Spider webs tend to build up over time around your home’s exterior. Spider web build-up will tend to be worse if you leave exterior lights on at night. This is because many insects are attracted to light and this makes a perfect hunting ground for all kinds of spiders. The webs are especially troublesome because they tend to stick to anything including cement, stucco walls, aluminum roof gutters, and wood or plastic soffits. Over just a few weeks you can end up with an unsightly collection of webs if you don’t perform frequent cleanings, especially during summer months. I know this because I have dealt with the spider problem for quite some time having lived in South Florida (Miami-Dade County), Central Florida (Brevard County), and Orlando (Orange County).
What you can use to remove spider webs from your home’s exterior
What you use to remove spider webs all depends on the variety of spiders and the texture of your home’s exterior. Using a broom to sweep webs away from smooth surfaces may work sometimes and you should try that first. Otherwise, you might try just using water through a high-pressure hose nozzle or pressure cleaner/pressure washer. These methods are simple, common sense ways to get rid of spider webs but they don’t always work well. This is especially true for removing spider webs or sticky spider egg sacs from textured surfaces like textured stucco walls or rough cement walls. Just be careful if using a pressure washer that you don’t cause damage to your home. Pressure washers can strip-away paint and cause damage if used improperly.
The best method for removing spider webs and spider egg sacs from exterior textured surfaces and stucco walls
The best method for removing spider webs and sticky spider egg sacs from textured surfaces, such as stucco walls, is a combination of water and chlorine. You do not need an expensive and potentially damaging pressure washer to make this happen, but the best approach does require some minor expense. Listed below are the things you will need:
1. Chlorox Bleach, liquid, 1 gal. est. price $4.00 – depending on the size of the job and the amount of application, estimate how many gallons you will need. Generally for the front of a 2,000 sq ft house, 1 gallon is more than enough.
2. Chapin Gallon Plastic Bleach Tank Sprayer, est. price $16.00 – You need a sprayer for use with bleach solutions so that you don’t have problems with corrosion. Some sprayers use parts that corrode when using bleach. I found an excellent listing of non-corrosive sprayers on Amazon. The one I use is a Chapin but I see other brands that also offer quality non-corrosive sprayers.
3. Garden hose, est. price $10 + depending on the quality
4. Adjustable spray nozzle for a garden hose, est. price $8.00
5. It’s recommended that you wear gloves & safety goggles. You should also wear old clothing since you will be working with bleach.
Steps to remove spider webs using bleach and water
1. Survey the job: The best approach is to systematically spray sections of your exterior. I tend to do 10-15 square foot sections. It’s recommended that you survey the exterior of your home and decide what section to spray first and where you will end the job. This is important because you don’t want to end up standing under any bleach that will be dripping down. Ideally, when you apply the bleach you will be working backward and away from the application areas. You also want to note locations of any exterior light fixtures, electrical components, or anything that might react to the corrosive properties in bleach. For example, the metal portions within light fixtures may corrode so you will want to spray around those. Make sure your work area has proper ventilation, but try not to spray on a day that’s too windy! Carefully read the safety instructions provided with your bleach and sprayer, e.g. avoid eye contact, skin contact, etc.
2. Prepare the job: Put on your protective clothing, goggles, and gloves. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 gal of bleach into the sprayer and fill the remainder with water. Pump the sprayer as directed for a decent amount of pressure. Adjust the sprayer head so that it’s a happy medium between a solid stream and a spray. You can test this on a sidewalk or cement wall. Turn on the faucet for your garden hose. Bring your sprayer and garden hose with attached adjustable nozzle to the first section of the job. If the job requires using a ladder be sure to follow ladder safety guidelines.
3. Start spraying spider webs: Within the first section of the job use your sprayer to apply a generous amount of bleach/water to the spider webs and egg sacs. In a few minutes, you should start to see them loosening from textured stucco and cement walls. If you do not see this happening then apply another coat or strengthen the mixture or pressure of your sprayer. Follow-up by using your garden hose with the nozzle at high pressure to wash away the webs and egg sacs. Repeat this process for each section. In some cases, you will need to manually remove webs or use a brush, but most of the sticky properties of the webs and sacs will have been eliminated by the chlorine. This makes the job of removing the webs a lot easier!
4. Finish the job: Just be sure to keep any leftover bleach safely stored and out of the reach of children or pets.
Ideas to prevent spiders from coming back to your home
If you eliminate the food source, you eliminate spiders. Exterior lights are the main culprit for attracting the bugs spiders like to eat. This is often a difficult problem to solve. Turning the lights out sacrifices your security and peace of mind. You can try relocating lights but this gets complicated and expensive. One solution might be to install motion activated lights.
Some other things I have tried include using a reputable, scheduled extermination service and explaining the problem to them. The exterminator can focus on certain key areas to kill most of the bugs. You can also try liberally spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar around the exterior of your home. Some claim that strong white vinegar repels spiders better than the so-called household spider pesticides, and vinegar is safe. I have seen some improvement using the vinegar method but it’s never 100%. The most effective spider repellent on the market appears to be Spider Not Aerosol Spider Killer that seems to be getting the best reviews. You can also try non-toxic Star Brite Spider Away Natural Spider Repellent. I cannot personally vouch for these commercial products, but I think they are a safe bet based on the reviews.