Does Vinegar Kill Spiders?

Spiders. For some, the name is enough to send shivers down their spine. Although most spiders are harmless to humans, no one wants those creepy crawlies to take over their home. If you’ve noticed more spiders in your house lately, you may wonder how to get rid of them naturally. One popular home remedy that’s gained attention is using vinegar as a spider repellent and extermination method. But does vinegar keep spiders away and kill them? Let’s take an in-depth look.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using vinegar against spiders. We’ll explore the different types of vinegar and their effectiveness, look at how vinegar interacts with specific spider species, provide tips for using vinegar as a spray, and examine its effects on webs, eggs, and more. We’ll also offer quick solutions and compare vinegar to other substances like bleach and Windex. By the end, you’ll have a balanced perspective on vinegar as a spider control method and plenty of practical advice. Time to bid those spiders goodbye!

Types of Vinegar and Their Effects on Spiders

Not all vinegars are created equal when repelling and killing spiders. Here are some of the most common types of vinegar and what we know about their spider-fighting abilities:

White Vinegar

This is the most widely available and affordable type of vinegar. It’s made from grain and is also known as distilled vinegar. Many people report success using white vinegar as a natural spider deterrent and remedy around the home.

It seems reasonably effective against common house spiders like daddy long legs and cobweb spiders. When sprayed directly on them, the acetic acid in white vinegar can kill these spiders on contact. Frequent applications around windows, corners, and other spider hotspots may also repel new spiders from residence in your home.

However, there isn’t strong evidence that white vinegar alone will completely rid your home of a serious spider infestation. It likely works best as a supplemental deterrent.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. It contains acetic acid like white vinegar and extra components like probiotics.

Some feel that apple cider vinegar is more effective than white vinegar when used against spiders. However, there aren’t scientific studies to prove this. Anecdotal reports suggest apple cider vinegar may have enhanced repellent and killing power versus white vinegar alone.

It likely comes down to personal preference and availability. But apple cider vinegar does seem to be another viable natural option to help combat spiders in your home.

Black Vinegar

Black vinegar is made from fermented black glutinous rice and has a strong, tangy flavor. It contains many vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

There isn’t much documented evidence regarding black vinegar’s effects on spiders. However, some feel its potency and highly acidic nature may make it more formidable against spiders than lighter vinegars. More research would be needed to say conclusively.

But it is an intriguing option for those seeking a vinegar with robust acidic and antimicrobial properties to eliminate spiders.

Wine Vinegar

Wine vinegar is produced from red or white wine and retains some of the wine’s flavor. It contains antioxidants from the grapes used to make the original wine.

Like black vinegar, there isn’t much scientific data about wine vinegar’s impacts on spiders. Some home pest control enthusiasts feel its strong acidic content may be effective. More controlled studies would help clarify if wine vinegar is a viable spider repellent and extermination choice.

Balsamic Vinegar

True balsamic vinegar is made from grape pressings and aged in barrels, giving it a sweet, complex flavor. Commercial balsamic vinegars often contain added sugars and colors.

There isn’t evidence about whether balsamic vinegar deters or kills spiders. Its acidity is lower than many other vinegars. However, it still contains antibacterial compounds from the grapes used to produce it. These may offer some pest control properties.

Overall, more research would be needed to determine if genuine or commercial balsamic vinegar has an impact against spiders. But it is an interesting consideration for those who already have it.

Specific Spider Types and Vinegar Interactions

Let’s take a closer look at how vinegar interacts with some common spider species and whether it can effectively control infestations:

Black Widow Spiders

These spiders are one of the most toxic and dangerous to humans. Luckily, they aren’t highly aggressive unless provoked or defending egg sacs accidentally.

Many homemade pest remedies like vinegar are not potent enough to fully eliminate black widows. Their strong webs also limit vinegar’s contact with the spider’s body.

However, vinegar may discourage them from building webs in treated areas. It’s best to call a professional exterminator if you have black widows around your home. Vinegar can be used cautiously as a supplemental repellent after removing spiders.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Also known as violin spiders for their characteristic violin-shaped marking on their head and body, brown recluse bites can cause tissue damage in some cases. Luckily, they aren’t aggressive and only bite when threatened.

Vinegar alone may not fully eliminate brown recluse infestations as with black widows. But as a repellent, it could discourage brown recluses from residing in areas where it’s applied. Handle any active infestations carefully and consult an exterminator if needed.

