1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Homeowners Tips
  4. 5 Natural Ways To De-bug Your Home
Woman holding lavender

Finding a balance between being environmentally healthy and being free of bug bites can be tough.  Although aerosol cans of DEET and ant traps often work well, they come at a price of smelling bad and being harmful to the world around us. So, what can you do?

Here are four all-natural ways you can kick those pesky insects to the curb.


Is there anything vinegar can’t do?

Not only does it take the salt off your boots after a snowy day and pickle your cucumbers, it can also help prevent ants from invading your space.

Vinegar is a natural deterrent for ants. A combination of half apple cider vinegar (although normal vinegar works just as well) and half water in a spray bottle works perfectly to repel those pests.

This concoction can be sprayed around the perimeter of your home, on the legs of tables that have food served on them or even around a screen house or tent.

While vinegar is an effective item you can use to get rid of ants, you will need to reapply, as it wears off.

Cayenne Pepper

Another useful ant deterrent is cayenne pepper. When sprinkled in places where ants tend to gather, like areas near sugar and places where crumbs linger, they stay away.

The pepper’s spice serves as a deterrent for the ants by telling them that none of the sweet stuff that they’re looking for is there. It acts almost like caution tape.

It can get a little messy, so try to sprinkle the cayenne pepper in areas that aren’t used as much, like a cabinet – especially ones that contain baking supplies or other sweet goods.

Peppermint Oil

Not only does peppermint oil repel ants, it also repels spiders. In fact, peppermint keeps most pests away, including aphids, beetles, caterpillars, fleas, flies, lice, mice and moths.

There are three ways to effectively apply this oil: soaking cotton balls in the oil and hiding them where the insects gather, applying the oil directly to the affected areas, or diluting it with water and spraying the perimeter of areas you’re trying to protect. If you’re diluting the oil, mix 10 drops of peppermint essential oil and 16 oz. of water, then transfer to a spray bottle.

Peppermint oil can also keep some of the spiders out of the areas of the home where they frequent most, in addition to making the house smell wonderful.

While this appears to be a simple solution, it’s a game of strategy – putting the oil in locations where you suspect pests are entering.

With a little trial and error, you should be able to find sweet spots to focus on. It’s all about where you put it, using doorways and entrances to your advantage.

Lavender and Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Finding natural solutions for keeping away mosquitos is always a challenging process.

Using a mixture of lavender oil and eucalyptus oil can help prevent them and heal any existing bites.

The mixture has a nice fragrant smell compared to most cans of spray you can buy in the store, and it’s as affordable as a bottle of DEET.

Lavender oil is one of the only essential oils you don’t have to dilute with water to use on the body, although it’s recommended that you speak with your doctor first.

All in all, these bug deterrents all do their jobs well, and finding some natural options for your household and family is always a plus.

Do you have any natural remedies to keep the bugs away? Share them in our comment section!

This Post Has 72 Comments

  1. Thank you for correcting my date last year. I had written July 2020, and you wrote I probably meant July 2019. That’s exactly the case. I’m not nuts! But no one has written anything about carpet beetles. I have them even worse and these seem to be indestructible! HELP ME PLEASE !!! Thank you, Susan

  2. I use Basil Lemon lotion – this will keep the bugs off of you. Haven’t been bit since using it. I originally used Korres Basil lemon body MILK (NOT the butter). But they stopped making it. I now mix citrus basil essential oil in a good unscented oatmeal based lotion & it works just a well.
    I use a Lavender pet spray on my pup before going outside. Helps keep him bug free.
    The original Bounce dryer sheets keep mosquitoes away. (Don’t forget to get rid of standing water).
    For spider webs, first wipe off & then use a mixture of white vinegar & coconut oil to wipe area. This has worked great, both in outdoor corners & the basement.
    Ants: Orange citrus dish soap, coffee grounds, cinnamon, & bay leaves all are great to keep them away. Also, wash your floors & baseboards with white vinegar as it too will deter ants.
    Are stray cats coming in your yard: sprinkle black pepper around your properties perimeter. You’ll need to repeat after rain & when they start coming back.

    1. Thanks Mary. I used a spray bottle of half water and 10 drops each of lavender and eucalyptus oils. It worked great. I used a spray bottle of vinegar and water and sprayed the perimeter of my home. So far no ants. I have a few lavender and basil plants around the front of my house and back of the house where I sit. I used an ant trap last year and it worked well. However, it can become costly buying those every year. I have a major issue with wasp and carpenter bees this year. Overall, these concoctions have been working very well.

