While studies into essential oils as spider repellents are currently very limited, there’s more information on their use to repel other arachnids, like mites and ticks, which are related to spiders.
The essential oils below have shown repellent or killing activity against mites, ticks, or both, meaning these oils might have an effect against spiders. But their effectiveness against spiders has yet to be clinically tested.
» MORE: Which Essential Oils Work Best for Repelling Ticks?
Several 2017 studies have indicated that thyme oil is effective against both mites and ticks:
- Researchers assessed the effectiveness of 11 essential oils in repelling a specific species of tick. Two types of thyme, red thyme and creeping thyme, were found to be some of the most effective at repelling ticks.
- One study found that thyme oil had pesticidal activity against a species of mite. Individual components of thyme oil, such as thymol and carvacrol, also had some activity.
- Another study encapsulated two types of thyme oil with a tiny nanoparticle. They found that this increased stability, prolonged the activity, and killed more mites when compared to oil alone.
Who shouldn’t use thyme oil?
- people with allergies to plants in the mint family, as they may also have reactions to thyme
- use of thyme oil has been linked with a few adverse effects, including skin irritation, headache, and asthma
A 2012 study investigated the repellent effects of sandalwood oil on a species of mite. They found that mites left fewer eggs on plant leaves treated with sandalwood than with a control substance.
A 2016 study comparing DEET and eight essential oils found that sandalwood oil had repellent activity against a species of tick. However, none of the essential oils was as effective as DEET.
Although it’s rare, sandalwood can cause adverse skin reactions in some people.
The same 2016 study above that compared DEET with eight essential oils also assessed clove oil. It was found that clove oil also had repellent activity against ticks.
Additionally, the same 2017 study above that investigated 11 essential oils as tick repellents observed that clove oil was also effective at repelling ticks. In fact, it was actually more effective that both types of thyme!
Clove oil can cause skin irritation in some people, particularly those with sensitive skin. Additionally, the following groups should avoid using clove oil.
Who shouldn’t use clove oil?
- people taking anticoagulant drugs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- individuals with conditions like peptic ulcers or bleeding disorders
- those who’ve recently had a major surgery
A 2009 study evaluated the effectiveness of commercially available products made from essential oils. A product called GC-Mite, which contains garlic, clove, and cottonseed oil killed over 90 percent of the mites that were tested.
Additionally, a 2015 study investigated use of an outdoor garlic juice-based spray in controlling the population of a species of tick. Although the spray appeared to work, it may require multiple applications to be effective.
Who shouldn’t use garlic?
- people with allergies to it
- people taking medications that may interact with garlic, such as anticoagulants and the HIV drug saquinavir (Invirase)