Household Pests? 10 No-Chemical Ways to Get Rid of Them

To discourage pests around your house without using chemicals, try these 10 environmentally friendly ideas.

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    Use steel wool to stop mice.

    Seal cracks or holes in wall and baseboards with steel wool, which mice and other household pests can’t chew through.

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    Stop ants with a natural barrier.

    Sprinkle a narrow, unbroken trail of cayenne pepper, black pepper, or salt across their path. Or draw a line with chalk. More: 13 common items for getting rid of ants »

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    Try ant-repellent herbs.

    Ants dislike the strong odors of certain herbs, so try placing pots of mint, pennyroyal, rue, or tansy—or dried bunches of these herbs—near trouble spots. You can also frequently wipe down windowsills with oil of cloves or eucalyptus oil.

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    Keep cockroaches away naturally.

    To discourage cockroaches, save the ends of cucumbers and place them in cupboards. Other repellents include vanilla beans and dried pyrethrum daisies.

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    Try a heat gun on cockroaches.

    Instead of using surface sprays, use a heat gun to flush out cockroaches from under cupboards and behind fridges. This burns their wings, causing them to die later.

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    Rotate loose items.

    Regularly move around loose stored items, such as plastic bags, towels, toiletries, and under-sink products, because cockroaches and other household pests love to nest in them.

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    Fix leaks immediately.

    Make sure you promptly fix leaking taps and pipes, because cockroaches and other household pests love damp, dark, warm places and a source of water. Cockroaches will even congregate in the cavity of your dishwasher door.

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    Store food in pest-proof containers.

    Sometimes, pests come home with you from the shops, so keep food in your pantry safe by storing it in pest-proof containers. 

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    Keep a clean kitchen.

    Wipe up spills immediately and don’t leave uncovered food on kitchen counters. And clean the oven regularly after using it. 

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    Inspect the outside of your home.

    Trim back branches that touch your house; ants that feed on aphids in trees use branches as a bridge to your house. Look for holes and gaps in soffits and fascia, especially where they run into adjoining rooflines. More to watch: A missing or chewed-through screen on roof vents lets squirrels, bats, and other household pests into your attic. Finally, add chimney caps if you don't already have them. They prevent birds and rodents from making the firebox of your fireplace their summer home.

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