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How to get rid of household bugs naturally

Summer is a time when all kinds of life start appearing again, including those not-so-pleasant creepy crawlies coming out of the woodworks. Before we know it, flies, mosquitoes, ants and spiders are making themselves at home, indoors and outdoors! 

While bugs are a natural part of a healthy environment and don’t need to be completely exterminated, it’s frustrating to find them in our kitchens, bathrooms, and gardens. If we don’t take measures to control them during summertime, they can get very comfortable in the corners of our homes and compounds, creating nests where they multiply. 

There are natural ways to prevent bugs from getting into food in the kitchen and making themselves at home in our bathrooms and bedrooms.

Commercial-grade pesticides and insecticides can be effective for removing bugs, but they are forms of poison that remain in the air long after being sprayed and can be harmful to humans when breathed in. 

So, before you jump for your heavy-duty bug sprays, we’d like to share with you our favourite, natural ways to get rid of household bugs. These methods are much less toxic to the environment and our health, and are easy to put together at home. At the end of this post, you’ll find some natural bug sprays you can create yourself using essential oils which will make your space smell wonderful while also repelling insects! 

Natural ways to get rid of household bugs indoors

1. Clean the kitchen and bathroom

As they say, prevention is better than cure! While it sounds like common sense, a clean kitchen and bathroom are a natural repellent for indoor bugs. Bugs love the bacteria build up in these areas of our homes - especially ants and flies and especially during hot weather! 

Leftover food on the kitchen counter and crumbs on the floor, particularly foods with sugar, create a breeding ground for bugs. Avoid this by regularly sweeping, putting food away after use, and wiping down kitchen counters immediately to keep ants and flies at bay. Always try to get your dishes done before going to bed as leaving them out overnight is pretty much an open invitation for bugs the next morning!

Kitchen drawers, cupboards and other closed storage units are also ideal habitats for bugs. Keep these spaces clean and dry by giving them a wipe-down and airing them out before replacing their items. For inspiration, check out some of our natural DIY cleaning ideas with essential oils

For the bathroom, make sure to regularly clear out corners and crowded surfaces so you can sweep and dust thoroughly - not forgetting behind the toilet and under the sink. You’d be surprised how quickly spiders and other bugs like cockroaches can get comfortable in these darker, damper areas. You can also try out a spritz of some of our bug sprays below to keep them at bay. 

2. DIY fly traps

One of the most annoying insects on earth has to be the fly, they fester on foul-smelling things and multiply rapidly - not to mention their eggs hatch into maggots…blegh!

But fly spray smells pretty bad and the kitchen, where we most often find flies, isn’t the safest place to use it. 

So why not try out a DIY fly trap using an old plastic bottle to capture flies naturally? 

You’ll need: 

  • An empty plastic bottle (a 2L water or juice bottle should suffice!)

  • Water

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Bait*

*Flies like stinky, sweet things, so honey or sugar is great. You could also use any other smelly form of bait like rotten fruit or a piece of raw meat. 


  1. Cut off the top of the bottle so you have a little funnel. Turn it upside down and put it inside the bottle’s base (the other half of the bottle). It should sit well but you can tape it if you’re worried about it coming off. 

  2. Add 1-2 drops of dish soap and then fill the base of the bottle with water, leaving a gap between the bottom of the upside down bottle funnel and the soapy water. The dish soap helps to grip fly wings better. 

  3. Then add your fly bait and let this contraption work its magic! 

The flies will be attracted to the scent and venture down the funnel, but once there, they’ll find it difficult to get out and they’ll fall to their fate in the water. Sounds cruel but works! 

Red wine vinegar bowl fruit fly deterrent 

We’re all guilty of leaving those overripe bananas on the counter which another annoying insect just loves to hang around - the fruit fly! 

Red wine vinegar is a popular cooking ingredient, but did you know it’s also a powerful fruit fly deterrent? That’s right, its sweet, tangy scent attracts fruit flies, so give this a go if you’re having a fruit fly crisis this summer. 

You’ll need:

  • Red wine vinegar

  • 2 empty bowls: 1 larger bowl and 1 smaller bowl to float inside of it

  • Dish soap

  • Water


  1. Fill the larger bowl with soapy water, it doesn’t matter if the water is warm or cold as long as it’s sudsy! 

  2. Next, float the smaller bowl in the centre of the larger one and fill it with red wine vinegar to attract the fruit flies. They will swarm around it until they stick to the soapy water and die. 

If the water starts to lose its bubbles, you can simply squeeze more dish soap into the mix until your fruit flies are long gone! 

