How to Repel Spiders?

Nobody likes having spiders invade the home. These unwanted creepy crawlies can show up in the smallest of spaces and crevices. Although nature provides a distinct purpose for the population of spiders, they are not welcome in most every home. Knowing an effective way of how to repel spiders before these pests invade the home is generally the best defense. Before addressing the problem with a practical solution, it’s helpful to know some common facts.

Spiders are very adaptable and resilient creatures. They can survive and breed in most any situation, which is why it’s likely to find them in any corner of the house. That notable fact aside, the most common areas these pests are likely to invade are damp places such as the basement, attic or garage. Knowing how to deter spiders and preventing an infestation in the home is not that difficult. Employing a little ingenuity and strategy is half the battle.

Many people are reluctant to use chemicals or insecticides in or around the home, and for good reason. When children and pets and present, this is not the safest approach. Therefore, it is a good idea to use some type of natural deterrent or insect repellent which will not emit noxious fumes.

It’s a known fact that spiders unequivocally have a distaste for certain things. Citrus fruit is one such food they will stay clear of. This group includes lemons, oranges and limes. If spiders sense citrus is nearby it will repel them and keep them at bay. Citrus essential oils can be purchased, or they can be made by squeezing the juice of the fruit and adding equal parts of water inside a spray bottle. This mixture can be sprayed along baseboards inside the house. It also can be used in basements, closets, attics, windowsills, doorways, etc.

If essential oils are to be used, it’s important to note they should not come in direct contact with pets, as it might be irritating to their respiratory systems. This is especially true for cats, and as a precautionary statement be advised essential oils can cause liver or kidney problems for kitty if the feline comes in direct contact.

Hedge apples or Osage orange has been used for ages as a natural repellent for spiders. In an air conditioned environment, these fruits can remain unspoiled for a few months. They are non toxic and safe around pets.

Another natural spider repellent is eucalyptus. This is not to suggest leaving a trail of cough drops along the floor. A more practical solution would be to decorate the home with eucalyptus leaves. It’s a fact that spiders absolutely detest them! This is likely due to the chemical that is found in eucalyptus. In any case, keeping some leaves in areas where spiders have been spotted will naturally keep them away. An added bonus is a fresh and pleasant smelling home or basement area.

It might not be as common as other methods, but chestnuts have been known to repel spiders. Tossing a handful in spaces where spiders are known to habituate could be an effective way of controlling the problem. Perhaps placing a bunch in a basket in the bathroom or other areas of the house would be more practical. Alternately, cedar chips can be used as well.

Of course it seems like a logical solution, but this can be applied to most any situation of insect infestation. The simple fact is, keeping the home immaculately clean and spotless will help as well. A few crumbs on the floor might go unnoticed by the homeowner, but it definitely will be detected by hungry pests.


Author: Kelly

Kelly Sperber has been a professional writer for 5 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2011. Kelly enjoys skydiving, attending fashion shows, and gardening in her spare time.

24 thoughts on “How to Repel Spiders?”

    1. I hope the eucalyptus leaves work well for you, Dwildqb2! They can be beneficial in other ways too. When distilled, they can be used as/for: cleaning, as a solvent, anantiseptic, deodorizing, insect repellent, decongestant, and in food supplements (only in very small amounts).

  1. It should be noted that using cedar chips in small, damp, enclosed areas, such as a steamy bathroom, could cause people with allergies or respiratory illnesses to have an averse reaction.

  2. Hedge apples acctually do not repell spiders according to research. It is an old wive’s tale and from experience I can tell you they don’t work. Very much looking forward to trying your other tricks though! Thanks! B.

    1. Brandy, you didn’t state what research you were referring to as proof that hedge apples do not repel spiders. So I conducted a brief of the the research results available on line. From what I’ve read, most of the statements are similar to this one, which was made by the University of Illinois in 2009: In this statement, the author claims that not much research as been done on hedge apples to disprove the theory that hedge apples can be used as an insect repellent. The studies done by the University of Iowa proved they could be used, but only if used in high concentration format. Most hedge apples only contain low concentrations of the chemicals that naturally repel insects. So perhaps the trick to successfully using hedge apples to repel spiders and other insects is to keep plenty of them around the home and expose the insects to the effects of a built-up exposure to the low concentration in the hedge apples.

