Home Sweet Home Magazine - July 2021

J U L Y 2 0 2 1

Beat the Heat! (Even if you don’t have a pool) Page 4

Crank Up Your Curb Appeal Easy fixes that can make a big impact Page 7

Forget Harsh Chemicals! 12 Ways to Use Essential Oils as Cleaners Page 11

AgentName@Domain.com 123 456 7890 AgentName.HomeMag.me

courtesy of: Agent Name

Summer is the perfect time to show some love to the outside of your home, whether you’re looking to complete some simple upgrades or just want to spend quality time outdoors.

This issue of Home Sweet Home Magazine will help you make the most of your exterior space. Inside, you’ll find tips for improving your home’s curb appeal, creative ways to beat the heat (if you don’t own a pool), and a guide to camping in your own backyard. Grab some s’mores supplies, and gather around a fire for some quality time with family. And to keep the outdoors from coming inside, check out some natural solutions to repel bugs and other pests in your home. Invest in some essential oils to make your own cleaners and keep your home smelling fresh! I hope you are enjoying this summer weather. If you’ve been considering putting your home on the market, it’s not too late to get in on the hot selling season. Give me a call or text if you want to talk about your home and how much you might get for it in the current market. Likewise, if you have any friends or family members looking to sell, I’d be more than happy to help them out. Your referrals are always appreciated, and I can promise they’ll be in good hands.

Best wishes,

Agent Name ABC Brokerage

123 456 7890 AgentName@Domain.com AgentName.HomeMag.me 51 Pine Street Atlantic Beach, FL 32233


Beat the Heat! There are plenty of ways to have a little summertime fun in the backyard without spending all your savings on a pool.

04 07 11

Crank Up Your Curb Appeal Whether you’re preparing to put your house on the market or simply want to beautify it, you might be surprised by the changes you can make in a single weekend.

Forget Harsh Chemicals! Check out 12 easy ways to use essential oils for a powerful clean in your home.

Backyard Camping Guide Camping season is finally here, but that doesn’t mean you need to take to the mountains for an excursion in the great outdoors!

14 18

Keep Pests at Bay From spiders to insects to rodents, make your house a little less welcoming to unwanted guests with these natural pest repellents.


families can’t afford upfront or when considering the long-termmaintenance a pool requires. But don’t despair! There are plenty of other ways to have a little summertime fun in the backyard this year without spending all your savings on a pool. We’ve rounded up several of those ways right here, all sure to bring the family together and keep everyone cool.

Summertime usually means fun in the sun while the kids are out of school and more light in the evenings after your work day winds down. It also means hotter weather. While perhaps your go-to solution to a sweltering day is a cannonball splash into a glistening backyard pool, the average in-ground swimming pool can cost more than $20,000 — a price many


Sprinklers and Hoses - Younger kids in particular will be perfectly happy playing in the hose or with an oscillating sprinkler. For evenmore fun, spread plastic bags or another slick surface over the grass so they can slide around. Playing in the Rain - Summer showers can be turned into a great chance to get outside, as long as there’s no danger of lightning.

tarps or a tent that will

repel, rather than absorb, the sunlight. These items can be draped over chairs, tables and other backyard objects or held up with stakes. #2. Invest in other water- related activities. Kids love water, and there are fortunately many other ways to incorporate water in the backyard without a pool. Here are a few of our favorites: Water Balloons - Water balloons are a fun way to get the kids (and adults) to play together and have fun on a hot day. It is best to buy balloons that are designed to be filled with water. To keep the game safe, instruct the kids not to throw balloons at people’s faces — and remember that balloons can present a choking hazard for toddlers. Squirt Guns - Don’t be afraid to bring back this classic — again, just keep it safe by advising kids not to spray people’s faces.

#1. Make shade a breeze. Start with the basics. A large umbrella over an outdoor table can provide a much-needed shady area for kids and adults to enjoy snacks and socializing on a hot day. And don’t forget to use plenty of fans. Whether you have a fan overhead or a stand-alone fan, they can keep air much cooler, especially in the shade. To make things more fun for the kids, build an outdoor shade fort. Forts are a classic living room favorite, and there’s no reason not to take that same concept to the backyard. A proper shade fort can serve as a great spot for reading, playing with toys and, if you’re brave and feel safe doing so, a night spent under the stars.

