Have you ever sat down on your patio, looking to enjoy a cup of coffee or read a chapter in a good book? They’re pretty common things to do. But, here’s a follow-up question: have you ever been chased away from the patio by a giant, murderous spider? I know I have. Maybe it wasn’t giant and murderous. But it was definitely a spider. This experience sent me on a quest to find out how to keep spiders away from your deck or patio.
Read on to discover tons of excellent options to keep creepy-crawly arachnids away.
There are certain traits spiders look for in a home. If you take those traits away, you’re one step closer to a spider-free area. I call the following anti-spider practices.
One of the best things you can do to keep spiders away from your patio or deck is to clean the area. And keep it that way. I know, this sounds difficult. I mean, if you had the time to spare to clean the patio, it wouldn’t be dirty, am I right?
Still, the fact remains. Spiders love dirty and disused areas. In order for any of the other methods on this list to work, you’ve got to start with this one. Remove discarded tools, toys, or old furniture. Store the stuff you want to keep, toss the other things. Take a broom to the deck, maybe even a pressure washer, if you want to be really thorough.
Once your patio or deck is clean, you have a nice baseline to work with. In fact, simply keeping the area clean is a huge spider deterrent.
Mind the Lights
You may have noticed that spiders like to spin their webs near outdoor light fixtures. This is because other insects are attracted to light, and spiders eat those insects. So, one way to keep the spider population on your patio down is to avoid using the light as much as possible. No light, no insects. No insects, no spiders.
Of course, it’s not feasible that you’ll never use the light. So, you can simply clear away any spiderwebs around the light once a week. The arachnids will get the idea and eventually saunter off on their eight legs to find a more suitable home.
Move Likely Spider Homes
You may not think that your pile of firewood stacked next to the house is an issue, but it is if you want to be spider free. Move any firewood, unused gardening pots, and landscaping supplies away from the house. The further away these things are, the further spiders will have to travel to get to your porch.
Keeping your outdoor area free of dirt, dust, debris, and cobwebs will help get the point across. Once every week or two, don some gloves and grab a broom. Head out to the patio or porch and swipe away any spider webs you see with the broom.
You can also use the gloves to clear away underneath furniture, plant pots, and other hard-to-reach places. If doing this with just gloves is too creepy for you, try using a paint stirring stick or a plain old branch from a nearby tree.
Next up on the list of spider-repellent techniques are a variety of homemade options. These range from easy to involved and their efficacy is generally not 100%. Of course, very few products out there, homemade or not, can effectively repel 100% of spiders. So, the fact that these products are generally cheap or free (with existing household materials) makes them worth a shot.
There are certain scents that spiders seem to hate. You can use this to your advantage by mixing some essential oils with water in a spray bottle. Spritz the area around your porch or patio every 3 to 5 days, and you should see a dramatic drop in spider activity.
- Mix 7 to 8 drops of essential oil with every 1 cup of water. The best essential oils to use are orange, lemon, lime, citronella, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Pick one and mix it with water. Some people also suggest mixing in a tablespoon of dish soap, but either way should work. But be careful if you have pets or children because essential oils can irritate children, dogs, and cats!
- You can also mix 5 cloves of garlic (fresh, crushed) in with 2 cups of water. Let the mixture sit in the spray bottle for several hours before using. Then spray around your patio or deck.
- Regular table salt and water can also kill certain types of spiders. Simply mix 1/8th of a cup of salt in one gallon of water and use it to spray any 8-legged pests you see around the patio or porch. You can also use this saltwater spray on nests to kill the next generation of creepy-crawlies.
- Lastly, you can make a spider-eliminating spray with equal parts of white vinegar and water. The vinegar is acidic and poisonous to spiders. This solution is more for eliminating spiders you can see to spray. It won’t work as well as a deterrent.
If you want to get a little more creative, or are worried about using essential oils around your pets or children, you can make repellent pouches. These work similarly to an essential oil spray in that they repel spiders with their scent. You’ll need small, breathable bags (like burlap or cotton). Stuff fresh herbs, like mint, citronella, or lemon balm inside. You can also use old citrus rinds, as spiders don’t like the smell of citrus.
Place these pouches around your porch or patio and replenish the ingredients every week or two. Or after it rains.
