The Best Ways to Get Rid of Common House Spiders Without Harming Pets

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Spiders get a bad rap, and it's undeserved. Sure, they look scary, but they eat pests much more harmful than themselves, including roaches, mosquitoes, and moths, and that helps prevent the spread of disease and protects your clothes. Their webs are marvels of engineering that scientists are studying for a number of applications.

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While it's true that most spiders have venom, only a few have venom that's dangerous to humans, and not all spiders have fangs long enough to inject it. The spiders with the most dangerous venom tend to be reclusive and are not the ones you see spinning webs in the corners of your ceiling.

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The webs are a problem, however, and if you're a conscientious housekeeper, controlling them is a good reason to reduce the spider population in your house. The best strategies are to go after the spiders physically or to use an indoor spider spray that is safe for pets.

Use Your Vacuum Cleaner

The safest and most effective way to get rid of a spider web as well as the spider spinning it is to suck up the web, spider and all, with your vacuum cleaner. This is easier than trying to squash the spider, which may be out of reach, fast enough to evade you, or both.

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Any vacuum cleaner with a detachable hose will do, but if you want to be humane, you should use a rigid hose that will deposit the spider straight into the vacuum canister so you can release it outdoors. Spiders are fragile and usually won't survive being sucked into a flexible hose with many curves. A spider vacuum like My Critter Catcher or a stick vacuum like the Dyson Animal works best.

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As a matter of caution, you should always bring a vacuum with you when you go into dark places, like basements and attics, where potentially dangerous spiders, like black widows, might be lurking.

The Best Indoor Spider Repellent

It's a lot easier to prevent spiders from coming into a room than it is to kill them when they're already there because they are experts at hiding in places where you don't see them. If you're looking for a dog-safe spider repellent, try peppermint oil. Research concerning its effectiveness is scant, but there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that peppermint oil works, not just for spiders but also for ant control, and it won't hurt animals or small children.

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You can make your own spray by putting six drops of peppermint oil in a 16-ounce spray bottle, filling the bottle with water, and adding a squirt of dish soap. Spray it around baseboards, around doors and windows, and in dark corners where spiders are likely to hide. The scent lasts about a week, after which you need to respray.

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You can also buy a commercial peppermint oil spray, such as Mighty Mint, and use it in the same way. Be sure to check the label to make sure it contains no harmful ingredients.

Keeping Spiders Out

Despite your best efforts, you won't be able to control spiders effectively unless you prevent them from entering in the first place. Keep in mind that spiders breed indoors, and the ones you see probably spent their entire lifetime in the house. If you want to keep them out of the kitchen or living room, you have to limit their access to those rooms.

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  • Seal all baseboards with caulk because the baseboards are covering gaps that make ideal entryways for spiders.

  • Move your furniture periodically and vacuum underneath it. Remove the cushions and vacuum them.

  • Be careful when transporting plants or parcels from outside because spiders often hide in them.

  • Cover windows with screens and keep doors closed as much as possible.

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If all else fails, deploy a few sticky traps in places where pets and children can't reach them but where spiders are likely to hide. Such places might be inside or on top of cabinets, between furniture and the wall, and behind toilets.

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