Follow these guidelines for a spider-free home
Finding some eight-legged friends dangling from your ceiling or crawling across your floor may not be a welcomed sight. While most spiders are harmless, you probably want a cobweb-free space that won’t attract spiders into your home. Let’s take a look at the best practices for getting rid of spiders in your house.
Common Spiders and Best Practices
Identifying the type of spiders in your house can help you decide how to handle them. Here’s a rundown of ten common kinds of spiders and how best to get rid of them.
1. Common House Spider
These frequent home visitors are also known as the American house spider, and they leave dirty cobwebs in your corners and under furniture. While they bite, common house spiders are not poisonous and are usually harmless to humans.
2. Wolf Spider
Wolf spiders are large, brown, and hairy spiders that can grow up to one inch in diameter. They don’t spin webs and aren’t poisonous, but they can bite humans.
3. Brown Recluse
Brown recluse spiders have a noticeable dark brown violin shape on their backs. They aren't hairy and tend to be about ½ inch in length.
Brown recluses like to hide in dry, dark places, such as basements, attics, and closets. They are poisonous spiders and their bites can cause severe reactions. Contact a local pest control service if you suspect a brown recluse infestation in your home.
4. Cellar Spider
Cellar spiders—both short and long-bodied varieties—build their webs in dark, moist places, such as garages and basements. They're usually harmless to humans and eat other pests like small moths and flies.
5. Black Widow
You can identify black widow spiders by their black bodies with a red hourglass shape on their underbellies. They like to nest in dark, moist places and are poisonous to humans.
While fatalities from black widow bites are rare, the bites can cause severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing and muscle cramps. You should hire a local pest control company to remove the infestation if you spot a black widow in your home.
6. Sac Spider
Sac spiders can be beige, light green, or yellow with dark accents. They tend to be tiny—usually a ¼ inch or smaller. Bites from a sac spider can be painful but they’re not poisonous.
7. Jumping Spider
Jumping spiders can be black, brown, or tan in color and they’re not poisonous. They often eat insects and other smaller spiders, making them an effective garden pest control agent .
Fun fact: Daddy-longlegs are technically not spiders, as they are considered harvestmen or arachnids. They’re not poisonous or a risk to humans, and they tend to eat other bugs. They have oval bodies and distinctive long legs.
9. Cobweb Spider
Cobweb spiders are a variety of spiders that can be yellow, black, or brown. They make messy webs and catch pests such as flies and mosquitos. Most cobweb spiders aren’t a risk to humans, and they’re often found near fences, trees, walls, and other upright structures.
10. Funnel Weaver
Funnel weaver spiders are usually brown or gray, and they’re known for being fast runners. They may bite but aren't poisonous to humans. They usually build their webs around windows and doorways and in basements.
Inside Your Home
Spiders can enter your home for a number of reasons. Here are the best ways to get rid of spiders naturally inside your house.
Deter Spiders With Scents
Spiders dislike several scents that you can use as a repellent. This method will not hurt the spider, but rather discourage it from making your home their home as well. You can use many of these scents like essential oils.
Cinnamon: Dilute 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with water and mist anywhere you see spiders. You can also use an essential oil diffuser to spread the scent around your home.
Cinnamon sticks: You could also use a cinnamon-scented candle to ward off spiders and make your house smell delicious.
Oils: Peppermint oil and citrus oil scents also deter spiders, so try diffusing these essential oils in your home. You can also rub orange and lemon peels along window sills and under the door.
Vinegar: Spiders also steer clear of vinegar, so this pungent odor will drive spiders away. Fill a spray bottle with water and vinegar, and then spritz around the house. Avoid spraying on varnished floors or furniture, as the vinegar could cause damage. Switching scents periodically works best.
Catch and Release Them
While catch-and-release may make you think of fishing, it can be a gentle way to get spiders out of your home. Several models and styles of spider catchers don’t harm them, but rather allow you to trap them and release them outside. Vacuuming up spiders will most likely kill them, so try a more humane option and relocate them. The main characteristics of spider catchers are that they are free of chemicals and repellents and involve a live capture.
Try out these three different types of spider catchers, and use them to catch other indoor pests, too.
Manual grabber: This tool has long handles to help you reach spiders, especially those in high places. To capture the spider, pull the trigger, causing the bristles to open and envelope the spider. Release the trigger once the bristles are over the spider, causing them to close. Take the spider grabber outside and pull the trigger again to release it.
Plastic trap:This trap has a handle and a clear plastic box to scoop up the spider. Once caught, gently open the door to the plastic box with your thumb and allow the insect to crawl in or slip it under their legs. When you release your thumb, the door will close. When outside, open the door and set the spider free.
Insect vacuum: The insect vacuum is made to keep the insects unharmed. These devices are much gentler than a traditional vacuum. Point the nozzle at the spider or other insect and turn on the suction. This method lifts the spider into a clear plastic tub that you can detach and release once you are outside.
Check Windows and Doors
If you see any tiny cracks or crevices around windows, vents, doors, or utility boxes, you can fill them in. Caulk your exterior windows or use foam sealant to close the visible gaps. If there’s a gap between a door leading to the yard, add a door stopper or door sweep to seal it.
Windows and screen doors may have holes, even tiny ones that provide access for spiders to waltz right in and set up shop. If there are large holes in your screens, either repair or replace the window screen to keep spiders out.
