When you are looking for natural solutions for spider infestations, vinegar may come up. But does vinegar actually kill spiders — and do you really need to kill spiders in the first place? But, back to vinegar — how effective is it against spiders? Yes, vinegar does work as a spider killer and repellent, but it has advantages and disadvantages.
Pros and cons of vinegar as a spider repellent
- Vinegar actually works. A common problem in articles is that they just copy-paste from each other without doing deeper research. All it takes is for one popular article to make a claim and other articles will reiterate the claim without backing. This is why many articles about natural remedies are inaccurate. Vinegar actually working is already an advantage in itself as there are so many “remedies” out there that don’t do anything. It can help get rid of spiders because of its high acetic acid content.
- It’s not as toxic as other pesticides and repellents. Acetamiprid, chlorpyrifos, deltamethrin, permethrin, and pyrethrin are some of the most common ingredients of commercial spider killers. But the problem with these ingredients is their side effects on humans and animals. They can trigger allergic reactions, cause eye and skin irritation, and induce dizziness and nausea. Vinegar does kill and repel spiders too, and one of its advantages is that it’s not toxic at all.
- Its effectiveness relies on its acetic acid content. If you want to kill spiders with vinegar, you have to use one with a high level of acetic acid. This is because it is the very ingredient that is effective against spiders. The arachnids simply don’t like its taste and smell, making them go in the other direction. In high concentrations, acetic acid can also burn and kill the eight-legged creatures.
- Even then, it’s still not very effective. Even if you use vinegar with a high level of acetic acid, there is no guarantee that it will be able to kill all the spiders on your property. This is a common problem among natural remedies. Commercial products such as pesticides will always be more effective simply because they are specifically formulated to get rid of spiders and other pests.
How to use vinegar as a natural spider remedy
1. Choose a white vinegar with high acetic acid content
One of the best things about natural remedies is their accessibility. Vinegar is very accessible. You probably have some in your kitchen right now. But don’t make your natural spider remedy just yet.
Because it’s the acetic acid content that can repel and kill spiders, it’s only logical to use white vinegar that has a lot of it. Sure, you can just use the vinegar that is already in your kitchen. But consider going out and buying one that has more acetic acid content. Compare the ones you find in the grocery store by looking at the ingredients in their packaging.
2. Dilute the white vinegar in water
Not because it’s a natural remedy it automatically means that it’s completely safe. Look at peppermint oil, for instance. Many people use it to repel certain spider species, but this can put them at risk of essential oil poisoning.
Vinegar is very acidic, potentially leading to skin irritation and property destruction, depending on the material on which you are going to use the vinegar. It’s advisable to dilute the vinegar in water in a 1:1 ratio to reduce its acidity. However, this can make the solution a little less effective because you are making its acetic acid content weaker.
3. Spray the vinegar solution in areas with spiders and spider activity
Different spider species have different hiding spots inside your home. Spiders that prefer dry environments can hide inside cluttered areas like closets and garages. And spiders that prefer moist environments can hide in moist areas like attics, basements, and even bathrooms. Don’t forget about cracks, gaps, and holes too, especially in ceilings, floors, and walls. Spiders can squeeze through them and use them as hiding spots and passageways to different parts of your home.
Yes, vinegar does kill and repel spiders. But here’s another disadvantage — its smell. If you are going to spray it around your home, you may find its smell overpowering. But hey, if you really want to get rid of the spiders, you may have to bear the smell.
4. Repeat the vinegar treatment when necessary
In high concentrations, acetic acid can burn and kill small animals upon contact, including spiders. Its smell and taste can also make spiders go in the other direction. This makes vinegar an effective spider killer and repellent, but you do have to apply it again and again to maintain its effectiveness.
Spray the areas again when necessary, even if it means making another batch of vinegar-water solution.
Vinegar is not the only natural way to get rid of spiders
- Try concocting other solutions. Vinegar is not the only natural remedy for spiders. You can try peppermint oil. Just make sure to dilute it in water too. You can also try cayenne pepper or garlic since spiders hate their scents. Just make sure to crush them thoroughly and mix them with water. However, take note that the effectiveness of these alternatives is limited. They are just natural remedies after all, and they are not specifically designed to get rid of spiders.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth. It’s possible to get rid of spiders without using chemicals. One way is the use of diatomaceous earth, a white powder made from the fossilized remains of algae. When spiders make contact with it, their bodies dry out and they eventually die. If you see spiders, sprinkle them directly with food-grade diatomaceous earth. You can also spread the product to areas with spider activity and potential hiding spots.
- Remove the spiders manually with a broom and dustpan. You can’t get any more natural than removing the spiders manually. But remember that some spiders are venomous. You don’t want to remove them with your bare hands. Keep some distance. Use a broom to brush the spiders into a dustpan. And then release them back into the wild. This method is particularly effective if you don’t really have a spider infestation and you are just dealing with a wandering spider or two.
Vinegar is not the most effective spider killer
Yes, vinegar does kill and repel spiders, thanks to its acetic acid content. However, like many natural remedies, its effectiveness is very limited. The acetic acid in most commercially-bought vinegar products is not concentrated enough to consistently get rid of spiders. Sure, you can still try using vinegar as a natural remedy for spiders. But you may be better off trying other methods.
You can use pesticides, but make sure to follow the instructions in their packaging to ensure their effectiveness and safety. You can also just hire pest control professionals, especially if you feel like the spider infestation is already beyond your control.