8 ways to get rid of spiders and keep them from moving in

Itsy bitsy be gone! 🕷️

A spider on a window in a web. Insect in the house.
(Image credit: Future / Beth Mahoney)

OK, you love all animals, but when bugs come creeping into your space, that's when you've gotta put a boundary up. You likely don't want to hurt them, but you might be searching for a (humane) way to keep those eight-legged pests out of your apartment, dorm, or rental. 

The reality is that while many spider species are totally fine chillin' outdoors in their finely woven webs, some prefer the warmth and darkness of cabinets, closets, and dark corners, which is how they end up invading your space and clothing piles.

Our arachnid friends tend to wander into our homes as the weather cools and when there's less for them to eat outside (fall, we’re looking at you). And their presence tends to be more obvious in warmer seasons, when other insects also start to emerge. Thankfully, the vast majority of spider species are not harmful to humans in any way, and even the ones that are tend not to attack humans.

Admittedly, if you’re not a fan of spiders that doesn’t really help. What you want to know is how to get rid of house spiders and prevent them from crawling up into your pad in the first place. We've got you covered with eight ways to do so without resorting to more gruesome methods.

How to get rid of spiders naturally

Getting rid of the critters is usually simple. It's all about creating an inhospitable environment. Spiders don't like to be disturbed and thrive in cluttered, dark areas in your house.

The cleaner your home is, and the less clutter it has, the fewer spiders you will have, and that's a fact. If you really can't bear them, there are things you can do to discourage them further. 

1. How to get rid of spiders using essential oils

You can use essential oils all around the home to fragrance rooms but also to keep critters like mice and slugs at bay, some can help get rid of gnats also.

So it comes as no surprise that essential oils such as peppermint, cinnamon and others including citronella, clove, lavender, eucalyptus  , all handily available on Amazon, can help with spiders too. So, why not blend a combination of them to create an essential oil recipe that spiders will hate? 

Peppermint oil especially works wonders at repelling spiders, so you can try soaking cotton balls in the stuff and placing them strategically in places where you've noticed spiders or you can make a homemade spray. 

Any spare can be used in your favorite essential oil diffuser of course.

2. Grow repelling plants around your apartment

If you have serious arachnophobia or just really, really don't want spiders crawling around your space, start growing peppermint plants on your balcony, patio, or entryway area. 

Other strong-smelling plants like lavender, mint, and lemon balm are also good options to grow if you want to stop spiders from coming inside.

3. Use cinnamon in all its forms

The following hack uses nothing but an ingredient you most likely already have in your kitchen: cinnamon. Yes, spiders hate the smell of even basic ground cinnamon.

What doesn't work though are cinnamon-scented candles. While the best candles are good for adding fragrance to your home (especially during the holiday season), they don't really work for these tiny invaders. 

What you'll need is proper, all-natural cinnamon sticks that you use for your baking and cooking.

4. Use an eco-friendly commercial repellent

Thankfully, not all pest control equipment is lethal. These days getting rid of spiders and other unwanted visitors can be done pretty ethically, without needing to organize a funeral for a deceased insect.

These Stay Away Spider pouches from EarthKind we found on Amazon contain plant fibers as well as citronella, lemongrass, and rosemary essential oils. All you need to do is remove the outer wrapper and place them near spidey's favorite spots.

With a pleasant-smelling aroma (to us humans), it's not the best home fragrance on the market, but it does double-up as a mild deodorizer. 

5. Keep your home clean and tidy

Spiders like dusty corners and places that haven't been touched in a while. They're often found in dark cabinets and inside shoes (eek!). So, make sure you shake everything out at least once a month, put cedar shoe trees inside your shoes (this Stratton design on Amazon should do the job), vacuum lots (with one of our best vacuum cleaners), and learn how to clean blinds to get into all of those nooks and crannies. 

Ditto in the bathroom — the more often your bathroom is cleaned, the fewer spiders there'll be in it. Remember to clean the air ducts in your bathroom, too. You don't have to go wild with bleach and toxic materials either. Try cleaning with vinegar and water (equal parts in a spray bottle) for something a li'l more gentle.

6. Get rid of insects that attract spiders

Spiders wander into your home partly in search of a mate, but partly for the same reasons you're there: warmth and food. And what do spiders like to eat? Insects. 

So, take our advice on how to get rid of fruit flies, ladybugs (you may have to vac them up using a handheld vacuum, unfortunately), and any other bugs that have taken up residence in your house. 

7. Use a spider catcher, jar, or glass

If you're brave enough, this is a simple but effective solution: trap the spider under a  glass or reuse a candle jar as a carrier to take it outside, away from your apartment. 

If you're afraid of being bitten, or simply can't bear getting close to a spider, use a spider catcher. It won't harm the spider but will allow you to keep it at arm's length. My Critter Catcher has a store on Amazon where you can buy its catch and release tools cheaply.

8. Get a cat

Constantly on the prowl for unwanted pests, a feline friend is the perfect partner in crime to provide 24-hour support and surveillance against spiders. Ready to pounce with predatory paws, your kitty will keep all sorts of intruders at bay.

Or leave them be — they're only spiders

This may sound insensitive to those who really loathe them (sorry, people) — but unless you have a serious infestation (which is unlikely, because spiders tend to be solitary), spiders won't do much. In fact, if you're wondering how to get rid of mosquitoes or how to get rid of moths, they're practically your BFF.

Oh and that thing you heard about swallowing spiders at night? It's a myth. So, we say — forget about them, they'll do you no harm. Having said that, if you are regularly visited by more dangerous spider species, such as the black widow, it's time to call in the pros. 

They'll be able to identify where the spiders are coming from and decide how best to deal with them. 

How to get rid of poisonous spiders

The vast majority of spider species either won't bite humans, or will only do so if threatened or picked up. 

In other words, you're very unlikely to be harmed by them, but if you do find one, handle with caution, wearing thick gloves. 

In the US, three spider species are dangerous: the black widow, the brown recluse, and the hobo spider. 

These will deliver a very painful, dangerous bite that can, in some cases, be lethal, so you must seek medical attention immediately if you've been bitten by one of these spider species. 

All three tend to prefer living in piles of wood, cluttered attics, underneath patio furniture, and, occasionally, inside shoes. Do not attempt to handle these spiders, and call pest control if you have lots of them.  

In the UK, three spider species can deliver a painful bite: the false black widow, the cellar spider, and the woodlouse spider. All three species tend to be shy and like woodpiles, dark attics and cupboards, or cracks in walls. 

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

With contributions from