Using essential oils can make your home feel bright, clean, and inviting to guests, but it is also a really effective and natural way to turn it into a no-go zone for the more unwelcome visitors—pests and creepy crawlers, that is!
Best Essential Oils for Pest Control
Here’s how to use your essential oils to combat some of the most common household critters:
Generally speaking, when there’s one ant, there’s a colony. If you’re dealing with an ant problem, go for the stronger oils that will interfere with the scent of pheromones that ants emit to coordinate their movements.
When they catch a whiff of tea tree or peppermint, they’ll be more likely to stay away. If you know exactly where the ants are coming in to the home, apply peppermint oil around with a cotton swab, or place a cotton ball with a few drops soaked in near the point of entry.
You can also whip up a batch of this all-natural ant killer spray, and use it anywhere you suspect ant activity:
- 1/4 cup water
- 14 cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 15 drops peppermint oil
- 5 drops orange oil
Decant into a small spray bottle, and shake until combined.
If you need to kill ants on contact, a spritz of patchouli oil mixed in water or alcohol is a great choice.
If you’ve ever had months in your kitchen, you know what a pain they are to eradicate–you’ll need to do a thorough inspection of your pantry food for contamination, and wipe down all shelves and cabinet surfaces.
For a natural cleaning spray that kills eggs and helps to prevent recurrence, combine the following in a small spray bottle; shake well before using.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
- 15 drops eucalyptus
- 5 drops of peppermint oil
- 10 drops of cedarwood
For the moths that prefer your beautiful wool sweaters over the flour and grains in your kitchen, soak a few cotton balls with cedarwood oil, place in small jars with holes punctured in the lid, and set out in the corner of your closet.
For smaller spaces like drawers, place 10 drops of cedarwood oil onto a small cotton cloth, and tuck inside a breathable pocket or pouch (silicon baggies with a holes poked also works great), and lay flat at the bottom of your drawers. It’s time to refresh once you no longer notice the smell.
If you like the woodsy scent of cedar, you may also want to combine a few drops of cedarwood oil with water and spritz lightly over your wool blankets and sweaters before packing them away for the warmer months—just let them dry completely before folding up.
Arachnids smell and sense their environment through their legs, so they are sensitive to any strongly scented oils rubbed along the surfaces where they walk.
The best way to keep spiders at bay is to drop some peppermint or tea tree oil onto a cotton ball, and wipe along all of the cracks and corners where they’ve been spotted.
You don’t need to head out to the hardware store for all of those toxic products marketed to keep these buzzing and biting pests away—dig in to your stash of oils to find some relief!
While you can find lots of helpful recipes for all-natural topical sprays to keep the bugs off your skin, when you need them out of your space, try this mix as a repellant candle diffuser:
- 20 drops of rosemary oil
- 10 drops citronella oil
- 10 drops lemongrass oil
- 10 drops peppermint oil
Add oils to 2 cups of water. Shake well, and decant mixture into a few shallow bowls or jars and float a small candle in each one. This is a great solution for those summer twilight porch hang-outs or backyard bbqs!
Having one fly in the house is annoying enough, but when they come in a cloud and haunt your kitchen, it’s another nightmare altogether. Making a fruit fly trap with some apple cider vinegar in a jar with a punctured lid should be your first line of action, but to deter them, both peppermint and lavender oil work really well.
Place a few drops of oil at the bottom of your compost or garbage bin, or soak a cotton ball with a few drops of oil and place in a jar with a punctured lid near the affected area (hint: start near the bananas!).
Peppermint can also help repel regular houseflies, along with some homemade fly paper strips.
Rodents and other rascals
Similar to ants, mice colonize by following the pheromones emitted by the others, so interrupting this process with a strongly scented oil can keep them from setting up their home in your home.
Swab some peppermint oil around what you suspect are the points of entry, both inside and outside (and be sure to seal up any cracks and gaps), and anywhere else you are finding chew damage or droppings. Leaving a cotton ball with some tea tree oil on it in these areas would also work.
You can also use this tip to keep those pesky garbage-raiders away. Putting a few drops of peppermint oil into your garbage bag before taking it out to the trash (or at the bottom of your bin) will send the raccoons, rats, and possums searching for dinner elsewhere.
Whether you’re trying to keep critters out, or fighting to get rid of the ones that got in, there’s an essential oil for that. Try out some of our pest control solutions and let us know what works best for you!14
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