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Pests can really detract from your enjoyment of your home. And if you have pets or kids, you might not want to treat them with traditional methods—aka poisons that can be harmful, not only to the critters you’re trying to eliminate, but also to your loved ones. Here are a few ways to say goodbye to ants, mice and more in your home in a safe way. The best part? You might have everything you need in your pantry already.

Ants

  • Use vinegar: Ants hate this pungent smell, so spraying it where they are entering your house, or in the areas where you see them, will get them to avoid the area in the future.
  • Try citrus: On a similar note, ants aren’t big fans of citrus, so saving your peels from oranges and grapefruits, and leaving them near entry points, can deter ants. This also works well with citrus essential oils.
  • Outline your domain in chalk: Draw a line in the proverbial sand with ants! They don’t like to cross chalk, so if you outline where you want them to stay (aka outside your home), they just might heed the warning. This also works well with used coffee grounds.
  • Mix borax or baking soda with sugar: Mix equal parts of these with powdered sugar and make a mini trap out of a lid or plate (keep out of reach of pets and kids). The ants will be attracted to the sugar, eat the borax and baking soda (which is fatal to them) and bring it back to their colony so they can ingest it, too.

Rodents

  • Seal up food: All your food (from the dry goods in the pantry to the dog food) should be properly sealed—this obvious but important step can make your home a lot less appealing for a hungry mouse.
  • Restrict access: Tools like caulk or steel wool, poked into cracks or holes in your home, can keep rodents out—another early step that is essential yet often overlooked.
  • Stink them out: Like ants, mice have sensitive noses and dislike oil scented with peppermint, cayenne, and cloves (which, incidentally, will make your home smell lovely!). Soak cotton balls with the essential oils and stick them where mice (used to) like to hang out.
  • Try a humane trap: There are several good types of humane traps on the market. Some literally trap the unwelcome visitor. The downside is that you have to check the trap and get up close and personal when you release it. If you forget to check it, the mouse can die because of lack of food. There are also repeller devices that work by sending out sound waves.

Still have a problem? Consult an expert. A good pest control company should be able to help you win your war against bugs or rodents—sans dangerous chemicals.

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