How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

how to get rid of brown recluse spiders


When we first moved into our home over five years ago, we had a BIG spider problem. Specifically, we had a brown recluse problem–one of only two types of spiders in North America that are extremely harmful to humans (a word of warning:  don’t google brown recluse bites unless you plan on not eating for about 48 hours). We also had a few mice in our house when we first moved here (yes, I pretty much freaked out and wanted to move back to our old house the first month we were here). The only reason I found out we had a problem with brown recluse spiders is because of the sticky traps that were originally set out by a pest control company we hired at the time to catch any lingering mice caught some spiders as well. One day, I happened to pick up a glue trap and was curious to see what type of spiders were stuck on there. Sure enough, a quick google search informed me they were brown recluse. Again, I freaked. My husband insisted that spiders are not a reason to move. We still have yet to agree on this statement. :)

How To Kill Brown Recluse Spiders

I have done tons of research on spiders and the most effective ways to get rid of brown recluse spiders. Time and again, I have read that sprays (like what you buy at a home improvement store) don’t work well on spiders and especially on the brown recluse because of their long, thin legs. Unless they lick the bottoms of their feet, they will not get the poison on them.

We have also had 3 different pest control companies since we have been at this house. We have very few problems with any pests except for the brown recluse spiders (and mosquitos, of course). I have studied the receipts and asked lots of questions of the pest control guys over the years and we have recently decided to take care of our own pest control needs (for the time being, anyway), as many of the products I insisted on (because they were safe for our family) are the same products that we can purchase ourselves.

Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?

Brown Recluse Spiders by State


Before I share our tips, I must preface that I am not an expert on how to get rid of brown recluse spiders. I am just a mom who wants to protect her family (and someone who really hates spiders in the first place). The information I share with you is based on my inquiries and research, but be sure that you research for yourself and always follow instructions on any products you apply.

How To Get Rid Of Brown Recluse Spiders

1. Get rid of hiding places for brown recluse spiders by:

  • Declutter

The more stuff you have, the more places the brown recluse can hide. Brown recluse spiders especially like cardboard boxes. I can’t stand clutter to begin with, so this is a great reason to make sure things don’t accumulate (although they always end up doing so). :)

  • Pick up your clothes

Keep piles of clothes, paper, and other things off of your floor. Brown recluse spiders especially love to nestle in these places. Most often bites occur when someone picks up or puts on a clothing garment where a spider has been hiding.

  • Vacuum often

Keep your home clean and free from debris. Clear out any spiderwebs you see around your home.

  • How to keep spiders away from your bed 

We no longer have bed skirts in our home. I have instead started covering the box springs with a fitted sheet. Bed skirts offer the perfect path for spiders to get in your bed. Believe me, I had a brown recluse crawl across my face one morning as I was waking up! Thankfully, it did not bite me! Likewise, brown recluse spiders like to hide in the folds of floor-to-ceiling curtains.

  • Seal all openings to your home

Caulk around windows and doors, as necessary. Check all of the openings every 6 months and re-caulk as necessary.


2. How to get rid of  brown recluse spiders naturally

Glue traps are excellent for catching pests, especially spiders and mice (and I’ve even used them for a snake that wound up in our basement–sometimes I feel like we live on Funny Farm). They fold up in a box (so you won’t accidentally get one stuck to the bottom of your foot) and can be placed discreetly behind furniture up against the baseboards. According to experts, glue traps are the single best way to get rid of your spider population. But be careful when moving them around…brown recluse spiders are said to be able to go without food or water for up to 6 months, so even when they are on the glue board they are most likely still alive.

Diatomaceous Earth is actually a food-grade product that some people take as a supplement…so it is obviously entirely safe to use in your home! It is used on an assortment of pests, including bed bugs, but it is one of the only products that has found to be extremely effective at killing brown recluse spiders. Diatomaceous Earth is best applied using a duster (we purchased this one). It is messy and takes some getting used to applying, but it is especially effective in attics, crawlspaces, closets basements, and inside wall outlets (all the places brown recluse spiders love to hide). Please note:  Diatomaceous Earth does not kill brown recluse spiders on contact, rather it takes a while for it take effect.

We noticed we were having more issues with spiders on our second story than even the ground level or basement, which we attributed to the eaves that we have that connect to our attic. We don’t store anything up there, so we turned off the HVAC system for about 6 hours and my husband put on a ventilating mask, poured some diatomaceous earth on a tray, and took his leaf flower into the attic, covering everything in a thin coat of diatomaceous earth dust. It has made a hUGE difference!


  • Natural Spider Repellent Vinegar

I have not used this method myself, but have read that spiders in general do not like peppermint oil. This website suggests mixing peppermint oil and vinegar and spraying it around your doors and windows. There is no known information on whether this is effective for brown recluse spiders.

