Does vinegar kill spiders?

Dave Campbell

Spiders are for some, household vermin police and for others, creepy critters that are aggressively invading. If you form part of the latter group, this is just for you! Here you’ll learn about how to get rid of spiders, the effects of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar on spiders in the house, and other things you can use in your home to instantly kill these vermin baiting creatures.

The truth about vinegar and spiders

The scent of white vinegar, which contains acetic acid, is known to repel spiders from the source and is thus a good pest control ingredient. In particular, an effective spider repellent. It is also harmless, so it’s safe to handle and inhale. It can get rid of spiders from your home mainly because of its unpleasant odour and sour taste. To capitalise on these properties, you’ll need:

  • Water
  • White Vinegar
  • A spray bottle

You need to mix water and vinegar in equal parts inside the spray bottle and spray this solution on areas you usually encounter spiders in your home. Mainly: the spiderweb, corners in your home, cabinets, dark areas, and underneath furniture. You can also spray this solution directly on the spider though it may not necessarily always be lethal, but, the spider will now surely know not to mess with you again! This needs to be repeated regularly. Make sure that your house doesn’t attract other household pests like insects since spiders feed on these and they will thus always keep coming back.

Check out my other post on a natural remedy for spiders

These household pests like ants and flies are mainly attracted by food laying around and crumbs. But hey, if you are as lazy as I am, you might as well get white vinegar incense – just kidding, I don’t think that’s a thing. But seriously though, as an alternative to the spray bottle approach, you can just use a small dish or saucer to hold in the solution and put it in any relevant place in the house in order to ward the spiders off.


Can vinegar kill on contact?

Vinegar is a widely purported lethal solution to the spider-related pest problem. Does vinegar kill spiders though? To actually answer this question, it is important to understand the physical composition of these furry little 8-legged critters.  Spiders are exoskeletal, meaning their bone structure is on the outside, not inside like that of humans. Their exoskeleton is mainly composed of a polymer called Chitin. In fact, this Chitin is arranged in long chains of successive layers.

Nature has tried to do some damage on exoskeletal critters using acetic acid (aka vinegar). Consider the Vinegaroon (formally known as the Thelyphonida). This is a scorpion that spews out a mixture of acetic acid with caprylic acid to defend itself. Its mixture is 84% acetic acid, 5% caprylic acid, and 11% water. This mixture is mainly because acetic acid’s pH is not low enough (acidic enough) to cause any significant harm to other animals with exoskeletons.

Therefore, vinegar alone won’t be effective in killing a spider. This is due to the fact that acetic acid is water-soluble and it will roll-off Chitin like rain droplets on a window. If one wishes to learn from the best (mother nature), rather make sure you mix caprylic acid (found in coconut oil) with vinegar and water for a better chance of doing any immediate harm to spiders on-contact.

Check out my other post about whether you can kill spiders with Clorax

What about apple cider vinegar as a spider repellant?

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and is thus just as effective as white vinegar in repelling spiders away from your home. One can follow the same instructions as above, or alternatively, you could mix the apple cider vinegar with soap (preferrable citrus-scented) and warm water and leave it in areas that are damp, dark and wherever else you have seen spiders lurking around. Apple cider vinegar is not guaranteed to kill a spider on contact though, so one has to resort to other lethal means discussed next, but it sure as hell will get rid of them.

Avoiding the apple cider stench.

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can mix the vinegar-water solution with 4 pieces of orange peels overnight before use. Another solution is making use of hot chilli sauce or chilli powder in a solution of half a cup of vinegar and 1 quart of water and also leave it out in the places already highlighted above. It doesn’t hurt to make use of your spray bottle in these contexts as well. Other means of avoiding having to inhale apple cider vinegar’s stench is by perhaps resorting to other means of spider repellent. You can use peppermint oil as an alternative. It has been reported to also be quite effective.

Peppermint oil or other essential oils with water in a spray bottle can be sprayed in the appropriate places around the house. These methods aren’t guaranteed to kill though, to kill spiders in a house instantly, you’ll have to resort to more explosive means.

What works instantly?


picture of a house spider

These home invaders can be surprisingly hard to kill. Slapping or stomping them with your shoes and feet might feel quite good after giving them a lecture on territorial invasions. But killing spiders on a regular basis might not be ideal. This is because you’re strengthening the genetic pool of spiders squatting in or near your house in their own house of spiders. But nevertheless, sometimes the deed has to be done. The most common, and instinctual way of killing a spider is smashing it – but this isn’t always guaranteed to be lethal, as these critters can just bounce back, maybe with a few missing legs.

Their exoskeletons are surprisingly hard. This method is quite cruel and can be painful for the little buggers. A friendlier way of killing a spider is by burning it. Since a spider is exoskeletal, it’s quite easy for pressure to build up internally from all the heat and it will have quite a quick and explosive death. This is messy and ewww… Another common way is drowning it, which is sometimes how vinegar and water can kill a spider, but they take forever to drown and they might just escape so this is not a guaranteed lethal technique.

A better recommendation is through the use of the icy cold. Spiders are used to the harsh months of winter, so exposing them to refrigerator temperatures is a day in the life for them. To do this effectively, you will need:

  • A small lunchbox or container with a lid
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • An icy refrigerator

You’ll first need to catch the spider, then put it in the appropriate container sealing the lid. After this, put it in the fridge for about a day and submerge it in the alcohol to make it impossible for the spider to increase their internal body temperature, thus killing them in cold blood. After this, you can get rid of the body safely into the wild, or down bowl fish hell; the toilet.


Catching a spider might not always be easy or even safe depending on the spider in question. Smashing it seems to be the safest way for you to kill it but it might just jump if you are not fast enough. It’s better to probably just repel it from your home because if you are going to go through all that effort of catching it, rather throw it out and clean your home and rid it of insects that keep attracting spiders. Remember to stay safe.

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How to get rid of spiders


Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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