If you’re not a fan of eight-legged critters, finding one in your car is probably one of your worst nightmares! The last thing you want when you’re behind the wheel – or riding shotgun, for that matter – is a spider putting in an appearance.
But never fear! If that’s something that’s been keeping you awake at night, we’re here to help. We’ve brought together a fool-proof approach that will get rid of spiders in your car. Even better, it will drastically reduce the risk of them coming back.
So if you’re ready, let’s find out how to do it …
How to Get Rid of Spiders in Your Car
1. Make Your Car Less Attractive to Spiders
Prevention is always better than cure, right?! So start by making your car a less appealing prospect to arachnid visitors.
Spiders like dark places where they can stay out of sight. (Though they’ll often be disturbed by the vibrations when you turn on the engine. That’s when they’re most likely to appear – eek!) Food debris can supplement their diet too.
So keeping your car clean and tidy will make it less spider-friendly. Sweet wrappers, old magazines, drinks bottles – get rid of the lot! Vacuum up any crumbs as well. As a side bonus, your car will be a whole lot more pleasant for you too.
Pay attention to the exterior as well. Clean beneath side mirrors, under the wheel arches, and across the whole bonnet. Spiders that have set up home there are one step closer to finding their way inside your car.
2. The first line of defence
As we all know, spiders are tricksy little critters that can wriggle into the smallest cracks. And there’s not much you can do about air vents and suchlike. But there’s no need to make life too easy for them!
Keep your doors and windows closed up tight when you’re not in the vehicle. That’s good security. But it’ll also reduce the risk of bugs, including spiders, finding their way inside.
And check the rubber seals around your doors and windows too. If they’re starting to work loose, reglue or replace them.
3. Think about where you park
The chances of a spider getting into your car are a whole lot lower if there aren’t many of them around in the first place!
In hot climates, parking beneath trees is a great way of keeping the interior of your car cool. But a whole lot of spider species live in those tree canopies! The same goes for bushes or piles of rubbish.
Steering clear of those kinds of locations can help minimize the chances of picking up an eight-legged hitchhiker.
4. Use spider deterrents
There are a whole bunch of different concoctions that are recommended for deterring spiders. And even better, lots of them are cheap and easy to mix up yourself at home. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Peppermint spray
Peppermint oil has solid credentials when it comes to discouraging spiders. Scientific studies have shown that it really works for at least some species of arachnid.
Mix it with water and a dash of dish soap to create your own spider deterrent spray. You’ll want about five or six drops of peppermint essential oil per 16 fluid ounces of water.
Add it to a spray bottle, then add a quick squirt of dish soap. Now spray it liberally around the interior and exterior of your car. Pay particular attention to the air vents and anywhere else spiders might get in.
If you prefer to get your spray ready-made, commercial preparations involving peppermint are available too. Check out Mighty Mint Spider Repellent or Grandpa Gus’s Spider Pouches. The latter also includes lemongrass to deter the insects spiders feed on.
As an extra bonus, the peppermint will give you a car a pleasant fragrance. It’s that odor which puts off the spiders. So once it’s faded, you’ll need to spray more (or replace the pouch).
Fruit from the chestnut family is also weirdly effective as a spider repellent. And this is another case where there’s scientific evidence to back up the claims. Just as with peppermint, however, it doesn’t seem to work with every species.
You can use either chestnuts or conkers (the fruit of the horse chestnut tree) here. Both of these contain the key ingredient, an oil called triterpenoid saponin.
Of course, having chestnuts and conkers rolling around the interior of your vehicle may not be your idea of fun! But you can get just the same effect by chopping them into small pieces or grinding them into powder. That also makes it a lot easier to distribute around the interior of your vehicle.
Just as with the peppermint spray, you’ll need to replace your chestnuts or conkers over time. Once the oil inside has dried out, its repellent effect will fade.
- Other smelly stuff
We know peppermint spray can effectively repel at least some kinds of spiders. But what about other fragrant herbs?
In fact, a number of different options have been suggested as spider deterrents. The idea behind all of these is that the strong smell is unpleasant to spiders or disrupts their senses, keeping them away.
Lavender, lemon, citronella, rosemary and eucalyptus have all been suggested as possible repellents. And some commercial spider repellents use them – Stay Away Spiders, for example, are pouches that include a combination of rosemary, lemongrass and citronella.
In most cases, there’s no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of these ingredients.
Citronella, however, is well known as being effective in repelling biting insects. So whether or not it deters spiders directly, it could get rid of insects that would otherwise provide an arachnid food source.