Best essential oils for repelling insects

These essential oils are the ones we love for their natural insect repellent properties.

From the fresh and citrusy scent of lemongrass to the woody, warm aroma of cedarwood, essential oils are one of the most pleasant-smelling insect repellents you can come across! 

Here are our favourite essential oils which are also most bugs’ least favourite: 

You can use these in any combination for a powerful diffuser blend to repel insects around the house. 

Otherwise, here are some essential oil repellent sprays to get you started! 

Ant spray

Ants like to travel in long lines from outdoors along the walls into whichever window they can find into the house. By tracing where they start entering your home, you can use this spray to cut them at the source and keep them out of sight and out of mind!

You’ll need: 

  • A glass spray bottle
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • Water
  • Cotton balls
  • 1 tbsp witch hazel or vodka (helps mix the oil)


  1. Fill the glass spray bottle with just enough water to leave space for 10 drops of the peppermint essential oil and a tbsp of your mixer (either witch hazel or vodka).
  2. Find the start of the ant trail into your home. Spray the cotton ball thoroughly with the peppermint essential oil mixture and smudge it along the ant trail, then place the same cotton ball at the entrance of the trail (where it enters your home). 

Spider spray

With their many legs and different sizes, spiders can make us jump in fear but some of them also bite - ouch! 

Interestingly, spiders taste and smell with their legs so they tend to avoid walking through areas that have strong scents they dislike. 

Like ants, spiders are not big fans of peppermint essential oil, and this spray combines it with a few other essential oils that will send spiders away. 

You’ll need: 

  • A glass spray bottle
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil 
  • 500mL water 
  • A squeeze of dish soap


  1. Fill the glass spray bottle with water and a squeeze of dish soap before adding in your essential oils.
  2. Spray the mixture on areas prone to spiders or entry points where they tend to get into the house. This could be on windowsills, doorsteps and areas inside the house like behind the toilet and in the shower. 

Mosquito spray

We reckon mosquitoes have to share the award for most annoying bug of the year with flies!

There’s nothing more frustrating than having a lovely, warm summer afternoon with friends and family than mosquitoes attacking all of your legs under the table while sharing a meal!

Here’s the good news - mosquitoes hate citrus essential oils! So keeping these essential oil families on hand during summer should have you sorted - not to mention they smell great as well!

You’ll need: 

  • A small to medium-sized glass spray bottle
  • 10 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil (depending on your preference)
  • 10 drops of any citrus essential oil (we recommend lemon or lemongrass!)
  • Distilled or boiled water (cooled of course!)
  • A tbsp of witch hazel or vodka to disperse the oil


  1. Fill your glass spray bottle with all of the ingredients and shake well.
  2. Spray wherever the mosquitoes flock every 2 - 3 hours. We don’t advise using such a concentrated essential oil spray directly on the skin, so stick to indoor and outdoor use. 

Anti-Moth Spray 

Unfortunately, moths aren’t as pretty or pleasant as butterflies, so most of the time we don’t really want them around. They can hatch eggs on clothing and fabrics which turn into moth larvae who have a diet for clothes made from animal fabrics like silk, wool and cashmere. In addition, they can stain fabrics they land on with their excrement. 

So many of us would rather have a moth free space as these creatures have heavy wings that flutter loudly and are attracted to light which can be irritating. 

Lucky for us, there happens to be an essential oil that moths don’t really like and it’s none other than cedarwood!

Use this anti-moth spray to protect your linens and other garments from clothes moths and spray around your lamps and bulbs to keep moths away. 

You’ll need: 

  • A small to medium sized glass spray bottle
  • 15 - 20 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • Distilled or boiled water (cooled of course!)
  • A tbsp of witch hazel to disperse the oil
  • A microfiber cloth


  1. Fill your glass spray bottle with all of the ingredients and shake well.
  2. Spray liberally around the areas where you keep the clothes and fabrics you would like to protect from moths and use the microfiber cloth to give the spray a good rub into the walls, boards, hangers, shelves and drawers. 

It’s amazing what you can do with what you have around the house already to naturally repel bugs without buying chemical sprays and other toxic products. These are just a few of our favourite ways to keep our houses bug-free naturally but if you’ve got essential oils on hand, there are tons more diffuser blends and sprays you can put together to keep the bugs at bay this summer. 

We hope you enjoyed our list of tips to get rid of household bugs naturally and if you tried one of our DIY natural bug repellents, remember to tag us on Facebook at D:FUSE Aromatherapy or Instagram @dfusenz and let us know how you went! We’d also love to hear from you if you have some of your own, tried and true natural bug repellents to share so we can add to this list in the future! 


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