No matter how careful you are, insects can invade your home. Whether it's fruit flies, ants, silverfish or moths, no home is completely bug proof. Using an exterminator service can help, and, in some environments, it may be enough to control the bug population. In other areas, such as apartments and attached housing, densely populated urban areas, or areas with lots of open land, it may not be that easy. Insect repellent drawer liners are another tool in the fight for a bug-free home.
Natural options are the safest choice for food prep and storage areas, and they may be preferable in the rest of your home as well. Thin cedar boards can line drawers and shelves and work to repel a variety of insects. You can also make your own drawer liners by coating lining paper in citronella and allowing it to dry before installing. Refresh the citronella every few months by brushing fresh oil into the corners and along the edges of each drawer. Citronella oil can be found in most hardware and home improvement stores, or you can grow your own plants.
Other Less Toxic Options
In areas where utensils and other food-prep implements come in contact with the drawer surface, it may be safer to use other bug-repellent options that don't rely on a drawer liner. Essential oils like citronella, lavender and pennyroyal can be applied to drawer corners to help repel insects. Find the oils at local health stores or online herb shops. Sodium borate, another common alternative insect repellent, is commonly available with laundry supplies or sold in the pesticide aisle. It is potentially toxic and should not be used where it will directly contact food items, or where small children or pets can get to it.
You can grow your own herbs to infuse oil and saturate your own drawer liners. Alternately, use herbs to make sachets to tuck in drawers, on shelves, and even in shoes, or tuck into the pockets of clothing hanging in the closet. Grow your own plants like citronella, lavender, pennyroyal and spearmint or purchase fresh or dried herbs. Hang fresh plants upside-down to dry; then create sachets for your drawers. Reusable cloth tea bags make easy sachet bags.
Commercially available bug-repellent drawer liners are available to cut to size to fit any drawer or shelf. The downside of these liners is that they contain insecticides that may not be safe around food items. Check the labels for safety information as each brand is different. Liners not labeled as "safe near food" should not be used in areas where food, utensils or dishware are stored. Many liners include warnings against storing towels and clothing in direct contact with the paper. If your liners include this warning, either use the liners in drawers where you don't store fabric or clothing items, or add a barrier between the liner and your fabrics. Storing fabrics in garment bags, using a drawer organizer or plastic tubs to sort and store items will help. You can also place a layer of plastic over the bug-repellent liner to keep it from directly contacting your fabrics.
Rochelle Karina has been writing for more than 20 years; her opinion and humor pieces have been published in local newspapers and international magazines. Karina was the creative force and principal writer behind the eco-design and decor blog Inspired Habitat. A San Diego native now living in Baltimore, she currently maintains several relationship blogs and has completed two novels, as well as writing for Demand.