Buying a product to control every pest would be expensive, yet some remedies are free. Natural alternatives to toxic pest-killing products are safer to use in addition to saving you money. Many commercial products are toxic and can harm children, pets, birds, beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, and contaminate soil and water. Items you may already have in your pantry or elsewhere in your house can help control pests.
Take the vacuum cleaner hose to any spider eggs in your bedrooms, especially if you live in an area with poisonous species. Vacuum regularly to deprive bugs of crumbs that attract them. Vacuuming upholstery and carpets removes insect eggs that may come into the house on pets or clothing. Empty the vacuum often and dispose of the waste in a closed container away from the house. If you already own a steamer, it kills insect pests and their eggs on hard and soft surfaces. It can even help clear out bedbugs, although a bedbug infestation calls for a professional evaluation, according to University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. Check manufacturers' care tags before using a steamer on furniture or textiles.
Piles of wood, garbage, discarded items and yard trimmings offer pests shelter, nesting sites, food and an open invitation to live near your house. Clear debris and seal any access points in your walls or foundation. Keep woodpiles, compost and garbage covered and at a distance from your home and garage. Use caulk to seal any gaps and cracks in window and door frames to keep bugs and spiders out. Replace or mend damaged door and window screens, as insects can enter through small rips. Fix any leaks in your pipes and clear backed-up water immediately to deprive pests of a drink.
For a healthy garden that repels pests, the solution isn't only free, it saves you money. Stop using store-bought pesticides and instead allow beneficial predatory insects and spiders to flourish. The army against aphids, mites and other plant-harming pests include soldier beetles, pirate bugs, assassin bugs, lady bugs -- also called lady beetles -- lacewings and syrphid fly larvae, according to University of California's IPM. Grow flowering plants to provide pollen for your soldiers.
Save lemon peels and put them in cloth sachet bags, reusable cloth tea bags or cheesecloth. Put these lemon sachets in drawers and closets to repel moths, "Mother Earth News" suggests. Wipe out the scent trails of moths with a wash made of 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water and enough essential oil for a strong scent. "Mother Earth News" recommends tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus or clove oil. Put bulk dry staples, such as flour, in the freezer to prevent insect infestation or place a cinnamon stick or bay leaf in the container and use containers with a tight seal. Sprinkle Borax over carpets and scrub it in with a dry mob or brush to kill fleas. Leave it in for a couple of days before vacuuming. Spray a strong solution of salt water around the perimeter of carpeted rooms and the bottoms of furniture and beds to dehydrate and kill flea larvae and eggs.