Non-Toxic Strategies for the Pest-Free Home

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Are pests a problem in your property? Do you want to deal with them without using potentially harmful chemicals? Designer and homeowner advice expert Jessica Ackerman weighs in on some tips to do just that.  Take a look!


Spiders, and ants, and rodents, oh my!

There is never a shortage of pests for homeowners to worry about, and if you’re like me, the idea of sharing your home with pests is certainly disconcerting. When the home is set upon by these crawling critters, a first instinct is invariably to turn to toxic pesticides to get rid of the little invaders. I know that I have been willing to “nuke” these creepy-crawlies at times in the past just to be rid of them.

But there are alternative, non-toxic strategies that you can use to keep your home pest-free – without using chemicals that can be harmful to your family and our fragile planet. For example, the natural chemical alternative known as borate can be used on lumber to repel insects while not harming humans.

Barrier Methods
The easiest way to deal with pests in the home is probably to keep them from entering in the first place. If you do a complete inspection of your home, chances are you will find plenty of little cracks and crevices where insects and other pests can get in. Use a tube of caulk to fix any cracks you might find, both inside your home and around the exterior walls. Using caulk in the house to fill small cracks will make your home much less desirable to insects by reducing nesting and hiding locations. Use screens on all windows and crawl spaces, and keep them in good repair. Cleanliness is also important, since dirt, food crumbs and dirty dishes can attract pests to your home. Keep food items in tightly closed containers and vacuum on a regular basis.

Insect and Animal Traps
Traps are a well-known way of dealing with insects and other pests. Although some people have an aversion to dealing with the trapped pests, I certainly prefer this method to using dangerous chemicals in my home. There are sticky traps, flypaper and “bug zappers” that work well for insects, glue boards and snap traps that can be used for mice, and larger traps that can be used for rats and other larger rodents. Traps are inexpensive, easy to use, and have a proven track record for keeping homes pest-free without resorting to pesticides and other chemicals.

Natural Repellents
I mentioned previously that borate is often used to keep insects away. But, there are also plenty of other natural substances that you can use to help keep your home pest-free. Herbs such as wormwood, eucalyptus, peppermint oil, and cloves have been used for generations to keep insects and pests away from the home. Other natural repellents include cedar wood and a sprinkling of baby powder. However, it’s important to remember that “natural” doesn’t always mean “safe,” since some people are allergic to certain plant oils. Be sure to test for sensitivities before using in your home. Also, although sprinkling a little borax in the corners of your cabinets will help repel insects without resorting to pesticides, you should keep it away from children and pets, since it can be toxic if eaten.


Thanks a lot, Jessica!

Jessica Ackerman, author and staff designer at, specializes in southwestern metal wall artwork and fleur de lis metal wall art.



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Jessica Ackerman

Jessica Ackerman grew up working in her family’s construction business beginning in the back office and migrating to the actual, hands on construction side of the enterprise. In addition to writing posts on the BuildDirect blog, Jessica is currently a senior staff writer for an online home decor store called Wall Decor and Home Accents.