Which Organic Pest Control Should You Use In Your Kitchen?

Pests in the kitchen

Spring marks the end of winter but unfortunately the arrival of fine days marks the arrival of unwelcome guests in our homes, especially in our kitchens. Who of us has ever happened to wake up in the morning and find the countertop full of ants, or cockroaches antennas waving to us behind the microwave?

Your kitchen is a very sensitive room, and you surely don’t want to expose your family and pets to toxic chemicals. You should adopt a natural approach to deal with these critters.

This is a step by step guide on how to make a natural pesticide for the kitchen.

Which organic pesticide should you use in your house?

I made a table of some natural, inexpensive, organic pesticides that you can make at home. Most of the ingredients you need are possibly stocked in your kitchen pantry.

AntsCinammon, Soapy Water, Garlic Spray, Essential Oils
CockroachesCatnip, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), Soapy Water, Essential Oils, Neem Oil, Boric Acid
Mice & Rats Snap Traps, Glue Traps
FliesCitron Smell, Essential Oils, Neem Oil
Slug, Snails and SpidersHimalayan Crystal Salt Neem Oil
Stink Bugs, FleasMint Leaves, Peppermint Oil
MosquitosEssential Oils, Neem Oil

** Please keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets, since they can be very harmful if swallowed.

Let’s take a further look into these organic pest controls and discover how to make them:


Is a natural repellent for ants. It won’t kill them but is a great deterrent. Just place some on their entranceway. They will do anything to avoid it.


Prepare a spray bottle with some dish soap and water to spray directly at the critters. This should kill them.

Essential Oils:

You can easily find these at any natural food store. Essential oils are becoming more popular for a number of reasons and luckily for us, we can use them also for repelling many insects. Most essential oils are safe to be touched and smelled by humans, but you need to make sure they are out of the reach of children and pets. Here are some examples:

Peppermint oil works well against:

  • ants
  • beetles
  • fleas
  • flies

Lemongrass oil works well against:

  • mosquitoes
  • chiggers
  • fleas

Lavender oil used in aromatherapy works well against:

  • mosquitoes
  • chiggers
  • fleas
  • flies

Citrus smell* (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit oil) works well against:

  • mosquitoes
  • flies

* As an alternative, it’s possible to leave citrus peels in a bowl scattered around the kitchen.

Cayenne Pepper & Garlic Spray

Here is how you can prepare the mix: Into a bowl mix 1 clove of garlic, 1 medium size onion, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap. Add 1 quart of water. Wait an hour and then drain into a bottle. It can be stored up to one week in the refrigerator.

Diatomaceous Earth

It is also known as D.E. and it is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled protists. It comes in a crumbled white powder. It is largely considered harmless to people, and a safe alternative to pesticides. It is usually used in the garden, however, you can use it indoor, with caution.The tiny particles kill the insects within 48 hours by dehydrating them to death.Keep it away from childrenDid you know that D.E. makes a very effective spray against bed bugs if mixed with water and Himalayan crystal salt.


Its active ingredient is nepetalactone which is a natural repellent against roaches and it is harmless to humans and pets. You can prepare a catnip brew: boil the catnip in water, let it cool, and drain it into a spray bottle. Apply it around baseboards and behind counters. Avoid the use of catnip if you own a cat, as it could bother him.

Boric Acid

Roaches usually walk around high places. Place some boric acid on top of your kitchen cabinets. The roaches will take the boric acid to their nests, where they will be killed. Be aware though that Boric acid is toxic taken by mouth, so keep it away from children and pets.

Neem Oil:

Neem oil is considered a very powerful natural pesticide, as it contains over 50 natural insecticides. Its oil is the extract of the leaf of the Neem tree and it is extremely bitter. Here is how you can make a spray:Mix 1/2 ounce of organic Neem oil and 1/2 teaspoon of Castile or dish soap with two quarts of warm water. Pour into a spray bottle and use it immediately. You can spray it in the area visited by the bugs.

Soap, Citrus Oil, & Water

If you have lemon or orange essential oil, you can make your own spray. Mix 3 tablespoons of Castile or dish soap, 1 ounce of orange or lemon oil with one gallon of water. You can spray it directly on the pests.

Vinegar Spray

Vinegar repels or kills most of the above mentioned pests and it is safe to use at home. You can make a solution that is equally made of water and vinegar to be sprayed directly on the critters. If you have an ant problem you can also spray it on surfaces. Being an organic product, vinegar will wear off over time, therefore it will be necessary to repeat the treatment from time to time. Be careful not to spray on your plants, as vinegar will kill them.
I have written an article about this subject that you can read here.

Himalayan Salt Crystal

Himalayan salt crystal by itself is very good against slugs and snails crawling into your kitchen. It can also be a very effective spray mixed with water against spider mites, fleas, and black scale beetles.

Mint Plants (or Mint oil)

Many insects such as stink bugs cannot stand the smell of mint. In order to keep them away from your kitchen place a few pots of mint plants on your window shelf, or plant them outside in the garden. Peppermint oil is also a great deterrent for bugs.

Rodent Traps

Certainly traps are the most efficient methods of killing rodents without the use of toxic ingredients. Snap traps kill them fairly quickly. A cheaper alternative is a glue trap, whereupon contact the mouse gets stuck. If you don’t have the heart to kill the rodent there are available online live-capture traps. However, once trapped you still have to discard the rodent into another area.

Other Deterrents

There are few other natural deterrents such as bay leaves or cucumber slices, that you can leave in the affected areas. It is worthwhile to mention that vegetable oil mixed with water is also very efficient, however is very messy when sprayed on the insects (it kills them by suffocating them).

What is the best way to prevent pest infestation?

Let’s not forget that prevention is always better than the cure.Prevention is the first defense against pest infestation in our kitchen, and in order to do so, we should make sure that:

  • the kitchen is always clean.
  • there are no food remains close to the garbage bin under the sink;
  • don’t accumulate garbage and make sure the bin is covered;
  • food should be stored in tightly-sealed containers;
  • avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink;
  • clean bottles and cans with soapy water;
  • wash your pet dish often
  • seal or repair any openings around windows, doors, and as cracks in walls and floors.
  • never keep piles of wood inside the house.
  • Install mosquito screens.

What are the sign of pest infestation in the kitchen?

It is important to recognize the signs of pest infestation in order to act quickly and margin the damage. Here below are the most common signs:

1. Cockroaches

  • Small droppings (they look like black pepper)
  • Egg casings (small dark shells)
  • Bad Smell

2. Rodents

  • Small black droppings (they can either be of the size of rice grains or jelly beans, depending on the type of rodent)
  • Strong smell of ammonia (their urine)
  • Nests (usually made of soft material that they find around the house)

3. Flies

  • Heavy and continuous presence of flies, usually around garbage cans or waste containers

What if you prefer to buy an Organic Pest Control Product?

Perhaps you do not feel confident about using any of the above methods and prefer to purchase a manufactured product that has been made with natural ingredients. That’s fine, as long as you make sure the product is truly reliable and does not use synthetic ingredients. Be aware that there is a difference between organic and natural.Keep in mind that there are no specific regulations for natural products and often they are sold as “natural” although they contain heavily processed ingredients. A natural product usually is between 50% to 70% chemical-free.When purchasing an Organic product it means that at least 95% of it is chemical-free. Always do check the label to make sure that you are on the safe side.

Anat Goldberg

Hi! My name is Anat and I have lived all my life in the countryside. I grew on a farm in Northern Italy and from an early age, I took care of the animals on the farm and the family garden. Over the years I have developed a growing passion for organic cultivation and pest control.

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