How to Treat Household Pests with Homemade Remedies

How do you feel when you spot a pest problem in your home? Annoyed? Frustrated?

Be it ants crawling across the kitchen counter in a perfectly straight line, or mosquitoes buzzing around the room during movie night. There isn’t any peace until you’re rid of them.

Malaysian homes big, small, landed or otherwise, have pests. From cockroaches to termites and every other creepy-crawly in-between. Your first instinct might be to call a professional if you’ve seen more than one of these around your home. But exterminators often use professional-grade pest control that may contain harsh chemicals, which can be ingested by pets.

Instead, DIY pests remedies are less harsh when compared. However, avoid spraying high concentrations of popular pest control remedy ingredients such as essential oils, undiluted dish soap, or anything else that can be harmful in large doses around pets.

Let’s take a look room by room:

Kitchen Pests

Home Remedies for Ants

Ants infiltrating biscuit packet
Get rid of ants inside your food packet by heating up the contents on low heat

By far the most common pests in the kitchen, ants often contaminate food by depositing dirt and faeces. You’ll come to realise that disrupting ants sense of smell is key to being rid of them.

Lemon Juice Spray Bottle

  • Lemons
  • Spray Bottle

Simply cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the spray bottle. The acid will deter ants by messing with their tracking abilities and encourage them to leave.

Vinegar And Water Spray

  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle

Pour water and white vinegar of equal parts into a spray bottle and shake well. Then spray the mixture on ants you find crawling around. You’ll then want to wipe down the area with a cloth. This mixture is great for overwhelming an ant’s sense of smell, causing them not to return.

Cayenne Pepper/Cornmeal/Coffee Grounds

Disrupt ant’s sense of smell by simply sprinkling either cayenne pepper or cornmeal or bits of coffee grounds around the areas where you see ants coming into your home. The smell of these ingredients will help stop ants from smelling the food in your home, and the texture will make them avoid the area entirely.

Dish Soap Spray

  • Dish Washer Soap
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle

Fill the spray bottle ¾ of the way with water, and then add 10-20 drops of dish soap. Make sure to shake well for the mixture to work. Then spray the areas where you find ants crawling most often.

Home Remedies for Flies

Swarms of flies in the house
Flies tend to lay eggs and nest in moist, organic environments like rubbish piles

The buzzing of flies is often the most annoying thing about them, but these pests are often seen in kitchens trying to land on open food and around the garbage bin if there’s food in it. Common flies found in Malaysian homes are house flies and fruit flies. Both are carriers of diseases, making them dangerous. Often you’ll get food poisoning from eating anything a fly has landed on.

Jar Fly Trap

  • A jar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Cling wrap
  • Rubber band

Fill the jar up to 3-4 inches with apple cider vinegar, add ¼ cup of sugar and a ½ cup of water before adding a splash of dish soap. Stir the mixture and place some cling wrap over the opening of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Poke pencil-sized holes for the flies to enter through.

Fruit Trap

  • A piece of fruit
  • A bowl
  • Cling wrap
  • Rubber band/ Tape
  • Toothpick

Cut a piece of fruit an inch thick and place it into the bowl, with the cut part of the fruit facing up. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and secure it in place with a rubber band or tape. Finally, poke holes in the cling wrap using a toothpick as fruit flies are much smaller than the common fly.

Home Remedies for Cockroaches

Cockroaches crawling around the kitchen
Most species of cockroaches have wings but don’t fly

Cockroaches are often met with a scream when spotted anywhere at home or on the streets. As one of the most unwanted pests, these bugs are often hiding away in pipes, cracks and holes of walls. Narrow and dark spaces around the home are usually a source of shelter for them. A cockroaches skin and faeces can cause allergies and even trigger asthma symptoms.

Wine Bottle Trap

  • An old bottle of wine
  • Syrup / Peanut butter
  • Cooking oil

Line the inside of the bottle with cooking oil and the bottle’s opening with either syrup or peanut butter. The sweet and sticky scent will attract roaches while the oil keeps them from escaping.


  • Fresh catnip
  • Small satchels

Fill the satchels with catnip and place them in areas where you’ve noticed cockroaches crawling around.

Bedroom Pests

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

Bedbug infestation in the mattress
Bedbugs themselves are not easy to spot but their infestation signs are easier to find

Sweet dreams don’t include bed bugs, but these tiny pests infest mattresses where they feed off human blood as we sleep. They leave small red and itchy bumps on the skin once they are done. They are so small that they travel from one place to another by hitchhiking in suitcases, boxes and even shoes.

Steam Clean / Hairdryer

  • A steam cleaner / Hairdryer
  • Sticky packing tape

Simply use either a steam cleaner or hairdryer that goes above 60 degrees Celsius over the entire mattress. Focus one area at a time for 30 seconds. Then use the sticky packing tape to pick up the dead bed bugs.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle 1-3 cups of baking soda all over the mattress liberally. Leave it on for 30 minutes to 24 hours. The longer it’s on, the better. Then use a vacuum to clean up the baking soda. The baking soda essentially absorbs the moisture in bed bugs, thus killing them.

