Gardener sprinkling white Diatomaceous earth powder

How to Make Organic Pest Deterrents Yourself

Tired of dealing with pests in your home or garden? Rather than reaching for a bottle of toxic pesticides, why not whip up a batch of all-natural, organic pest deterrents?

These recipes are safe for humans, pets, and the environment, and they’re just as effective as their chemical counterparts. Read on to learn how to make three different types of organic pest deterrents.

1. Peppermint Oil Spray

This potent spray will keep a wide variety of pests at bay, including ants, spiders, fleas, and mice.

Simply combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of white vinegar and 20 drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle, then shake well.

Flask of peppermint oil on a table. Tag with the text "Peppermint".
Peppermint oil

Spray this mixture around the perimeter of your home (being careful not to get any in your eyes) or wherever you’ve noticed pests congregating. The strong scent of mint will discourage pests from entering your home, and the vinegar will kill any that come into contact with it.

Reapply this spray every few days or as needed.

2. Citrus Peel Repellent

Citrus peels contain limonene, an oil that repels many common household pests, including cockroaches and silverfish.

Lemon peel on white background.
Lemon peel

To make this repellent, simply place citrus peels (or used citrus-scented cleaning wipes) in problem areas such as under appliances, inside cabinets, and behind toilets. You can also tuck them into cracks and crevices where pests like to hide during the day.

Be sure to replace the peels regularly so they don’t become moldy.

3. Diatomaceous Earth ‘Bug Barrier’

Diatomaceous earth is a soft, silica-based sedimentary rock that’s safe for humans but lethal for most insects. When insects come into contact with diatomaceous earth, it punctures their exoskeletons and dehydrates them. You can use diatomaceous earth to create a barrier around your home by sprinkling it around the perimeter or anywhere else you’ve seen pests enter.

Beetle on a potato leaf sprinkled with diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth on a leaf

Just be sure not to apply it near doorways or windows where it could blow inside when it gets windy outside. You’ll also want to avoid inhaling it, so wear a dust mask when applying it. Reapply this barrier every few weeks or as needed.


Pests are no fun—but fortunately, there are plenty of ways to deter them without resorting to harsh chemicals. By using essential oils, citrus peels, diatomaceous earth, or other natural ingredients, you can keep your home or garden pest-free without jeopardizing the health of your family or the environment.

So go ahead and give one of these organic pest deterrents a try. You may just be surprised at how well they work.