Kiss bugs goodbye: Your complete guide to using peppermint oil for pests


Today, we explore the potent world of peppermint oil, a remarkable natural remedy against pests. This guide will demystify the reasons behind its efficacy and provide practical, detailed applications. Join me in uncovering the secrets of this aromatic powerhouse in pest control.

Why peppermint oil works against bugs: Unraveling the science

The power of aroma and menthol


Peppermint oil’s efficacy as an insect repellent lies primarily in its potent aroma, a result of high concentrations of menthol and other volatile compounds. Menthol—a major constituent of peppermint oil—is particularly effective in overwhelming the olfactory senses of many insects. This intense scent interferes with their ability to navigate and locate food, effectively disorienting them and acting as a strong deterrent. Insects rely heavily on their sense of smell to survive—using it to find food and mates, and to sense danger. The overpowering aroma of peppermint oil confuses these signals, making it an unwelcoming environment for them.

Toxicity on contact

Beyond its scent, peppermint oil can be directly toxic to certain insects. When insects come into contact with peppermint oil, it can penetrate their exoskeleton and disrupt their respiratory function. For many insects—especially smaller ones— this can be fatal. The oil’s compounds can clog the pores through which they breathe, leading to suffocation. Additionally, peppermint oil can act as a neurotoxin to some pests. It affects their nervous system, causing spasms and paralysis, ultimately leading to their demise. This dual action—both as a repellant and an insecticide—makes peppermint oil a powerful tool in pest control.

The power of peppermint: Crafting your own DIY spray

Creating your own peppermint oil spray for pest control is straightforward and effective. Here’s how to make it and some key points to remember:

Ingredients and preparation

Mix 10-15 drops of high-quality peppermint essential oil with one cup of water and one teaspoon of mild dish soap. Note: The addition of dish soap is crucial as it acts as an emulsifier, ensuring the oil disperses evenly throughout the water. Without the soap, the oil and water would separate, reducing the effectiveness of your spray.

Using tap water

Using tap water for this mixture is perfectly fine. However, if your tap water is extremely hard or has high mineral content, it could slightly reduce the spray's effectiveness. In such cases, using distilled or filtered water can be a better option. But for most households, regular tap water will work just fine.

Longevity and effectiveness

Once prepared, this peppermint oil spray remains effective for approximately one week. After this period, making a fresh concoction is advisable for maximum effectiveness. The potency of the spray will diminish if exposed to light or heat.

Application and reapplication

For best results, shake the bottle well before each use and spray directly onto pests or in areas where they are frequent—such as entry points or infested regions. The frequency of reapplication depends on the level of infestation and the specific pests you are dealing with. Generally, reapplying the spray every few days is effective for ongoing pest control. In areas with heavy pest activity, daily application might be necessary until you notice a significant reduction in pest numbers.

The power of Dust to Dust: Enhancing pest control with natural solutions


While the DIY peppermint oil spray offers a quick and customizable solution for pest control, it's worth noting that its effectiveness is time-limited and frequent reapplication is needed due to its volatile nature. For those seeking a more enduring and hassle-free alternative, ready-made products like Dr. Killigan's Dust to Dust Plant-Powered Insect Powder provide an excellent option. With a shelf life of up to 2 years—when stored properly—Dust to Dust is a long-lasting solution that's effective against a wide range of pests, including ants, cockroaches, ticks, fleas and silverfish. Its convenience and extended effectiveness make it an ideal choice for those looking to manage pest problems without the need for frequent reapplication.

Composition and mechanism

Dust to Dust showcases a unique formulation that marries the natural potency of peppermint and rosemary oils. Each of these essential oils—contributing a 3% concentration—enhances the product's ability to repel and combat bugs. The peppermint oil serves as a potent repellent, while rosemary oil amplifies the insect-repelling effect. Inactive ingredients like stearic acid and silica further augment the powder's efficacy. Silica, particularly, works by physically damaging the exoskeleton of insects, causing dehydration and death, similar to diatomaceous earth but distinct in its composition and action.

Application instructions

Using Dust to Dust is straightforward. For best results, lightly sprinkle the powder in areas where you've noticed insect activity. These can include corners, along baseboards, under appliances or even in cabinets where bugs like to hide. The powder should be a fine dusting—not a thick layer—as insects are more likely to avoid large accumulations. Since Dust to Dust is non-toxic, it's safe for use in kitchens and around pet areas. 

For more precise, targeted application, use the Insect Buster Bulb Duster

Effectiveness and reapplication

Dust to Dust remains effective as long as it stays dry. Users often notice a reduction in insect activity after application. For ongoing issues, reapply the powder as needed, especially in humid conditions or in places where insects frequently appear. The effectiveness of Dust to Dust relies on direct contact with insects. 

9 uses for peppermint oil in pest control: A deep dive

1. Ant deterrent

DIY spray: Regularly apply the peppermint oil solution around ant entry points, trails and food storage areas. Reapply weekly or after cleaning for ongoing prevention.

