For full disclosure, I adore spiders and all the good they do, both in the house and in the garden, but even I have to admit, that fall invasion of house spiders can be a complete nightmare, so we’re going to take a look at the best spider repellent products, and a few natural spider repellents too.
By far the easiest way to keep spiders at bay is by looking at nature and understanding the plants (and essential oils) that spiders hate. There are some incredible hacks you can use to minimize their presence too, so let’s take a look at all the options available and share the most effective natural spider repellents you can buy.
Best Spider Repellent for 2023
6. Air Wick Plug-in Scented Oil 5 Refills, Lavender and Chamomile
Why is it Necessary to Control Spiders in the Garden?
Like all aspects of gardening our passion is led by the desire to support and control nature. Often, there is a blurry line between the two, and spiders absolutely fall into that blurry void.
In any ornamental garden, there is absolutely no point in controlling spiders, and it is in fact highly beneficial to encourage them rather than control them.
In vegetable gardens, spiders help to manage pests, so again, are better encouraged than discouraged. But when it comes to greenhouse crops, where pollination and fruiting are key and tempting pollinators into your veggie plot can be challenging, then natural spider controls are really quite essential.
Spiders catch and kill insects without discrimination. If it lands in their web, they’ll eat it, and that goes for wasps, bees and hoverflies just as much as for midges, whitefly and aphids (learn how to identify aphids and control them here).
There are no insecticides that target spiders without harming other insects or invertebrates, and it’s counterproductive to kill them, so we’ll have a look in this article at how to discourage, rather than kill, spiders from your home and garden.
Benefits of Spiders
In the house, spiders are often seen as a sign of untidiness, but for houseplant parents, they are incredibly effective pest controllers - especially if you have pets.
Whatever pest control measure you use on your houseplants, whether it is natural neem oil, or chemical insecticides, they are completely unsafe for pets until they dry completely, and some retain their poisonous effects even when dry.
Spiders on the other hand are pet safe, human safe, and a completely natural way to keep other insects under control in the house and garden.
By capturing flies and insects in their webs they limit the spread of disease in the garden and are an essential part of the food chain for birds and small mammals too, which should always be encouraged by any astute gardener as birds and small mammals are the most effective slug control for the garden too.
Controlling Spiders in the House
House spiders are a fact of life, and there are a thousand and one ways that cleaners and lifestyles gurus will claim to be a miracle cure for them but the fact is almost none of them work.
The only way to discourage spiders is to grow plants they hate, hang natural remedies around the house and if the problem is really bad, employ the help of essential oil burners as spider repellants.
Using Electronic Spider Repellents
Electronic spider repellents work by emitting high pitched noises that are too high for human ears to detect but irritate small mammals until they leave.
However, as spiders have no ears they are almost completely unaffected by standard electronic insect repellents or ultrasonic devices. Using plug-in essential oil diffusers is a much more effective way to discourage them, by bringing scents they dislike into the house - like lavender, eucalyptus, or rosemary.
There is an argument that electronic Spider Repellents are effective against spiders by proxy, by controlling the spider’s food source and disturbing the food chain.
Essentially, while pest repellents have no proven impact on spiders, they put off rodents, flies and other insects that the spiders rely on for food. By repelling pests in the house, you make it a worse space for spiders to live, so they may choose to leave.
Products to Avoid When Dealing with Spiders
Insecticides will kill spiders, but they are unlikely to stop repeat visitors and can harm your pets, and harm beneficial insects too. There are very, very, few occasions where insecticides are worth using in the home or garden.
There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of articles online claiming that hoovering up spiders is the most effective way to get rid of them.
Clearly, none of those writers has ever actually tried it, as spiders are incredibly resilient creatures, and they will simply crawl out of your bin and set up home somewhere else in a day or two.
If you hoover up spider eggs and their egg pouches, it will minimize reproduction, but spiders will always find a way back in, so hoovering them up is only really worthwhile as part of your general cleaning routine.
Electronic Spider Repellents FAQs
How do electronic spider repellents work?
Ultrasonic sound waves emitted by electronic plug-in spider repellents work by disturbing insects and rodents that are sensitive to sound. Spiders don’t have ears but do feel vibrations through surfaces.
The main method of spider deterrent from the sound waves is by putting off spiders’ prey, therefore reducing spider numbers.
Do electronic spider repellents work?
Electronic spider repellents do not directly repel spiders. They repel their prey, leading to diminished spider populations and more generally inhospitable environments.
Most pest repellents claim to deter spiders, which is partially true, but the effects are indirect.
Can humans hear plug-in pest repellents?