To build a shade fort, select lightly colored items, such as blankets,


#3. Invest in a kiddie pool or above-ground pool. Kids and adults who absolutely insist on their own pool might appreciate a kiddie pool or above-ground pool as an easy cool-off zone for summer. Sure, you won’t be able dive or swim laps — but submerging yourself in cool water on a hot day can be just as fun. As a bonus, add a “water feature” by placing the sprinkler so it sprays into the pool, andmake sure you place the pool in a shady spot if you don’t want to worry about reapplying sunscreen.

#4. Enjoy frozen treats. Nothing is better than a cold treat on a hot day. But instead of always dipping into a gallon of decadent ice cream, indulge the kids and yourself with healthier treats that are still just as much fun. It’s even better if you have popsicle molds for the freezer, but if you don’t have them, you can simply use other containers. Just wrap foil tightly around the popsicle stick so it stands up straight.

Creamy Popsicles You can add a creamy consistency to your pops by incorporating plain Greek yogurt or full-fat coconut milk. Smoothie Popsicles To sneak in a few veggies that the kids hopefully won’t notice, try blending the fruit with hard-to- detect vegetables such as carrots, avocados, kale, spinach or sweet potatoes.

#6. Make the most of dusk.

Here are a few ideas to try:

Fruity Popsicles For fruity popsicles, you’ll need your favorite fruit (the riper the better), lemon juice (or another liquid) and sugar. We suggest berries of all kinds, bananas, peaches, mangos, pineapple chunks or watermelon.

There’s a reason our ancestors stayed indoors during peak sun hours and ventured out right as the sun started setting! Those hours of softer light during the summer evening are perfect for outdoor time without slathering on the SPF and sweating. Try having a summer evening picnic as a family or encouraging everyone to take their books, toys and even their tablets outdoors for some one-on-one time with nature. Dusk is also a great time to go for a walk together as a family and burn off some energy. If you live somewhere with great sunset views, walk or bike to a place where the colors are visible. Don’t forget to listen for frogs and crickets and take in the magic of summer.


Paint the Front Door

weekend when you’re armed with a plan, some supplies, and perhaps a few extra hands. Wherever you fall on the DIY skill scale, there are swaps and improvements you can implement in a single weekend to ramp up the allure and value of your home. Bring out your weekend warrior by considering some or all of the suggestions below, andmake an impressive first (and lasting) impression.

You’ve dreamed, you’ve planned, you’ve spent endless hours perusing Pinterest and home magazines. You know what you want your home to look like when you pull into the driveway, but it’s not quite there yet. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and whether you’re preparing to put your house on the market or simply want to beautify it, you might be surprised by the changes you canmake in a single

Weathered or striking, the front door commands attention, even from the street. So it makes sense a fresh coat of paint or stain will draw the right kind of attention. Evaluate whether your door is metal or wood andmatch the right kind of paint to the task for the best results. Properly prepare the surface by sanding, and use a primer for premium adhesion.


Dress the Front Door

Replace Rotting Wood Look along the exterior of your home and replace any rotting wood around windows, doors, and the garage. Similarly, replace decaying fencing and weather-torn siding on the house.

While you’re at it, touch up the trim around the doors and windows.

Once you’ve applied a fresh coat of paint, move onto the hardware. Replace the handle, knob, and even the hinges for a quick modernization of the entrance to your home. You can also add a wreath for a homey touch. Shutter the Windows Shutters can be functional or decorative. They add a bundle of personality to the design of your home. If you’re a handy woodworker, you can build shutters yourself, or you can order your preferred style online. If you order functional shutters, you can also take advantage of their protective qualities. However, if you’re just

Replace the Porch Light

Like any other functional or decorative piece, porch lights start to look dated after a few years. Freshen the space and crank up the welcoming vibe with a new porch light. You can also paint the existing light fixture for a quick and inexpensive upgrade. Remember to put safety first by turning off all power before digging into the wiring. If you want to make a smart upgrade at the same time, select a porch light with a built-in camera andmotion sensor that you can control using a smartphone app or home assistant hub.