This product is made of plant oil extracts and contains no man made chemicals. It is safe to use indoors and is recommended to be sprayed on all baseboards, door frames, and window frames. Just keep in mind that it does have a strong smell since it is plant-based. Outdoors, you can spray around the foundation. Follow the directions on the packaging- you need to let the spray dry for 30 minutes before allowing your children or pets to have contact with any sprayed surfaces.


Getting Rid Of The Brown Recluse: Our Home Update

We still have some brown recluse spiders. Every now and then I will find one alive. I know there are many more around our house. Nothing will get rid of them completely (apart from burning our home to the ground, that is), but we have far less of a problem than we did before thanks to these measures we have taken.


In addition to all these measures, I also bought a Brown Recluse First Aid Kit to keep on hand in case anyone in our family gets bit. After living here for 5 years, we have not had to use it…but I did give it to a painter who got bit while painting the exterior of our house a few years ago. He had no medical insurance and I was very worried that he would suffer necrosis, as is common with brown recluse bites. I applied the salve as the instructions stated and then gave it to him to continue applying. When he returned the following day, the bite on his leg looked considerably better. Since I told him to keep the kit, I went ahead and ordered another one for us…the reviews on Amazon alone are a testament to this product! This is one of those “worst case scenario” products that I purchase in advance to put my mind at ease if/when someone gets bit. :)


How do you get rid of spiders in your home???

 Click here for more natural products for your home:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Window Cleaner

Homemade Mosquito Spray

After Bite Cream You Can Make Yourself

Licefree Spray

Homemade Glue


  1. Glue traps are horrible for mice. They chew their limbs off or pull their faces off. It’s unnecessarily cruel for those animals.

    1. Our pest control company initially installed the glue traps. We don’t have any problems with mice now, so we use them solely for spiders.

  2. Glue traps for mice are inhumane. Hearing a mouse screaming is not something I want to subject my children to again. Then you have to kill it or just leave it to die…both are just bad.

    1. I suggest using the glue traps for spiders, not for mice. :) But if you have a problem with mice as well, this might be a concern.

  3. a more humane way to remove mice is a have-a-heart trap…even a snap and kill trap is more humane…glue traps are horrible. Seeing a cute little mouse stuck on one of those suffering a horrible death has made me believe these things should be banned. Please don’t encourage people to use them.

  4. Great information. I live in a cabin in the woods and have been looking for practical tips to reduce the possibility of a brown-recluse spider bite.
    Pest control companies use glue traps because they are effective. Glue traps also remove the risk of the damage a snap-trap can have on small children’s little fingers and toes, not to mention pets in the house. Rodents spread disease and need to be eradicated however the means.

  5. After finding myself stark awake in the night I lay, eyes open and accustomizing to the low light from the moon outside. There, not but a few inches before my nose was the largest brown recluse I’ve been unfortunate enough to come across. I lept out of bed and proceeded to vacuum the room and move the furniture about and vacuum beneath it. Thanks for the tips!

  6. When we moved into our home in Georgia, it had been unoccupied for over a year. Needless to say the spiders, ants and these little centipede things we in the middle of an invasion when we moved into the house in May. I thought by taking away their webs and cleaning really well that this would deter the spiders. No such luck. I did not want to use chemicals because of my other pets so at the end of the summer I bought those really heavily scented cinnamon brooms that they sell at the dollar store for $3-4. Try to buy the ones with the vial of extra essential oil that comes with it. I put these in the doorways and corners of the garage and in the basement. Spent about $35. The spiders hated the cinnamon smell and my house and doorways smelled amazing……That’s how I got rid of them! Well I do live in the south so it is a constant battle, but I have the situation under control LOL

  7. …. for those of you who say that sticky traps are terrible for catching mice, let me tell you my story. When my daughter was about 12 we had a mouse in the house and I was going to set a trap; however, she talked me into setting up a little mouse house where the mouse goes in and can’t get out. We caught him, I picked up the house and walked it about 100 feet from the my house and opened it up and let it go. Doing the humane thing , RIGHT? That little mouse scurried as fast as it could back to the house and got underneath the kitchen door threshold and low and behold my daughter started to yell the mouse was back in the basement and we found it with 5 little babies in the back in the basement. I will never use a mouse house again. Sticky traps all the way for this woman.

  8. FYI. My parents could not get rid of the brown recluse spiders inside their house. When termites were found, the pest control tech stated that the brown recluse loves to eat termites. Since having their house treated, they have not had a problem. If you can’t seem to get rid of them, start looking.

  9. If you are bitten by a brown recluse make a paste of cayenne pepper and water. Keep it thick. Apply to bite area and cover with a bandaid leave it alone for 3 days. Remove bandaid and if still red reapply for another 3 days. Should be gone by then. I know because I have done this several times. My friend did air conditioning repair and was bit alot. This worked for him and he passed it on to me.

