Spiders tend to find vinegar to be irritating, which may help in repelling spiders, but it’s not a scientifically proven repellent. It fades fast and may not be effective on all species.
Many people spray vinegar on surfaces such as windowsills and outdoor walls to keep spiders away.
Vinegar is generally known to be a good solution for irritating small insects like aphids and whiteflies. It is usually combined with water or alcohol as a ‘natural’ pest control solution.
It’s not recommended that you use undiluted vinegar as an insect repellent because it can cause chemical burns. Rather, use a store-bought pest control solution and follow the label carefully.
Serious spider infestations will still require the help of a local eco-friendly pest control service.
Does Vinegar Repel Spiders?
Vinegar is known to irritate spiders, which may cause them to move on. But, it won’t kill them and may only have a very short-term effect.
Vinegar is an acetic acid, which is often the main ingredient in many commercial insecticides. Vinegar contains approximately 5% acetic acid.
Acetic acid is milder than most chemicals but it’s still strong enough to irritate spiders and insects. Many people believe that spiders are naturally repelled by the smell of vinegar.
In fact, there’s even a scorpion called a Vinegaroon (also known as the Whip Scorpion) who sprays acetic acid as a defence mechanism against predators!
How Can Vinegar Repel Spiders?
Vinegar has a very strong odor, even to humans who can smell it, but to insects and spiders, it is much stronger. It’s believed that spiders are sensitive to the smell of vinegar and find it offensive, which deters them from hanging around.
Even though spiders can’t smell, they can still sense the chemicals inside vinegar, which are highly irritant to their receptors. The acetic acid inside vinegar may annoy a spider.
However, there’s not much evidence showing that it’s all that effective.
For one thing, the smell is going to fade very fast. 6 to 12 hours after the vinegar has been sprayed, it’s likely not going to have any irritant effect whatsoever.
Furthermore, beware that vinegar is highly acidic so you might want to be careful how you use it. Many people dilute the vinegar with water to make it milder on the skin, but we only use store-bought solutions and use them explicitly as directed.
How People Use Vinegar for Spiders
We do not provide a recommendation about whether to use vinegar to repel spiders because there is not enough scientific evidence to support it. Instead, it’s still safest to seek an eco-friendly pest control company to handle your needs.
Below are some ways it has been used as a repellent, provided for general information purposes only.
Most people use vinegar as a repellent by diluting it with water or alcohol. They would usually then place it in a spray bottle so they can use it on surfaces they don’t want spiders on or around the house (especially around entryways).
Vinegar solutions are often a mix of around half a cup of water with one tablespoon of white household vinegar. Too much vinegar can be too harmful for you and your children. For best results, purchase an approved pre-mixed vinegar solution.
Don’t spray vinegar around electrical outlets or inside wiring because it could cause a fire or shock you.
Is Vinegar Safe to Use?
Vinegar is highly acidic, so it can negatively affect parts of your body such as your enamel, esophagus, and stomach in higher quantities. Follow the labels on a store-bought pest control solution rather than creating your own mixture.
However, vinegar is relatively safe compared to many chemical spider repellents. Vinegar can be part of solutions bought for the purposes of pest control. Follow the instructions on the label are carefully followed.
Vinegar works best when used in combination with water or alcohol (mixed into a spray bottle). Store-bought solutions will have the correct dilution so it’s effective but also safer for use.
You should take care to avoid getting it on your skin or around your eyes as it is a known irritant. Don’t use it around children or pets.
If you do get vinegar on your skin, then apply cold water to the affected area to neutralize the acid. You can also wash it off with soap and water. Remember that vinegar is acidic, so using vinegar straight from the bottle can cause chemical burns if you come into contact with it.
Using pure vinegar as a spider repellent can be a problem because it can cause chemical burns and other unwanted side effects.
So, What Works Better?
There are clearly many substances that are much more effective than vinegar at repelling spiders.
Of all the supposed ‘home remedies’, peppermint oil and chestnuts are the two that appear to be most effective. The rest are ‘old wives tales’.
The main branded store-bought spider repellents usually do have an effect in killing or maiming spiders. But, the best way to deter spiders is to keep your home clean and block cracks in doors and entryways. Spiders are more prone to going into locations that are messy.
If you have an infestation, the best solution is to contact an eco-friendly pest control company who can use professional methods to address the issue.
Below is an interesting video on a few more home remedies. As with this article, the professor debunks many common ‘natural’ home remedy spider repellent myths:
OUR ARTICLES ON SPIDER REPELLENTS:
Overall, while vinegar is a common household pest control product, its efficacy is only anecdotal. There is minimal scientific evidence backing-up the claim that it works very effectively at all.
If it is effective, it likely would only be very temporary, if at all.
We wouldn’t recommend topping up your spray bottle with undiluted vinegar straight from the bottle. Rather, it’s better to purchase an environmentally friendly spider repellent solution from the supermarket.
If there’s a spider infestation, vinegar spray alone will not be sufficient to repel spiders. You would likely need to contact an eco-friendly pest control agent.