Add Flowers

In beds, pots, or window boxes, flowers provide an instant punch of color and tranquility. Buy, build, or repaint a few planters for each side of the front door or garage and fill them full of vibrant petals. Annuals only last one season but provide a lasting color display. Perennials will return each season and work well in pots or beds. Moving off the porch, build mounds or raised beds to house a combination of plants. You can include vegetables, herbs, shrubs, flowers, bulbs, and even a fruit tree or small Japanese maple. If you have a well-established tree in the front yard already, add a circle of flowers around the base.

looking to add visual interest, go with a simple shutter that

permanently mounts to each side of the windows in the front of the home. If you have existing shutters, dress them up with a fresh coat of paint, coordinating with the accent and primary paint colors of the house.


Create a Seating Area

Nothing invites guests to linger more than a bench nestled into the landscape. It also gives you a place to rest while working in the yard or to relax with your family. Figure out what works for your space. Buy or build a bench and consider adding an arbor for added appeal. If your landscape layout doesn’t allow for a bench, consider placing a bistro set on the front porch instead. You could also hang a porch swing or invest in some rocking chairs.

especially when coupled with other improvements and colorful blooms.

Clean Pressure washing is a great way to make a concrete patio or driveway look nearly new again, so definitely put that on your weekend warrior to-do list. But don’t stop there. Hit the sides of the house and fencing with a light-pressure spray, as well. Use caution when spraying wood, since too much pressure can cause damage. If in doubt, sweep the eaves and use a hose on wood fencing instead. Also remove and clean screens andmake the windows shine through. Trim the Bushes and Shrubs The benefits of cleaning also extend to your landscaping. Make sure the plants in the ground and even those in pots are working for you. Cut away dead branches, and cut back shrubs that may be blocking windows or doors. In contrast, make sure to leave or plant bushy shrubs to cover

Buy a New Doormat

electrical boxes, garbage receptacles, AC units, and other eyesores.

A dirty, worn down doormat is the last thing you want to come home to, let alone have guests or interested buyers look at as part of your home’s first impression. Fortunately, throwing down a new welcome mat takes mere minutes and canmake a noticeable impact.

Bring in the Bark and Gravel Few things change the look of the front of your home more quickly than a fresh layer of bark throughout the beds. Make sure to pull weeds and set new plantings before adding bark mulch or chips. If the space calls for it, add a path that connects parking areas to the front door. You might bring in a professional if you want to pour concrete, but most homeowners can plan and execute the installation of a meandering crushed gravel walkway themselves.

Paint or Stain the Porch

While you’re focused on porch lights and door paint, take a look at the surface of your porch. If it’s wood, cleaning and restaining will freshen it up. If it’s concrete, hit it with the pressure washer for a deep clean. Another option is to paint the porch. It’s amazing what a layer or two of paint can add to the space,


Update House Numbers While you’re at the home improvement store or clicking through the internet, toss some new house numbers into your cart. Whether you’re selling your home, have invited friends over, or simply want to make sure you can be found by delivery drivers, make sure your house numbers pop. There are innumerable choices for numbers,

Add Birdhouses or Bird Feeders With your porch and landscaping cleaned up, invite birds to the party with spaces of their own. Hang birdhouses or bird feeders from shepherd hooks or the eaves of the house or tree branches. If you have an older-looking birdhouse that is still in great condition, give it a coat or two of bright paint to bring it back to life. Bring the Lights When we think of curb appeal, we often envision arriving at the home during the day. But short winter days will often see you getting home after dark. Fortunately lighting innovation has come a long way, especially on the solar front. It’s easy to light up a pathway with solar lights or add uplights to the base of steps. You can also incorporate string lights that are solar powered or plugged into a nearby outlet. Use LED lights to dress up the landscape, the porch, and beneath the eaves.

Your patio area can connect to walkways and will benefit from the previous suggestions of flowers, clean furniture, and lighting.

Add a Water Feature

The sight and sound of water invites relaxation and a connection with nature. Find a space in your landscaping to place a fountain, or add a tabletopmodel to the bistro set.

ranging fromwhimsical to classic font. You can dress them up in tilework or keep them basic. If you like the style of the faded numbers you currently have, just paint them instead!

