How to Get Rid of Spiders for Good
Even the most ardent nature lovers don't want any eight-legged house guests in their homes. Here's how to banish spiders once and for all.
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Dealing with your spider problem
OK, hear us out: You don’t have to squash every spider that comes inside your home. And, in fact, you really shouldn’t kill spiders. Not only are they a vital part of our ecosystem, but they may actually keep us safer by catching and eating harmful pests, like mosquitoes, fleas, and other disease-carrying insects. That being said, we all want to keep our homes pest-free, which is why it’s important to know how to get rid of spiders one way or another.
But before we tell you exactly how to do that, there are a few things you should know: For starters, more than 99 percent of spiders are not dangerous to humans or pets. Their venom is adapted for the capture of insects, and it’s not toxic enough to harm humans. Plus, spiders do not deliberately attack humans. If they bite, it’s a defensive move, says the American Arachnological Society’s Jerome Rovner, PhD, who is also a Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Ohio University. He adds that the danger of spider bites has been greatly exaggerated on the Internet and in Hollywood.
The spiders you do have to worry about
When it comes to dangerous spiders, we only have two in the United States, according to Rovner. Widow spiders, including the notorious black widow spider (which you’re most likely to come across outside in woodpiles or sheds and whose venom affects the nervous system), and recluse spiders. The brown recluse, which is found in 16 states throughout the Midwest and southern United States, can make its way inside and has venom that causes tissue destruction.
“Brown recluse spiders can be identified by two features: a dark, violin-shaped pattern on the top front of their body and their possession of six eyes, arranged as three pairs,” says Rovner. Black widows, on the other hand, have bright red or orange marks in the shape of a triangle or hourglass on their dark bodies. Both of these spiders are ones you’ll definitely want to get rid of permanently.
Expert tips and tricks to get rid of spiders
Most crawling spiders are seen in late summer and early fall as they search for mates or a place to wait out the winter. Rovner says that these spiders often end up behind or beneath objects, while web spiders seek corners as sites that provide attachment points for web construction. Web builders can be found throughout much of the year but less frequently in winter due to low humidity and lack of insect prey.
Since we’re nearing the time when you’re likely to find more of them hunkering down for the winter, you’ll definitely want to learn a few simple hacks to keep spiders out of your house, as well as some tips for evicting your unwanted and uninvited house guests. We found some expert-recommended, top-rated spider repellents with thousands of five-star reviews to help you do just that. Got other pest problems? Find out how to get rid of fruit flies, as well as why you should never kill a house centipede (even if you do want it out of your house).
Simply Genius Door Draft Stopper
According to Rovner, the best way to get rid of spiders is to keep them from entering your home in the first place. To do that, you’ll need to block their primary entry point, which is the gap beneath all exterior doors. He recommends this stuffed draft guard from Simply Genius, which has the added benefits of helping with insulation (its primary function) and soundproofing. This simple hack can also help you get rid of stink bugs.
- Simple to use
Holikme Adhesive Door Draft Stopper
If you’re looking for something slightly more permanent, Rovner suggests this silicone draft stopper, which attaches to your door with adhesive. For even better adhesion, the manufacturer recommends using a hair dryer to heat the adhesive for about two minutes before installing and not opening or closing the door for at least 12 hours after applying it. With more than 12,000 five-star reviews online, it’s one of the Amazon best sellers you just might need in your life.
- Easy to install
- Stays put
Stay Away Spiders Deterrent
These plant-based sachets are made with a mix of essential oils and other botanical ingredients including rosemary oil, lemongrass oil, citronella oil, corn cob, almond oil, and sunflower oil. The pouches emit a scent that humans might liken to aromatherapy but that bugs can’t stand. According to Rovner, no scientific studies actually prove that essential oils or other plant-based products directly repel spiders, but because their prey doesn’t like these scents, spiders end up staying away, too. Just place these sachets in areas where you’re likely to spot spiders—for example, near entry points like your basement, the first floor, and even the garage or shed.
- Safe alternative to pesticides and chemicals
- Lasts up to 30 days
Carson BugView Magnifier and Bug Catcher
This one-handed bug-catching tool has a thumb-operated trapping slider that makes it easy to catch even the fastest spiders. Once you catch your eight-legged friend, the magnifier makes it easy to get a closer look so you can figure out exactly what you’re dealing with. And if you have children, they’ll love being able to get up close and personal with their very own itsy-bitsy spider. When you’re finished, simply open the slider and release the spider outside. Yep, learning how to get rid of spiders can be that easy—and that’s one of the things an exterminator might not tell you.
- Can be used in hard-to-reach places, like behind a piece of furniture or on the wall close to your ceiling
My Critter Catcher
If you want to keep spiders at a distance when attempting to catch them, this is a great option. All you have to do is squeeze the handle so the bristles open, position the open bristles over the spider, and release the handle so the bristles close. Verified Amazon reviewer Kristin writes, “I never intend on hurting [a spider], but sometimes lightly gathering them in a paper towel would result in a leg falling off. This product works efficiently and effectively. So far I’ve rescued maybe six spiders with this, and they’ve all made it back outside safely—with all of their legs!” That sounds like a win-win situation to us! FYI, to prevent future problems, be aware of these things in your house that are attracting pests.
