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10 Chemical-Free Ways to Get Rid of Household Pests

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

iStock/Maria Jeffs

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. Here are the things in your house right now that are attracting pests. 


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.

iStock/Todd Keith

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.


Keep away cockroaches naturally

To discourage cockroaches, save the ends of cucumbers and place them in cupboards. Other repellents include vanilla beans and dried pyrethrum daisies. These are the harmless bugs you didn’t know could bite you.


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.


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. These are the natural ways to keep bugs at bay.

iStock/Bozidar Jokanovic

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.


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. Here are secrets about bedbugs, termites, and other creepy pests. 


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.


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. Next, check out how to naturally get rid of the worst garden pests.