Consider Painting and Roofing

The biggest potential impact for the curb appeal of your home comes from a whole-home paint job and/ or new roofing. Depending on your skill set and tool selection, these projects may not be possible to complete in a weekend or without professional contractors. When it comes to home enhancement that increases value or attention, few things matter more than curb appeal. Turn that scrapbook of torn-out pages into reality with a weekend warrior mindset, a supply list, and a comprehensive plan.

Add a Patio

If your home lacks a formal deck or patio, consider adding one made out of paver stones. This is a project that will eat up a

weekend for one or two people, but could be completed in a long afternoon with a group.


can be used to provide a powerful clean.

a cost-effective choice to clean and care for your home. By making your own essential oil cleaning products, you can customize each one to include your favorite fresh scents such as lemon, orange, tangerine, lavender or vanilla. When choosing a brand of essential oils, make sure you use pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Doing so will ensure you do not get an inferior oil. Quality essential oils do not contain synthetic fillers and

Essential oils are extracted from plant parts and offer a natural way to clean and deodorize your home. The natural antibacterial cleansing properties found in essential oils like lemongrass, tea tree, and citrus oils offer you the opportunity to clean your home without using harsh chemicals. Essential oils are highly concentrated, whichmeans you only need a small amount to clean a large area. This makes essential oils

Be sure to store your DIY cleansers in glass bottles. The strong cleaning elements in essential oils can break plastic down and cause plastic containers to leak. Be sure to test a small portion of the area where you are applying the essential oil-based cleanser. Doing so allows you to see how the essential oil cleaner works with the surface you are applying it to (wood, flooring, fabric, glass etc.).


4. Carpet Cleanser:

essential oil. Shake well before use. Remember, oil and water do not mix, so it is important to always shake spray well before use. Apply to countertops, wood, porcelain and stainless steel. Use a microfiber cloth or paper towel to wipe clean.

Here are 12 easy ways you can use essential oils for a powerful clean in your home and to protect yourself and your family from viruses.

Choose your favorite essential oil scent and combine 10 drops of essential oil with 2 cups of baking soda. Mix well and sprinkle over carpet. Let this cleanser sit for 1-2 hours to allow the baking soda and aroma to absorb odors trapped in your carpet. Vacuum. 5. Wood Polish: In a glass spray bottle, combine ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup white vinegar. Add 10 drops of your favorite citrus essential oil. Shake well and apply directly to a microfiber cloth. Wipe wood surfaces clean. 6. Glass Cleaner: Combine 1 ½ cups white vinegar and ½ cup distilled water in a 16-ounce glass spray bottle. Add 8 drops of your favorite citrus essential

1. Surface Cleaner: Choose an essential oil with

3. Garbage Disposal Deodorizer:

antibacterial properties and a fresh scent such as lemon or lemongrass. Add 5 drops of your essential oil to 2-3 cups of white vinegar (which contains purifying properties) and shake well. To make a stronger solution, mix 15-20+ drops of essential oil to 3-5 cups of white vinegar. This cleanser is very effective in the kitchen as it cuts through greasy build up. 2. All-Purpose Cleansing Spray: Combine 1 cup warmwater and 1 cup white vinegar in a 16-ounce glass spray bottle. Add 20–25 drops

Combine 2 cups baking soda and 1 cup salt. Add ⅓ cup unscented liquid castile soap and 25 drops citrus or spearmint oil. Add ½ cup water one tablespoon at a time as you stir the mixture, until you have a consistency like damp sand. Use a tablespoonmeasure to place spoonfuls of the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Let dry for one full day until hard. Store in a covered glass container. Place 1-3 spoonfuls in the garbage disposal and run it.


12. Hand Sanitizer:

Essential oil diffusers allow you to clean the air and get rid of household odors.

oil (lemon, lime, tangerine, sweet orange). Shake well and spray on glass or mirrors, then wipe clean.

