Does White Vinegar Keep Spiders Away? How to Use Vinegar to Repel Spiders

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Despite having a lot of commercial pesticides and repellents out in the market today, many homeowners still prefer to do it old school and use white vinegar, especially when it comes to getting rid of spiders.

However, we don’t really know how effective this condiment is. All we have to keep us going are experiences from people who regularly use it for pest control. But seriously, does white vinegar keep spiders away? Does it really work? Here’s what we have to say about that.

Does White Vinegar Keep Spiders Away? How to Use Vinegar to Repel Spiders

Spider problems? That bottle of vinegar in your kitchen might be able to help you. CC Image courtesy of Mike Mozart on Flickr and Pixabay

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Is white vinegar an effective spider repellent?

By volume, white vinegar is made up of about 5 to 20% acetic acid or glacial acetic acid. This organic substance is what gives the condiment its acidity and signature pungent sour odor.

Though the acid is not so powerful that it can instantly melt solid objects, it’s still an agent that can corrode mild steel as well as unclog those drains in your house. So it can dissolve certain things like scum, food and mineral deposits.

As a pesticide, pure acetic acid is a known weed killer, a herbicide. The acid is powerful enough to break up a plant’s cell membranes causing it to leak out fluids, dry out and eventually die.

Even though white vinegar only partially contains acetic acid, it is still powerful enough to ward spiders off because these creatures are sensitive to their surroundings. Vinegar affects them because they interpret smell and taste through the sensors located in their legs.

Smelling and tasting are closely related. Fundamentally, they’re interpretations of the chemicals that go through our noses and mouths. We experience flavor by combining smells and tastes. Spiders take this to an alien-like level. The sensors in their legs help them interpret their surroundings by literally stepping on the things that they smell and taste. So if you spray vinegar all over a surface, they’ll instantly recoil back and find other surfaces that don’t have the aroma and sour flavor of white vinegar.

How to Use Vinegar to Repel Spiders


To be successful at using vinegar as a spider repellent, you have to remember quite a few things. These tips will help you get the most out of this DIY deterrent.

  • Vinegar is safe. White vinegar can sting your eyes and open wounds. Other than that, it’s generally safe for houses, especially if you have kids and pets living with you.
  • Mix it with essential oils. Like we always say in a lot of our posts, essential oils work wonders against spiders. So experiment with mixing them into your spray. Lemon, lavender, peppermint, cedar, eucalyptus and tea tree oil are the most common pest repellents.
  • Add pure vanilla extract. For Hunker, adding 3 parts vanilla extract into your repellent gives it a much more bearable smell.
  • Apply the repellent 3 to 4 times a month. Regularly spray your repellent a few times a month to give the spiders zero chances at staying inside your house.
  • Dilute it with water. Vinegar works well even if you combine it with water. You can either have more vinegar than water or keep equal amounts of each liquid in your spray bottle.
  • The repellent is not rain-proof. Of course, since it can be diluted with water, rain can easily wash it off. So reapply the repellent after it rains, or do it twice a week.
  • Vinegar takes hours to dry. The condiment takes a few hours to dry. So before that happens, your house will temporarily reek of its characteristic sour odor.

So with this post, we hope that it doesn’t only answer the question “Does white vinegar keep spiders away?” but it’ll also help you tackle the horrible spider problem in your house – using a cheap, affordable and convenient item that you can just borrow from your kitchen.

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