How to get rid of spiders naturally using essential oils, cinnamon and other repellents

Find out how to get rid of spiders in your house without killing them, with simple yet effective natural remedies such as peppermint oil, spider catchers and more

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We reckon you'll want to find out exactly how to get rid of spiders if you're not keen on them making your house a cozy home during peak spider season.

Our arachnid guests tend to wander into people's home as the weather cools, and there's less for them to eat outside. While many spider species are content to stay outdoors in their finely woven webs, some prefer the warmth and darkness of cupboards, closets, and dark corners.

If the eight-legged beasties make your skin crawl, you'll probably not want to share your home with them, and will want to be rid. We'll say outright, though, that we don't think it's necessary to kill them. 

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 unless provoked. If you live in an area that does have poisonous spiders (more on that below), and you're seeing more of them than usual, it may be time to call pest control rather than attempting to tackle the problem yourself. 

How to get rid of spiders naturally

Read on to find out exactly how to get rid of spiders in your home au naturel and without harming anyone, including them, in the process. 

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. 

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1. How to get rid of spiders using peppermint oil

Peppermint oil does wonders at repelling them (as well as mice, slugs, and other critters), so you can try soaking cotton balls in the stuff and placing them strategically in places where spiders have been seen or you can make up a homemade spray. 

A spider repellent spray using peppermint oil is a critter-friendly solution that won't harm and will simply discourage them from entering.

Here's how to make and use a simple peppermint oil spray to get rid of spiders.

1. Give your home a good vacuum and dust to get rid of any pre-existing webs.

2. Mix a two-part solution by adding 20 drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle of water.

3. Spray the solution around your house, focussing in on the corners of rooms.

4. Repeat at least once a week. If spiders are still showing up spray every few days.

5. Keep your windows open to allow fresh air to enter while you spray.

If you suffer from extreme arachnophobia and want the blighters gone, you can also add peppermint plants to the outskirts of your house.

2. How to get rid of spiders using other essential oils

Haven't got any peppermint oil? Don't fret - spiders hate the smell of many essential oils – which is great, given that many people like them.

You can also try cinnamon (see below), and other essential oils like citronella, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, or a blend of them. 

3. How to get rid of spiders using cinnamon

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

We'll tell you outright what won't work, though: cinnamon-scented candles. While they're good for fragrancing your home, they don't really work against spiders. 

What you'll need is proper, all-natural cinnamon sticks or quills that you use in cooking. Here's how to use cinnamon to keep the critters well and truly away.

1. Position the sticks or quills strategically where spiders have been seen. This might be unpleasant if you don't like them, but you'll need to watch the spiders in your house to figure out where they're coming in from. 

2. If spiders have been nesting in your door or window frames, you'll need some ground cinnamon, sprinkling some carefully into the gaps. You do need to be careful with white window frames, though, because cinnamon can stain – avoid any cinnamon getting on the outside of the window where it gets wet from the rain.

3. A couple of months; after that, the sticks and quills will start losing their natural scent. You don't have to replace them immediately: see if the spiders come back (they probably won't if it's winter by then) 

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4. 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 cupboards and inside shoes (eek!). So, make sure you give everything a good shake-out at least once a month, put cedar shoe trees inside your shoes, and vacuum lots (with one of our best vacuum cleaners, of course). 

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.

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5. 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: domestic comforts such as warmth and food. And what do spiders like to eat? Insects. 

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

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(Image credit: Manuel Breva Colmeiro)

6. Use a spider catcher, jar or glass

If you're brave enough, this is a simple but effective solution: trap the spider under a jar or glass, and take it outside, away from the house. 

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.

8. 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), you are unlikely to be disturbed by spiders in any way. 

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 in the US and are regularly visited by the highly dangerous spider species such as the black widow, it's time to call in professionals. 

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

Can you get rid of spiders using conkers or chestnuts? 

Sadly, there's no scientific evidence to prove that conkers or chestnuts repel spiders. 

They look nice as an autumnal decoration, though, so why not give them a go, just in case? After all, they couldn't hurt.

Warning: Conkers can be poisonous to cats and dogs so please consult your vet before putting these in your home if you have pets.

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 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. 

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.  

Expert tips on how to get rid of spiders

Martha Stewart's top tip for how to get rid of spiders

In her book, Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook, the cleaning legend recommends the following:

"If you keep spotting spiders in the nooks and crannies of your home, consider leaving scraps of soap, preferably eucalyptus-scented, where webs appear to help deter the crawlers. 

You can also spray cotton balls with a bit of pennyroyal oil and rub these along windowsills and baseboard to keep the critters at bay."

Lynsey Queen of Clean's top tip for how to get rid of spiders

Another tip comes from Lynsey Queen of Clean who recommends: 

" Vacuuming your home regularly will not only keep it clean, but it will also suck up webs. Make sure you get into in the corners of the room and behind the sofa and radiator too, as this is where spiders are likely to set up camp."

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.