Natural Pest Spray

With the warmer weather, spiders build their webs all over my patio furniture and kid’s toys, and I find long ant trails all over my yard. (And a sneaky spider always seems to be hiding in the chair I’m trying to read a book in.) Sometimes mice — yes, I said mice — have even been known to hang out in our garage.

As my family moves towards a more natural, plant-based lifestyle, I realized commercial bug spray definitely wasn’t going to make our “good” list. I don’t always want to kill the spiders (despite their creepy, crawly looks, most of them are good for our ecosystem), and I really don’t want harsh chemicals around my kids’ play area either. Mousetraps were also a last resort...to be used only if absolutely necessary. Luckily after a bit of research and trial & error, we found there's an alternative!

A couple of months ago we created our own DIY “Pest Spray” using peppermint and lemon essential oils, and it’s been a huge success! Spiders have taste buds on the tips of their legs, so when they come across this spray it deters and repels them. Ants and mice are the same way — the smell is so potent that they won't cross or go near peppermint or citrus oils. (Think of it like a big KEEP AWAY sign for your laundry room or toddler’s clubhouse.)

Our spray is natural and safe for older kiddos to use on their own — just hand them the spray bottle and let them go to town around the yard. Try it on the inside corners of the playhouse, around the door to the house, and on the legs and underside of your patio furniture. Here’s our recipe:

PEST SPRAY:

  1. Add 3-5 drops of lemon essential oil and a small squirt of natural dish soap to a spray bottle. Fill the rest with water.

  2. Shake it up, label it, and start spraying!

For deterring mice, try making this DIY "rodent repellant":
 
RODENT KEEP-AWAY:
1. Saturate several cotton balls with peppermint and/or citrus essential oils.
2. Place anywhere the mice come visit — in your pantry, laundry room, or garage.
3. Replace cotton balls every few days or when the scent fades.

Tips: Pests don’t like the strong taste of essential oils — like lemon, peppermint, and lavender — so these are good oils to start with. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to apply natural pest control more often; once a week or so for spraying should be adequate. Good luck!