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Natural Repellents to Prevent Kitchen Pests

Article written by Jessica Loticus.

Jessica is a Bio grad student, animal rights activist, and environmentalist. She is an aspiring journalist who focuses on how animal life is endangered due to human activity. Jessica is concerned about how humans are unwilling to share their habitat with animals. Jessica believes saving animals begins at the home level. Most believe that animals have entered their home but in reality they have occupied the home from the animals in the surrounding environment. There are safe effective ways to take action against animal intruders that endanger neither the animal nor the human. Jessica wants to spread awareness about animal intruder precautions to save local wildlife.

Your kitchen is where you and your family make not only food but memories. These memories can be seriously tainted with an unexpected run-in with a pest, be it a mouse, ants, or a spider. If you want to keep pests out of your kitchen, use these natural prevention methods.

Essential Oils

Although more commonly known for their perceived benefits to human health, essential oils can be a powerful repellent to keep pests out of your kitchen. Ants are common kitchen invaders and if you are trying to keep out insects like ants and spiders, opt for oils such as lemongrass, citronella, and lavender oil. If you are trying to keep out mice and other rodents, consider using eucalyptus or peppermint. Simply mix some of these oils with water, and spray them onto the borders of your kitchen, or anywhere else you are trying to keep these pests away from. Essential oils are completely safe, definitely effective, and they even make your kitchen smell better.

Bay Leaves

You have probably run across the bay leaf in a variety of Italian foods, as it packs a lot of flavor and scent into one dried leaf. This powerful scent can be harnessed by homeowners to keep critters out of their kitchen. Simply place a dry bay leaf on top of the various foods you have in your pantry, and it will deter ants, mice, and a variety of other insects and pests. If you want your food to be really protected, you can even place a leaf inside of the packages with the food.

Chili Peppers

One of the most effective natural repellents for pests is using a hot pepper solution sprayed onto various surfaces. While this might not be feasible for many people, as they do not want to accidentally touch these surfaces and then touch their eyes, this hot chili solution can be applied in places that are out of reach. Rodents strongly dislike this solution, as do ants, mites, and other small insects. To make this, simply mix some chili powder with water and spray or apply it onto your target areas.

Coffee Grounds

It might be surprising, but coffee grounds are an effective natural deterrent of ants. Ants hate coffee grounds because they disturb their scent trails and disorient them. Place coffee grounds by places where ants enter your kitchen or expected places they visit once inside. You can keep these grounds fresh by putting a little bit of water on them each day, thereby increasing their effectiveness. This is a great method, because it only uses your used coffee grounds, saving you money.


The strong scent of cloves may bring memories of helping make gingerbread cookies as a child. You might also be surprised to learn that cloves are a highly-effective natural repellent that keeps mice and rats out of your kitchen. Place clove oil or the clove itself in an area where you believe rodents enter your house or kitchen. The strong scent of clove will deter them, so it can be placed inside of pantries or even inside boxes of packaged foods, such as cereals and crackers.

If you have any questions or comments, join the RylieCakes community on Instagram to get in on the conversation. We’d love to hear from you!

Lick the Bowl, It’s Gluten Free!

Tara Rylie