If you’re finding spiders starting to creep into your child’s playground area and want to get rid of them for good – then you’re in the right place!
Whether they have already moved in or you just want to take some preventive measures, I will show you methods that have been proven to work.
I’ll also debunk any methods that have been shown not to work.
If it’s just a few spiders or an infestation I have the solution.
This spider was on the outside of my neighbor’s playhouse
You will not only get rid of spiders in your playground area and equipment but keep them out by following these methods.
I’ll go over each one in detail, telling you everything you need to know. I’ll also tell you about the methods that do not work, to save you time and energy.
Lemon and Citrus essential oils are often cited as the most effective oils to repel spiders; this method has been debunked– I’ll share the proof. If you enjoy the smell of these oils then you’ll need to add more ingredients to the mixture for this to be effective against killing and repelling spiders
I will tell you the most effective and safe preventive measures that you can take to keep spiders from coming back to your playground area and keep them out of your playhouse and equipment along with some simple tips and tricks that you can do.
Proven Methods to Keep Spiders Out of Your Playground
These are the all-natural methods that have been proven to work in killing and repelling spiders. When used properly they are safe and very effective.
Diatomaceous Earth Method
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, organic substance made from the fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms. The diatom skeleton is made of silica.
Silica is used in many products such as pesticide, toothpaste, skincare products, foods and many more. Often advertised as “the insect replant you can eat“, because it is often used in grain and dry foods that are stored to keep the bugs away.
Available as a “food grade” product, I keep a bag at my house to keep insects such as spiders, fleas, mites, cockroaches, and chiggers away from my playground and chicken house.
Diatomaceous Earth is not poisonous, but can be harmful is inhaled, so just sprinkle this material around the parameter of your playground area to kill all spiders and other harmful pests.
The pests will eventually die and come nowhere near your playground area. Follow up with the other methods to kill the spiders inside of your playhouses and equipment and keep them out for good.
This method is best for controlling the spider population in large areas. Diatomaceous Earth is a very affordable product that is available on Amazon.
Salt Water Method
Salt is a natural, safe and effective spider poison (and will kill and repel other harmful pests). Salt will kill both spiders and their nests.
Mix 2 tablespoons of salt in 16 oz. of warm water and spray directly on a spider (to kill it) and in any areas where you suspect spiders may live.
A simple solution to a serious problem.
Peppermint/Pennyroyal Herb Method
The plant pennyroyal is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses from pneumonia to stomach pains. The oil is also used topically to kill germs, repel insects and is in many popular dog and cat flea replant products.
Pennyroyal oil is very potent and is highly toxic if ingested, so be sure to keep this oil in a safe place.
Part of Mint family, pennyroyal is much “stronger” in both sent (smells like fresh mint) and potency than other mint plants, making this herb the most effective in driving away and killing spiders.
Peppermint oil has also been proven (study opens in new window) to be an effective spider repellent. Although not as potent as pennyroyal, peppermint is a safer alternative.
- 5-6 drops of pennyroyal essential oil (or 20 drops of peppermint essential oil)
- 16 oz. of water
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and spray mixture in and around your play area to eliminate spiders and other harmful pests. Both essential oils are available on Amazon.
Click here for Pennyroyal essential oil.
Click here for Peppermint essential oil.
White Vinegar Method
White distilled vinegar burns and will kill most spiders on contact. White vinegar contains acetic acid, the natural ingredient in white vinegar that burns and kills the spider.
Vinegar will also keep cats out of your playground area without harming them, which is especially beneficial if your cat uses the ground cover as a litter box. If you are concerned about the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of essential oil to this mix.
This method is best used for playhouses and playground equipment.
Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar to 1 part water in a spray bottle or pump sprayer and spray liberally in any area spiders inhabit. For larger areas I recommend a pump sprayer, you can get a 2-gallon pump sprayer on Amazon (click here to check price) or a smaller 24 oz. spray bottle (below).
Non-Toxic Pest Control Spray
There are many non-toxic spider and pest sprays available on the market that will repel and/or kill spiders. They are safe to use in and around your playground area and are best for playhouses and playground equipment.
The below product is a popular choice on Amazon and has many good reviews.
Various Proven Spider Repellant Concoctions
The concoctions listed below have been proven to kill and drive spiders away.
The ingredients may not be effective individually, but when combined make excellent spider replant and killers. These mixtures can be used in quantity for larger areas but are most effective in playhouses and playground equipment.