In a 2-ounce glass spray bottle, combine 5 drops of Vitamin E oil and 3 tablespoons of witch hazel with aloe vera. Add 10 drops of citrus oils and 5 drops of tea tree oil. Place the spray top on the bottle, and shake the mixture well to combine ingredients. Open the bottle and fill to the top with distilled water. Shake well before applying to the palms of hands and rubbing hands together until absorbed.

7. Fabric Spray: Refresh your clothes with this simple spray. Combine 2 cups of warmwhite vinegar and 10-15 drops of vanilla, lavender, grapefruit or geranium oil in a 16-ounce glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray over wet clothes prior to drying.

11. DIY HandWipes: The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened consciousness of germ spreading. To make your own essential oil hand wipes, cut 20 paper towels in half (or buy paper towels that are perforated in halves). Combine ¼ cup filtered water, ¼ cup aloe vera gel and ¼ cup witch hazel. Add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of peppermint. Mix together. Roll the paper towels and add to the liquidmixture. Let the towels sit until all of the liquid moisture has been absorbed into the towels. Store in a covered glass container.

8. DIY Dryer Sheets:

Combine 1 cup of white vinegar and 25 drops of your favorite essential oil scent (citrus, lavender). Place folded cloth scraps in a glass jar and moisten cloths with the vinegar/ essential oil solution. You want cloths to be moist but not saturated. 9. Room Spray: Fill a 16-ounce glass spray bottle with distilled water. Add your favorite combination of citrus oils to the water. You will want this to be concentrated, so add 60 drops of essential oils. Shake well and spray generously throughout your rooms. 10. Essential Oil Diffusers: Feel free to experiment by combining oils such as peppermint and vanilla or apple and cinnamon to create your favorite scents.


for your family and do camping your way. Pull out your tent and sleeping bags and set out on an unforgettable adventure — just don’t forget the marshmallows!

you already have a fire pit in your backyard, you’re in luck — just break out the hot dogs and get some coals going. If a fire pit is something you’ve always wanted for your family, your backyard camping trip is the perfect excuse to add one to your outdoor living space. Before taking the plunge, however, you will need to consider a few things. Above all, be sure to consult your local hardware store for advice from the experts!

Camping season is finally here, but that doesn’t mean you need to take to the mountains for an excursion in the great outdoors! The wilderness awaits in the comfort of your own backyard, whether you want to explore nature or roast up some good old-fashioned s’mores and tell ghost stories by the campfire. Campgrounds can get crowded, and scoring the perfect camping spot can get expensive; instead, create your own backyard oasis

All Fired Up

What’s camping without a cozy campfire? Whether you’re sleeping under the stars or full-on glamping, a fire is an absolute must for your camping-at-home experience. If


Finding the Right Fire Pit You don’t need to have a giant backyard to enjoy the flickering flame of a fire pit. Fire pits come in all types and sizes, fromhuge bowl pits to mini tabletop fire pits and everything in between. Average fire pit dimensions are typically smaller than outdoor dining tables, so you don’t need a lot of space; just consider the space you’ll need to place chairs around your fire pit. For an easy, family-friendly fire option, opt for a chiminea, a freestanding fireplace with a small open door and a long tall chimney that directs smoke upward from the fire. Because of their enclosed design, chimineas are a safe fire option for homes with children and pets and are perfect for backyard camping. Their unique design also keeps rain out and concentrates heat where people are seated, making them a practical choice; plus, you can’t beat their charming, rustic look. The kids will love crowding around the chiminea while “camping” out back. You can also opt to DIY a fire pit to suit your space perfectly. If you want to go the DIY route, check in with your local hardware store for guidance. Just be sure to give yourself enough time to plan and build before your backyard camping excursion begins.

