Already have an account?
Get back to the
Life Hacks

How to Keep Bugs Out of Your House: Exterminators Say These 5 Pantry Staples Will Pest-Proof Any Space

Consider it DIY pest control.


Spring brings warm weather, longer days, and bugs — and the latter don’t always stay outdoors. For many insects, an open window or door is an invitation to your home. When left unaddressed, this could lead to infestation. Ick!

The good news is that keeping your home bug-free is easier than you think. According to pest experts, household ingredients such as white vinegar and borax can effectively drive pests out for good. Better still, they cost far less than an exterminator, and they’re safer than chemical-filled insect killers. Ready to rid your space of spiders, stink bugs, and ants? Here’s how to keep bugs out of your house all season long.

To Banish Centipedes: White Vinegar

Keeping leggy critters out of the house is simple: Centipedes are attracted to dark, wet places like your shower drain. Once a week, simply pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain — both the smell and the acidic quality of the vinegar will repel them. Bonus: The vinegar will also help keep your drains clear.

To Send Spiders Packing: Peppermint Oil

A great way to deter Charlotte from spinning her web in your home? Peppermint oil. Spiders “taste” the world around them via sensors in their feet, and they don’t like the taste of this pungent herb. To do: Simply sprinkle 15 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle filled with water and spritz the anti-spider cocktail around your house about once a week to ensure all eightlegged creatures take up lodging elsewhere.

To Stop Stink Bugs: Garlic Spritz

It’s easy to fight stink bugs with stink, says Henry Bravo, founder of SmartGardenHome. com. Just mash up a few garlic cloves and place them in a spray bottle filled with 16 ounces of water. Spray the mixture around the outside of windows and doorways. Stink bugs hate the acids in garlic and will stay away.

To Rid Your House of Ants: Borax

One of the best weapons against ants: borax. “It disrupts their digestive systems, eventually killing them,” entomologist Bob Gilbert says. “Because borax doesn’t kill them on contact, ants take some of it back to the nest, eliminating the colony.” Just fill a jar with a one to one mix of borax and sugar, cover with a multi-hole pierced lid and place on a shelf where ants can get to it.

To Fend off Fruit Flies Fast: Apple Cider Vinegar

If your fruit is drawing flies, pest pro Zachary Smith recommends pouring ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap into a cup, microwaving for 20 seconds, and then placing it on your counter, “The apple cider vinegar will attract the flies, while the soap will break the surface tension of the liquid, causing them to sink and drown,” he explains.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.