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Does Hairspray Kill Spiders Effectively? What Is Faster?

A spider in its web surrounded by water droplets.

Spiders are commonly found in homes around the world, and though they are not necessarily dangerous, they are considered pests. Another item found in many homes around the world is hairspray, which is known to contain some potentially harmful chemicals.

Understandably, most people find spiders to be rather creepy. Particularly when you find one inside your home, you’re first instinct is to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

If you’ve heard that hairspray is the best way to do this, you may be surprised by what you’ll learn in the following.

Be sure to check out all of our spider articles for key prevention tips and eliminations guidelines that get results. You’ll find them all right here.

Does hairspray kill spiders?

Hairspray will usually kill a spider, depending upon the makeup of the hairspray and the hardiness of the spider. However, this is not the most efficient way to take care of the problem. Consider using natural solutions or a contact pesticide instead.

Spider Facts

Although many people believe that spiders are insects, they are mistaken. Spiders are arachnids, meaning they have eight legs, two body segments, and a hard exoskeleton.

Most spiders found in households also have spinnerets, which are used to spin webs made of silk. There are over 40,000 species of spiders around the world.

Most spiders are carnivores, eating other bugs such as flies, mosquitoes, millipedes, roaches, ants, or other small insects (even other spiders). They form webs so that their unsuspecting prey will be trapped. Then, the spider wraps the prey up in silk, injects venom with its fangs, and eats the liquefied body of the other bug.

Some spider species, such as the Patu digua, are quite tiny, while others can be huge, like the South American Goliath birdeater. However, most are fairly small and usually just a few inches long, like the gorgeous banana spider.

The vast majority of spiders in homes are not dangerous to humans. Though they contain some venom, it is not enough to fatally harm a human. 

Which spiders do pose a threat to people? Find out here.

Hairspray Facts

Hairspray is a common product in many households. It is an oily liquid designed to harden quickly in order to hold human hair in place.

Hairspray is no longer as chemically dangerous as it once was. Most hairsprays are now made without the chemical vinyl chloride, which was the chemical that was added to most aerosol sprays before the 1970s. This chemical is no longer used due to its harmful effect on the environment and people.

However, hairspray does contain some potentially dangerous substances if inhaled. Denatured alcohol and hydrofluorocarbons, substances commonly found in hairspray, can be toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Additionally, the fragrance added to hairspray to make it smell pleasant often contains some minor chemicals. 

Why Is Hairspray Dangerous to Spiders?

Spiders obtain oxygen through a complex series of steps. Unlike humans, they do not “breathe”; there is no active pumping of air into and out of a spider’s body. Instead, oxygen comes through a system of tracheae into an organ called “book lungs.” 

These lungs act as filters. They are thin-walled organs that passively allow air to flow into and out of the body through diffusion. Pretty interesting, right?

This all means that spiders are constantly passing air into and out of their bodies and are susceptible to any type of substance that is dangerous to inhale. They cannot “hold their breath” to avoid particular chemicals or scents. 

If a human were to intentionally breathe in excessive amounts of hairspray, they would experience some acute poisoning with symptoms like low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and eventually a comatose state.

There are some hairsprays that are made with all-natural ingredients. Though they are safer and better for the environment, they are less powerful and would be less likely to kill a spider.

Additionally, if a spider is big enough and hardy enough, it might be able to survive the chemical onslaught if it is not overwhelmed. 

Paralyzing Effect

Even if hairspray does not immediately kill the spider, it will immobilize it so that you can kill it. When applied to a spider, this hardening substance would make a spider unable to move, paralyzing it.

Eventually, the spider will die of starvation as it would be unable to feed on its prey. A more humane option would be to put it out of its misery quickly. Once the spider is immobilized, you can dispose of it quickly by crushing it, throwing it in a toilet, or taking it outside to be squished.

How Can I Prevent Spiders From Entering My Home?

One of the best ways to make sure you don’t have to kill spiders inside your home is to make sure they never get inside in the first place. The best way to do this is to remove their food sources from your home. Spiders are instinctively aware of the presence of food in the area and are drawn to plentiful sources.

