Natural Ways to Repel Bugs, Ants, and Insects this Summer

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Saving By Making about ways to reuse items all around your house, and I’m excited to welcome Christine from to Live Renewed:

Naturally Repel Bugs, Ants & Insects This Summer at

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt 

So, you have bugs. Or ants. Or insects.

It’s unfortunate. It’s upsetting. Sometimes it’s even harmful.

Thankfully, it’s also preventable!

Repelling bugs that creep into your home might be easier than you expect. You can do it easily and naturally; without bringing harmful toxins into your home.

Reduce Clutter and Maintain a Clean Home

The first step in eliminating bugs, ants, and other insects while also preventing them from returning is to eliminate junk and clean your home thoroughly. When your home is messy, all of the clutter lying around provides ample hiding places for those creepy, crawly bugs to build their home. The mess also prevents you from cleaning crumbs, goo, and grime that’s attracting those bugs.

Start by purging items you no longer need, organizing the rest, and then cleaning the infected area thoroughly. Scrub. Disinfect. Vacuum. Get it clean!

Next, you absolutely must maintain that area and keep it clean so the bugs don’t have a reason to return. If you need to set up a cleaning schedule, then do it! It’s imperative for keeping those bugs away!

Photo by Jeremy Vandel

Use Natural Ingredients to Repel Bugs, Ants, and Insects

Surprisingly, there are an array of natural ingredients that repel bugs, ants, and insects in the home. For some it may only take one of these solutions. But, if you have a major bug problem, you may want to try them all!


Vinegar is one of those magic ingredients. It cleans, it disinfects, and it even repels ants! Spray vinegar on and around any area that has an ant problem.

Plants and Herbs

Basil, mint, lemongrass, rosemary, garlic citronella plants, marigolds, and tansies are all fantastic bug, ant, and insect repellents. Plant them in your yard and put them in pots around your doors and windows. They’ll add color to the exterior while also keeping those pesky bugs at bay. You can even put an entire bunch of the herbs or crush them and sprinkle them around your indoor problem areas.

Seriously, it’s as simple as going to the store (or out to your garden), getting a bunch of basil (or mint, or rosemary…), and placing it near the spot the bugs are entering (whether it be on the kitchen counter, in the cabinet, or on the window sill).


Sprinkle cinnamon on any ants you see and around the area they are entering the house. You can also dust items like the sugar bowl with cinnamon to keep ants away.

Baby Powder

Ants don’t like baby powder for some reason so it can be used in a way similar to cinnamon.


If you know where ants are entering your home, draw a circle around the opening with chalk. For some reason, they won’t cross over the line. I haven’t actually been able to try this one but I would just love to see the chalk line in action!

Personal Insect Repellent

Bugs not only wreck havoc indoors, but if you’re super sweet, they probably love to attack you when you go outdoors. Many of these natural repellents can be adapted to act as a repellent that can be used on your body.


Steep mint, rosemary, or basil in hot water like you would tea. Pour in a spray bottle and store in your refrigerator. Use as an insect repellent by spraying on your skin when needed.

Dryer Sheets

Keep dryer sheets in your pockets and/or rub the dryer sheets on your skin and clothes before going outside.


Rub a slice of onion over your skin to keep mosquitoes and other insects away. (I don’t think I’ll try this! If you do, let me know!)

Citrus Peels

Rub citrus peels (oranges, lemons, limes) on skin keep bugs away.

Vanilla Extract

Mix one cup of water and one tablespoon of vanilla extract (make sure corn syrup isn’t listed in the ingredients or it will make you sticky!). Bugs will stay away if you spray on your skin.

So, how do you repel bugs naturally?

Christine doesn’t like bugs. She doesn’t like to clean either! Thankfully, there are several ways to eliminate bugs but she hasn’t yet been able to find a way to defeat the dreadful task of cleaning. Instead, she does everything in her power to find the best tips and tricks to get the job done faster and easier! If you’d like to implement those tips yourself, visit her today at

Visit Life…Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!


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  1. says

    I discovered that ants don’t like citrus when I began using a natural grapefruit dish soap in the middle of “ant on the counter” season. I began using the dish soap and they all went away! It was great!

  2. tara says

    I don’t really think dryer sheets should be listed. There are soooo many yucky chemicals in dryer sheets!

