Stop sharing your food and keep critters out of your kitchen without making a mess or using poison!
Do you love critters in your kitchen as much as I do?
Yeah, that’s exactly what I figured!
Especially when it’s hot and humid outside (or when the weather starts turning and gets wet and rainy!), I despise the loads of flies, wasps, fruit flies and whatnot making their way into my kitchen.
Not only is this the place where we store and prepare our food, it’s also where we eat. And I’m selfish when it comes to food, I don’t do sharesies.
Actually, sometimes I get a little crazy when it comes to getting rid of the creepy-crawleys.
One time as a teen I was home alone for a few days, and we suddenly had ants crawling across our dining area. I think my mom badly regretted leaving me on my own, because when she came back she had to clean up all the sticky residue from the ant poison. I may have overdone it a teeny-tiny little bit.
But ever since having kids, I’m much more careful with toxic insect traps and repellents.
Actually, when Brani decided it was a good idea to fill the nursery with insect spray (and I freaked out and basically aired the room for a week after washing anything and everything that wasn’t an actual piece of wooden furniture) I decided we need to go toxin-free in our mission to keep a healthy and bug-free home.
And because I’m sure no mama wants her kiddos (or the food!) around stuff that has about seventy warning signs on the bottle, I thought I’d share my favorite tips and tricks to keep the critters out of the kitchen au naturel and without making an epic mess.
Because really, do you need more mess than your kids can make in a matter of a blink?
So here are my 5 favorite non-toxic + mess-free ways to keep critters out of the kitchen:
1. Keep them off the grounds
Prevention is always better, right? That’s my approach when it comes to those pesky little critters as well. As soon as I notice them creeping in when the weather gets warmer I’m in fight mode.
Told ya, hate them.
For the rest of our home, I mainly make sure to NEVER leave the windows open when it’s dark out and the lights are on. But in the kitchen? Those fruit flies, ants and wasps don’t really care about timing or darkness.
Protect the windows
Since the only window in our kitchen is a patio door, I couldn’t attach fly nets or anything like that. And I didn’t feel like spending a fortune on a custom made option.
We don’t have air conditioning, so during the summer we have that door open pretty much all the time we’re home. Making sure we don’t get armies of insects in through there was definitely a priority!
So I hung a couple of cheap mesh curtains, and while they don’t keep out everything, they do work quite well.
Check for possible entry points
At our old place we suddenly had a gigantic ant problem during the warmer months.
And when I say gigantic, I don’t mean it in a girly “Oh, there were SO many! But I caught all three of them!” way. I mean legit stream of ants from the kitchen all the way through the dining room.
And it happened with all the windows closed! We eventually figured out they found a way to intrude behind the dishwasher and one below the fridge.
We closed everything up and when we moved to our new place I immediately did the same to every last little crack I could find.
And just in case you were wondering, no. Not neurotic at all over here.
2. Keep things extra clean
I’m not saying this because I think you live in chaos. Look, I have a toddler at home. I know it’s hard to keep up with everything.
But whenever I notice an influx of bugs and flies, I make sure to take extra care to clean up the kitchen.
No dirty dishes allowed!
I’m not usually that strict with dishes. If the dishwasher is full, those couple of dirty plates can wait on the counter until it has run. And whenever our day was really long and hard, I don’t have an issue with leaving large pots and pans to soak overnight.
But during the warmer months? No way, friend. I’m not leaving any kind of dirty dishes around.
The same goes for wet and rainy times as well, by the way. I always hope insects will eventually go crazy for pumpkin spice lattes and colorful leaves, but apparently come fall they like hanging out in my kitchen even more.
Get into a daily kitchen cleaning routine
I mean, that won’t hurt, like, ever.
But if you get into a really good routine of a daily counter wipe down/floor sweep/backsplash cleanup, you’re well on your way to keep a spotless kitchen.
And while you’re at it, you might also wipe down the most used cabinet doors and handles.
Well, maybe I’m a little neurotic.
But seriously, this doesn’t take as much time as you might think. I usually wipe the used countertops and our kitchen table after every meal we have at home anyways, and at the end of the day I just wipe down everything and give the floor a quick sweep. Easy peasy.
And don’t forget the drain!
This one really got me for a long time!
It’s way worse with a garbage disposal though. We had one at our old place, now we don’t have one anymore (and I must say, I’m NOT sad about it!).
A dirty drain really, really acts like a magnet for fruit flies. So make sure to keep those pipes clean!
One thing you can try with a garbage disposal is running a few lemon slices through. Not only does this clean the disposal, it also smells really good! Don’t do the hard ends or seeds though, they get stuck. And limes don’t work either.
For a normal drain without a garbage disposal, I like using baking soda. Just fill the sink with about 4 inches of water and stir in a couple teaspoons of baking soda (or salt). Get the plunger ready, open the drain and plunge away! (Did you know dry plunging doesn’t do anything? There needs to be water in the sink for it to work.)
And when the drain is really dirty for some reason, I first clean it with baking soda and lemon juice only, then plunge it like I said above. (Apple cider vinegar attracts fruit flies, so if you don’t want to use lemon juice make sure to rinse your sink really well with hot water after to get rid of any vinegar residue!)
3. Don’t attract them
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with keeping the kitchen clean, but I want to get into some other things as well here. Bear with me, I know I’m talking like a crazy person here. But just think of this as your one-stop-shop to keep critters out of the kitchen!
Keep all produce in the fridge
I don’t normally do this. At all!
Most fruit that’s not too delicate lives in a fruit bowl, and stuff like onions I don’t normally keep in the fridge either.
But when I notice loads of flies and other critters feeling all the feels about my produce? Sayonara, fruit bowl. See you again when there’s freezing temps outside.
It is a small adjustment of going grocery shopping maybe once more per week, to keep the fridge stocked with produce. And I know there’s produce like tomatoes that technically shouldn’t be kept in the fridge. But I’d rather have it this way than finding swarms of little flies around fruit and veggies on the counter every day!
No garbage indoors!
This is another wasp/fruit fly/mosquito/anything creepy-crawly favorite! Think of it as the hang-out place of everything you definitely don’t want hanging out in your home.
What I do is keep a little plastic container on the counter, and that’s where the garbage goes while we’re prepping meals and cooking. As soon as we’re done, I take it outside to the big trash can and immediately rinse the container.
Before we did this, we had awful amounts of insects whenever the weather got warmer. And garbage cans underneath the sink are the WORST! It gets so hot and humid in there, no chance to keep critters away. I experienced some pretty nasty things with under-the-sink garbage. Never. Again.
4. Keep them away with natural solutions
As I mentioned in the beginning – with little kiddos around, I banned most toxins from our home.
Yah, I pretend to be a crunchy mama on occasion. But, you know, one who likes copper light fixtures and silk sheets. It’s all about balance, right?!
While we didn’t hesitate to use poison to get rid of insects in the past, we have found a few all-natural alternatives that work surprisingly well. Perfect for living la vida semi-crunchy.
DIY vinegar traps
These are put up around our home basically all year long. Just use a pretty dish, and they basically look like chic home decor. #lifehack
Well, at least sort of.
All you have to do is fill a small dish or cup about 3/4 with water and stir in enough apple cider or white wine vinegar so you can see a color change and slightly smell the vinegar. Then add a drop of dishwater soap, this makes sure to trap the flies on the surface. Then just put it wherever you notice fruit flies hanging out.
With kids and/or pets and/or clumsy adults around, I recommend not putting any on the floor or wherever they could easily spill.
Essential oils are a GREAT way to keep insects at bay in your home! But just because they’re natural, they’re NOT completely safe for kids. So keep them firmly out of their reach!
I have used both lavender and citrus oils with success. You can either put the oil in a diffuser candle and give your entire home a nice smell. If you don’t have a diffuser candle, adding a few drops to a boiling pot of water works as well. And it’s super convenient in the kitchen! Just make sure your toddler doesn’t go get her stool to check out what you’ve been brewing.
I mean, mine usually does this to reach the snack cupboard. I wouldn’t put it past her to do it for a pot of potential “soup” as well.
And for a super-easy method boil some water, cool it to about 120°F (50°C), pour it into a spray bottle and add around 20 drops of essential lavender or citrus oil. Now you have your own insect repellent spray! Shake well before using, and please keep it away from food.
5. If you need to get rid of an intruder ASAP – swat it like it’s hot!
So what do you do when you took all.the.precautions and you’re sitting down for that lovely dinner you’ve been slaving over – when you get almost hit in the head by a frantic fly?
If your house is anything like mine you already know there’s going to be a crazy guy dancing around the room, armed with a kitchen towel and getting dangerously close to hurting himself more than that fly.
Look, we all wish I was joking. But it is what it is, ha!
Now apart from the potentially knocked-out husband, I also hate that his ultra-male demonstration of powerful insect-killing majorly stains our walls.
We’re renters, and our last lease actually stated that stains from killing insects on the walls will be fixed at our expense. I doubt that our current building manager thinks otherwise. But even if that wasn’t an issue, it’s still just gross.
I might be a rare specimen, but I adore my all-white walls. I really do. And being reminded of every fly, mosquito and moth that ever dared to cross the border to our eat-in kitchen is really not the kind of look I’m going for.
So far I had to live with the fact that it was either potential stain or enduring insects around mealtimes. Needless to say, I opted for potential stains 100% of the time. Even though it’s gross, it’s even more disturbing when Em starts crying because a fly landed on her forehead.
Not. Kidding. Those beasts are reckless. That might have been a little exaggerated, but you know me. Queen of exaggerations to match Cersei right here.
But. There’s always a but.
Then I found an amazing solution. There’s actually people who listen to my awful first-world problems and solve them.
Let me introduce you to the Nexa Lotte Insektenjäger Fleckenlos fly swatter that doesn’t stain your walls! I know, I was pretty amazed as well.
The concept is quite simple: There’s a sticky part (that can easily be refilled) to catch the insects. Around that is a raised edge, so there’s no possibility to stain! And it can be flipped, so you can even reach that one ridiculous fly laughing at you from the ceiling.
What I love almost as much as that the non-staining part is the fact that I don’t have to touch the dead insects. I might be part crunchy, but I’m definitely part neurotic girly-girl as well. No shame there.
I could go on and on about how to use this little thing of awesomeness, but the video instructions probably help you more than my endless ramblings:
There’s also a pretty hilarious infographic to find out what kind of insect hunter you are. What can I say? Sometimes it’s the little things that make me happy.
Now if only they’d make a pretty copper version of this swatter. A girl can dream, right?!
So if you’re as tired as me of having insects around your food, or stained walls in the kitchen – you can get your very own mess-free Nexa Lotte fly swatter right here!
“Keep Critters Out Of The Kitchen” Checklist
If you’re anything like me and want to free your kitchen of all those creepy-crawlies (because seriously, they ARE creepy!) but always have a million things to keep in mind – here’s your checklist to follow to keep critters out of your kitchen once and for all!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nexa Lotte. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand. Thanks for supporting brands that ♥ Savory Nothings!