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Whether it’s fruit flies or critters like mice, no one wants pests of any kind in their home. And while, yes, there are plenty of artificial products available for pest prevention, you might be more inclined to go the DIY route. After all, harsh chemicals aren’t great for our skin or respiratory health—and homemade options are typically cheaper.
Here are seven methods for preventing or getting rid of pests, from the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, Sarah Lozanova.
Remedies for preventing pests at home:
According to Lozanova, certain compounds in coffee are toxic to insects, so leaving coffee grounds around your home might help deter pests from entering.
If there’s a particular spot in your home that you think is vulnerable to pests, spread the grounds outside by that spot, and pests will steer clear.
2. Peppermint essential oil
Along with being refreshing and soothing, peppermint essential oil also wards off many rodents, roaches, and ants, Lozanova tells mbg. “I either put it on cotton pads and leave it around, or else I spray it on surfaces in places where they are likely to enter,” she says.
Do you have a cat that has clumping litter in its litter box? Well, it’s not the most glamorous, but Lozanova says clumps of litter can be placed outside in areas where you think pests or rodents could enter. The smell of your feline friend will keep them at bay.
Remedies for getting rid of pests at home:
If you know critters are entering your home in a particular spot, Lozanova recommends placing steel wool at that point of entry since they won’t be able to chew through it. Wedge a few pieces in the problem areas where you know mice or rats are getting in.
Borax is a great insect repellent, Lozanova notes, and works particularly well if you have an ant problem. Mix equal parts borax and either syrup or sugar in a small dish and place it where you see ants. The combo will attract the critters but kill them once consumed. (Note: Just make sure kids and pets can’t reach it, as borax is toxic to other animals and humans, too.)
It sounds obvious, but if you’re dealing with a persistent pest problem, you’ll want to make sure they’re not attracted to food in your kitchen. To get rid of any trace of food, try using a natural cleaner with a citrus scent (as many insects won’t like that), and wipe everything down with a mixture of white vinegar and water to help get rid of scent trails ants leave behind.
Lastly, if you’ve got a fruit fly infestation, all you need is a small bowl, a little apple cider vinegar, and some dish soap. Fill your bowl with the ACV and a few drops of dish soap. Stir it up, and put it where you’re seeing the flies. The smell of the vinegar attracts them, and the layer of soap on the surface traps them. Dump out the contents and repeat as necessary.
If you’re trying to no avail to rid your home of pests, you may want to consider calling an exterminator for some professional assistance. But in many cases, a good deep cleaning, some pungent essential oils, and a fruit fly trap or two can go a long way.