What Smells Do Spiders Hate? How to keep spiders out of your home

Spiders play an important role in the balance of our planet’s ecosystem by controlling the population of bugs that might otherwise destroy important plant life.

Unfortunately, people often see spiders as nothing but pests that make a mess of their homes with sticky webs. And others are so scared of them that they scream and run away whenever one creeps into view.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a fragrance that stopped spiders from choosing to weave their homes in ours? Well, it is claimed by many that there is. What smells do spiders genuinely hate?

A house spider ready to hate a fragrance.

As a general rule, spiders hate strong smells like lemon and mint; at least that’s the belief! To deter spiders, you must apply a scent they dislike wherever you want to stop them nesting. There is, however, one feature of spiders that means simply spraying your home with a smell they hate is a total waste of time!

As a word of warning, if you choose to use undiluted essential oils of any fragrance to deter spiders, please be aware that in this form they can be toxic to any household pets, particularly cats. Make sure it is well out of their reach.

What natural scent repels spiders?

1. Lemon

Lemon is a great natural spider repellent. Many bugs, including spiders, hate the citric and ascorbic acid in lemons as opposed to the lemon scent itself. Any citrus fruit will have the same effect, so try lemon, orange, or grapefruit peel to keep these eight-legged creepy-crawlies away.

Rub lemon anywhere you think spiders may squeeze into your house and anywhere they create their homes. If the spiders hate it enough, they should stay away. Either way, your home will benefit from the clean smell of lemon scent.

Do spiders hate lemon fragrance?

2. Mint

Another fragrance spiders appear to have an aversion to is mint. No one really knows why but they do seem to steer clear of it. One possible reason might be the fact that it is an overpowering fragrance, particularly if you use peppermint essential oil as a deterrent. Whatever the outcome, your home will smell extremely fresh.

3. Lavender

Another pungent aroma that it is claimed is disliked by our little arachnid friends is lavender. Try adding little sprigs here, there and everywhere. If it fails to do the trick, at least your home will smell lovely. One side effect is you may find yourself feeling very relaxed and even sleepy.

4. Cedar

Another trick that many people swear by is burning cedar incense. Apparently, it’s a smell that soon has spiders packing their bags. Of course, there is no harm in trying any of your favorite incense fragrances.

There is a good reason why this might not be effective as we explain in a moment. But if you do try this method, I can guarantee your home will be filled with a beautiful cedar aroma.

Spiders may hate the fragrance of cedar incense

5. Conkers (chestnuts)

There has long been a belief that spiders dislike the smell of conkers. Apparently hanging them around the areas of your home that spiders frequent will drive them away.

Many now refute this claim and I can find no hard evidence of it working, and as you will find out soon, there’s a very good reason why.

However, if you can collect some conkers for free there seems no harm in testing out this method in your home.

How do spiders pick up scents?

Spiders don’t have noses like ours but they do have a method of sensing smells. When people refer to spiders as having eight hairy legs they really do have and it’s the hairs on their legs that detect scents.

As spiders crawl over objects they interpret if they are edible or not. They also know if it’s a fragrance they dislike and move away from it.

What this really tells us is that an airborne scent in a room cannot deter spiders. If you wish to use scent to keep spiders away you literally have to coat every surface a spider is likely to crawl in through. This seems like a nigh-on impossible task.

The Best Spider Repellents

You don’t have to use smells to repel spiders. There are many other ways you can deter them and keep your home as spider-free as possible without harming them. Here are our favorite three:

1. Fill up every little gap that you can

If you block any obvious spider entrances into your home, you are halfway to winning the battle against spider invasions.

Obviously, you can’t block certain entry points such as air vents and keyholes but by removing the majority of their ways in, you will decrease your spider population.

2. Declutter and clean

Spiders like to hide and weave webs amongst clutter, so the less you have the fewer spiders you’ll have too. If you constantly vacuum away their webs they will not stay in that area for long.

Of course, they may just pick another part of your house that you can’t reach so easily!

3. Get a cat

A  cats is a good spider deterrent.

Getting a cat may seem quite a drastic measure for some people but they do love to chase spiders! They are ideal for frightening away those big hairy ones that run across the carpet straight towards you.

The downside is, a cat may eat spiders, not that this will cause any harm to it but it is sad to destroy spiders!

Diatomaceous Earth and why I dislike it

Diatomaceous Earth consists of the crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life. It is labeled non-toxic and is harmless to people and pets.

However, rather than deterring spiders, Diatomaceous Earth actually kills them which I think is cruel. For this reason, I would not recommend it. After all, spiders have as much right to walk the Earth as we do.


Spiders may or may not hate certain fragrances and may be dissuaded from making your home their home by them. You can discover if this is true of any particular scent by trial and error.

Bear in mind the essential role spiders play on our planet and try to be tolerant of them. Most are harmless to people. Avoid killing them and use natural deterrents if you don’t want them to share your living space.

Jane Pettitt

Hi, I'm Jane. I've had a passion for perfume since the age of 18. Purelyfragrance.com answers popular fragrance-related questions and contains guides to all sorts of perfumes, colognes, and fragrances for men and women. I write at home surrounded by cats (we have 4 at the moment) and also blog about these and other pets on petskb.com.

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