Peppermint is not only a perfect addition to summer salads, holiday cookies, and grasshopper cocktails, its essential oil can be used as a natural, easy, and effective way to rid your home of all those pesky critters. Whether you’re looking for a spray to keep spiders at bay, or a way to send mice scurrying elsewhere, we’ve put together a list of some ways you can use peppermint oil to get the job done.
Peppermint oil can be used to combat:
2. spider mites, aphids, and other plant pests
Here’s how to use peppermint to deter these household pests:
Spiders smell and sense the world through their legs, so placing strong scents along their pathways of choice can be an effective way to reduce the incidence of them in your home. The smell of peppermint oil in particular is so overwhelming to them, that just adding a bit here and there will send them packing.
Research shows that while other essential oils are often touted as being effective, peppermint oil is the one to use if you want results. Mix together 10 drops of peppermint essential oil with a few drops of hand soap into a 16-oz spray bottle and fill with water.
Shake it up and spray along the inside edges of windows, and in darker corners of your space. Reapply once a week. You can also use peppermint plants in windows that have some decent light exposure (source).
2. Houseplant Pests
Some of the most common bugs you’ll find munching away on your houseplants are susceptible to peppermint oil. It is especially helpful with aphid, whitefly, and spider mite infestations, as this oil disrupts their pheromone emissions and confuses them; it also acts as an irritant.
Mix together 15-20 drops peppermint oil, 5 drops mild dish soap, 1 gallon water spray bottle. Shake and spray over infested plants once a week, preferably in morning or evening, and keep them out of harsh sunlight during treatment (if they are near healthy plants, you’ll also want to isolate the infested ones until it clears up) (source).
While I’m actually rather fond of spiders and don’t personally feel upset by their presence in my home, the sight of an ant indoors sends me spinning. Where there is one, there are many.
They come in looking for food through tiny cracks around windows and doors, and once they think they’ve found a reliable food source, they leave a chemical trail behind them that the other ants can follow to find the food. The whole thing is terrifyingly skillful.
While peppermint oil won’t do much to destroy a nest or colony, it can deter them by disrupting the scent trail. First of all, you’ll need to disinfect from top to toe to rid your home of what they came in for in the first place, and wash the floor or counters where they were seen to disturb the trail.
Next, combine 2-3Tbsp of peppermint essential oil with 1qt water (or half water, half high proof alcohol), and spray along the edges of windows, doorways, under sinks or cupboards, and along baseboards. Reapply every few days, as you’ll want the scent to remain strong (source).
Centipedes aren’t apparently the worst pest to have in the home as they are carnivorous and will help control the more harmful bugs that could be coming in, and unlike ants, they tend to be more solitary creatures. Despite this, there is something off-putting about seeing them scurry out from under the washing machine when you were least expecting it.
If you, like me, would prefer they find a new home (or at least stay hidden and away from open spaces), you can either add a few drops of peppermint oil onto a cotton ball and place under any area where they have been seen (and you’ll need to replace the oil every 2-3 days or so), or whip up a spray of 25 drops of peppermint oil to 6oz water, and mist along the baseboards and in any darker, high-moisture areas such as around humidifiers (source).
If you’re looking for a humane way to keep mice out of your home, know that due to their keen sense of smell, they are especially turned off by the high-intensity punch of peppermint oil. You’ll need to use either full-potency oil or a high ratio of oil to water in any sprays you concoct.
If you know where they are coming in, you’ll first need to try and fix the gap. Then add 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil onto a cotton ball and place them near any suspected entry points. You’ll need to refresh the oil every 2 days or so to keep the scent strong.
If you prefer to mix up a spray, combine 2tsp of oil to 1C water. You can use this inside and around the perimeter of your home. Rats hate the smell too, so the same tips go for them.
I’m writing this from my home in Toronto, so while I can’t speak to how urgently you might be needing a natural way to combat raccoons, it’s definitely an everyday pest issue for us! Peppermint-scented garbage bags are often used up here and have been shown to help to keep both raccoons and rats away.
To keep rodents out of your bins, try 2-3 drops of peppermint oil on a few cotton balls, and toss them into your garbage before you tie up the bag and put it out. You can also place a few treated cotton balls directly into the bin itself.
How amazing is it that one essential oil could solve so many diverse pest problems, and naturally at that? Now that you know how to combat all those annoying creepy crawlers with the power of peppermint, you can sit back and relax…maybe even with a mojito.1