How To Keep Your House Pest-Free
When you know how to keep your house pest-free, you can minimize the risk of pests damaging your home, injuring, or causing illness to your family and avoid the cost of expensive pest control measures.
If you want to keep your house pest-free, prevent bugs and critters getting into your home in the first place. Here are some places to start looking first.
Begin at the furthest point from your house and work towards it.
- Ensure there are no piles of leaves, branches, or other garden waste near your house. These are prime real estate for bugs and smaller critters, which can then make their way into your home.
Not only that, but these small creatures can be an attractive food source for larger animals such as rats or raccoons. Your house then becomes an appealing place for these larger creatures to set up a home of their own.
- For the same reasons, keep any compost piles you have well away from the house and within a compost container.
- Garbage should also be stored as far away from the house as possible. Store your trash in sturdy, purpose-built containers, and keep the lids closed. Wash all of your recycling to ensure it is free from any food residue that may attract pests.
- If you have a shed or any other structures in your garden, try to make sure they are also sealed and as warm and dry as possible.
- Having a woodpile right outside the door is a convenient way for you to fuel your fire with as little trouble as possible. Unfortunately, it also makes it very easy for pests to move from the woodpile and into your home.
If you do need to have your woodpile close to the door, try to make sure it is not actually against your house’s walls.
- Branches or vines from overhanging trees, shrubs, and other plants may look great, but they also provide a perfect garden to house highways for pests. This is especially true for squirrels, raccoons, rats, and other mammals, which may be attracted to the warmth of your attic spaces.
Rats can make a horizontal leap of over four feet, and squirrels have no trouble making the jump to a house form seven feet. For this reason, you should trim any overhanging vegetation to leave a clear gap of at least ten feet, all-around your house.
- Many plants have excellent pest control properties. Plant petunias and chrysanthemums in your garden, or in containers close to the house. They will deter ants, cockroaches, lice, fleas, ticks, and bedbugs.
- If you already have a problem with spiders,
- Make it difficult for animals to get into your crawl-space. Affix crawl-space lattice and back it with hardware cloth. This will still allow sufficient airflow while keeping out mice, rats, and larger creatures.
And don’t forget that rodents like to burrow. For houses that already have a small mammal issue in the crawl-space, you’ll want to dig down and run the hardware cloth between eight and twelve inches below ground level to keep them out.
- Now walk around the outside of your house and fill any gaps you find. This includes cracks in the masonry or spaces that have developed between your home and the hard landscaping around it.
- If you, or someone else, can get up to the roof, check, there are no loose, cracked, or missing tiles. Also, check for damage to the flashing around the chimney, gaps, or damage to the facia boards or soffit, and that your vents are protected.
- Finally, check your doors and windows. Fill any gaps around the outside of the frames with expanding foam or caulking. Then place weather stripping between them and your door and windows.
If you don’t have screens, fit them. If you have screens ensure they are clean, fit tightly into the frames, and are free from any rips, tears, or other damage.
Once you make the outside of your home as unattractive to pests as possible, it’s time to move onto the inside.
Inside The House
Keep your home as clean as possible and clear up food or drink spills as soon as you can.
Set up a weekly cleaning schedule and deep clean once a month. Pay special attention to the kitchen, bathroom, and any areas where you or your family eat.
Try to limit eating to one or two places in the house and minimize food and drink consumption in the bedrooms, especially if you have children.
The kitchen may be the biggest draw for pests, so it is important to make it as inhospitable as possible and minimize potential food sources.
- Your pantry and cupboards are a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet for bugs, so store dry goods in air-tight containers. Not only will this make them last longer, but it will also cut off a significant food source.
- Wipe down any bottles or jars after you have used them. The sticky residue around the neck or on the bottom of containers can attract all kinds of insects.
- Vacuum under and behind the cooker and refrigerator. You don’t have to drag your appliances out and clean these areas every week, but be sure to do so a few times a year, or more often if you already have a pest problem.
- Check inside the cupboards for any gaps. Use caulking between the cupboard and wall and expanding foam to fill the gaps where pipes enter the house.
- Outside of the refrigerator, designate one space for the storage of fresh produce. Inspect all produce for pests before storing it and check your produce daily for signs of overripeness or decay.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, or if you don’t have time to wash them properly, rinse off any remaining food before stacking them in a dry sink.
- Use liners in any garbage containers you have in the kitchen and wash them with hot soapy water at least once a month.
- Many people are surprised to hear that sinks can be a significant insect attractant. Once a month, pour baking soda into your kitchen sink drain and then slowly pour in some white vinegar. Leave it to bubble for 15 minutes and then rinse with boiling water.
- If you have a waste disposal, you can clean it in the same way.
- Keep your kitchen well ventilated. Avoid a build-up of steam, and if you experience condensation, wipe the moisture as soon as possible.
The drainage system provides a warm damp haven for pests. Your pipes also make the perfect creepy-crawly critter super-highway. You can’t avoid moisture in the bathroom, but there are plenty of ways to make it unappealing and difficult for bugs to get there.
- Deep clean your bathroom once a month, paying particular attention to behind the toilet, under the sink, and inside the toilet bowl.
- Look for any gaps between the wall and fixtures and fittings. Pay special attention to any place you can access where a pipe goes through a wall. Fill these spaces with expanding foam.
- Always use your bathroom fan and ensure it is clean and in good working order.
- Dry your shower curtain after use and wring out any sponges, washcloths, or other bath and shower items after use.
- Wipe down ledges around the bath or shower, making sure to lift up any bottles or bath toys and dry under them.
- If you have a lot of bath toys store them in a net or open weave container. This will allow airflow, but be sure to wash out the container once a month.
- Clean your bath, sink, and shower drains with baking soda and white vinegar once a month and ensure your drains are free from hair.
- If your bathroom is especially humid, consider a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels to a minimum.
Keep your dirty laundry in a laundry basket, preferably in the washroom or laundry room. This is especially important if you work outside or in another environment where you may come into contact with bugs and bring them home with you.
Feed your pets in the same place each day. Place the bowls on a rubber mat and be sure to clean under the mat regularly. Change your pet’s water every day and don’t leave uneaten food out in the bowl. Wash your pet bowls with the same frequency and care as your own dishes, and don’t leave dirty bowls on the floor.
Keeping your house pest free begins by preventing the little invaders getting into your home in the first place. By blocking their access points and cutting off their food sources, you will be doing the most important things you can to keep pests out.