Camping Cuisine When it comes to family-friendly camping fare, flame-cooked hotdogs are hard to beat. Or, for another fun hands-on experience with the kids, opt for fire-roasted tin foil dinners. Wrap up hamburger patties, veggie burger patties or chicken breasts with cream of mushroom soup and potatoes, peas and carrots in individual tin foil packets. Let the kids help build their own dinners — just leave the raw meat and sharp edges to the adults and be sure the kids are supervised. Pack your dinners in the cooler for your camping excursion, then when ready, place them among the coals

Keep inmind that installing a fire pit is a commitment. For a less-permanent, convenient fire pit, consider a portable fire pit — a perfect option for backyard campouts. Find the perfect spot, and get some good flames going as you stargaze out back. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure to follow fire safety rules and put out your fire completely before settling in for the night. If fires aren’t permitted in your area or if you’re concerned about safety, make a fun no-fire campfire for the kids with no-flame candles, orange, yellow and red felt or paper and firewood. You can even roast marshmallows and hot dogs on the stove inside, then enjoy them around the “fire.”


For kid-friendly beverages, pack juice boxes, soda, electrolyte drinks or bottled lemonade in your cooler. Don’t forget water, of course! Supply several gallon jugs or fill an insulated 5- or 10-gallon beverage dispenser with water and plenty of ice. Give everyone their own personal water bottle and let them fill up at the ‘watering hole!’ To cut down on trash from individual drink containers, fill another insulated jug with a big batch of homemade lemonade or punch and ice — just be sure to label the water and punch containers

your very own neighborhood! Learn to identify your local trees, and discover critter dwellings — pull up a rock or two and see what’s underneath! Take a nature walk ‘scavenger hunt’ around the neighborhood, make leaf rubbings with paper and crayons, or grab the binoculars and go bird-watching. If the stars are shining, go stargazing and learn the constellations. Glow sticks are also a great addition to the mix — let the kids make bracelets and crowns, play glow-in-the-dark tag, and let them take them inside the tent to make their own ‘light show’ at bedtime. Include some board games for time in the tent, and have everyone bring their

(make sure you’re the one to do this) and rotate them a few times while they cook. Fire-roasted fare can take time to cook, so be sure to have camping-friendly snacks on hand for hungry bellies. Opt for crackers, peanut butter and apple slices, grapes, and good old-fashioned trail mix. And don’t forget the s’mores supplies for dessert. Be sure to pack plenty of napkins and wet wipes (s’mores are sticky, even for adults) and provide plenty of plates, utensils and cups. For a truly authentic (and waste-free) camping experience, invest in some mess kits, which can be found online or at your local outdoor store. The kids will love having their own personal mess kit and will look forward to using them on your next camping trip!

Activities Hiking and exploring is paramount to camping, and you can do it in


stove-popped popcorn! Get creative and use sheets for a tent, set up an air mattress, throw in plenty of blankets and pillows, and create a “fire” with construction paper and flameless candles — you can find all kinds of ideas for indoor camping online. Equip the kids with flashlights, turn off all the lights, TVs and smart devices, and tell spooky camping stories under the glow of flashlights. For an extra outdoorsy touch, stick glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling to create a magical night under the stars.

flashlight, extra blankets, and any stuffed animals on the must-have list. To help young children be less afraid of the dark, get the flashlights glowing and put on a funny shadow puppet show! In case a nightlight is needed, consider adding a battery- powered or LED hanging lantern so everyone feels extra cozy and comfortable. If you’re on a budget, or if summer rain hits, you can still have camping night indoors! Roast hotdogs and marshmallows over the stove (just make sure the kids are supervised), make s’mores, and evenmake

favorite book, journal or drawing notepad for camping downtime.

Setting up Camp One of the best parts of camping is setting up! Let the kids join you, and teach them some skills along the way. If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a small tent that’s easy to set up. You’ll use it time and again, especially if you get the family hooked on camping! Let thempick a camping spot, have themhelp set up the tent and even let them “forage” for firewood. Make sure everyone has a sleeping bag, pillow, and a battery-powered

■ ■ Pillows ■ ■ Blankets ■ ■ Battery-powered flashlight

■ ■ Large insulated beverage dispenser ■ ■ Hot dogs and buns or tin foil dinners ■ ■ Condiments ■ ■ S’mores ingredients: chocolate bars, marshmallows, graham crackers ■ ■ Water ■ ■ Juice boxes or drinks of choice ■ ■ Snacks: trail mix, crackers, chips, fruit ■ ■ Plates, cups, utensils, napkins

