How to Control Pests Using Natural Methods

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Written by Bernie Carr

If you live in an apartment, you’re likely to experience pest problems at one time or another. Multi-family dwellings share walls, floors, pipes that make it easy for unwanted critters to travel between units. Most landlords offer pest control using common industrial pesticides. Though this may be an easy way to control pests, any exposure to pesticides presents a risk to people, pets and the environment, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.

You can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals by using these natural pest deterrents, made from items you may already have in your kitchen, or easily purchased at the grocery store.

Soap spray

Soap spray kills silverfish, cockroaches, white flies, spider mites, aphids and meal bugs. According to the Colorado State University Extension website, soap has been used to control bugs for over 200 years. The spray works by disrupting the cell membranes of insects; they dry out and die due to loss of water. Make your own soap spray with the following recipe: Mix one teaspoon dish-washing liquid with two cups of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle. As with any soap products, avoid spraying near eyes.

Soap spray will not harm most house plants and can be used to cleanse plants of bug infestations. To be on the safe side, test on a small area first before treating the entire plant.


In addition to being a flavorful and healthy spice, garlic is a powerful insect repellent. It can be used to guard against mosquitoes, and protect plants from common garden pests. The pungent odor deters insects from eating or laying eggs in your plants and other areas.

Try the following recipe: Crush three cloves of garlic and mix with two cups of boiling water and a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Allow the mixture to cool. Strain the mixture. You can use the mixture a couple of ways:

1. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray in problem areas to deter mosquitoes and other flying insects. Keep out of reach of children or pets and spray away from your eyes. Garlic spray is non-toxic but can be an eye irritant.

2. Moisten long strips of cloth with the garlic and water mixture and hang in areas where insects congregate such as the corners of a patio or balcony.

Apple cider vinegar

Apply cider vinegar is a great ingredient for salad dressing, but it is also useful for lots of other uses such as controlling insects.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural way to protect your dog or cat against fleas. Though it will not kill fleas, it will make your pet’s coat undesirable to fleas, causing them to vacate.

Try these two recipes:

  1. Mix equal parts of apply cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on your pet’s coat, avoiding eyes and ears.

2. Add apple cider vinegar to your dog or cat’s water bowl using the following proportion: Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to four cups of water. Introduce your pet to the new taste by giving them small amounts of the mixture initially.


Mint tea bags can be used to repel moths. Place mint tea bags in your drawers and closets as you would a sachet. Another alternative is to soak cotton balls with mint essential oil and distribute among your clothes. Your drawers will have a pleasant minty smell!

To repel ants, place mint tea bags in areas where you have spotted ants.

Rubbing a mint leaf directly on your skin will keep annoying insects away.

You can even repel mice using mint spray. Brew a strong batch of mint tea. Once it has cooled, pour the mint tea into in a spray bottle. Spray inside cabinets where you suspect mice.

Companion plants

Are insects preventing you from enjoying your patio? Plant a few insect repelling plants such as marigolds, citronella grass, catnip and rosemary among your house plants.

Want something stronger?

Make this bio-pesticide using onion and garlic peels (instead of throwing the peels away). Instructions can be found here.

Getting rid of pests does not have cause a health risk to you and your family. These natural pest control tips will help you keep your apartment pest free without getting exposed to poisonous chemicals.

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.






Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

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