  3. Also wondering if the time traveling lady is okay!? I mean she was in July of this year when the rest were in March. I know quarantine is getting to people but at that point it had just really started so. Always like to make sure others are safe even during non insane pandemics ty

    1. It looks like there are several ways you might look into going about this and not all of them involve snap traps. You can check out this YouTube video, although there appear to be several. As for the other commenter, I really think given the timing and that we weren’t really in peak quarantine, I think she probably meant July 2019. We certainly hope people aren’t going too stir crazy.

  4. Mice. Hate them but these are so tiny I can’t bring myself to get those chip your head off types. They are field mice as I live in the middle of the desert. Literally dirt everywhere. (Hopefully not much longer, it’s run its course. ) But these things just lately walk not run, unless my dog is active, by my feet or across whichever it chooses. I live in a home with a lot of others but I’ll still get the blame. I have 2 rooms and a bathroom in which one room when I moved in head a cat but I’m thinking the nice didn’t care and were all up in the closet based on what I just seen and I know they were under the bathroom sink. It’s not a healthy situation any which way and when I leave I went my rooms mice free! As it is the little buggers chewed a HUGE hole in the wall of the room that was to be my kids but I never moved them over to it for….. Reasons.
    Please help! Urgent!
    I thank you in advance

  5. We moved into a RV trailer in July 2020. I noticed carpet beetles a few weeks later. I started spraying with vinegar and water mixture and things just escalated! I used boric acid, diatomaceous earth, 2 different insecticides. I have. a huge infestation. They are everywhere in the trailer, our food, fridge, freezer and they are stinging me constantly! Can you help me, please?

  6. I cant find one single thing that works to kill or repel Love bugs in the South. Listerine and citrus detergent. Nope. ..works for like 10 minutes. White vinegar…nope. Nothing onine either. Hard to believe there is an insect that not one thing kills or repels, not even Pyrethrin.

    1. I have had some success with Air Sense brand Vanilla room spray. It seems to keep insects away for a long time. However I decided to stop using it because I found out it has essential oils in it and they’re dangerous for my cats. They haven’t been ill from it, but I don’t want to chance it if I use it long term. If you don’t have cats maybe give it a try. A bonus is that it has a great fragrance 🙂

    2. Not sure why you would want to kill the lovebugs. They want to be outside so they are not actively trying to get into your house and eat the food. Their life cycle is very short as is entire lovebug season. If strays fly into my house, I just catch them and release them outside and there is no more issue. Not like roaches, ants, and other bugs that set up their nests in your house and then you have an infestation.

      1. Love bugs hang on everything, clog up things including air intake on vehicles, windows, windshields and are a general nuisance. I can’t stand them and squash every pair I see. I don’t gently carry them back outside. Sorry.

        1. When I do sourcing, I’m not looking at pesticide company websites, but I can understand where the confusion may have been. I should have clarified that. Thanks!

  7. 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. I have put a drop or two on the dirt for fast results but yes in a spay bottle with drops of peppermint you can spay a light mist every now and then.

      2. Regarding mosquitos, living here in Houston, TX, home of mosquitoes….we have found that some vanilla mixed with water in a sprayer bottle works pretty well, and it smells nice, not too overpowering. I go out every day about 3-4 times per day to take care of my parents’ chickens/roosters. But don’t miss any part of your body that is not already covered clothing. Hope this will work for you.

      3. I put Vaseline on. Rub it on like lotion (but less). Mosquitoes do not like petroleum. It worked for me when I went camping. And hey, it’s good for your skin and it’s cheap! I can’t do pesticides. Good luck.

    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!

  8. 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.

    2. Hi Violet,

      You use cinnamon on the outside of your home to keep the water bugs (large roaches) away? How often do you spray for spiders? I am doing a concoction for roaches and am wondering how often to spray it?

    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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    1. I just posted a comment about a commercial vanilla spray that I’ve had good success with, but didn’t know if plain vanilla would work! Thank you because I stopped using the store bought spray due to having cats in my house.

  11. 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.

      1. I have been putting peppermint plants under my sink at night. I spray a spray of eucolyptus oil and peppermint oil around the cabinets at night. They are definitely getting less in our house. Roaches hate these smells. It’s been around a month. There still is some, but it’s much better. An ongoing battle. research online with these oils

    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.

      1. I used borax and sugar for roaches but a mixture of ACV, dawn dish detergent and vegetable oil mixture wiped out the roaches 99.9 percent

  12. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *