Tips and Guides

RL Tips: Ways to Keep the Home Safe from Pests

Here are surefire ways to keep pests from attacking your home and family


They fly, crawl, bite, and eat your food --- pests are unwanted guests at home. Keep your home and family safe with these helpful tips.

Styling by Arlene Sanchez-Maslog. Production by Coni Tejada. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Pests Away!") in the August 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.  

Step 1: Keep your home clean.

Keeping the home clean is the most basic step in keeping your home pest-free. Here are more specific tips:

Seal it.

Look for any openings that might become bug entrances. Make sure gaps around doors and windows are sealed tightly. Check your window and door screens for tears and holes and repair these immediately. Don’t forget your exhaust vents, too.

Keep your food safe from pests.

Do not leave food and beverage containers open, as bugs get attracted to the scent. Make sure everything is sealed tightly. Even your pet’s food is a magnet for bugs—keep them covered in tightly sealed containers. 

Store fruits properly.

Fruits look pretty on your kitchen counter or tabletop, but they also attract flies, ants and other insects into your home, so better avoid displaying them.

Keep the kitchen clean and spotless.

If you wait too long before picking up scraps or wiping spills during food preparation, the bugs just might beat you to them. So clean them up promptly.

Check for leaks regularly.

Many types of insects like to stay in damp or moist places. Check for leaking faucets, drains, the space under sinks, areas around water hoses or tanks, and patch any leaks right away.

Maintain your garden.

If you have a lawn, keep it clean and trimmed well to prevent rodent infestation. Rats dislike short grass, as they can’t hide in them.



Step 2: Keep them at bay with the right protection.

Cucumbers come in handy.

Pesky roaches do not like the smell of cucumbers. Slice fresh cucumbers, or even just their skins. Put them on plates throughout your house. Change them every other day. Other natural cockroach repellants: garlic powder, bay leaves, and pandan leaves.

*Don't throw those peels! It can be used to ward off pests, too!

Powder Power

Even though they are so tiny, ants can be a big problem in every home. A sprinkling of the following: cayenne or black pepper, cinnamon, baby powder or scented talc powder along the ants’ paths of entry into your home will keep ants away. 

Petroleum Prevention

Ants won’t leave your dining table? Keep them from climbing onto your food by applying petroleum jelly onto your dining table’s legs or on the path they take.

You can go for Ground Zero and apply an insect repellant on your skin. For safety reasons-especially if you’re using the repellant on children-look for a product containing 10% to 30 % DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide). For kids, apply no more than once a day. 

You can create your a homemade insect repellant!

What you'll need:

  • Distilled water
  • Essential citrus oils (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit) or actual rinds

How to do it:

Soak the rinds of citrus fruits in water for several days. Discard rinds and strain into a clean spray bottle. Make small batches to keep it fresh. 

Tip: The scent of mint, thyme, rosemary and lavender are also offensive to houseflies. Use a few drops of their essential oils in your homemade repellant, light a candle, or display the actual plant.

Remember: Plants fight back!

Specific plants naturally deter mosquitoes. Grow these safe and organic repellants in pots, and keep them indoors and out. Here are a few:

Lemon Grass - Also called citronella grass. This plant contains the same citronella oil used for mosquito repellant candles. It is an ornamental grass that grows best in full sunlight.

Rosemary (as seen in photo) - contains oils that repel mosquitoes. If you don’t have an actual garden, you can grow rosemary indoors, in small containers along a windowsill. 

Don't forget the trusty katol.

Throwing an outdoor or evening party? Use the ever-reliable katol. Light a few of these on your outdoor space in the morning of your event. Leave it for less than an hour and the mosquitoes won’t bug you all day and into the evening as well.

Light it up.

Make a barrier of citronella candles in votives or incense sticks around your home at dusk, around the time mosquitoes come out. Don’t leave the candles unattended.

Step 3: Plan your attack.

If you’ve already been invaded and have no choice but to annihilate your pests, here are a few safe and natural ways to do it.

The reliable swatter.

Furiously swatting at insects will only make them go away, as they are sensitive to motion. So stay calm, and then sneak up on them. 

Deter with detergent.

Mix two cups of water and two tablespoons of liquid detergent and pour into a spray bottle. Spray this solution directly onto a cockroach and it will be killed instantly.

The power of peanut butter

For rodents, rat poison and mousetraps are two options. However, peanut butter is the better bait—more effective than cheese, much safer than store-bought bait.

Make a natural flytrap.

Pour cider vinegar into empty jars. Create a paper cone and place on the mouth of the jar. Flies will be able to crawl in but not make it out.  

Real Tip: While keeping your home clean, continue to check the traps and baits. Once you have killed the ones inside the house and sealed off all the holes, you should not be seeing or hearing any more of these unwanted settlers. 


Latest Stories

5 Secrets Of A Functional Kitchen

Are you dreaming of having the most efficient scullery? These tips might just do the trick.

11 Peg-Worthy Celebrity Christmas Trees

From showcasing dainty blooms to using quirky ornaments, these personalities have taken the decorating game to the next level

This Quiapo Day Tour Will Make You Love Old Manila Again

Go on a DIY Quiapo adventure and look beyond the vendors. Say a prayer, have your fortune told, take a peek at a mysterious pagoda, and visit beautiful ancestral houses from a more genteel past.

10 Ways To Make Your Shoes Last Forever

Show your favorite pairs some tender loving care with these tips

A One-Bedroom Unit Transformed into a Two-Bedroom Home

The designers of this 45sqm condo in Manila created a functional space with an urban contemporary appeal that’s perfect for its young occupants

Here's Why You Should Skip Bringing Your Phone To The Bathroom

Trust us, liking that photo on Instagram can wait for a few minutes

7 Planners For An Inspired 2018

Stay organized and keep your goals in sight with these picks

These Christmas Ornaments Will Make You Feel Like Dancing

Celebrate a yearly Christmas ballet tradition with The Nutcracker collection

15 Calming Photos of Modern Minimalist Homes

Because less is more

10 Life-Changing Cleaning Habits For Lazy People

We've got the strategies for keeping an impeccably clean house without losing your mind

Did You Know That Ellen Adarna Lives in a 1930s Apartment in Manila?

She has a fantastic view of the Manila Bay sunset, too

Neat Home Appliances You Need To Buy With Your 13th Month Bonus

It's okay to treat yourself with the best things money can buy—especially if it is for your humble abode
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!