    1. Lisa, I’ve conducted a brief search on the information available online to see what the best answer to your question is. So far, the majority of answers have been that using lemon juice sprays as a pesticide is a good way to repel several types of insects and spiders. The only sites that have claimed that it will attract other bugs are the ones who are saying it will attract bees when used to lighten highlights with henna dyes, due to the sugar content. The only other sites that say lemon juice attracts insects are the ones that are promoting commercial pesticides and professional extermination, which utilize the more toxic commercial pesticides.

      Even sites for county extension offices, such as this one for St. Louis, MO (, are suggesting using lemon juice sprays to repel insects.

      So you will have to decide which side of the spectrum you want to believe. One thing to take into consideration is that any time you eliminate one type of insect or spider, you may see an increase in another type, since you’ve eliminated the new pest’s natural enemies. Usually the best type of pest control management involves using a combination of methods, including encouraging helpful insects and spiders to stay around the place while eliminating harmful insects and spiders.

  3. Nice article, I’d like to try some of these out. I live in an area where the brown recluse is prominent, therefor spiders need to be delt with. I did wish to send this to my sister, but not with the picture of the wolf spider right there at the top. She is deathly afraid of spiders and cannot even look at them. I think she could benefit form this knowledge, but the picture would frighten her. IMHO, using pictures of spiders is unessesary and really a bad idea. There are a lot of people who suffer from aracnophobia(sp?) who would come here seeking this info to keep them away from thier living space, then get freaked out becuz there is an unneeded picture.

    1. Cyrax037, you have brought up an interesting point about the picture and people with arachnophobia. The pictures helps most people to identify what type of spider they must be cautious about approaching. It also provides a visual aid for people who quickly scan pages instead of fully reading the content to know what this page’s content is about.. Perhaps you could send the article to yourself first, and then remove the picture or cover up the picture before sharing it with your sister.

      1. I actually agree. I almost closed the page when that picture came up, but I’m hardly arachnophobic they just creep me out. It might be better to switch it to a picture of some spider repellents instead??

        1. Tyler, I don’t see what’s so scary about this picture of a spider. And I do not particularly care for spiders. But like many other readers, I do appreciate being shown a picture of what a wolf spider looks like. As I pointed out, many readers prefer to have the picture of the spider, simply because it helps them to be able to identify the species. Some spiders are venomous while most are not harmful to humans or pets. And since many people are now becoming more aware of the need for ecological balance, they do not want to kill the wrong spiders. And most of our readers would take offense if it seemed like THF was promoting the use of chemical pesticides.

          1. I second the above points, the picture is totally unnecessary given how many arachnophobes end up on this page

          2. Jim, I can understand how arachnophobes may consider the pictures to be totally unnecessary. However, the majority of our readers are not arachnophobes and have no trouble tolerating the photos of spiders. And I for one, firmly believe that a person should face their fears rather than try to avoid coming into contact with what they are afraid of. It is much safer to cope with unreasonable fears by acquiring a better understanding and thorough knowledge of what it is you’re afraid of than it is to overcome the fear by repeatedly exposing yourself to the actual situation. And it is also much healthier for a person to overcome his or her fear than it is to let that fear control his or her life. So at some point in the arachnophobes’ lives, they are going to have to face their fear of spiders, whether it be via looking at a simple picture of a spider or facing the actual spider.

          3. The point of this article is to give people info on how to kill spiders, not to make them face their fears. I’m sure that lots of people open it and close it without reading the article (I was almost one of them). I wasn’t able to look at the picture for long enough to be able to identify the spider because they creep me out too much, and that’s coming from someone who’s killed 2 wolf spiders this morning. Other sites that I’ve been to have pictures of essential oils or lemons. I looked up this article to find a solution to my problem, not to see the problem. I already have enough spiders in my house as it is.

  4. thanks for the info. We just moved into a mountain town – spider’s county. The problem is we constantly keep the back-yard door open because of the dog. I am conquering spider-phobia, but constantly stressed about something crawling on me…I’ve been trying to keep the house clean (really hard with a dog at times). Will try the peppermint oil spray.
    also tried Home Sentinel – didn’t really help that much, but I think w/o it will be covered with bugs

    1. Anna, I admire your courage in conquering your fear of spiders. Living in a rural area definitely requires getting over that kind of fear. One thing you may want to consider is installing a dog door rather than leaving the back door opened all the time. Another thing that will help you is doing a bit of research to see what spiders are in your specific areas and learning to distinguish the helpful from the harmful spiders. Since you live in a rural area, you may also want to consider getting some type of poultry to help keep the insect population down.

