Green and natural ways to control pests

You may be surprised to know that you probably have many pest repellents already in your home. So before you waste money on strong chemicals which could be damaging to your family and the environment, try these cheap, natural and traditional deterrents:


Put down chilli powder, talcum powder, borax, dried bay leaves or lemon peel at the point of entry. Squirt lemon juice into holes.


Sprinkle non-iodized salt on carpets and after 24 hours vacuum up. Also try adding brewer's yeast or garlic tablets to pets' diets.

Flies and mosquitoes

Burn citronella candles and place pots of basil, feverfew and tansy on windowsills.


Did you know that all not moths eat clothes? According to the Butterfly Conservation website, only about six of Britain’s 2,500 moth species eat clothes. These moths prefer dirty clothes  hidden away in dark places where they are not disturbed. Damage is caused by these few species when they are caterpillars. Place sachets of dried lavender; or equal parts dried rosemary and dried mint wherever clothes are stored. You can also use cotton wool balls soaked in lavender, cedarwood, rosemary or mint essential oils but be careful these don't touch your clothes or other materials which they could mark.  Place several dried mint leaves in a sachet or place loose leaves among your clothes. Dried lemon peel is also a natural moth deterrent.


Sprinkle peppermint oil on cotton wool balls and place them in the affected areas.

Silverfish and other carpet pests

Make a paste of bicarbonate of soda with several drops of lavender.  Leave in an airtight jar for 24 hours to mature and absorb the scent. Sprinkle on carpets, leave for 30 minutes and then vaccum up.


It's very annoying when cats start using your garden as a cat litter tray or killing the birds you feed and enjoy watching, especially when you don't even have cats

  • Try soaking a couple of tea bags in essential oil, such as  tea tree, citronella or lavender, and submerging that in the soil where the cat has been digging.
  • Cats apparently don't like citrus smells so scattering orange or lemon peels around your garden or grow a plant such as bergamot.
  • Taut wire or string fitted 10-15 cm above the fence-top makes it difficult for cats to balance on the fence.
  • Light reflection is said to deter cats so place half-full plastic bottles in borders and thread unwanted CDs  on twine with knots in between to keep them apart. String these across flower beds or hang from trees.

You may have to try several methods to find the deterrent for your local cats. The RSPB has some more advice on its website.


Essential oils are available from your independent health and wellbeing shop or online from: stock a range of Tisserand organic and ethically-sourced essential oils

Bicarbonate of soda is available in larger packets from Asian supermarkets or online:

Join in the discussion

Luckily I've never had any pest problems, so haven't tried these methods so please let me know whether these ideas work for you. Do you have any other tried and tested methods?

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