Humans are capable of hearing ultrasonic sound waves, but the frequency emitted by commercially available domestic pest repellents is above our hearing abilities.
If you ever receive a product that you can hear, it won't harm your health in any way, but should be returned as it is likely defective.
How to Naturally Repel Spiders
Spiders in the gardens should be left to go about their business, unless they’re in the greenhouse, in which case they’re more than likely going to limit your crop by eating all the pollinators.
By far the most effective way to eradicate spiders in the greenhouse is to clean them every spring while the greenhouse is empty with vinegar and spray a high concentrate mix of lavender oil or eucalyptus and water around the glass. The oils irritate the spiders and confuse their scent receptors to the point that they will simply leave.
You shouldn’t use electronic pest repellents in the greenhouse if you’re trying to pollinate plants as they are more effective on pollinators than on spiders, so they will cause the spiders to leave as their food stops turning up, they will also prevent your crops from being pollinated properly.
Types of Natural Spider Repellents
Spider Repelling Plants
Lavender, Rosemary, Basil and Eucalyptus irritate spiders, and their odor is highly off putting. While a desperate spider will still take up home in areas sprayed with their essential oils, they will seek other homes as a priority.
For highly scented herbs and trees in the garden, spiders will rarely spin webs on eucalyptus, basil, rosemary or lavender. In our garden, we have a mixed border near the kitchen, absolutely packed with spiders, but next to the path is a row of lavender that has never hosted a single web.
Natural Spider Repellent Sprays
- Eucalyptus Sprays Repel Spiders
- Lavender Sprays Repel Spiders
- Citronella Sprays Repel Spiders
There are so many sprays that claim to repel spiders, but by following nature you’ll have far more effective results. Eucalyptus and Lavender can be used either as essential oils, or pre-mixed sprays on areas where spiders are a problem, but citronella is the most effective option.
We use citronella sprays in our greenhouse as it repels spiders, blackfly, and aphids, but doesn’t seem to have any effect on bees so plants continue to get pollinated.
We have a lot of stray cats here too, and citronella discourages cats from using the greenhouse beds as litter trays - which is a useful bonus. If you’re using these sprays indoors, remember that essential oils affect humans too.
Rosemary makes you hungry, lavender makes you sleepy, and citronella wakes you up - so maybe don’t spray rosemary all over the house unless you’re happy battling the constant desire for a roast dinner.
Natural Spider Predators
There is a healthy population of Spider Wasps throughout the US and North America which naturally predate spiders in the garden. You can encourage spider wasps by planting highly scented nectar-rich flowers (wasps prefer blue flowers).
More importantly, by encouraging other insects which the wasps can predate, you encourage a more diverse range of insects in the garden, which helps to control spiders naturally, and maintain a balanced ecosystem.
Common wasps also predate spiders, but they don’t rely on them as a primary food source. The more predatory insects you can encourage in the garden, the better the balance will be, and the fewer spiders you’ll see (leading to better pollination from more flies and bees).
Best Natural Spider Repellent Reviews
Spider Repellant FAQs
What are common spider predators?
Birds, particularly small hedgerow birds that eat insects as a large part of their diet are the most effective way to discourage spiders. Encouraging birds in the garden controls the population.
Similarly, lizards, centipedes, and spider wasps all eat spiders as a core part of their diet.
What smells keep spiders away?
Citronella, vinegar, mint, catnip, basil, rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus all repel spiders. Spiders hate those smells, and the plants themselves can irritate them.
Spiders have an incredibly strong sense of smell, so while they can’t hear, using plug in diffusers to evenly distribute fragrances, or using dabs of essential oils can be a very effective spider repellent.
How do you get rid of garden spiders?
Encouraging wildlife in your garden is the best way to control large spider populations, but you can also plant highly scented plants like lavender and eucalyptus which will look great, smell fantastic, and are easy to maintain, with the added benefit of reliably deterring spiders.
Are spider catchers effective?
Obviously, the fastest way to get rid of spiders in the home is to catch them and put them outside but spiders will usually find their way back into the house.
While catching spiders can limit visible spiders it’s more effective in the long term to use natural spider deterrents that make your home less appealing to spiders.
Choose the Best Spider Repellent for Your Garden and Home
While electronic spider repellents are not hugely effective at repelling spiders, they will repel their prey, meaning your home is a less desirable place for spiders.
This might seem like a complicated solution for a simple problem, but by bringing all of these natural spider control options together you will gain better control of a managed population of spiders, rather than being overrun.
Good luck getting to grips with your spider infestation, or starting to manage spiders in the greenhouse, and remember, the best spider repellent is a combination of many different techniques, and might take some trial and error.