Ask LH: How Can I Keep Spiders Out Of My House?

Ask LH: How Can I Keep Spiders Out Of My House?
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Dear Lifehacker, Recently I have been confronted with a staggering number of various spiders. I am not bothered by the majority of them, but red backs, funnel webs and other poisonous specimens are a little unnerving. What’s the best thing to repel or kill them, other than straight poison from the hardware store or a large boot? Thanks, Metebelis Three

Dear MT,

All species of spider have taste receptors in the hairs at the ends of their legs. They will therefore try to avoid pungent or acidic substances upon contact.

Some spiders also have a sense of smell, which is primarily used to locate mates by tracking the release of pheromones. In other words, there are at least two ‘spidey-senses’ that you can target in a bid to keep arachnids away.

Popular natural spider repellents include lemon juice, lavender soap, mint leaves, chestnuts, dish washing liquid, moth balls and various natural oils (peppermint, tea tree, citronella, etc.)

Here’s a typical spider spray recipe that we spotted on the US blog 7 Gen:

  • Add up to 5 drops of essential oil (lemon is my favorite and spiders detest it) and up to 5 drops of dish washing liquid to 1 qt. of water [around 950ml].
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Spray the mixture on cobwebs, around doors and windows, around the lawn and garden and on any surfaces where spiders lurk. In addition to having a pleasant aroma, this mixture is nontoxic.
  • Oils may stain or cause spots, so be sure to test the mixture on a small section of carpet or upholstery before spraying an entire surface.
  • Reapply the spray once a week during peak “spider seasons.”

There are various other recipes online that follow the same basic principle. We can’t vouch for this concoction’s success rate as we’ve never tested it, but a lot of people seem to really swear by it.

Otherwise, your best approach is to act like a wrathful God — destroy their natural habitats (woodpiles, thick plant growth, etc) and demolish every web you can find with a broom. Also be sure to seal off any cracks or crevices around the house to stop them from infiltrating your home.

Just be aware that the spiders in and around your abode are helping to keep the local insect population down. It’s probably not a good idea to enact total genocide unless you want an influx of pesky bugs.

If any readers have spider-ridding tips of their own, let MT know in the comments section below.


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  • Just be aware that the spiders in and around your abode are helping to keep the local insect population down.
    This is very important to note if you have an increase in spiders, could mean you may have an increase in other insects. Spiders usually avoid houses unless their lost or their are better reasons to be around. I would be checking for cockroaches and other virulent pests.

    Lived in a place that had a cockroach infested neighbour (disgusting) we found out when all the spiders we found in the apartment seemed to be walking through (same path), rather than staying. One eviction later the huntsmans dissipated.

  • Daddy Long legs kill the small venemous spiders, the small venemous spiders kill Huntsmans, and the Huntsmans kill Daddy Long Legs. Try and keep a good balance of Daddy’s and Huntsmans.

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