How to Get Rid of Spiders and Keep them Out of Your Home

Spiders work day and night as tiny unpaid bouncers, evicting unwanted insects.

But if you have a major infestation or you have dangerous spiders in your home, you may want to evict your uninvited arachnid roommates. Fortunately, there are many tried and true solutions.

The best way to keep invasive spiders out of your home is to discourage them from coming inside in the first place. If that doesn’t do the trick, there are natural, non-toxic ways to kill spiders, in addition to common poisons. With so many options, some combination is sure to help you achieve a more or less spider-free home.

Spider on a bathroom countertop

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10 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Spiders

Move Them By Hand

  1. Use a clear plastic cup, ideally (to keep the spider in sight and away from your hand). Any empty cup or container will do. You’ll also need a piece of thin cardboard or stiff paper that is wider than the cup’s diameter.
  2. Approach the spider with your body to the side, not underneath. Many spiders will drop vertically when startled. Trap the spider under the cup and slide the cardboard under the edge, under the spider, and out the other side. 
  3. Carry the spider in the cup, holding the cardboard against the rim to keep it trapped, and release it outside.

Pros: Quick, easy, and free, using on-hand materials. If the spider came in from outdoors, relocating it will not harm the spider, so it will continue to eat insects around the outside of your home. Poses no danger to pets, children, or people with allergies or sensitivity to chemicals.

Cons: Not a safe solution for black widows or brown recluses. 

Bottom line: Hand removal may be impractical if you are dealing with a major infestation, but it is an ideal solution for occasional spiders.

Clean Your House

woman using a vacuum to clean the house

Spiders are opportunistic eaters. They may eat up to four times a day or go weeks at a time without food, but eventually, they have to eat. If your home is free of bugs, spiders won’t stick around.

  1. Vacuum your house thoroughly, including sucking up all cobwebs and egg sacks.
  2. Remove foods and messes from the kitchen that could attract insects.
  3. Eliminate hiding spaces for bugs and spiders. Pay special attention to cool dark places like basements and crawl spaces.

Pros: Fewer insects. Cleaner house. Free and easy.

Cons: Requires consistent effort over time.

Bottom line: Keeping your house free of cobwebs and insects is a win-win, mainly because getting rid of your spiders means getting rid of your last line of defense against pest insects. The tidying up method can and should be used in combination with any of the other methods listed.

Clean Up Outside

woman cleaning the backyard

Get rid of spider habitat around the outside of your house, as well as habitat for the insects that they like to eat. 

  1. Focus on debris that touches the outer wall of your house, such as leaf piles or firewood, moving them away from your home.
  2. Clean cobwebs off the outside of the house, especially around windows and doors.

Pros: Reduces spider encounters both inside and outside of your home. Improved curb appeal. Free and easy.

Cons: Requires consistent effort over time. Time-consuming and messy if you have a large amount of cobwebs to clean, particularly from cedar siding or other materials with texture and grooves.

Bottom line: When spiders start looking for a crash pad during autumn, you don’t want your house to be the nearest option. Encourage them to summer elsewhere.

Seal Gaps

man adding silicone caulk to a window

Seal off your house to reduce easy access.

  1. Seal any gaps in windows using silicone caulk rated for outdoor use (like this one).
  2. Seal any gaps around your door with weatherstripping.

Pros: Reduces insects in your home, not only spiders. Easy and inexpensive. This method improves your home’s efficiency, so you will save money by reducing leakage of furnace heat and air conditioning. Both with the bugs and insulation effects, if you use this method once and you will reap the rewards for years.

Cons: Time-consuming. Requires effort, such as using ladders.

Bottom line: A well-sealed house has many advantages. Plus, minimizing the number of possible entry points helps you use other techniques (such as peppermint oil, glue traps, or even insecticides) in a more targeted way.

Change The Porch Light

man removing old porch light

Cool-hued, heat-emitting outdoor lighting attracts insects like moths, flies, stinkbugs, and earwigs, creating a free all-you-can-eat buffet for neighborhood spiders.

  1. Remove regular incandescent or CLF lightbulbs from your outdoor light fixtures and replace them with warm-toned LED lights or yellow “bug lights” (we recommend this option). It will reduce the number of bugs attracted to your home and the number of spiders attracted to feast on them.

Pros: Substantially reduces spiders and bothersome insects, both living and dead, around your home. Easy and inexpensive.

Cons: Requires getting on ladders and a trip to the hardware store. Some people dislike the yellow hue of bug lights.

Bottom line: For more information about outdoor lighting that doesn’t attract bugs, check out our detailed guide.

Use A Peppermint Essential Oil

peppermint essential oil for removing spiders
  1. Make or buy a spray containing peppermint essential oil, such as this one.
  2. Spray areas you would expect to find spiders passing by or hiding, such as windows and doorways, crawl spaces, basements, and closets.

Pros: Easy and inexpensive. Nontoxic and safe for kids and pets. Smells like mint rather than chemicals.

Cons: For some, the spray smelling like peppermint is a downside.

Bottom line: Scientific research shows peppermint oil is effective at repelling several species of spiders. That study also found that lemon oil is not effective, contrary to popular belief. Some people believe that many other kinds of essential oils are also effective, but they are untested, and some (such as eucalyptus) can be dangerous for cats and other pets, so stick with peppermint.

Use Spanish Chestnuts

chestnuts inside a container

While it may sound like a myth, the volatiles emitted by Spanish chestnuts (a.k.a. European chestnuts) are scientifically proven to repel several types of spiders.

  1. Try putting them out of sight on top of a bookshelf to deter spiders from camping out on the ceiling around it.

Pros: Easy and inexpensive. Nontoxic and no noticeable scent (to humans).