You can also try horse chestnuts. Apparently spiders don’t like them and will stay as far away from them as possible. Spreading some of these around your porch or patio perimeter can help deter arachnids.
Plants Spiders Hate
As you can guess from the tip above, spiders will stay away from certain plants. So, instead of using herbs stuffed in a small burlap bag, you can go to the source and place herbs around your porch or patio. Plant them between the yard and the patio, and you have a decent and natural spider barrier. Here is a list of the plants that spiders hate.
- Lemon Grass
- Lemon Balm
Ideal Landscaping Practices
While it’s true that spiders won’t be attracted to a clean and tidy patio or porch, it’s also true that they’re less likely to hang around a clean and tidy yard. Regular landscaping not only helps take down spider webs, but it also helps reduce the insect population in the yard. And when you take away a spider’s food source, you take away the spider. So here are a couple of the best landscaping practices to deter spiders.
- Keep your plants trimmed – If you have plants growing around your porch (unless they’re ones spiders hate) you should make sure to trim them regularly. Trees and branches hanging over the porch make it easy for spiders to move in. Trim shrubs to help keep spiders away.
- Watch for standing water – Standing or stagnant water may be unavoidable after a rain, but it’s not going to be an issue after the water evaporates. If you have a leaking sprinkler, a partially-dried up pond, or an empty swimming pool that gathers dirty water, you’re attracting insects into your yard. And spiders are sure to follow. So fix that sprinkler, fill in or refresh that pond, and cover that swimming pool to keep the spider population down.
- Remove yard clippings and debris – Decomposing yard clippings also attract insects and spiders. These are often hotbeds of insect activity, which can bring more and more pests into your yard and onto your porch. So get rid of those tree trimmings, grass clippings, and piles of leaves before it’s too late!
- Diatomaceous earth – Food-grade diatomaceous earth works well as a spider and pest repellent. It’s relatively inexpensive and non-toxic, although it can be harmful if inhaled. Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossilized diatom algae. It’s typically found on river, ocean, and stream beds. Sprinkling some of this stuff on the ground around your patio or porch will help repel spiders for months at a time.
For those having a hard time getting rid of the spiders they already have, traps may be the way to go. These come in a few different styles, but most of them tend to work well. Sticky traps seem to work best. Here’s my top pick for you to check out:
- Sticky Tricky Insect Traps – These non-toxic insect traps use a sticky surface to trap spiders and other bugs that crawl around on the floor. The only problem is they may get blown around by the wind outside. Still, it’s not hard to anchor them down with a little tape or even a rock or two. These may also trap mice and lizards!
Commercial Sprays and Insecticides
Next up are commercial sprays and insecticides. These are powerful but often toxic choices, so the directions need to be followed exactly. It is entirely possible to use these options safely with a little common sense and precautions. They come in several different forms, mainly sprays and granules. We’ll start with sprays.
- Miss Moffet’s Revenge – This spider-killing spray also works to repel arachnids with one application. It is purported to work for up to 12 months and is safe for children and pets when allowed to properly dry. But it is still a dangerous pesticide and should be stored safely.
- Ortho Home Defense – This product is the leading granular insect defense powder. It helps to repel all kinds of insects, not just spiders. One application works for up to 3 months and is safe for children and pets after the area has been watered and allowed to dry.
Non-Chemical Spider Repellents
For those of you looking for a non-chemical, non-toxic spider repellent, you’ve got options, as well. Most of these are made with essential oils and water. Some of them have other natural ingredients, as well. Perfect if you don’t want to mix a spider repellent yourself and you still want a non-toxic option.
- Mighty Mint Spider Repellent – This natural option uses the smell of mint to keep spiders away from the patio, porch, or wherever else you want to use it. Unlike the pesticide options above, it does require regular application for best results. But, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not putting chemicals into the ground or on your home!
Ultrasonic Spider Repellent
Ultrasonic repellents are becoming a popular non-lethal option for getting rid of insects and animals alike. They use a sound that humans can’t hear but spiders and other small insects can. The noise drives them away and keeps them away. This 2-pack electronic insect repellent by Brison plugs into a wall outlet and uses an ultrasonic frequency to keep bugs away, including spiders. It’s good for use on covered porches and patios. However, unless you have multiple outdoor plugs, you may need to couple this option with another one to fully rid your porch of spiders.