Basking in the afterglow of my new apartment with a lovely basement level kitchen, laundry room and direct backyard access, I forgot about one little thing…SPIDERS! Eeeeeekkkkk!

My fear of spiders was born circa 1992. Our home in Florida had jalousie windows that became 3 panels when you rolled them open. Every night, big brawny spiders would camp out waiting for their prey to flutter past the porch light before springing out to make a meal. I stared, fascinated, peering at those hairy legged creatures from the other side of the window screen, memorizing their colorful markings and admiring them in their extreme stillness.

Until the night we came home late and three of those creatures were waiting on our doorstep (Oy!) Mom emptied an entire can of super strength bug killer, completely covering them in poisonous foam. I watched as they crawled away to burrow into their holes in the lawn, surely to breathe their last spidery breaths… Until the next night, there they were. Back on the hunt. They don’t die, eeeeeekkkkk! My terror was born.

So now… there it was on the floor of my new kitchen. Big black hairy body, long creepy legs and unknown jumping ability! After I put on my hoodie and tied the string so tight I could barely breathe, I zoomed down the stairs to retrieve my arsenal of essential oils and a spray bottle. Then I hit the internet.

According to, a range of strong smelling essential oils are effective for repelling insects, like eucalyptus, tea tree and even lavender. But I wanted this sucker dead! Into my bottle goes every essential oil in that article including rosemary, camphor, lemongrass, and peppermint plus tangerine oil for good measure. Then I crept downstairs, spraying the path before me.

What I didn’t count on was the spider coming back into the kitchen from its hiding place, stumbling like a drunk college kid on a Friday night. I was so scared I grabbed the nearest weapon at hand – a small cardboard box – and smashed it down (of course, shrieking the entire time!) Sooo… do essential oils kill spiders? That, I cannot confirm. But I DO know that it slows them down enough so I could kill it myself. That’s good enough for me.