This Trick Will Get Rid of Most Insects Around Your Home

Keep insects away with peppermint oil.

bugProtasov AN/Shutterstock

Before you reach for the chemical-laden bug spray and store-bought insect repellents, there’s a natural solution you can try—peppermint.

Insects hate peppermint. In fact, the stick bug uses a milky substance it can emit from behind its head that fills the air with the scent of peppermint. The bug uses this to fight off predators, as the scent is an unbearable irritant to most insects.

Using Peppermint Around the Home

If you have spiders, ants, mosquitoes and other bugs around your home, try using peppermint oil. The scent may also help keep mice away.

To get started, pick up some peppermint oil at your local health or grocery store. Look for 100-percent pure peppermint oil with no additives.

Next, try putting a little peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place the ball in an area where you often see insects, such as on a window sill or near a door. The scent should detour insects in the area.

Make a Diffuser

Try mixing a few drops of peppermint oil with some hot water and place it in a spray bottle. A good ratio is 5 to 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of water. Use the mixture to spray down countertops, furniture, curtains and blinds and hard-to-reach areas of the home where insects are often present. Always test in a small area first to make sure the oil doesn’t damage the items you want to spray.

Store the diffuser in your refrigerator to make the scent last longer.

You can also use the mixture on your skin if you’re planning to be outside, but be sure to do a test on your skin first since some people with sensitive skin may find the oil irritating.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.