It sounds like a scene from a horror movie — you step into the shower and find spiders in the shower drain. Most homeowners don't react well to the sight of spiders making their way into sinks, showers and other plumbing fixtures. Many people assume that if there is a spider in the sink or the bathtub, it means there are spiders coming up the drains. But this is just a myth, and there's a simple explanation for how that kitchen sink spider got in there.
Spiders Coming Up the Drain
Well, one thing is for certain — the spiders are not entering the house through your drainpipes. The drain to each plumbing fixture in a house or apartment has a drain trap that stays full of water to protect against sewer gas entering the home through the drains. Traps keep out spiders and bugs too. Because the trap stays full of water, spiders are not capable of entering a residence through the drain.
So why does it seem like you are finding spiders coming up the drains? Spiders enter your house through cracks and gaps in the structure. Like most creatures, spiders need water and are happy to drink the water found in your tubs and sinks. As to why you found that kitchen sink spider, once spiders go down the sides of a plumbing fixture to get some water, it's usually too slippery for them to crawl back up. The key to avoiding the appearance of spiders coming up the drains is to keep them from entering the house.
How to Keep Spiders Away
Step 1: Clear Outside Area
Clear leaves, grass clippings, woodpiles and other places where spiders tend to gather as far away as possible from the exterior of your home. Keep flowers and bushes trimmed back away from the house. If you find spiderwebs around the outside of your home, remove them with a broom or even a stick. Keeping spiders away from your home in the first place will mean less of those creepy kitchen sink spiders inside the house.
Step 2: Seal Cracks and Gaps
Sealing any cracks and gaps in your home's foundation will help to keep spiders from entering. Check for gaps or openings around doors and windows, and look for holes, even small ones, in screens. You can use caulk and weather stripping to seal openings around doors and windowsills and fix torn or worn screens with patches or replacement screens.
Step 3: Organize Your Home
Anyone with a basement knows that spiders like dark, cluttered spaces. They particularly love stacks of paper, cardboard and firewood. Keeping things organized, including regularly getting rid of your recycling and stacking and sealing stored items, is a big step toward keeping spiders away.
Step 4: Keep Your Home Clean
Spiders and other insects like dust. If you've ever walked into a dusty room or basement, chances are you've found plenty of spiderwebs. Dust and vacuum your home regularly, taking particular care to clear dust from ceiling corners and exposed wooden beams as well as behind doors and curtains. Keeping your home clean and neat will make it far less attractive to spiders.
Gary Sprague is a retired master plumber who now works as a writer. He lives with his family in Maine.