3/12/14

7 Non-Toxic or Natural Bug Repellents & Killers


Whether you live in a dorm, rent an apartment, or own a home – you'll probably encounter a creepy crawler at some point. From ants and fruit flies to centipedes and spiders to silverfish and earwigs. Ew, ew, ew. It's not fun to deal with these buggers – especially when chemicals can be stinky, damaging, and even dangerous. Luckily, there are non-toxic and natural ways of repelling and even killing insects. And I've been on a mission to find some solutions.


I recently posted about the horror of finding two silverfish in my apartment's bathroom. For me, this is reason to panic. I hate these creepy crawly insects that make meals out of clothing and book pages – two of my favorite things! Seriously, I'd rather have spiders than these little guys. Ugh.

While I'm definitely going to talk to my landlord, I know my landlord will have the place sprayed – it's part of the lease – come spring. However, I'm not a fan of these harmful, strong smelling chemicals so I'm not going to spur him to call the exterminator over right away – unless I have an infestation on my hands. So right now, I'm going to try my darndest to repel these silverfish from my apartment with natural and non-toxic alternatives.

I appealed to you guys for suggestions and also scoured the internet. I've been out of town and away from my apartment for a few days due to weekend travels and visiting my hometown for a funeral. I'm hoping that when I go back, I won't be faced with seeing another (or several, god forbid) of these grisly guests. I have a plan and have picked my top 7 silverfish repellents I'll be using throughout my apartment in different ways.

So far, I've only seen two in my bathroom. It's a humid room. Winter is thawing. 'Tis the season for bugs to make their grand entrance after a winter of hibernation. I killed one on the wall above my sink and my bf got the other one out of my bathtub... so I'm hoping they came up through sink and have not yet infested my place. The sooner I get rid of these buggers, the better.

Without further ado, here's what I'll be grabbing on my way home from work. Here's to a night of setting up silverfish repellents in my rental. Wish me luck and bravery!

1. Borax
Affordable and effective, Borax can be used safely around the home. Sprinkle it around the areas silverfish occupy – behind appliances, around the edges of bookcases, and the closet floor. You can use it by making a 50/50 mix of Borax powder and flour, Borax powder and powdered sugar, or Borax powder and quick oats. Silverfish like to munch on these things, but they'll also fatally eat the Borax while doing so. The 50/50 mix can also be placed in paper cupcake holders and put throughout the house in infected areas.

2. Epsom Salt
Though it can be a bit gritty, sprinkling Epsom salt among books, along book shelves, or the drawers and closet can help deter silverfish from making a meal of favorite novels and pretty clothes. It has no odor and doesn't evaporate – plus, it's super cheap!

3. Cinnamon
Apparently, silverfish hate cinnamon. A silverfish breathing in or smelling cinnamon is supposed to be the equivalent of a human breathing / smelling ammonia.  It can be sprinkled in the closets, around bookshelves, or in boxes storing paper – or put in a sachet, diy teabag, or similar. It's non toxic and smells really good. A little less messy, cinnamon sticks can be placed behind books on the shelf, in closet drawers, or tied with string and hung around hangers in the closet.

4. Diatomaceous Earth
Spread food grade diatomaceous earth around the floorboards and other areas that silverfish travel can kill the little suckers. It's a white powder that dehydrates silverfish and other bug pests by scraping the exterior of their bodies when they go through it. It apparently affects their breathing ability and eventually kills them. They die simply by walking through it. It's efficient so long as its dry. Lethal to pests, but non-toxic to people and pets – sounds good to me!

5. Essential Oils
Like the smell of cinnamon, the fragrance lavender oil and cedarwood oil can repel silverfish. Use the concentrated, therapeutic grade stuff. About a tea spoon of oil to half a small spray bottle of water should do. Just mix and spray. Use it to wipe down walls, spray the carpet, wipe behind furniture, spray clothes, etc. Or soak a cotton ball and place where the pests frequent.

6. Cloves
Another thing that silverfish can't stand is cloves. (These creepers detest a lot of smells!) Place cloves around the baseboards, in little cupcake liners under furniture, or stick some into a Styrofoam ball and put in the closet, drawers, behind books, or in boxes where books, paper, or clothes are stored to keep silverfish at bay.

7. Lavender Sachet
Going back to the deterrent lavender oil, this method is great for hanging in the closet and placing in drawers. I'd also like to get some diy, fill-yourself teabags and creating a little bookmark of sorts with ribbon. The ribbon can go into the book like a bookmark, while the teabag hangs out like a sachet behind the book – hopefully keeping silverfish from becoming bookworms – literally.

Other things I came across: turpentine, citrus sprays (repelled by the scent - not citrus smelling cleaning sprays, actual organic citrus), sage, bay leaves, moth balls, cucumbers, cedar shavings. 

I'll keep you updated! Hopefully those two I saw were the last.

Any other suggestions? Any experiences with silverfish or other creepy crawlers? 


The Lovely Side is on: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

7 comments:

June Huston said...

Thank you for sharing! I have problem with a silverfish invasion in my home! I hope your natural solutions will help, because I have a curious cat and I'm scared to use chemicals.

Olivia Stewart said...

Did the natural solutions helped? I saw one silverfish yesterday and I want to try something that really works.

Jessica Hansen said...

I think so! Though I did keep a can of bug killer handy. I saw a couple more within a few weeks, so I got them with the spray stuff. (They were high up on the wall near the ceiling... I think they might have been trying to get away from all the natural treatments I sprinkled around.)

Jessica Hansen said...

I hope so, too, June! In my research, I stumbled across a lot of posts that said their cats helped take care of the silverfish by eating them. Haha. Not very appetizing, but interesting! Good luck kicking the little buggers out!

Faith Grant said...

Thank you so much! I saw one silverfish yesterday and I really needed some help!

http://walthamstowvillagecarpetcleaners.co.uk said...

Great post! I love to learn new natural tricks! I hope I'd never have to try this one, but I'll bookmark it!

visit site said...

Thanks so much for these natural options. It's good to know that there is nontoxic way to get rid of these bugs.