Cons: It looks odd to have chestnuts on your windowsills. Spanish chestnuts may be challenging to find. No research demonstrates that other types of chestnuts (such as American chestnuts or horse chestnuts) are effective, and there is a reason for skepticism – there are spiderwebs in chestnut trees.

Bottom line: If it works for you, it’ll make a good story.

Use Vinegar

woman using diluted vinegar solution to get rid of spider
  1. You can leave small open containers of vinegar in areas where you want to deter spiders. 
  2. You can dilute the vinegar and use a spray bottle to spray it where needed. 
  3. You can also use diluted vinegar for cleaning.

Pros: Many people swear by vinegar as a multipurpose cleaning solution. You can kill two birds (or, rather, spiders) with one stone. Easy and inexpensive. Nontoxic and completely safe to use around kids and pets.

Cons: Some people find the residual smell of vinegar unappealing. Must be applied repeatedly.

Bottom line: Spraying diluted white vinegar is the number one spider solution recommended by the Farmer’s Almanac, so it’s worth a shot. Works well in combination with sealing your house well. Just spray around the remaining vents and openings.

Use Other Natural Bug Repellants

Using citronella to remove spiders

A variety of other “natural” insect repellants people claim will repel spiders, like cedar and cypress wood chips, various essential oils (such as lemon or eucalyptus), hedge apples, and citronella.

These are not proven to be reliable ways to deter spiders. However, by reducing the insect population, you will reduce the spider food supply, and therefore the number of spiders.

Pros: Generally easy and inexpensive.

Cons: Unproven and indirect.

Bottom line: Probably a waste of time, given the wide range of proven methods available.

Use Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

ultrasonic pest control

These devices (available here) emit high-frequency “ultrasonic” sound (too high for humans to hear). They are meant to repel several types of pests from your home. 

Pros: Easy and inexpensive. They claim to deter rodents, insects, and spiders.

Cons: They don’t work on spiders. They work on some insects (like crickets) but not others (like ants). That means even as an indirect method for reducing spiders, they are ineffective.

Other Ways to Get Rid Of Spiders

Squash Them

Smash spider with a shoe or rolled-up newspaper.

Pros: Quick, free, and easy.

Cons: Gross.

Bottom line: Often the easiest solution, if you’re dealing with occasional spiders rather than an infestation.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth (commonly called DE) is fossilized algae from the seafloor.

  1. DE is a powder that you can sprinkle wherever you notice bugs or spiders. The spiders walk in it, and the silica sticks to their bodies and dehydrates them to death. 
  2. You can use DE to make a ring around the perimeter of your whole house for maximum protection.

Pros: DE is “natural” and “nontoxic” — it is even safe to eat in small amounts, so it is safe to use around kids and pets. However, some forms of silica are known carcinogens, so follow the package’s safety instructions when applying DE. For example, you should wear a face mask.

Cons: DE does kill spiders and pest insects, but it is indiscriminate. It will also inflict a rather unpleasant death on beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.

Bottom line: Try other strategies before using DE, which is a shotgun approach. However, DE is a better solution than toxic chemicals. Make sure to buy food-grade DE, such as this one, not the kind used in pool maintenance. For more information, check out our guide to using DE to deter spiders.

Diatomaceous earth is available from Amazon here.

Use Glue Traps

Spider glue trap
  1. Place glue boards around the house near where you have spiders. When spiders or insects walk on the glue, they will get stuck and eventually die.
  2. While they are dying, their distress calls will attract other spiders (which are predators).Those spiders will also get stuck and die.

Pros: Easy and inexpensive. Kills insects, not just spiders—a tried and true solution for generations.
Cons: Visually unappealing (both the trap itself and the dead spiders and insects stuck to it). Indiscriminately sticky, so they kill beneficial insects and should be kept out of reach of kids and pets.

Bottom line: Better than poison, but it is worth trying more humane and aesthetically appealing solutions first. For detailed information on types of glue traps for spiders, check out this article.

Spray Insecticides

man spraying insecticide indoors

Check the ingredients list for chemicals like bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, or lambda-cyhalothrin, which are effective against spiders. Follow all package instructions carefully to protect your safety and reduce the negative environmental impact.

  1. You can use insecticides to create a ring “barrier” around the perimeter of your home.
  2. Spray it on thresholds, windows, vents, crawlspaces, and other places spiders are likely to enter your home.

Pros: Effective for major infestations. Insecticides come in spray or powder form.

Cons: Chemicals are washed off of your home and into groundwater, causing pollution and harming wildlife. It may need to be reapplied frequently, making insecticides somewhat more expensive and inconvenient than other options. Dangerous to children and pets. Oil-based sprays, applied repeatedly, can stain concrete or siding.

Bottom line: If you are dealing with a minor infestation, particularly of common house spiders that pose no danger to you, there are many other effective remedies to try before resorting to toxic chemicals. However, if you have a basement full of black widows, targeted use of insecticides may make more sense.

We recommend this spider spray.

Conclusion

When it comes to spiders, the best defense is actually to play defense. Clean your house, inside and out, seal entry points, and use proven deterrents like peppermint oil spray. That should keep most outside spiders outside and keep house spiders to manageable levels. Even if more drastic measures are needed, options like DE and glue traps can help you avoid wasting time and money on scams and toxic chemicals.

You will never eliminate them entirely, so get used to having a few house spiders as roommates. But if you combine a few of these methods, even arachnophobes should be happy with the results.

Pricing last updated on 2021-02-23 at 00:03 / affiliate links - Details

About The Author

Emily Cordo is a Master Gardener and DIY remodeling enthusiast. She is co-owner of a small garlic farm in central Indiana, built on the values of permaculture, organics, and biodiversity.