Every person has his own go-to product for pest control. What many homeowners do not know, however, is that many commercial insecticides contain harmful chemicals. To keep your family safe, it is best to avoid commercial products, but this does not mean that you have to settle for less-effective solutions. Natural pest-control solutions, such as clove oil, can be used the same way as the most popular commercial insecticides, and they are nontoxic.

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Cloves contain an essential oil that is effective in repelling pests such as ants and cockroaches.

How Does Clove Oil Control Pests?

Many insects, such as ants, are attracted to sweet smells, which is why they are particularly drawn to sticky spills on kitchen floors and counters. Some homemade insecticides kill insects on contact and may also have a residual effect. According to Karen Russ, a Home and Garden Information Specialist at Clemson University, eugenol -- the essential oil found in cloves -- kills insects on contact, which makes it an excellent ingredient for use in homemade insecticides. Whole, dried cloves can be used as an insect repellent, because, though the oil has dried, the pungent odor of the cloves is repulsive to pests such as ants, flies and moths.

How to Use Clove Oil

Clove oil in insecticide form works best when combined with other essential oils, such as peppermint extract or citrus oil. Combine several drops of these oils with a quart of water, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spritz the area around baseboards, under cabinets and appliances, and even on countertops to repel common household pests. While the scent of cloves may linger, the residual effects of clove oil insecticides are limited. This means that you should reapply the mixture frequently, and spray it directly on the insects whenever possible.

Benefits of Clove Oil for Pest Control

Many commercial insecticides contain toxic substances, such as organophosphates and pyrethrins. These substances are not safe for use in homes where children and pets are present, because, if ingested or inhaled, these chemicals can cause serious health problems. Symptoms of insecticide poisoning may include breathing difficulties, redness or swelling, nausea, dizziness and even convulsions and coma. Clove oil-based insecticides are much safer than commercial insecticides and can be used in the home without fear of insecticide poisoning.

Clove Oil-Based Insecticides

Many homeowners are turning to natural and organic cleaning products and pesticides to protect their loved ones from the harmful ingredients in many commercial products. Organic, clove oil-based insecticides can be purchased online and in some retail stores. The products are effective both inside and outside against a variety of insects, including ants, beetles, flies and roaches. These products often work through the combination of essential oils, such as clove oil, with diatomaceous earth, which breaks down the exoskeleton of insects on contact, causing dehydration and death.