18 Tips For De-Bugging Your Kitchen and Bath

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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.


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

(Image: Flickr member globevisions licensed under Creative Commons)