If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.
Spiders are common guests inside our homes. While many spiders are harmless, some of us may find them to be a nuisance or to be creepy. Additionally, some species of spider, such as the brown recluse or black widow, can be poisonous.
There are several ways to keep spiders out of your home, including things like bug sprays and glue traps. But are essential oils another method to keep spiders away?
While limited research is available, some kinds of essential oils may be useful for repelling spiders and related arachnids. Continue reading to learn more about these essential oils and how you can use them in your home.
Researchers have been hard at work investigating the use of essential oils for various applications, including as pest repellents. However, research into which essential oils repel spiders is currently very limited. Here’s what we know so far.
One 2018 study investigated three natural products that, according to anecdotal evidence, repel spiders. These were:
- peppermint oil (effective)
- lemon oil (not effective)
- chestnuts (effective)
Three different species of spider were tested in this study. The repellent effects of each natural substance were compared to a control substance.
Peppermint oil and chestnuts
Both peppermint oil and chestnuts were found to strongly repel two species of spider. The third species seemed to be less sensitive to either substance, but did tend to avoid chestnuts in comparison to the control.
Because people can be allergic to plants in the mint family and tree nuts, avoid using peppermint oil or chestnuts if you or someone who lives with you has an allergy.
Who shouldn’t Use peppermint oil?
people with G6PD deficiency, a type of enzyme deficiency individuals taking certain medications, as peppermint oil can inhibit an enzyme called CYP3A4 that helps to break down many types of drugs people with allergies to plants in the mint family
Lemon oil might not work
Lemon oil is often advertised as a natural spider repellent. However, the researchers in this study found that lemon oil didn’t seem to have a repellent effect on any of the spider species tested.
Essential oils to repel arachnids
While studies into essential oils as spider repellents are currently very limited, there’s more information on their use to repel other arachnids, like mites and ticks, which are related to spiders.
The essential oils below have shown repellent or killing activity against mites, ticks, or both, meaning these oils might have an effect against spiders. But their effectiveness against spiders has yet to be clinically tested.
Several 2017 studies have indicated that thyme oil is effective against both mites and ticks:
- Researchers assessed the effectiveness of 11 essential oils in repelling a specific species of tick. Two types of thyme, red thyme and creeping thyme, were found to be some of the most effective at repelling ticks.
- One study found that thyme oil had pesticidal activity against a species of mite. Individual components of thyme oil, such as thymol and carvacrol, also had some activity.
- Another study encapsulated two types of thyme oil with a tiny nanoparticle. They found that this increased stability, prolonged the activity, and killed more mites when compared to oil alone.
Who shouldn’t use thyme oil?
people with allergies to plants in the mint family, as they may also have reactions to thyme use of thyme oil has been linked with a few adverse effects, including skin irritation, headache, and asthma
A 2012 study investigated the repellent effects of sandalwood oil on a species of mite. They found that mites left fewer eggs on plant leaves treated with sandalwood than with a control substance.
A 2016 study comparing DEET and eight essential oils found that sandalwood oil had repellent activity against a species of tick. However, none of the essential oils was as effective as DEET.
Although it’s rare, sandalwood can cause adverse skin reactions in some people.
The same 2016 study above that compared DEET with eight essential oils also assessed clove oil. It was found that clove oil also had repellent activity against ticks.
Additionally, the same 2017 study above that investigated 11 essential oils as tick repellents observed that clove oil was also effective at repelling ticks. In fact, it was actually more effective that both types of thyme!
Clove oil can cause skin irritation in some people, particularly those with sensitive skin. Additionally, the following groups should avoid using clove oil.
Who shouldn’t use clove oil?
people taking anticoagulant drugs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) individuals with conditions like peptic ulcers or bleeding disorders those who’ve recently had a major surgery
A 2009 study evaluated the effectiveness of commercially available products made from essential oils. A product called GC-Mite, which contains garlic, clove, and cottonseed oil killed over 90 percent of the mites that were tested.
Additionally, a 2015 study investigated use of an outdoor garlic juice-based spray in controlling the population of a species of tick. Although the spray appeared to work, it may require multiple applications to be effective.
Who shouldn’t use garlic?
people with allergies to it people taking medications that may interact with garlic, such as anticoagulants and the HIV drug saquinavir (Invirase)
How and where to use
If you’d like to use peppermint oil or another essential oil to help repel spiders, follow the suggestions below.
Make a spray
Making your own essential oil-based spray can be easy. Just follow the instructions below:
- Add your essential oil of choice to water. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends using 10 to 15 drops per ounce of water.
- Add a dispersing agent like solubol to the mixture. This can be very useful since essential oils don’t dissolve effectively in water.
- Shake the spray bottle carefully before spraying.
- Spray areas where spiders are likely to pass through. This can include areas like door thresholds, closets, and crawl spaces.
Buy a spray
There are many commercially available spray products that contain natural ingredients and can be used for repelling pests like spiders, ticks, and other bugs. You can find them online or at a store that sells natural products.
Diffusion can spread the scent of essential oils throughout a space. If you’re using a commercially available diffuser, be sure to follow the product instructions carefully.
You can also create your own diffuser using a few simple ingredients. DoTerra, an essential oil company, suggests the following recipe:
- Place 1/4 cup of carrier oil into a small glass container.
- Add 15 drops of your chosen essential oil, mixing well.
- Place reed diffuser sticks into the container, flipping every 2 to 3 days for a stronger scent.
You can buy reed diffuser sticks online.
So far, there’s limited scientific evidence on which essential oils are best at repelling spiders. However, a recent study did find that both peppermint oil and chestnuts were effective. In this same study, lemon oil didn’t repel spiders.
More research has been carried out on the efficacy of essential oils in repelling other arachnids, like ticks and mites. Some essential oils that have been shown to be effective are thyme oil, sandalwood oil, and clove oil.
You can use essential oils in spray and diffusion applications in order to repel pests. If you have any questions or health concerns about using essential oils, speak to your doctor before using them.