  10. I just want to say the people who complained about the glue traps seems like the same person. Inhumane… really? Someone needs to go back to school and learn all over again. Cute little mouse. Did you forget the plague… mice were carriers as well. Still to this day mice carry diseases just like rats and roaches. Either you get rid of them or they will get rid of you- simple. The next time you complain about a cute little mouse dying a horrible way think about the Yersinia pestis bacteria that killed millions (Europe isn’t the only place and the plague still occurs in today’s time, its just curable but could be avoided if mice/rat fleas didn’t exist).

    I do thank the author though for sharing her insight…. I am allergic to spider venom which I found out the hard way when I was younger. I recently moved to an area with lots of trees and tons of spiders. Although we’ve adopted a little jumping spider because they are friendly and do not bite the brown recluses are a scary thought. There was one in our car and my daughter was like mom a spider. I turn around to see a recluse on her window and freaked out my DH who had to stop in the middle of traffic to pull over. I was so afraid of being bitten but nothing could stop me from trying because I feared for my daughters safety.

  11. Glue traps are a very inhumane way to kill mice. The plague is long gone in civilized countries, and has been for over 600 years, so I don’t think we need to fear mice for that reason, and anyway it was fleas who carried the plague, not mice. Human beings are just as dirty as mice – even the clean ones. So don’t go thinking that mice carry disease, because they don’t – not any more than any other living creature. That is ignorant thinking. Mice are merely a small animal. The only thing to fear from a mouse is that it might chew your upholstery, but then your dog might do that too. Mice are unfairly demonized. They are just small creatures and don’t deserve a horrible, lingering death by glue trap. And, no, Angel, we are many people who are educated about animal welfare, not just one person. We say the same thing because it is truth. So have a heart, and act like your namesake.

    1. This post is not about mice…it is about spiders. This is not the forum to discuss mice and humane vs. inhumane ways of dealing with them. Again, this is about spiders (specifically brown recluse) and how to eradicate them in your home so they are no longer a danger to your family.

      Please take your mice conversations to another page.

  12. Mick says
    I live in England and used to live on a narrow boat which was always plagued with spiders I know there not these Brown spiders and a friend said try conkers which as you probably know is from the horse chestnut tree ,well I did try it and it did work never saw a spider again but you do have to put them in every room and replenish every year
    Surely it’s worth a try

  13. Thanks for the great tips for getting rid of spiders. I like how simple some of them are, like decluttering the house and to vacuum often. We have a lot of spiders around here, so maybe cleaning once a week just doesn’t cut it.

  14. We never saw them till we got some firewood and stacked near the house. We will be moving it. Be careful when picking up logs for that reason.

  15. Thank you so much for this information. How often do you apply the Diamtomaceous Earth? Have you continued to notice a decrease in the spiders since your original 2015 post? A lot of websites and comments lead you to believe there is little you can do to decrease the brown recluse population. I have found your article very inspiring and reassuring that following the steps above can reduce the population.

    1. We apply it every few months. We noticed that it seemed the spiders were coming from our attic. We don’t store anything up there, so my husband poured a bunch of DE on a tray, put on a mask, and took the leaf blower up there to spread it to all the areas in our attic. Worked like a charm! We hardly see any new spiders on our sticky traps now!

  16. We just bought a 20 year old house and much to my dismay we have a brown recluse problem. We moved in June 30 and have found 32 so far. I am not happy and ready to move or burn the house down. I have two teenage daughters that I am trying to protect. Luckily our pest control company is taking this very seriously. I have a team of three recluse experts show up once a week. I usually find 5 more in between visits. They tell me that they should be able to get rid of them, but if they can’t we will just live in harmony with them. That is not acceptable to me. I am going to try the cinnamon brooms. How many spiders have you found Jenea?

    1. Good luck. Pest control never did get rid of mine. My attic was bombed multiple times. I’ve tried cleaning, vacuuming often, declutter, trimming back trees, pesticides, you name it. I even sealed all HVAC vents and put net screen traps on all vents. Still having babies come through and smaller ones. The screen or netting traps on the vents slowed them down from a full on infestation back in the house house but I’m still finding babies in my bed. They eat each other. They always have a food source. They can hold their breath or go without food or water for a long period.

  17. I am highly allergic to brown recluse, 3 bites in 20 years each very very ugly and bad, almost lost a leg to it as I had a surgical procedure done and got bit not once but twice on that leg and did not realize it as a spider bite, 7 weeks of antibiotics and steroids and a year to heal, still have the ugly scar I use glue traps it works the best but I still see them around once in a while, I will now order the bite kit, I did not know about the kit, Thanks!

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