Lemon, on the other hand, has been the subject of the same experiments that tested peppermint oil and chestnuts. In this case, however, the species of spiders used in the tests didn’t seem troubled by its presence at all.
That’s not to say that these other options can’t work. And if you have a handy lavender bush, parking near it can’t hurt! But the evidence so far suggests that peppermint oil and chestnuts are better bets.
Mechanical spider repellent sprays
What do we mean by a mechanical spray?
Well, there are two different kind of spider repellent sprays. Those we’ve looked at already use scent. But mechanical sprays work by creating a barrier that the spider finds difficult to cross.
The barrier is sticky. It’s not so sticky that the spider won’t be able to move at all. But it will make it difficult. And spiders being sensible creatures, they’ll soon give up and go somewhere else.
5. And if the worst happens …
You’ve taken all the precautions. You’ve kept your car clean inside and out. You’ve parked out of sight of the nearest tree. And your whole vehicle wreaks of peppermint. And yet somehow, somehow, Itsy Bitsy Spider has put in an appearance while you’re driving your car.
We know this is easier said than done, but the number one thing to remember here is DON’T PANIC.
Even if you’re somewhere the spider could be poisonous, the risk of it causing you serious harm is extremely low. The risk of you coming to serious harm if you panic whilst driving, however, is considerably higher. So your first task is to find somewhere safe to stop the car.
When you’ve done that, feel free to jump out and hyperventilate to your heart’s content!
You’ve done that? Great, now it’s time to get rid of that spider. Yes, you can do this.
There are some excellent spider catchers on the market that won’t harm the spider. And – more importantly, we’re guessing, for you – don’t require you to get up close and personal with it!
Here are three of our top picks.
a). My Critter Catcher
My Critter Catcher is a long pole with bristles at the end. The bristles open and close with a trigger at the end of the pole. That allows you to pick up spiders – or other creepy crawlies – without having to get closer than a couple of feet away.
It comes in a choice of three different colors: green, pink or camo. The pole is 26 inches long. And the whole thing weighs less than 0.4 pounds, so it’s easy to maneuver. The bristles are specially designed – and patented – so they won’t harm whatever you catch.
This gadget is super-easy to use and very effective. There are just a couple of limitations to be aware of.
One is pesky old gravity. If your wily spider is on the ceiling of your car, it’s going to be impossible to get it with this.
The second issue is the length of the handle. Yes, you want to avoid getting intimate with your spider trespasser. But that long handle makes it tricky to get to some spots – under car seats, for example.
The Katcha uses a similar design to My Critter Catcher. There’s the same pole to keep the business end of things away from you. In this case, it’s about 21 inches long, so you’ll have to get a bit closer to the spider. On the plus side, that makes it easier to use in smaller spaces.
In this case, the trapping method uses an acrylic compartment instead of bristles. The bottom of the box slides out so you can place the rest of it over the spider. Then you slide the bottom panel gently back into place.
If you’re in a house, nudging it with your foot is the best approach here. The main challenge in a car, of course, is not being able to stand upright next to the trap. That means sliding in the bottom panel using your hands.
If you can bear to get that close to the spider, it’ll work like a dream. But it may be a bridge too far for serious arachnophobes.
The Swat-N-Scoop is a two-in-one fly swatter and insect catcher.
At first glance, it looks like a traditional swatter with its long handle and square mesh end. But look more closely, and you’ll see that what’s attached to the handle is actually a three-dimensional cup with flat sides.
That cup has a bevelled edge to make it easier to scoop up insects and arachnids. Just slide it along the surface the spider is on, and the idea is it will drop right in. You can then take it outside and drop it somewhere well away from your car.
The design means it works best on a vertical surface. The problem with a horizontal one is that you’re all too likely to find the spider fleeing from the edge of the cup. And no-one wants to deal with a spider that’s on the run!
Another thing to note is that the handle may a bit on the short side for some. It’s only about a foot long in total.
Ready to deal with spiders in your car?
That brings us to the end of our look at how to get rid of spiders in your car. We hope it’s given you more confidence in keeping your car an arachnid-free zone!
There’s lots you can do to reduce the risk of ever finding a spider in your vehicle. Good vehicle hygiene and carefully chosen parking spots will give you a head start.
And some spider deterrents really do work, at least for some species. Choose a peppermint-based spray or use powdered chestnuts (or both) for the best results. Top them up regularly to keep the spiders away.
And it’s always good to have a plan for what you’d do if the worst happens. Invest in a spider catcher, and practice using it. Not on spiders – we’re not crazy! But trying to pick up a small ball of wool will help you get the hang of it.
Good luck, and happy driving!