Jumping Spiders

These aptly named spiders pounce on their prey rather than spinning webs. Most jumping spider species aren’t considered dangerous to humans.

Jumping spiders are vulnerable to vinegar’s full effects since they don’t produce sticky webs. Vinegar sprays can come into direct contact with and kill jumping spiders. Frequent vinegar application should also keep areas less hospitable to future jumping spider inhabitants.

So vinegar seems to be an effective jumping spider deterrent and extermination method for homeowners. Monitor areas carefully and repeat applications as needed.

Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are larger, hairy spiders that actively hunt instead of spinning webs. They use venom to subdue prey but aren’t typically dangerous to people.

Vinegar can fully penetrate wolf spiders’ bodies like jumping spiders, since they don’t spin extensive webs. Frequent vinegar spraying in known spider areas effectively repels and kills wolf spiders. They are vulnerable to vinegar’s acidic properties.

Cellar Spiders

Also called daddy long legs spiders, cellar spiders produce irregular, messy webs and prefer cool, damp places. They help control other spider and insect populations.

Cellar spiders appear highly sensitive to vinegar. Since their webs are irregular, vinegar can permeate their bodies. Many homeowners report vinegar sprays kill on contact and repel future cellar spiders when applied to basements, cellars, and crawlspaces.

Cobweb Spiders

Cobweb spiders spin lacy webs in undisturbed corners of homes. Their webs help contain vinegar sprays rather than letting them contact the spider directly.

For cobweb spiders, focus vinegar applications on web removal. A broom or vacuum can physically remove webs, then vinegar can be sprayed in corners to deter rebuilding and kill any lingering spiders. Removing clutter may also discourage future cobweb residents.

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So in summary, vinegar seems most effective against spiders that don’t spin intricate, robust webs like jumping, wolf, and cellar spiders. For web-producing spiders, directly contacting the spider’s body is key for vinegar success. Physical web removal and clutter control is also important for management and prevention.

Using Vinegar Against Spiders: Timeframe, Spray, and Frequency

If using vinegar for spider control, here are some guidelines for timeframe, spray methods, and frequency:

Timeframe for Vinegar to Work

Vinegar appears to either repel or kill spiders relatively quickly. However, it’s not typically instantaneous.

When spray directly on spiders, vinegar usually kills within 5-20 minutes as the acidic solution penetrates their body. For repelling effects, spiders tend to avoid areas treated with vinegar within several hours.

So vinegar can provide fast relief in many cases. But allow at least a few hours for vinegar’s full spider-deterrent effects to manifest after application. Reapply as needed until infestations are under control.

Using Vinegar as a Spray

Applying vinegar as a concentrated spray is best to harness vinegar’s spider-fighting power most effectively.

Fill an empty spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Spray vinegar directly onto spiders, webs, corners, windows, or anywhere you notice signs of infestation. Focus on cracks, crevices, and corners where spiders may hide and build webs.

Make sure to spray vinegar evenly and thoroughly for best results. Vinegar can also be combined with other natural ingredients like essential oils, garlic, or citrus juice for added spider-repelling power if desired.

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Frequency of Vinegar Application

For ongoing spider deterrence, plan to spray vinegar in infested areas approximately every 1-2 weeks. This will maintain its potency and prevent new spiders from moving in as it dissipates.

You can also spot treat more frequently by spraying daily or weekly in problem areas where spiders are prevalent. Regular vinegar applications will continually disrupt spider habitats, making them unattractive to reproduce and thrive.

But don’t just spray once and expect permanent results. Ongoing preventative vinegar spraying is key for effective spider management.

Vinegar’s Effects on Spider Webs, Eggs, Mites, and Other Insects

Besides directly killing spiders, vinegar can help eradicate webs, eggs, and mites. Let’s explore vinegar’s effects on these other nuisance issues related to spiders:

Spider Webs

Vinegar’s acidic properties dissolve the silk threads that anchor spider webs. The acetic acid breaks down the web’s structural integrity.

Aim concentrated vinegar sprays directly at webbing in corners, windows, or exterior walls. Let it soak in for 5-10 minutes then use a broom or vacuum to clear away dissolving webs. This removes spiders’ ability to capture prey and rebuild nests.

Spider Eggs

Vinegar is highly effective at desiccating and killing spider eggs. Its antimicrobial nature destroys the eggs and prevents hatching.

