ahead of time and schedule a thorough home inspection to identify any problems with pests.

Have you used natural insect repellents around your home? Did they work? Tell us below in the comments section!


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This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. For the vinegar and essential oils….can i add all of the oils to the bottle? I don’t wanna buy any more harmful bug spray because I feel like im slowly killing my health.

        1. I recommend placing one or more citronella plants on your porch or where you sit outdoors or inside. Just be sure to check if they’re harmful to cats or other domestic pets online beforehand if you have any fur critters. They truly work, as well as putting nematodes underground. You can crush the citronella leaves or rub them on your skin for an effective wearable mosquito and flea repellent too 🙂

      1. I just hung Spartan mosquito eradicators. 1 packet contains 2 tubes and will cover 1 acre. Double up if mosquitoes are already established. It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve gotten 2 bites while working in the yard until after the sun sets everyday last week. Not too bad for $20 a pack!

    1. Oh I got a good one. Not too many other ppl know about this one! I swear I could make some solutions & package it & maybe make a small fortune. That is until some big wigs find out how to make it! Back to the subject.
      Pine oil, the kind u clean wood floors & furniture with! Well not ALL are the same. Murphy’s oil soap is about as natural as u can get if it’s sold on a store’ shelf! 94%or more natural.
      This is what u do with it: mix a lil room temp distilled water with it. Shake that spray bottle up & spray it around the perimeter of ur yard. Best example I can give u would to spray it in water line located in the middle of the ditch that’s in ur front yard, basically the city servitude. Well I’m sure it’s illegal to put anything in the natural drainage/ waterways, bcuz u can put toxins in the ground water. So, please do not use too much. Do this every other week, like every other time u put the garbage out. Spray that gets on plants turns the greenery to yellow, it kills grass. Grass keeps the dirt to stay put. No grass in our ditches creates erosion. It makes slops steeper & erodes land quicker. In the ditches, in areas that have standing water. Anywhere that mosquitos populate, that’s the purpose of pine oil to repel bugs such as horse flies, flies, roaches, & mosquitos! If u can smell the pine oil smell after u spray it, then it’s strong enough. Not anymore than 1 part Murphy’s oil soap & 1 part water is the strongest solution I ve made. Don’t forget the pine oil can spread to plants u don’t want turning yellow & dying by rain water & water from ur gardening hose. Once I sprayed it under the porches in the front of my house. Well I got in trouble for some of the front flower bed turning yellow. Remember it’s an ongoing process. U create a barrier around u, ur house, ur yard. Hope this natural outdoor Bug repellent is of great benefit for all of u!

  2. I use water and spearmint around my house for spiders. Especially black widows and it works great. I used to have lots of spiders around my house and even found some inside. Since I started using this mix I no longer have black widows which is great because I have small children who like to play outside. I use a tablespoon mixed into an old Windex glass cleaner bottle filled with water. I’ve also found this mixture also works for sugar ants. And I also use Cinnamon to keep water bugs out of my home by sprinkling it around the outer walls of my home. And garlic powder keeps mice away and out of my house too. I sprinkle it around my home in the winter.

    1. Hi, did you use spearmint oil or herbs? I have a terrible spider problem in my home an ant problem as well, and I really need a solution asap for some relief on keeping the bugs away from my 4 month old daughter.

    1. Hi Bonda:

      I did a quick Google search and there seems to be no definitive answer to that question. However, since the secret of this particular repellent seems to be the scent, I would reapply when the scent fades.

      Kevin Graham

  3. So, garlic can keep the bugs and vampires away? Good to know! This is great information that I like to keep in our pest control office. Thanks!

  4. Vanilla. I use vanilla on the door frames when I see ants. Just use a cotton ball and vanilla extract and swab it. I put a teaspoon with a cup of water in a spray bottle and spray where the garage closes and the ants leave the arearly (had a train at the garage opening this year and had to spray two different days for them to leave). Vanilla wafter spray is also good for spraying plants that have gnats.

  5. Trying to find the best way to clean up the roaches at my daughter’s home which are everywhere sofas everywhere before she has surgery What do you recommend I do

    1. Hi B:

      So we have a similar post with some different ideas. I’m going to be honest and tell you I don’t know how any of these will do against cockroaches. I would think the way to guarantee getting rid of them would be to call an exterminator.

    2. Use bleach put in spray bottle and spray under stove, sinks ect anywhere it won’t bleach out carpet ect… wipe house down with bleach, water mix walls everything roaches hate bleach

    3. The best thing for roaches is boax. it is not natural and can be harmful if ingested so it isn’t advisable to use with small kids or pets. That being said this kills all larva, eggs, and adults! roaches are so hard to kill! Mix borax and any fat like bacon grease or lard into a paste and drip onto a small piece of paper plate. NO WATER CAN BE ACCESSIBLE to the roaches because the point is to dry them out.

      1. I also use borax for ants. Mix it with sugar, water and syrup and it took care of a huge ant problem we had in our backyard.

    4. I live in Texas and we have big and prolific cockroaches. The answer I found and has worked seamlessly for me for 10 years now is a mix of half and half (1:1 ratio) of boric acid (which I get at hardware store) and white sugar. Keep the little lids you get off of plastic water bottles, etc. and fill these caps with the boric acid/sugar mix, to the top, and place them in the back corners of cupboards, bookshelves, on the floor under the beds, etc. You will be roach-free very soon! These seem to last forever unless they get wet or emptied, in which case you just refill.

  6. Hiya! I plan on making some for our tiny, RV home because I’ve seen some ant already and those buggers are not going to over run my home! What I’d like to ask, are these pet safe? I plan on spraying the outside and we do have an outdoor kitty. What is safest method? I also planned on putting some repellent inside where the indoor kitties can’t reach em. Trial and error time to see what is the best! Thank you!

    1. Hi Jamie:

      First, I want to make clear that I’m not a vet or animal expert of any kind and most of what I know comes from Google. That being said, you probably don’t want to use witch hazel around your cat because they can get it on them and ingest it when they groom themselves. It’s not good for them. You also don’t want to have them getting into cayenne pepper or alcohol of any kind. You’re probably safest with vinegar, herbs and water, although I would look up the individual herbs. You’re probably safe with catnip. I suppose the worst that could happen is they get a little loopy for a while. It’s definitely trial and error in terms of which repellents get rid of the insects best. Good luck!

      Kevin Graham

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