7 Ways To Pest Proof Your House In 15 Minutes

Pest proof your home against spiders, stinkbugs, mice, and more—without toxic chemicals.

April 10, 2017
cockroach in sink
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No one likes dealing with mice, cockroaches, stinkbugs, spiders, and other insects in their homes, but opting for the chemical pest-control sprays will only pollute the air inside your home, and could put you at risk for various types of cancer and nervous system problems. (Here are 7 steps you should take to detox the air in your home). Also, they’re unnecessary: The best way of handling insects and other pests in your home is keeping them out in the first place by thoroughly pest proofing your house.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Most pests can be controlled with some DIY pest control tricks that take less than 15 minutes and could actually save you money in the long run. Here's what to do:

ants
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Set Out Sticky Traps

It can take all of five minutes to set out glue traps, such as the Victor Poison-Free Insect Magnet.

What you'll stop

Anything that crawls—spiders, stinkbugs, roaches, ants, crickets, and silverfish.

Related: Why You Should Never Squish A House Centipede Even If They Do Freak You Out

dirty plate
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Clean Up Your Kitchen

Set aside 15 minutes of every day to wipe down your countertops with vinegar (vinegar removes odor trails left behind by foraging insects such as ants), put dirty dishes in your dishwasher, sweep your floors, mop up any spills, put away food, and empty your garbage, if needed. On grocery day, transfer any food that comes in a plastic bag from its original packaging to tightly sealed glass jars, particularly grains, rice, pet food, and nuts.

What you'll stop

Pests coming inside looking for a meal, from roaches and ants to mice, as well as wasps and spiders, which feed on the insects coming indoors looking for food.

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caulking
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Seal Up Their Entry Points

Insects and mice will use even the tiniest hole to get inside your warm, cozy home, and a tube of low-VOC silicone caulk, which you can find at any hardware store, can be your best friend in sealing up those holes.

Pay particular attention to window and door frames, the seal around your external dryer vent, anyplace where pipes enter or leave your home, and anywhere TV or cable wires come inside. Stuff some steel wool into larger holes, or cover them with wire mesh, before sealing them up.

Bonus: In sealing up all those pest entry points, you'll also be sealing up tiny air leaks that allow precious heat to escape your home during the winter.

What you'll stop

Every pest that views your house as its new home.

Related: Eeeek! Mice In The Compost!

gap under door
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Install A Door Sweep

Another tool that keeps pests from entering your home and will save you energy this winter, a door sweep blocks the gap between the bottom of your door and the ground. You can buy one at any hardware store, and for a super-easy fix, buy the kind that simply sticks onto the door with an adhesive strip—no drilling needed.

What you'll stop

As with caulk, every pest that views your house as its new home.

Related: 8 Invaluable Things You Should Always Buy At The Thrift Store

vacuuming
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Vacuum

It won’t be possible to seal up every hole or keep every critter from crawling indoors. That’s where a weekly vacuuming session comes in handy. You’ll suck up any crawling insects that make it indoors and trap them before they can get crushed and stink (stinkbugs) or leave stains (some varieties of ladybugs). Plus, if they’re gross—cockroaches—you can vacuum them up without having to squish anything.

What you'll stop

All crawling insects.

Related: I Ate 3 Eggs Every Single Morning For A Week—Here’s What I Learned

spotless kitchen
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Clear The Clutter

In addition to weekly vacuuming, spend 15 minutes a week clearing out piles of newspaper or junk mail and removing piles of clothing from your floors. All these things serve as nice, dark hiding places for insects.

What you'll stop

Roaches, spiders, stinkbugs, and silverfish.

Related: 6 Ways To Get Rid Of Silverfish

leaky faucet
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Fix Leaky Faucets

Insects need water to survive, and the most common source for them is a drippy faucet. Crud accumulation can open the seal of many single-lever faucets, forcing a slow leak. Fixing leaky faucets is a lot easier than you might think and, like sealing up cracks, it’s an insect-control measure that’s good for your wallet and for the planet.  (Here are 10 Ways To Save Water In Your Garden)

Here’s how to fix a leaky faucet: Turn off the water supply under the sink, and loosen the screw at the base of the faucet handle. Lift off the faucet handle, disassemble the washers and movable parts, and soak them in white vinegar. (Replace any washers that have obvious cracks or gaps.) Wipe everything dry and put the faucet back together.

What you'll stop

Mice, cockroaches, and spiders.

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