Dust to Dust: Additionally, sprinkle Dust to Dust along ant trails and near entry points for extended control. Its long-lasting formula remains effective in dry conditions and helps disrupt ant paths.

2. Spider repellent

DIY spray: Focus the spray on corners, windowsills and dark areas, reapplying weekly. Increase frequency in high spider activity areas.

Dust to Dust: For long-term prevention, apply Dust to Dust in the same areas, especially in corners and behind furniture. Its residual effect keeps spiders at bay for longer periods.

3. Cockroach control


DIY spray: Spray the solution in areas prone to cockroach infestation, such as kitchen cabinets, under sinks and around appliances. Apply every few days for the best results.

Dust to Dust: Use Dust to Dust in these areas for a more durable solution. Its formulation is effective in disrupting cockroach habitats and can be particularly useful in hard-to-reach places.

4. Moth prevention in wardrobes

DIY method: Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in closets, drawers and storage boxes. Refresh weekly for continued protection.

Cedar Planks: Dr. Killigan’s Cedar Planks offer a natural, aromatic alternative. Place them in wardrobes and drawers for a lasting moth repellent that also imparts a pleasant cedar scent.

5. Flea repellent

DIY spray: Dilute peppermint oil in water and lightly mist pet bedding areas. Test for pet sensitivity and consult a veterinarian before widespread use.

Dust to Dust: For areas around pet bedding, apply Dust to Dust to deter fleas. Ensure it's used in a way that minimizes direct contact with pets.

6. Garden pest deterrent

DIY spray: Mix peppermint oil with water for a mild solution and spray on foliage. Ideal for repelling aphids, caterpillars and other garden pests without harming plants.

Dust to Dust: Gently apply Dust to Dust around the base of plants and on their leaves. The inclusion of silica in its formulation not only creates a durable barrier against pests but also can be beneficial for plants. Silica is known to strengthen plant cell walls, enhance nutrient uptake and improve resistance to disease and pests. This makes Dust to Dust an excellent choice for ornamental and non-edible plants, providing both pest control and plant health benefits. Remember to apply lightly and evenly for the best results.

7. Fly control

DIY spray: Use the peppermint spray in areas frequented by flies. Repeat daily or as needed based on fly activity.

The Fly Inn Fly Trap: Complement with The Fly Inn in areas with persistent fly problems. This discreet trap works alongside the peppermint spray to effectively reduce fly populations.

8. Bed bug deterrence

DIY spray: Apply the peppermint solution to bedding, mattress seams and potential hiding spots. Reapply regularly for ongoing prevention.

Dust to Dust: Sprinkle around the bed frame, mattress edges and other likely bed bug locations for a more enduring deterrent.

9. General freshener and pest repellent

DIY method: Incorporate a few drops of peppermint oil into cleaning solutions. Use for mopping floors or as a surface cleaner for a refreshing scent that also repels pests.

Dust to Dust: As part of a holistic pest control strategy, Dust to Dust can be lightly applied in areas of frequent pest activity, complementing the regular cleaning routine.

Embracing peppermint oil for eco-friendly pest control


In wrapping up our journey through the world of peppermint oil and its myriad uses in battling pests, we've seen just how potent and versatile this natural remedy can be. As advocates for environmentally responsible solutions, we at Dr. Killigan's are committed not only to empowering you with knowledge but also to providing effective, planet-friendly products.

Our Dust to Dust Non-Toxic Insect Powder, infused with the natural power of peppermint oil, stands as a testament to our dedication to safe and sustainable pest control. We invite you to explore our full range of products, each thoughtfully crafted to ensure that you can protect your home and loved ones from pests, without compromising on environmental ethics.

We understand that the journey towards eco-friendly living is continuous, and we are here to support you every step of the way. Visit Dr. Killigan's website to discover how our solutions align with your commitment to a healthier, greener lifestyle. 

Join us at Dr. Killigan's in leading the charge toward a future where effective pest control and environmental stewardship go hand in hand. Kiss bugs goodbye, naturally!

Get into the nitty-gritty on insects & arachnids

View all

How long can spiders live without food?

Explore the surprising endurance of spiders and uncover how these resilient creatures survive for weeks without food.


3 ways to get rid of boxelder bugs (and 4 ways to prevent them)

Discover effective methods to eliminate and prevent boxelder bugs. Learn about their habits, what attracts them and how you can keep your home bug-free.


Are wasps dangerous? Unveiling 5 reasons to coexist carefully

Explore the true nature of wasp dangers and learn five reasons why careful coexistence with social wasps is crucial for our safety and their survival.

Read all about our unique ingredients

View all

Putting customers first: The power of full disclosure from Dr. Killigan's

Discover the power of full disclosure at Dr. Killigan's and how our transparency puts you in control of your pest solutions.


What makes an ant killer pet-safe?

Navigating the challenge of ant infestations while ensuring the safety of our pets is crucial. Learn the key features of pet-safe ant sprays and powders.  


Home preparation for travel & maintaining a pest-free haven

Travel with ease using Dr. Killigan's home preparation guide. Discover deep cleaning strategies and download our free house cleaning checklist for a pest-free return.