- Safely catches a range of insects
- Easy enough for anyone to use
Ethereal Nature Pure Peppermint Oil
As mentioned earlier, pest experts say there’s no real way to repel spiders other than by physically blocking their entry points. However, peppermint is another one of those scents that may work wonders on spiders and the bugs they love to munch. To give it a try, fill a 32-ounce spray bottle with water, add about 20 drops of peppermint oil, and spray away in corners and near entry points on lower floors. Here are more recipes for non-toxic pesticides for all sorts of creepy-crawlies.
- Smells good
Mighty Mint Spider Repellent
If you don’t want to mix up your own peppermint-oil blend, you can buy a pre-made version. This highly concentrated, plant-based spray is made with natural peppermint essential oil as well as just three other non-toxic ingredients, and it promises to deter spiders and other insects from coming in your home. It has more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and one happy customer writes, “The finished basement in our new home had become a favorite place for spiders—they had moved in to almost every corner! I used the spray twice and have not seen spiders since. I continue to use it once a week for upkeep.” If mosquitoes are an issue, you’ll want to check out these top-rated mosquito repellents.
- Easy to use
- No mixing required
Diatomaceous Earth Ant and Crawling Insect Killer
Though it’s advertised for ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, and other crawling insects, diatomaceous earth (DE) can also be used to kill spiders. This product contains the fossilized remains of a particular kind of algae called diatoms, whose outer shell is made of silica and dehydrates pests. Use this powder in small, thin layers in hard-to-reach areas, like between and at the backs of cabinets. You can also spread it around the exterior of your home to help prevent spiders from crawling inside.
- Kills many crawling insects
- Can be used inside and outside
- Non-toxic (but wear a protective mask during prolonged exposure when applying)
Cedar Green Aromatic Cedar Granules
Cedar is thought to be another natural insect and spider repellent. These granules release natural acids and aromatic hydrocarbons (phenols) that repel insects…and, indirectly, your pesky arachnids, who will no longer have a food source in your home. These cedar granules can be sprinkled around the outside of your home or used to fill sachets that you can place around entry points inside.
- Smells great
- All natural
- Also eliminates odors and mildew
Lucy’s Distilled White Vinegar
If essential oils aren’t your thing, then good old vinegar should do the trick. Fill a spray bottle with half white vinegar and half water and spray around entry points, as well as corners and crevices. The scent is enough to deter spiders from coming inside. You can also use vinegar to clean your doors, windowsills, and just about anything else in your home, which can help keep arachnids away. It is worth noting, however, that vinegar contains acetic acid, which will burn spiders if poured or sprayed on them. So if you prefer not to kill your creepy-crawly visitors, then avoid spraying them directly.
- Safe for people and pets
- Easy to use
Lavender Sachet and Cedar Bags
Hang these pre-filled sachets around your home to deter moths and other pests that spiders eat. Several Amazon reviewers, like Mona M., rave about these bags’ wonderful smell and the fact that they can be stashed just about anywhere. Chances are you’ll want to keep them around long after your spider problem is gone.
- Lovely scent
Terro Spider Cobweb Eliminator
Rovner points out that about half of the world’s 50,000 spider species build webs in order to capture prey. These webs will typically be found in corners near the floor or ceiling. After you take down a web, use this spray to prevent spiders from coming back and spinning a new one. Once sprayed on surfaces, it creates a barrier that prevents new webs from adhering. Just note that this spray is intended for outdoor use; if you’re going to use it indoors, the company recommends testing a small spot first to ensure it won’t damage the surface.
- Prevents spiders from building new webs
- Works immediately
- Offers protection for up to 60 days
Terro Spider Killer
If you encounter a dangerous spider like a black widow or brown recluse, do not attempt to remove it manually. Instead, Rovner suggests using a vacuum to get rid of it. Once you’ve sucked it up, he advises immediately removing the bag and taping it shut before placing it in an outside trash can. However, he acknowledges that for some people, seeing a widow or recluse may be much too uncomfortable to use anything other than an insecticide. In that case, this Terro spray, which contains an insecticide known as Prallethrin, kills on contact.
- Kills spiders on contact
- Keeps pests away for up to six weeks
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
Catchmaster Brown Recluse Spider Traps
If you live in an area where brown recluse spiders are prevalent, then setting down a few of these glue board traps is a safe way to catch and dispose of them. Placing several traps in various locations around your house is the best way to catch these spiders, which is why these traps come in packs of 30. One reviewer writes, “This year, the weather changed and seems to have caused a brown recluse population boom. They were very rare to see, and now they are coming out of the woodwork. These traps work. It caught the biggest brown recluse I’ve seen in my paint cabinet.” Yikes!
- Easy to use and clean up
Hammacher Schlemmer Best Bug Vacuum
This lightweight, cordless vacuum will enable you to catch spiders and other insects quickly and easily. It has a flexible accordion arm that extends and a flexible tip so it can get into those hard-to-reach hiding spots. It also has an electric grid that kills spiders and bugs on contact. The company is so sure you’ll love this bug vacuum that they offer a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. If it doesn’t live up to your expectations, Hammacher Schlemmer will replace it or refund the cost (minus shipping and service fees). How’s that for customer service? Now that you know how to get rid of spiders, learn what you should be doing to prevent bedbugs.
- Jerome Rovner, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Ohio University and the Spider Questions Contact for the American Arachnological Society
- Farmers’ Almanac: “10 Natural Ways to Keep Spiders Out of Your House”