      1. Thanks, Penny. We mostly have small black hunter spiders. The harmful ones are very, very rate. I’ve been keeping the house very clean, closing the doors and we installed the screen at the dogie door. I also bought a hand vacuum cleaner, peppermint oil and some other insect stopping remedies.
        The dog door is on the list – it’s just we have a really nice glass door. The poultry won’t work with a dog. He will try to eat it. — Anna.

        1. Hi, Anna! Sounds like you’re making real progress! As for the dog eating the poultry, there is a solution to the problem. We have a dog, a cat, a mule, some chickens and some quail. Our dog likes to bark at all the other animals and will chase them when he is running lose without supervision or if he is let loose in the same pen/corral as the other animals. He also used to be in the habit of killing cats when he was younger and his brother was still alive.

          However, we seldom have to worry about Pepper killing our cat or or chickens or running the mule to death. And that’s because we keep him penned up any time we are not outside with him. He is never allowed out of his pen unless he is on a leash or one of us is supervising his romp out of his pen. And that is for his safety and well-being as much as it is for everyone else’s sake. We live in a national forest that is teeming with wildlife as well as have neighbors who own a wide variety of animals, including bears, tigers, and other exotic animals. Not to mention all the stray animals that people have abandoned in our area or all the dogs that our neighbors breed as a source of income.

          Any of these animals could injure or kill Pepper, as could any of the neighbors who might mistake him for a wild animal. Or Pepper could seriously injure or kill another animal, which would cause problems with our neighbors. Plus, we live close to a highway that is heavily used by semi-trucks. His brother, Bandit, was killed when hit by a semi while they were running loose. That was why we decided to start keeping Pepper penned up and on a leash while we take him for walks through the neighborhood. So Pepper now has a nice large pen with two wading pools, plenty of shade, and a very well-insulated dog house and can enjoy all the fresh air and socialize with the other animals every day. But he can’t hurt any of them, and they can’t hurt him.

          Another reason he can’t hurt the chickens and quails is because they are also penned up. But they can still reduce the insect population because they are free to range in the outdoor area of the chicken coop. And we built the chicken coop so it is mobile and can easily be moved from one area of the property to any other area we want the chickens ranging on. Another benefit of having the chickens and quails is that we get fresh eggs on a daily basis.

          1. Sounds amazing! We don’t have that much room and honestly I don’t think I like anymore responsibilities at this point. Dogie owns a back-yard:-)

          2. Fortunately, we have 10-acres of land, so we have lots of outdoor spaces. We just need a bigger house. But having animals and that much land does add a great deal to our responsibilities. And no one should own an animal or have them as pets unless they are willing to take on lifetime’s worth of responsibility for that animal. People tend to forget to consider how long an animal can live whenever they are choosing their pets.

          3. We have 1.5-acres and a huge house – huge property and house to my standards – coming from the city:-) I am so with you on responsibilities!!! That’s exactly why we have a dog and no kids. Doggie is a hands-full and we take care of him at our absolute best. I will def. adapt another dog. But that’s about it. All this stuff is new to me. I used to live in a rental apartment w/o anything to worry about. I love the house, puppy, living in the mountains, even the work it requires to maintain it, but I am learning a lot! For example, using essential oils, vinegar and baking soda to replace toxic chemical cleansers and generally reducing my footprint.

          4. Lol! I remember what it was like for me when I first moved here. It is indeed quite a culture shock to move from a city to a rural area. There is a lot to learn when you change from an urban to a rural lifestyle! I applaud your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint.

            I moved from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas to a very rural area in SE Oklahoma. The area I live in has a volunteer fire department and a water district office as its only public businesses. The nearest convenience store is about 15 miles away, with the nearest real town/small city is 25-30 miles away. The only time I see anyone besides my husband is whenever I make an effort to see other people. Yet, we do have lots of neighbors here. One thing I know for certain, my husband & I could never enjoy living in a town again, especially a large city. We get tired of the city life within an hour or two of entering the city limits.

  5. Hi Penny..After reading your article, I found that eucalyptus can be harmful to cats and I have 1 cat and 5 dogs. Why couldn’t that be enough to keep these spiders away? Last night, a spider crawled up my pant leg and it was HUGE! I live in FLorida but am ready to high tail it back to NJ and FAST! Will the lemon/water combination cause any harm to animals? Thanks! Tricka

Leave a Reply

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