If you are looking for an easy way to keep spiders out of storage boxes without using pesticides or other harmful chemicals, try this inexpensive solution.
Now that summer is almost here, I’ve been spending some time sprucing up my deck and patio…I am looking forward to some outdoor entertaining!
I have a lot of outdoor seating areas, which means a lot of outdoor furniture with outdoor cushions. And those cushions take up a lot of room! And that means I don’t have space for them in my shed.
So I resort to keeping them in outdoor patio storage boxes…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…
A lot of them are actually storage benches, so they provide extra seating. And since they are located close to the furniture, the boxes are convenient for taking the cushions out and putting them away (I’m not sure that would ever happen if I had to lug the cushions all the way to the shed).
The Problem With Outdoor Storage Boxes
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The problem is that those storage boxes aren’t really critter proof, which makes it hard to keep spiders out. And I am always finding unwanted surprises in them.
Besides the spiders, there are often other critters, too.
Occasionally, I have seen a snakeskin. (That really freaks me out! I don’t want to find out the hard way that the snake is still in there hiding among the cushions.)
And sometimes the cushions have holes chewed in them. (Mice love the shelter that the boxes provide).
Or mud wasps have built nests on them, which leaves a stain even after you knock the nest off.
All of that means I end up having to wash the cushions almost every time I take them out of the box…which is definitely more work than I want to do!
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How To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Boxes
So last fall when I put the cushions away for the winter, I decided to find something that would prevent the spiders (and other critters) from getting into the boxes with my cushions.
I like to keep my garden organic so I didn’t want to use pesticides or chemicals…and I wasn’t sure there was a solution that would actually work.
But now that I have taken the cushions out of storage (after being in there all winter), I can say with confidence that it did!
So what’s the secret you ask?
Natural flea and tick spray with peppermint oil*! I had originally bought it for my pets, but after reading that peppermint oil is supposed to deter spiders, I thought I would give it a try in my storage boxes, too. And it worked!
Note: You can probably make a DIY version of this yourself by mixing peppermint oil* with some water, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t personally vouch for it.
How To Apply It
Spray the peppermint oil solution around the inside of the box, paying extra attention to the areas where the critters can get in. I didn’t attempt to coat everything since that would take a lot of spraying!
If you have any big gaps, soak some cotton balls in the spray solution and stick them in the holes.
I also sprayed the cushions lightly before putting them in the box. If you’re worried about marking the fabric, you might want to test a small patch before doing the whole cushion.
Then just pop them in the box and close the lid. And you’re done!
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The Optional Extra Protection
If you want some extra protection, try putting the cushions in a storage bag*.
I did this for some of my cushions and it does keep the dust off and make it easier to move the cushions around.
The cushion storage bags are available in different sizes so you can get one that matches the size of your cushions.
Then place the whole bag inside the box that has been sprayed with the peppermint oil solution.
However, I’m not sure that the bags were really necessary for spider control. None of the cushions or boxes (whether they were in bags or not) showed any evidence of critter activity.
The End Result
This is the picture of the cushions when I put them away in the fall.
And this is the picture just before I took them out a few days ago. Notice that they look exactly the same!
No cobwebs, snake skins, mouse holes, or any other kind of critters to be seen!
The cushions didn’t need to be washed before I put them out on the furniture. As you can see, the same can’t be said for the chairs 🙂
My fear of unpacking cushions has been exterminated…bad pun intended 🙂
And the best part is that this solution does not use harsh chemicals or pesticides that are bad for your pets, kids or the environment.
Next, I’ll be trying it in the shed to see if I can keep the spiders from invading the rest of my garden equipment.
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This post was originally published on June 2, 2017 but was updated with new content on November 20, 2021.