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| Keeping your kitchen sparkling clean all year long isn’t always easy, especially in summer, when the battle of the bugs really heats up. But you can do it. In addition to making sure counters are wiped down and food and dry goods are stored in airtight containers, try these seven somewhat surprising (and natural) hacks for a pest-free kitchen.
This prolific garden plant is a natural insecticide that repels ants, spiders and mosquitoes. Apparently, they just can’t stand the smell. Place a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and then place that ball in areas where you find insects. Or make a spray by adding four or five drops of peppermint essential oil to water in a spray bottle. Use it on spiderwebs or anywhere else that bugs gather. An added bonus: Peppermint also deters mice and raccoons.
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This herb may be great in your pasta sauce, but it also repels houseflies and mosquitoes. Plant basil in containers and place them in your kitchen or anywhere you like to entertain or hang out. According to the Natural Society, you can make an insect repellent spray by adding 4 ounces of boiling water to a container filled with 4 to 6 ounces of clean, fresh basil leaves. After the leaves steep for several hours, remove them and squeeze all of the leaves’ moisture into the mixture. Then pour 4 ounces of supercheap vodka into the basil-water mixture. Store in the fridge and apply as a spray when going outdoors. Just don’t get it in your eyes, nose and mouth. One more thing: Outdoor basil plants can attract whiteflies, despite their ability to ward off domestic houseflies.
Ants won’t walk across a chalk line or anything else that interrupts their scent trail. So if there’s a particular area of your kitchen that you want to keep ants out of, draw a chalk line around it. The bad news, though, is that chalk usually stops them for only a brief period. Eventually, the determined little critters will set out and cross it.