We’ve all been there—the army of ants coming from who knows where, attacking the piece of peanut butter and jelly sandwich you didn’t pick up during lunch. Or that gigantic mystery bug lurking under the pile of laundry in the basement. Then, there are those unmentionable little beasts that strike fear into the hearts of every apartment dweller: ROACHES.
My particular nemesis is tiny black ants that periodically invade my kitchen as soon as the weather warms up. I want them gone ASAP, but at the same time, I don’t like using the toxic bug killer I reached for in the past.
I have dogs at home, and I choose to go a more natural route because I dislike the idea of chemicals being used in the spaces where we sleep, play, and eat.
12 Natural Pest Remedies
There are some natural solutions for household pests that are just as effective as the toxic chemicals, and some are really good deterrents as well. You only need to reach as far as your kitchen cupboard.
Leave a few peeled cloves in cupboards, on shelves, and in corners to help deter pests from taking up residence. Periodically replace the cloves when they dry out.
Sprinkle ground cayenne pepper around the perimeter or anywhere ants are getting in.
Ground cinnamon and its essential oil are both effective against pests. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon anywhere that pests are seen or apply pure, undiluted cinnamon essential oil to the areas with a cotton swab.
4. Coffee grounds
Sprinkle the grounds along areas where ants are entering the house or on their nests outside.
5. Bay leaves
For moths and other cupboard pests, tape bay leaves to containers or lay them on shelves. Replace when the scent fades.
Slices on counters or other places will help to repel ants.
Lemon and orange essential oils are great pest deterrents. Make a natural spider deterrent spray by combining 5 drops of essential oil, 5 drops of soap, and 1 quart of water.
Pure, undiluted lemon juice can also be spritzed around cracks. Place lemon and/or orange peels in cupboards, bookshelves, and other places where spiders and other pests like to lurk. Lemon peels are also supposed to be effective for moths in closets along with cedar.
Wash floors and other areas with vinegar or leave small open containers in infested areas to deter the bugs. Add essential oils for added benefit.
This works the same as coffee grounds. Sprinkle around the perimeter to deter ants from entering the home.
Essential Oils for Bugs
Essential oils seem to be one of the more effective natural solutions for household pests [source]. The best part is that they smell so nice while doing their job to repel pests.
Eucalyptus leaves and eucalyptus essential oil are great in cupboards to deter pests. Eucalyptus EO has been shown to have a deterrent effect on flies [source] and mosquitoes [source].
11. Tea Tree
Add 10–15 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle with 1 cup of water, shake well, and spray outside and inside the home. Bugs hate the smell of tea tree oil. It has been shown to have activity against flies [source] and may also work with other essential oils to get rid of bed bugs.
Peppermint essential oil and dried mint leaves will help curb most household pests [source], especially ants. Mix 10–15 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray along cracks and crevices or wherever ants are seen.
It works even better if you add a few drops of dish soap to the bottle. This concoction kills ants on contact. Mint can also even help repel flies.
Additional Tips to Keep in Mind
– Keep things tidy and cleaned up—prevention goes a long way.
– Natural bug repellents need to be applied more frequently but can be just as effective as other pest control methods.
– Borax works amazingly for ants and roaches, but it can be dangerous to use around small children. I choose not to use it, but when mixed with sugar, it does work really well at attracting and killing pests.
– If you’re looking to repel bugs in your backyard as the weather warms up, don’t forget that there are plenty of bug-repelling plants that you can add to your yard or patio.
Have you gone the natural route? Any tips for getting rid of pesky pests?
Natural Remedies for Household Pests FAQ
What essential oils can be used for natural pest control?
Peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils are all great essential oils to have on hand to mix up all-natural bug sprays. Citrus, cinnamon, and lavender essential oils also work to deter pests indoors. For more ideas, check out our list of 13 essential oils that help repel bugs naturally.
What is the best all-natural homemade ant spray?
I swear by this easy recipe for a peppermint essential oil spray made with water and a few drops of dish soap. Simply mix 10–15 drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle with 1 cup of water and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Shake well and spray along cracks and crevices and any other surfaces where you’re spotted ants.
What other steps can I take to get rid of pests at home?
Aside from cleaning and sweeping regularly, you can seal screens, windows, and doors with caulk or weather stripping to prevent bugs from getting inside. Rinse food debris from recyclables and store foods in sealed containers (and don’t forget the pet food and treats you may store outside your pantry).
But bugs aren’t just looking for food—they’re also on the hunt for water. This means you’ll want to identify and repair any leaks in faucets or pipes and ensure that your air conditioner and washing machine are also functioning properly. For areas that are consistently damp (like the basement), invest in a dehumidifier.599
What about those small bugs that look kind of like potato bugs not sure if that what they are but the mint oil seem to work on everything but them?
Ants: Plain old table Salt.
Dilute with water & spray. I also sprinkled it outside of door frames & windows. Plug up any holes you find with silicon.
This worked the best, as I had already tried peppermint oil, tea tree & vinegar.
Also, spiders don’t like peppermint oil. And if you have any rodents just use some peppermint oil on cotton balls & toss around where you see them. They HATE the smell.
Better natural products than poison.
I have these miniscule black bugs in my kitchen. They are so small I cannot tell what they are. They do not behave like ants. And they don’t seem to be attracted by food. I think I found the source-a crack in my countertop tile! Help!! Any ideas?
I have these in my house! Did you find any remedies??
I had lots of cockroaches running around my kitchen. I heard that cockroaches hated the smell of bay leaves. So I crushed the leaves and sprinkled it in every corner. Must say this was effective. I suggest this method for anyone who wants to get rid of cockroaches.
Will any of these work on those yucky small house roaches?!?!!? Please help, we are not infested, but I’ve come a crossed one or two in the last month or so.
Lindsey Johnson says
I would try googling it to see. Some of these are supposed to help with roaches, but I’m not sure about the small ones. Sorry!
To keep rodents out of my attic I keep a light on and a radio on talk radio. No more mice, squirrels or birds. They have chosen a quieter residence.
Toutes ces petites infos sont top, merci ! :)
Oh no! Spiders are absolutely NOT pests! Au contraire, they gobble up those ants and moths and other actual pests!
I planted some mint a few places around the house just to see what will happen. I prefer to use oils, except for the big bugs. I will bring out the super chemicals if I see any water bugs around.
Jen @ Cuddles and Chaos says
Yesssssss! This is awesome. We currently have an ant infestation and, while we stopped the big fat guys from coming in by sprinkling some corn starch outside, we’ve got a million tiny little ants climbing all over the counters. For some reason I even feel weird spraying the organic ant spray there, but I’m definitely going to try some peppermint oil!
this is months later but i feel i have to chime in because i’m already preparing for the warmer weather. i’ll use some of these tips for sure but want to share my recipe for ants. using an empty cleaned glass jar or plastic milk container, mix the following:
3 cups warm/hot water
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons boric acid
using small empty containers (think small yogurt or baby food), i fill with cotton balls and then fill with mixture dribbling some on the sides. it draws the ants in – they LOVE it – kills some and it’s meant for them to take back to the nest. i place them in spots i know they come in (still haven’t found the darn source) and change it once a month. i find it keeps them concentrated instead of all OVER my kitchen. why bother hunting a crumb when the good stuff is right there lol
Kristine Quinn says
I have tiny little brown bugs I don’t know what they are I don’t have money for bug exterminator..what can I use on them from my spices?…