Click here (tab opens in new window) to see a study published from three scientists titled “Natural Compounds as Spider Repellents: Fact or Myth?”
The study basically states that mint oil is an effective spider replant, but lemon oil is not. This is significant because a lot of the recipes you see list lemon or citrus oil as a main ingredient.
White Vinegar, Vegetable Oil, And Vanilla Extract
An old and effective recipe using natural ingredients which have been proven to repel and kill spiders.
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix together in a spray bottle and spray directly on the spider or in any area they may be.
Peppermint Oil, Dish Soap, And Water
This recipe smells great and is very effective, like the other “spray bottle” concoctions, it’s best used and most effective on playhouses and playground equipment.
Peppermint and Pennyroyal (mint oils) essential oils have been proven to repel spiders. Click here (tab opens in new window) to see the results of a scientific study on essential oils as an effective spider repellent.
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
- 2 cups of water
Mix in a spray bottle and spray liberally in any area spider are or may be.
The peppermint essential oil is available on Amazon (below).
Make Your Own Concoction
Any variation on the mixtures listed above will work as long as it contains at least two of the following ingredients:
- white vinegar
- dish soap
- peppermint or pennyroyal essential oil (use precautions with pennyroyal)
Feel free to add and experiment with different measurements and scents (using other essential oils).
Debunked Methods For Getting Rid Of Spiders
There are many popular methods that use ingredients that have been proven to not work as a spider replant. There are many such recipes and home remedies out there.
All of the methods I listed above have been proven to work.
Listerine Method (Debunked)
Using Listerine to repel spiders and other insects in ineffective.
You see, the primary ingredient in Listerine and other mouthwashes is eucalyptol, which is derived from eucalyptus, which may have some minor spider replant qualities.
These mouthwash products contain around just 1% of eucalyptol, so they are absolutely useless as any kind of spider or bug replant.
Lemon/Citrus Essential Oils (Debunked)
It has long been said that Lemon and Citrus essential oils will repel spiders and other insects. While no spider or insect would want to walk directly through these potent oils, they do nothing to repel spiders and are completely ineffective.
As I mentioned above there was a study done by three scientists and published under the title “Natural Compounds as Spider Repellents: Fact or Myth?” Click here (tab opens in a new window) to see the study.
The study did show that Peppermint essential oil “strongly repelled” the Brown Widow and Crowned Orb Weaver spiders. Other oils from the mint family that have been found to be the most effective in repelling spiders are pennyroyal and spearmint essential oils.
Preventive Measures, Tips, and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks, you can implement to rid your playground area and equipment of spiders and other harmful insects.
Consider Cedar Mulch
Consider using cedar mulch as a ground cover for your playground area. Cedar mulch has natural oils and resins which repel spiders and other harmful insects.
Those same oils also make cedar mulch resistant to decay, making this a long-lasting, durable mulch.
A beautiful, natural ground cover that smells great, cedar has many benefits.
To learn more about using cedar mulch in your playground, check out our article titled, “Is Cedar Mulch Good for Playgrounds – Cedar Mulch Review“.
Make Your Playground Area Unattractive to Spiders
Creating an unfriendly environment for spiders will help persuade them to move to a more suitable area.
You can do this by removing any piles of old wood or rock, where they tend to live and hunt. If you have any large plants or bushes inside of your playground area, these can also be prime living areas for spiders, and you may want to consider moving them.
Eliminating the spider’s food source will also cause them to leave the area. Spiders eat mosquitoes, grasshoppers, and many other insects.
Using these tips along with the proven methods I listed above will eliminate the insects and spiders from your playground area.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
Spiders are an integral part of the ecosystem and benefit your yard in many ways. Still, you don’t want potentially poisonous and harmful spiders in your child’s playground area and equipment, and that’s completely understandable.
You can eliminate the spiders just from your playground area by using the methods I listed, without wiping out the whole insect and spider population of your yard.
When implementing a good strategy, over time, the spiders will consider your play area a “dead zone” and completely avoid going near it.
I hope this article has helped you in some way, remember to stay safe and have fun!
How Do I Keep Wasps Out of My Playhouse?
Use a wasp nest decoy. Place a wasp nest decoy on one or two corners of your playhouse to keep the wasps away.
Wasps are very territorial and will not build a nest near any other nest.
Over 14 years in special education with a BA in psychology. I work daily with children of all kinds, with a special focus on childhood development and play using music and play equipment among other tools.