18 Tips For De-Bugging Your Kitchen and Bath

With spring encroaching, we're opening up our home. There are some visitors we love—friends who drop by unexpectedly, a visit from our niece and nephew, the mailman with a package, a messenger with a floral delivery—and some we do not. No matter how clean your bathroom or kitchen, you can expect a visit from ants, roaches, flies and other bugs at some point. Before you bring in the toxic chemicals, try these tips.

Ants:

  • A spritz of soapy water makes them retreat.
  • Something as simple as leaving on a night light can confuse and discourage ants.
  • Mint tea or crushed mint leaves, garlic and cloves work as ant deterrents.
  • Set out a line of cucumber peels or slices, cayenne pepper, a soaked string of citrus oil or lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds to make a border ants won't cross.
  • Soak cotton balls in a mixture of one gallon of water, one teaspoon of Borax and a 1/2 cup of sugar. Put them in a container covered with a hole-punched lid so the ants can get in. Ants will carry the bait back to their colonies where it will eventually kill the colony. Important: use indoors only; must be kept away from pets and children.

Roaches

  • Roaches like high places. Put boric acid on top of your kitchen cabinets. (important: keep boric acid away from children and pets.)
  • Sprinkle Diatomaceous earth near roaches. At first you may see more bugs; the powder dehydrates them so they're out looking for water but most of them will be gone within two weeks.
  • Try small bags of catnip or spray catnip tea.
  • Soapy water will also keep away roaches.
  • Bay leaves, cucumber slices or garlic are natural deterrents.
  • Hedgeapples, the fruit of the Osage orange tree, work on many kinds of bugs. Place one in each room to deter bugs for up to two months. Click here to order.

Flies

  • Mint also works to discourage flies.
  • Hang small bags of bay leaves, cloves or eucalyptus by open windows or doors.
  • Fresh Basil and clover will keep flies away from pet food.
  • Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

Silverfish

  • Drown them in soapy water.
  • Diatomaceous earth works on silverfish. Sprinkle around plumbing and damp areas.
  • Citrus is a natural repellent. Try sprays, peels and oil.

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(Image: Flickr member globevisions licensed under Creative Commons)