Backyard Camping Checklist

Games and Activities ■ ■ Scavenger hunt list ■ ■ Glow sticks

■ ■ Board games ■ ■ Deck of cards ■ ■ Pens, pencils and crayons ■ ■ Notebooks


■ ■ Firewood ■ ■ Kindling ■ ■ Newspaper ■ ■ Matches ■ ■ Fire starter, if desired ■ ■ Water Food and Drink ■ ■ Roasting sticks ■ ■ Large picnic cooler

First Aid

■ ■ Band-Aids ■ ■ Bug spray ■ ■ Sunscreen ■ ■ Scissors ■ ■ Wet wipes and/or antibacterial wipes

Bedding ■ ■ Tent (or sheet, if using) ■ ■ Air mattress, if desired ■ ■ Sleeping bags


the environment. Professional companies can tackle the problem, spraying for bugs and setting traps. But before you call them in, consider tackling the problem yourself. Not only will it save you money, but it puts you in control of avoiding toxins.

problematic. Overall, they can just make your house a little less inviting.

Throughout the year, creepy crawlers take over your home’s spaces. You’ll find thembusily working everywhere, fromgnawing on garden vegetables to scurrying across the floor when the lights turn on. While many insects aren’t bothersome, some flying, biting, buzzing, and nibbling pests are

Depending on the level of infestation and type of insect, natural repellents can offer effective protection without the use of harmful chemicals that can cause illness and damage


Cat and Mouse It seems basic, but an effective solution to any rodent problem is to call in their natural enemy. For many, adding a pet solves the problem and keeps mice at bay season after season. It sounds weird, but mice are smart. They know who their natural predators are. So leave your cat’s litter box in trouble spots to leave an unwelcome scent in the area. If you know where mice are coming in, which can typically be identified by large amounts of urine and feces in one area, use steel wool to plug any holes in the space. Mice can fit through a hole as small as a pencil eraser, so shine a light and fill any and all potential entrances.

baseboards, mattresses, rugs, the tops of curtains and cabinets, and underneath furniture. Also vacuum hard surfaces, such as wood floors, where insects deposit eggs in the cracks. Be sure to empty your bag or canister directly into the outdoor garbage rather than inside the house. Cider Vinegar An age-old recipe for getting rid of fruit flies is apple cider vinegar with a few added drops of dish soap. Pour these ingredients into a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Poke some holes with a knife (large enough for the bugs to comfortably get through). Rather than a deterrent, it effectively traps them. You can also draw them into a jar filled with some red wine or fruit. Cover the jar with plastic wrap and puncture a few small holes as an invitation.

From spiders to insects to rodents, make your house a little less welcoming to unwanted guests with the natural pest repellents below. Diatomaceous Earth Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a common solution for ridding your home of many insects. This powder is safe to use around children and pets since it is non-toxic. It is readily available in home improvement stores and online, and is inexpensive. Use DE to treat fleas, cockroaches, dust mites, ants, bed bugs, earwigs, stink bugs, spiders, andmore. DE works by dehydrating the bugs. Once insects scurry across the powder, they typically die within 24 hours. To treat your home with DE, lay out thick lines in high-traffic areas (of the pests, not the people). Typically, this is along walls, window sills, and the backs of cupboards. You can also treat mattresses and furniture. Focus on areas where you’ve seen pest activity, especially in places that are less-frequently vacuumed, like behind furniture.

Vacuum Sometimes, the most obvious solution is a simple one. Your

vacuum is an outstanding deterrent. Bugs are smart and know where to hide, so be sure to regularly target


Bug Repellents They do just what their name implies — repel bugs that chew your plants or your skin. Going into combat with the most annoying uninvited flying and biting guests to your yardmeans heading to the kitchen to whip up a recipe, made with ingredients you likely already have around. Three effective ingredients are garlic, essential oils, and alcohol, each of which can be used in a variety of combinations to offend little pests.

Garlic-Based Repellents

Garlic repels more than just vampires. If your fruit trees are under attack, a repellent made fromgarlic will drive pests away and provide an organic way to save the fruit without harsh chemicals. To make a simple garlic spray, put about five cloves through a garlic press and cover with two cups of water. Let the mixture soak for a day or so, and add some natural dish soap. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and store in a jar. When you’re ready to use it, dilute with four liters of water and use immediately. Spray the infected parts of your plants, including beneath leaves where bugs like to lay eggs, and reapply weekly during dry weather or every few days if there’s been rain. The spray will quickly lose effectiveness, so store in the refrigerator or mix up a new batch weekly.

