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Keep ants, fleas and roaches out of your home for good with these 10 simple methods
Cheap, easy, and effective.
Jessica
04.07.22

No one wants insects or other pests in their home, but no matter how much we clean, sometimes nature has a way of sneaking inside.

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One option is pesticides, but these agents often contain chemicals that can be harmful to our air quality, cause allergies, or be accidentally ingested by our pets. That’s why so many people look for less toxic or even natural ways to keep insects on the other side of the door.

Home remedies vs. natural pest control best?

Home remedies for insects usually refer to something convenient that you already have around the house. These can also be chemical, store-bought substances, but they typically aren’t as potentially toxic as pesticides.

Natural remedies usually refer to non-chemical substances or tricks to keep bugs at bay. And while they may work well, they often don’t work quickly, or they’re better at preventing invasions than helping one that has already begun. This can be problematic if you’re dealing with fleas and roaches since they can cause real damage and become much harder to eradicate.

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We all have to do our own internal calculus about what we’re willing to pay or risk if we’re already seeing insects in the house. Depending on what you see inside, you may choose a commercial remedy and then set up natural preventive measures later to keep insects from coming back.

Easy ways to keep pests at bay

If you have or expect to have a problem with insects, there are plenty of options to help you do the trick that doesn’t involve commercial pesticides.

So if you’re concerned about your air quality or overall health, give these a try for mild to moderate invasion situations:

1. Salt your carpet to kill fleas

Salt can kill fleas in as little as 12 hours. So if your pet has been outdoors and comes back with some tiny, uninvited guests, table salt is one quick, easy, and cheap way to start eliminating them right away.

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Of course, you don’t want to salt your dog, so sprinkling table salt into rugs and carpet (or high-pile furniture) is the next best thing since that’s where they tend to take refuge when they’re not feeding.

Fleas need moisture to survive, so the purpose of rubbing some salt into carpeting is that it’ll dry out that space, and therefore the fleas, killing them and preventing their larvae from developing. You want to apply the salt liberally and rub it into the fibers.

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Of course, if you’re going to try this, be sure you have a good vacuum cleaner. Frequent vacuuming is not only another great way to control fleas, but you will want to suck up that salt once its job is done. (You’ll also want to immediately empty the canister and take it out to the trash.

2. Draw a line that ants can’t cross with household products

Creating a perimeter around your home is another great way to protect your property, but it’s only a preventative measure.

Exterminators use pesticides to create a perimeter that ants and other insects won’t cross, but you can do it with household products as well. There are some scents and substances that ants will steer clear of that are probably already in your kitchen cabinets.

Ant deterrents include cinnamon, mint, chili pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cloves, garlic, and bay leaves. In their powdered forms, they can be used right outside of doors or even in cabinets if the ants are already inside and looking for a place to thrive.

3. Dish soap for fleas

There are all kinds of dish soaps out there, but most people reach for Dawn when it comes to dealing with pests. The truth is, any dish soap will kill fleas because the surfactants in soap will compromise their exoskeletons and allow them to drown in the water you’re using to create the suds.

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But fleas can really do a number on your pets, so it’s something you’ll want to run by your vet. And giving your pet a soapy bath certainly won’t prevent fleas in any way. It’s just a good move if you’re coming in from a walk late and night and are afraid you might have brought home some critters, or you don’t have access to a better option.

4. Homemade ant bait

If you want to see the proof that you’ve lured ants to their death, you can set up a trap inside your home that will draw them in and keep them from getting back out.

The most effective home method uses three parts powdered sugar, one part borax (boric acid), and a little water mixed in and put in a dish to lure in the ants. The sugar will attract them, while the borax will kill them.

However, many of us don’t want borax on the floor either, especially if we have kids and pets. So you can substitute baking soda, though it’s probably not going to be as effective.

5. Remove moisture to dehydrate roaches

Insects need access to water to stay alive. By removing any excess moisture in your home, you can count on the little invaders to die within days.

But that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It requires checking behind appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine to ensure there are no leaks (even tiny ones), assuring all plumbing is airtight, and installing dehumidifiers in places where moisture may get in (such as basements and bathrooms).

6. Candles for fleas

Need mood lighting AND a flea killer? You can make a flea trap by grabbing a shallow bowl or a plate, pouring in some dishwashing liquid, and placing a candle in the middle.

The fleas will be drawn to the light and get trapped in the dense dish soap, and you’ll be able to see how many you caught.

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Of course, you never want to turn your back on an open flame in your house. And you’ll want to make sure the candle is not heating the dish soap and releasing fumes.

7. Deter roaches with aromas

Apparently, roaches aren’t fans of aromatherapy. Just like ants, there are some scents they cannot tolerate. That makes them great repellants.

Using scents such as bay leaves, mint, cedar, cucumber, lemon, and even Listerine, you can spray an area to make it off-limits to the creepy crawlies.

8. Keep things clean

Having insects in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a good housekeeper. Critters can get in anywhere. However, they can’t survive long in a home that doesn’t provide them with food or water.

The first step to keeping insects from moving in is to ensure your home is clean, particularly your kitchen. That means frequent sweeping and vacuuming, washing down kitchen and bathroom countertops and appliances, taking out the trash more frequently, not letting recycling pile up if it contains moisture (as bottles sometimes do), and ensuring all food containers are airtight.

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It also means you’ll have to do more frequent deep cleaning, including washing the areas behind your appliances.

Any fabrics (whether clothing or carpeting) that have been exposed to insects such as fleas should be washed with hot water, if possible. However, some things may be a lost cause. Pillows and mattresses, for example, can hold moisture over time, and fleas can be nearly impossible to evict. You may need to throw some things away to stop the infestation (and seal up any new ones you buy with special covers).

9. Seal the perimeter

No matter how much you love nature, it’s hard not to think of keeping it out of your home as a battle you’ll do anything to win.

Another way to keep the offenders at bay and prevent them from entering your home in the first place is to seal all points of entry.

Insects don’t typically waltz in the front door – they get in through cracks, windows, screens, and gaps in floors or windows. Using calk or an expanding sealant, you can block off their entry points.

And while the spring and summer may be times you want to fling open the windows, it’s crucial to ensure all screens are intact and you’re not attracting bugs to vulnerable points by putting new mulch, stacks of wood, or flowers that attract invaders right outside the window.

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10. Find the source

If all else fails and you’re dealing with an infestation that you need to deal with on your own, your best bet is to try to find the critters’ home base. That’s typically the place where they lay eggs.

So while you’re busy eradicating the living creatures, you want to be sure the next generation doesn’t come back to haunt you.

These nests may be inside or outside of your home. For example, roaches may hang out behind the refrigerator while ant colonies are generally outside.

Boric acid and food-grade diatomaceous earth sprinkled near roach hangouts will do the job. Simple boiling water is enough to kill an ant colony if you manage to get to the queen.

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Keep in mind that many insects are beneficial to the environment, so destroying nests outside may not be the best bet for your home, especially if those insects play a role in eating other ones (or serving as food for birds).

Even ants are ecologically beneficial!

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Ready for some more specific tips on de-bugging your home? Scroll down to watch the video below!

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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