Homemade pest deterrents

Homemade Laundry Soap Ingredients

By Cat, May 2008 (Photo, right, by S. Tomkins at her presentation for Essential Stuff Project)

This posting has been moved from Homemade Cleaning Supplies, etc.

In the not too distant past, homemakers routinely made their own cleaning supplies and kept pests at bay, using ingredients in their own kitchens. As fuel costs rise and petroleum-based products become more scarce and expensive, we may once again return to the much more healthful practice of making our own, and it’s better for the environment too.

Deterring Pests

Moth Repellent

This section is for the types of moths that live in wool and other fabrics/garments. (1)


  • Pre-Process: Place clean garments in freezer for several days to kill moths and larvae.
  • Store in airtight containers or tuck sachets (below) between garments in a drawer or on hangers.

Sachet I

  • Toss the following in a large glass bowl (do not use plastic, ceramic or stainless steel):
  • 2 oz dried rosemary
  • 2 oz dried mint
  • 1 oz dried thyme
  • 1 oz powdered ginseng
  • 8 oz whole cloves
  • Fill fabric sachets immediately, or
  • Store in a large glass far with screw-on lid.

Sachet II

  • Toss the following in a large glass bowl (do not use plastic, ceramic or stainless steel):
  • 2 handsful dried bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 oz dried rosemary
  • 1 oz dried peppermint
  • ½ oz dried thyme
  • 4 oz whole cloves
  • Fill fabric sachets immediately, or
  • Store in a large glass far with screw-on lid.

All-Purpose Solution for Most Insect Infestations (2)

  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder in areas with heavy insect traffic. While the powder feels soft to our touch, to the pests it is like walking on razor blades.

Pantry Moths (2)

These pests will always remain one step ahead of you unless you eliminate their food source. Toss all infested foods (primarily grains and grain products). “Look for white cobwebs and tiny cream-colored larvae. Next, vacuum all crevices and wash all surfaces and containers with hot soapy water.”

You can kill the eggs, larvae and adults in foods by freezing at 0°F for 4 days; alternately, heat the food to 135°F for 30 minutes.

Additional precautions include placing:

  • Sticky pantry-pest traps in your cupboards to trap the adults;
  • Sachets of insect-repelling substances such as cedar chips, rosemary, lavender or bay leaves in your cupboard.

Store all dry foods in airtight containers that cannot be penetrated by the bugs. Do not use plastic bags, cardboard or foil containers and the moths will chew their way through these.


The best solution is to discern where/how they enter your home and correct that. See Natural solutions can help rid your kitchen of pests (2) for more on this. In the mean time, you can bait them into a trap, or discourage them from crossing a line.

Ant Bait

This works for worker ants, but not the queen. (1)

  • Combine in bowl until dissolved:
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Pour into 4 – 5 mason jars with lids.
  • Before putting the lid on, use a hammer and nail to make 4 – 8 holes in each lid.
  • Place jars in area where you have ants, but keep away from children and pets.

Discourage ants #1 (2)

  • Combine the following in a small bowl or glass measuring cup:
  • Cayenne pepper,
  • Cinnamon (powder or oil), and
  • Lemon juice or coffee grounds;
  • Sprinkle an unbroken line of the mixture along the area where ants are entering your kitchen; they will not cross the line.

Discourage ants #2 (2)

  • Save your cucumber peels.
  • Place the peels in the area affected by ants. They hate cucumbers and will stay away.

House Flies (2)

One solution is homemade fly strips:

  • Combine in a bowl:
  • ¼ cup of honey, corn syrup or maple syrup; plus
  • 1Tbsp each of granulated sugar and brown sugar.
  • Soak strips of craft paper in the solution;
  • Let the paper dry overnight;
  • Hang from the ceiling to catch flies who become stuck to the sticky substance.

Fruit Flies (2)

As for most pests, the best solution is to find and eliminate their food source.

Another option:

  • Fill a small cup with cider vinegar;
  • Mix in a few drops of dish soap.
  • Fruit flies can’t resist the smell, but the soap breaks the liquid’s surface tension, pulling the flies underwater to drown.

Rodents (2)

Keeping a house cat or setting mousetraps is always a solution.

Another option:

  • Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil;
  • Place them around the house and especially near where the mice enter your home.
  • Mice hate the smell and will vacate the area; and your house will smell great.


  1. The Oregonian (appx 2008; my clipping has been lost)
  2. The Oregonian on pest solutions: oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2013/09/working_the_bugs_out.html

About Cat

See my 'About' page
This entry was posted in Pest Control and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.