    • says

      That a good point Tara. Since I just put the dryer sheets in my pockets I don’t really consider that as being harmful to my body. But, I’m still learning and it’s a very valid concern! They do have “natural” dryer sheets but I haven’t done enough research to know exactly what ingredients are in those.

      • Mandy says

        Also Bay works to repel bugs too. I have a few branches from my mom’s bay tree in my pantry and the ants are gone!

  3. says

    Cinnamon definitely works on ants. Mine come out from behind a switch above my kitchen counter, and I just sprinkle the cinnamon above the switch plate. And they don’t enter! And the “tea” for insect repellent sounds like a great idea–I’ve got tons of mint, so I just might try that!

  4. says

    I, too, want to caution against rubbing dryer sheets on your skin. Fabric softeners cause my daughter to break out in eczema so I read up on them a little and conventional fabric softeners are no longer part of my household.

  5. says

    Just yesterday DH and I noticed some ants in our house, and DH said, “hey, can you look up some natural ways to get rid of the ants?” — which shocked me b/c he is all about using the harshest chemicals possible, usually. :) I guess I’m rubbing off on him. Anyway — thank you for the tips. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for us!

  6. says

    Be careful with cinnamon. If it is left lying around to repel ants, people or pets may accidentally get it on themselves, and it can burn!

    I remembered this article when I began seeing a lot of ants in my kitchen. We haven’t yet figured out where they’re coming in, but under the dishwasher is a likely option, so I sprinkled cinnamon all along the baseboard there.

    Last night, while standing at the sink, my bare foot began to feel very hot and puffy. It seemed to be more than a reaction to warm weather. When I absently rubbed that foot against the other ankle, suddenly I had a hot spot on my ankle, too. I realized that, although I was not standing in visible cinnamon, I probably had picked up a little of it. I’ve had cinnamon in my eye before, and it felt just like that, only worse! My discomfort was gone as soon as I washed my feet but returned as soon as I walked barefoot in the kitchen again.

    I think I’ll try vinegar instead!

    • Mandy says

      Ingesting cinnamon or getting it on your skin shouldn’t cause a reaction unless your allergic to it. Thats a very good possibility for you. I would think cinnamon would be great cause its natural and smells great too! I wonder about cinnamon sticks…

      • says

        I have never had any reaction to eating cinnamon. I doubt I am allergic. Try rubbing straight cinnamon all over your damp foot and between your toes, and I bet it will make your skin burn, too–it is strong stuff. Just like lemon juice, raw garlic, cayenne pepper, vinegar, etc., it is safe to eat but that does not mean you can apply it full strength to your skin without discomfort. Especially, cinnamon or other strong substances could be very uncomfortable for a baby or dog who is likely to encounter it face first if it is sprinkled along the baseboard.

  7. says

    I would like to add that moth balls are also good in controlling pest. I tried it at home for roaches and rats. It’s very effective. I can only see few roaches now than before.

    • maggie says

      Moth balls are paradichlorobenzene! You do not want a benzene product in your house while you are inhaling the vapors. It’s bad stuff.
      -Maggie, B.S. Chemistry.

  8. Donna S. says

    Has anybody tried these bug repellent tricks on earwigs? Or will I be the first? I am going to give them a try. I have a huge earwig problem and I also have dogs, so I need a safe way to get rid of them. I hope one of these will work for me. If I have luck, I will post again with my results. Thank you for the tips.

  9. Mandy says

    Does anybody know if vinegar repels centipedes? Tea Tree oil can be expensive, but I’ve been getting a lot of centipedes and sprayed vinegar around all the baseboards, windows and doors. I really hope this works because they creep me out.

  10. says

    I see that it has been quite some time since anything has been posted so I hope people still read this.
    I am trying to find a remedy to repel No See Ums in the interior and exterior of my home. It gets quite bad the closer to summer we get. I keep scratching and also my kitty keeps scratching her nose and getting it raw.

  11. wscott says

    My wife had me move a rosemary bush from the front of the house, and I ended up replanting it near a red ant colony. Within the week I found that the colony had up and moved 20 feet away. I’ am now going to propagate that rosemay into as many plants as I can get growing all over the the yard and around the house. That’s a miracle plan I’m telling you.


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