Since spiders eat insects and other bugs, make sure these organisms are not in your home. To help with that effort:

  • Store food in airtight containers (these are perfect and hold more than 3 pounds each) so that ants, roaches, flies, and gnats cannot get to it.
  • Use a dehumidifier (like this one) in damp areas, quickly clean up puddles, fix leaky pipes, and repair leaks around the house. Moisture attracts many types of bugs that are prey for spiders.
  • Reduce outdoor lighting as much as possible, as this attracts bugs like moths, gnats, and mosquitoes.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home that allow bugs and spiders to enter.
  • Move hiding places for bugs and spiders, such as compost piles, garbage, stacked wood, raked leaves, cut grass, and mulch, at least 8 feet away from the perimeter of your home.
  • Keep garages clean and uncluttered, as spiders love to set up shop in these types of structures.
  • Close doors and windows completely, or use mesh screens to keep bugs from entering

You’ll find detailed prevention tips and elimination strategies in our article, “How To Get Rid of Spiders Quickly.”

What Kills Spiders Fast?

Contact pesticides are a great way to immediately kill spiders. As their name implies, these pesticides kill “on contact” and are meant to be applied directly to problem areas such as corners with webs, egg sacs, or living spiders.

Similarly to hairspray, these products utilize the spider’s respiration technique to introduce fatal chemicals. The difference is that a contact spray is designed with enough toxicity to kill a spider, while hairspray is designed to be safe for living organisms.

Pesticides work by having an appropriate amount of potency for their intended target. Thus, a pesticide intended for a spider has a certain amount of chemical in it that is not very harmful to humans. While the chemical is not healthy for humans, it is not concentrated enough to be dangerous.

Note: Use extra caution when dealing with spiders considered to be dangerous, like black widows. Learn what to do should you run across one in this article.

For a great example of a contact pesticide, check out Miss Muffet’s Revenge (come on, you know you love the name). This is a contact pesticide that also has some residual properties, meaning it stays powerful and effective for months. 

Another option is to use a fogger made specifically to target spiders, like this one by Hot Shot. Once activated, foggers release a fine mist of pesticides into a large area to kill spiders (and other bugs) on contact.

Be sure to read our article “Best Fogger for Spiders” to see what products we found to be the most effective.

How to Naturally Get Rid of a Spider Infestation

Remove Hiding Places

Spiders are known for hiding in safe, dark spots where there is plenty of food. One of the best ways to eliminate them is to clean your home and remove those hiding places.

Pick up any trash, dirty clothes, tissues, blankets, dirty dishes, pillows, shoes, or other items off the floor. 

Once this is done, dust and vacuum the entire house, especially areas that have webs. Spiders know that when their web is destroyed, it means they are in danger. 

It is also important that you vacuum up any spiders you see, as well as any egg sacs. This goes a long way in preventing further spread.

Get Rid of Spiders’ Prey

As mentioned above, make sure anything that attracts spiders’ prey is taken care of.

Do not store food in the open air, eliminate excess moisture, and make it difficult for bugs to get into your home.

The more food sources (prey) you eliminate from your home, the less spiders you’ll see.

Use Natural Repellents

There are naturally occurring substances in the world that contain scents that spiders don’t like. Try introducing these into your home:

Dilute vinegar with water in a spray bottle at a 1:1 ratio. Spray it on windows, entryways, or gaps.

Eucalyptus and peppermint are common essential oils that smell better to humans than vinegar but still repel spiders.

Use a diffuser (this color-changing diffuser features an automatic shut-off and an adjustable mist) to spread the scent around your home, or create a spray by diluting 15 to 25 drops of oil with 2 ounces of water in a spray bottle.

Similarly, try growing mint or eucalyptus plants in your home. In addition to the spider repelling qualities, these plants have many other common uses.

Summary – Does Hairspray Kill Spiders?

If you see a spider scurry across your floor, and all you have handy in your home is a bottle of hairspray, you might be successful in killing it.  At the very least, you will paralyze the spider, allowing you to kill it more easily or force it to starve. 

However, there are better options like prevention, natural solutions, or a contact pesticide that will assuredly kill the spider immediately.