Spiders can also come in through crawl spaces and vents. You can put a screen or net over vents or crawl space entrances for extra spider protection. You can use mesh, stainless steel, or plastic screens.
Clean and Declutter
Spiders like to make their homes in cozy and deserted spaces. They gravitate to dark spaces, so closets, attics, garages, and basements are particularly attractive locations. Luckily, a regular cleaning, including dusting and vacuuming, especially in corners, can prevent them from settling in your home.
Spiders love to build webs in cardboard boxes, dusty bookshelves, or piles of belongings stacked on the floor. If you need to keep additional items in storage boxes, use plastic instead of cardboard to prevent spiders from creating webs in your out-of-sight items.
Keep an Eye On Other Pests
Spiders feed off of many types of insects. By getting rid of fruit flies and other household pests, you can prevent spiders from making themselves at home in your space.
Toss out overripe produce—especially bananas—to keep fruit flies under control. Be sure to empty your trash frequently and keep your sink free of dirty dishes overnight. Spiders also eat flies, mosquitos, moths, ants, and roaches, so sweep for crumbs and any food sources these bugs can access.
Spiders love dark, cozy, and cluttered attics. Since many people use attics as storage spaces, we rarely think about keeping them tidy—and spiders thrive off our neglect. To keep spiders out of your attic, make the space as unappealing to spiders as possible as you would any other room in your home.
Be sure to routinely inspect your attics for holes or cracks leading to the outside world and seal any attic air leaks. Don’t forget to sweep and dust around your stacked boxes, taking all cobwebs with you. You should also sweep up any other insects that may tempt spiders for an easy meal.
While the outdoors are spiders’ main domain, they can wreak havoc in your garden. To get rid of spiders in your garden and outdoor areas, follow these four tips for a spider-free experience:
Plant mint or lavender: Spiders hate the smell of mint and lavender, so plant either wherever you’d like to keep spider-free. It’s also a good idea to plant near your windows; either herb is an additional layer of defense.
Sprinkle some citronella oil: No spider likes the smell of citronella, especially concentrated citronella oil. Dot your garden with citronella oil to keep spiders away, but be sure not to douse it on your plants.
Switch up your lights: Swap your always-on, bright lights for yellow bug lights, or use citronella candles when enjoying your garden.
Try citrus peels: Toss some citrus peels around your garden to ward off curious spiders.
How to Keep Spiders Out of Your House
Now that you’ve removed the spiders from your home, the next step is to deter them from returning. Here are the best ways to keep spiders away.
1. Clean and Dust Regularly
Dust, debris, and moist areas attract spiders. By vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting regularly, you’ll keep spiders at bay. Plus, a clean home will make new or in-progress spider webs easier to spot and remove.
2. Get Rid of Other Insects
Spiders like to prey on mosquitoes, flies, moths, earwigs, and other bugs. Like humans, spiders like to stay where there’s a reliable source of food. By keeping your house clean of other household pests, you’ll attract fewer spiders.
3. Seal Cracks and Holes
Spiders can enter your home through cracks and small holes. Caulk the cracks around your exterior windows, doors, or electrical openings to seal any air leaks. This step will prevent spiders and other pests from entering your home, plus you'll experience less moisture (which can be a spider magnet). You can also cover your vents with mesh insect screens.
4. Vacuum Webs and Egg Sacs
If you see spider webs or egg sacs, get rid of them with a vacuum, broom, or duster to prevent offspring. To humanely remove the spider egg sacs, use an insect vacuum or another removal technique to safely rehome it outside your home.
5. Store Food in Spider-Safe Containers
Since spiders like to prey on other pests, such as ants and roaches, be sure to store your food in airtight containers and clean up any food messes promptly. You'll attract fewer hungry pests, and therefore fewer spiders.
6. Move Plants and Wood Piles Away from Home Entrance
It’s no secret that spiders love to hide out in wood piles and plants. However, if these outdoor features are near entrances to your home, it’s easy for spiders to make their way inside.
Set outdoor plants and wood plies at least a few feet from your home's perimeter to avoid unwanted house guests.
7. Spray Natural Repellents
Spiders veer away from strong scents like peppermint, cinnamon, and lavender. Add water to a spray bottle and mix in five drops of essential oil for every cup of water. Spray the mixture around doors, windows, and other cracks to deter spiders.
8. Add Yellow Sodium Vapor Lights
If you catch spiders marching toward your home under your bright outdoor lights, you may need to switch up your outdoor lighting plan. Consider swapping your outdoor bulbs for yellow sodium vapor light bulbs to prevent bugs from being attracted to your home. You should also make sure to turn off outdoor lights when you don’t need them.
Check out these answers to common spider-removal questions.
How do you keep spiders away permanently?
You can keep spiders away permanently by cleaning regularly, reducing clutter, sealing cracks in your home, and storing food safely. Not only will you limit spiders, but you'll also ward off other bugs that spiders like to prey on.
Why am I getting a lot of spiders in my house?
You may be getting lots of spiders in your home because of a buildup of dirt, dust, clutter, or dampness. Spiders may also be entering your home through open cracks and crevices, which is why it’s essential to eliminate these issues.
What will kill spiders naturally?
Distilled white vinegar kills spiders naturally and isn’t harmful to humans. Spiders are sensitive to the acetic acid in vinegar and it kills them almost instantly. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution in cracks and crevices, and where you’ve seen spider webs and egg sacs to kill spiders naturally.