Home Remedies for Dust Mites

Scientific illustration of dust mites
Dust mites aren’t visible to the human eye, they can only be seen under a microscope

Dust mites found in dust dead or alive can cause allergy symptoms in humans. Their main source of food a human skin flakes and pet dander. You might find thousands of dust mites in a single gram of dust, that’s the size of a paperclip. They can be found in high humid spaces where moisture can be trapped in homes, such as mattresses, sofas, carpets, and other soft furnishings.

Essential Oils Spray Mixer

  • Tea tree oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil each. Then add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with equal parts water into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture of furnishings every few weeks as a means to prevent dust mites from infesting your home.

Freeze Fabric

If you have dust mites crawling around in fabrics from pillowcases to sofa cushions with removable covers, you can freeze them to kill them. Place fabric items that have dust mites into the freezer set to -12 Celsius for 12 hours.

Home Remedies for Fleas

Fleas living inside pet's fur
Fleas transfer very easily from the outdoors onto your carpets, bedding, and pet fur

If you have a pet, chances are this common household bug might have made its way into your home. These parasites can jump almost 1 foot in distance onto hosts. They reproduce quickly and can live up to several months. Though they are known for being harmful to pets, they can also cause allergic reactions.

Herbal Flea Spray

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Witch hazel
  • Spray bottle

This is a great non-toxic solution. Mix 4 cups of vinegar with 2 cups of water and 4 oz of lemon juice, followed by 2 oz of witch hazel into the spray bottle. Spray the mixture on everything from the carpets to the furniture and don’t forget the pet beds.


Finely sprinkle salt on carpets and leave it for a few hours a day. Then vacuum it up when it’s time to clean.

Rosemary And Lemon Spray

  • Water
  • Lemons
  • Rosemary
  • Geranium essential oil

Start with boiling 4 cups of water. Remove the boiled water from the fire and add 6 thin slices of lemons, chopped rosemary leaves and add 3 to 4 drops of geranium essential oil. Cover the mixture and leave it overnight. The next day, make sure to strain the water first before filling the spray bottle. Then Spray the mixture on everything in your home to repel fleas.

Throughout The House Pests

Home Remedies for Termites

White ants crawling around dead log
Left untreated, termites could jeopardize your furniture or even your home’s structure

Termites aren’t a danger to humans, but they are a threat to the wooden structures of your home and furniture. A termite favours an environment that is usually dark and damp. An infestation could put your whole home in danger and cost you a lot of money to get it all fixed.

Wet Cardboard

  • Cardboard
  • Water
  • Matches

Pour water on your cardboard, it should be wet and not soaking. Then place the wet cardboard on areas where the termites are, and once they have settled into the cardboard burn it.


This method can only be used on pieces of wooden furniture. Take all wooden furniture you have place it under the hot sun for as long as the sun is out. Heat is not an ideal environment for termites to survive in, thus prolonged exposure will kill them.

Home Remedies for Mosquitoes

Mosquito biting hand carrying dengue virus
Mosquito infestations, especially Aedes mosquitoes, are very dangerous as they could spread the dengue virus

Mosquitos tend to prey on humans, leaving small red and itchy bumps once they’ve had a fill of human blood. There are various types of mosquitos, some carry deadly diseases such as malaria. Mosquitos target humans due to scent, heat and humidity, and Malaysia is as hot and humid as it gets.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Water
  • Witch Hazel

Mix ½ cups of water with ½ cups of witch hazel, and then add 30 to 40 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle. However, this mixture is not advised to be used around children under the age of 3-years-old.

Home Remedies for Spiders

Spider web outdoors in the garden
Some spider species infest damp environments while others nest in corners like the ceiling, wall cracks, or storage spaces

There are over 4,000 species of spiders in the world, but the most common ones found in Malaysian homes are harmless loners creating spiderwebs in the corners. You’ll spot them more often once the weather gets a lot colder.

DIY Spider Spray

  • Eucalyptus essential oils
  • Lavender essential oils
  • Peppermint essential oils
  • Water

Fill a spray bottle with water and add 2-3 drops of eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint essential oil each. Mix well and spray it specifically around windows, doorways, and other entrances into your home to target their entry points.

Bathroom Pests

Home Remedies for Silverfish

Silverfish insect on parchment
While they are harmless to our health, silverfish can still cause damage to your belongings

You may or may have seen these metallic and oval-shaped bugs before as they are known to go unnoticed by most humans. Silverfish are also known as carpet sharks and fishmoths. Like many pests, they thrive in humid and moist spaces such as bathrooms. They aren’t dangerous to humans, but they can harm carpets, books, bookshelves and decorative household items that contain polysaccharides, which is a type of adhesive.

Cedar Shavings

Silverfish dislike the smell of cedar. You’ll want to evenly spread out cedar chips in areas where you’ve seen these pests. The smell will scare them away, and if the cedar starts to get damp or old simply vacuum the chips and place new ones in the same spots.


Are the bugs still at it?

Have you tried these DIY pests control remedies and the problem persists? It’s probably time to get professional help.

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