Spiders invoke fear in many people, especially when found inside the house. However, almost all of the spiders in US households are harmless. In fact, because these little creepy crawlers are helpfully eat up other bugs in your home, it's actually better not to get rid of every spider you see hanging around your living room. The ideal is to prevent spider infestation by cleaning and organizing your home so that it's less spider-friendly. If you live in California, Florida or Arizona, consider having an exterminator come out and spray to get rid of the more dangerous spiders sometimes found in these states.
Spiders like to "visit" human habitations for several reasons, but mostly because the inside of a home provides a warm and cozy shelter. Spiders' favorite places to hide are usually dark and dry spots, though sometimes they like damp areas, too. This is why spiders are often found in basements, in cardboard boxes, under sinks, and in and around drains. Spiders also like rotting materials, so it's important to keep your basement clean of mold or any decaying wood, as this is an open invitation for spiders to come and lay eggs.
Tips for Preventing Spiders
1. Keep your home clutter-free. It's almost impossible for most homeowners to keep a clutter-free home, but at the very least, clothes should not be left on the floor, as this creates a good hiding spot for spiders, especially the somewhat uncommon brown recluse spider, whose bites can turn into a serious skin infection ... or worse.
2. Remove as much dust from your home as possible, with special concentration on dusting corners and ceilings for spiderwebs. Use dusters with long, extended arms to get into the hard-to-reach places so that you can properly remove cobwebs. Make sure to sweep under beds and behind furniture, as these are other spots where spiders make their webs.
3. Get rid of cardboard boxes -- spiders love them. Replace your cardboard boxes with plastic storage bins. In the long run you'll be doing yourself a favor, as your goods will be protected from water damage and most plastic bins last a lifetime.
4. Repair any damaged windows or screens and seal cracks and holes around the house on the inside and on the exterior. Besides adding energy efficiency, it will help keep spiders out.
5. Get a cat! If you have a serious (non-venomous) spider problem and are looking to bring home a pet, consider a cat, as they are known for eating spiders. It can't hurt ... and might help!
6. Place a container of fresh peppermint or spearmint leaves on your windowsills. Spiders tend to stay far away from these strongly scented herbs.
7. Mix some tea tree oil with a bit of water in a spray bottle and spray onto vents and window sills. Once again, spiders will usually stay away from tea tree oil.
8. Consider scheduling a yearly professional pest control treatment for your home. It will help keep spider infestations from ever starting in the first place.
Updated March 4, 2018.