Citronella and/or Peppermint

Essential Oils Different insects respond differently to scents from essential oils, herbs, and spices. You’ll want to vary the plants you choose in order to best repel the problem. Experiment with single and combined scents to see what works best for your situation. Here are a few common combinations. Lemon and/or Eucalyptus Mix one part essential oil with 10 parts witch hazel or sunflower oil.

This effective combination to repel bugs is often found in store-bought candles and other treatments. Make your own spray with: ■ ■ 2 ounces water ■ ■ 1.5 ounces witch hazel (you can also use vodka) ■ ■ 25-30 drops of both citronella and peppermint essential oils ■ ■ 15 drops of tea tree Using these recipe techniques, feel free to substitute spearmint, rosemary, thyme, clove, or geranium essential oils.


Alcohol Sprays

removing bird baths, and check for adequate drainage from your gutter downspouts. If you want to enjoy the fountains and ponds in your yard, know that little insects will, too. Bats are a naturally-effective predator for eating upmosquitos. Putting bat houses around your home will invite them to help fight your battle. Spiders and Citrus Make use of your lemon, lime, and orange peels from summer drinks. Spread the peels around your garden to repel spiders. A spray of lemon or lime juice combined with water makes an easy, inexpensive, and natural spray deterrent inside the home. You can use the same spray to clean countertops and appliances.

repelling plants include marigolds, juniper, and lemon balm. While you’re grilling, toss some rosemary, sage, or other strongly scented herbs on the fire to keep flying insects away. Smoke Away Mosquitos Smoke makes a fabulous natural mosquito deterrent, but most people don’t want to hover over a fire just to keep the pesky critters from using them as a buffet. You can create the same results using electronic smokers that are effective for small spaces. The single most effective practice for deterringmosquitos is to eliminate all sources of water. There’s a reason they’re so prolific near lakes and rivers, so revoke the invite by

Alcohol-based sprays effectively deter insects. However, alcohol can cause damage to trees and plants, so sample small areas before using broadly. You can use these sprays freely around patios, seating areas, and walkways. To make, simply replace the sunflower oil or witch hazel with rubbing alcohol or vodka. Make a small adjustment to the recipe, using: ■ ■ 15 drops each of geranium and citronella essential oils ■ ■ 10 drops of three other essential oils, such as eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, peppermint, or clove ■ ■ ½ tablespoon of vodka or rubbing alcohol ■ ■ ¼ cup witch hazel ■ ■ ¼ cup water ■ ■ ½ tsp glycerin if desired. Order a food-grade brand online. Plants Some plants repel insects, while others attract them. Make sure you’re sending the right message with herbs and flowers inside and outside your home. For example, flies will avoid basil, so place potted plants near doors and windows. Outside, rely on catnip to deter mosquitos. Mint is another plant most insects will avoid, so place it in pots near entrances or sitting areas. As a bonus, spiders hate peppermint, too. Other insect-


Coffee Grounds Your garden will love the nutrients from your used coffee grounds. However, the caffeine is potent for ants. Regularly applied in areas where you think ants emerge, coffee grounds will drive them away.

Spice It Up Most of the mixtures mentioned can be cranked up a notch with the addition of pepper flakes or liquid hot pepper sauce. You can also add paprika or cayenne to shoo away annoying bugs. Other strong-smelling spices have the same effect. Try cinnamon, cloves or thyme in your concoctions. Garden Buggers You definitely want to focus on all-natural options near vegetable gardens so you’re not eating chemicals. For slugs, put beer in a tall cup. They will slide in but won’t be able to get back out. If aphids are enjoying your garden buffet, introduce ladybugs, which you can pick up at any garden center or online. The ladybugs will feast on the aphids without damaging your plants. With summer activities well under way, drive out the rodents and bugs by focusing on non-toxic ingredients, natural predators, and plants that are already armed for battle.


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