Target vinegar sprays at the anchored silk egg sacs produced by female spiders. Vinegar will penetrate the protective outer casing and dehydrate the eggs inside. Without the ability to reproduce, spider infestations are contained.

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Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny pests that attack indoor and outdoor plants. Vinegar’s acidic pH disrupts spider mites’ growth cycle and kills eggs.

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar with water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist spider mite-infested plants, concentrating on the undersides of leaves. Repeat weekly until mites are gone. Vinegar provides natural horticultural relief.

Other Pest Insects

Research shows vinegar is toxic to fruit flies, bed bugs, head lice, and insects when directly sprayed on them.

So take advantage of vinegar in your home to control spiders and other pesky bugs. As a non-toxic option, it can be used generously and frequently with peace of mind.

Quick Solutions and Alternative Substances

For rapid or alternative spider control, consider these quick-acting solutions and choices beyond vinegar:

Instant Spider Control

Use adhesive sticky traps or manual removal if you need a spider gone immediately. Sticky traps immobilize spiders quickly upon contact. You can also simply vacuum, capture, or crush spiders in emergencies.

But vinegar and other sprays take some time to work fully. Use fast mechanical removal methods if you need instant guaranteed spider elimination.

Vinegar vs. Bleach

Bleach is another common household disinfectant. It can kill spiders through toxic fumes if confined in an enclosed space. However, inhaled or ingested bleach is also hazardous for humans and pets.

Vinegar provides a much safer alternative while still being effective. You need to spray bleach directly on spiders for guaranteed potency. Vinegar works through contact and vapor action. Overall, vinegar is the safer, simpler option.

Windex and Other Solutions

Windex and similar cleaning sprays contain ammonia, which spiders dislike. Vinegar with its acetic acid provides a comparably strong odor barrier.

Homemade vinegar sprays are also much cheaper than commercial cleaners. However, products like Windex may pack a more powerful immediate punch. Consider combining vinegar and ammonia-based solutions for maximum spider repellency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s wrap up with some common FAQs about using vinegar against spiders:

Does vinegar kill spiders or just repel them?

Vinegar does both! When sprayed directly on spiders, the acetic acid can penetrate their bodies and kill them. Vinegar also repels spiders as they dislike its strong odor. Used proactively, vinegar deters spiders from returning.

What ratio of vinegar and water should I use in a spray bottle?

Use undiluted vinegar for maximum spider-killing power. If the smell is too strong, dilute with a small amount of water. But the more concentrated the vinegar, the better it works against spiders.

Can I mix other things like essential oils with vinegar in my spider spray?

Yes, ingredients like lemon juice, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, or eucalyptus oil can be added to enhance vinegar’s scent profile. This provides added spider repellency. Just avoid dish soap or anything that dilutes the vinegar.

How can I get rid of vinegar smell after spraying?

The vinegar smell fades as it dries. Place bowls of baking soda in treated areas to help neutralize odors. You can also diffuse cleansing essential oils like lemon, lavender, or tea tree. Open windows and use fans to ventilate.

Is it safe to use vinegar if I have kids or pets?

Vinegar is non-toxic when used as directed. Keep pets and children away from direct applications until vinegar dries. But it’s safe around family when applied cautiously and surfaces are completely dry.

How do I get rid of spiders permanently?

Regular vinegar spraying can significantly reduce spiders long-term. But eliminating any possibility of spiders takes diligence. Fix cracks, vacuum frequently, de-clutter, use sealing caulk, and maintain vinegar treatments. Prevention is key!


We’ve covered a lot of ground exploring vinegar as an eco-friendly spider control solution. While vinegar alone may not permanently eliminate all spider issues, it can provide a strong deterrent when used smartly and consistently. Concentrated white or apple cider vinegar sprayed directly on spiders and webs yields the best results. Used preventatively and repeatedly in problem areas, vinegar can help significantly reduce spider populations in your home without the need for harsh chemicals.

Vinegar can’t solve severe spider infestations overnight. But as part of an integrated pest management approach, it’s a inexpensive, effective, and safe addition to your spider eradication toolkit. We hope these tips give you confidence to harness the power of this common kitchen ingredient against those creepy crawlies. Remember that patience and perseverance are key when battling spiders naturally. You can reclaim a spider-free home with commitment to an ongoing vinegar spraying regimen. Good luck!