How to keep your garage free of toxic chemicals

You wouldn’t want toxic chemicals, paints or other dangerous substances in your home where they can harm your children, your pets and even you. The same is true for your garage.

In times gone by, the American family has treated its garage as an outdoor space of sorts. It’s a place to offload the junk you don’t want in your home, but can’t quit commit to throwing away. But these days, we’re becoming a little more savvy. We now see garages as what they are: an extension of our homes. As a result, more of us are looking for safer alternatives to the supplies we store in our garages, while also seeking ways that we can keep pests and harm at bay.

The solutions outlined below can help you to keep a clean and safe garage, ensuring that every inch of your home is child- and pet-friendly and giving you the peace of mind that all homeowners crave.

Natural pesticides

A pesticide doesn’t have to be harmful to humans to be effective at killing pests. You can even make your own, using natural and safe substances. The ingredients that you use will depend on the issue you are treating.

  • Salt spray: A simple saline solution (water and salt) is very good at treating plants that have become infected with spider mites.
  • Citrus oil and cayenne pepper: Mix a few drops of citrus oil with a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper in warm water, and you have a solution that can destroy ants as effectively as a bug spray you buy from the store.
  • Eucalyptus oil: This is potent stuff, and it’s great for killing all kinds of bugs, including ants. It is a low-cost essential oil that you can add to water to create a spray.
  • Onion and garlic: These two potent bulbs give off a strong scent and flavor, and they are effective at killing all kinds of pests. Just crush a glove of garlic, mix it with a diced onion and add to warm water. Let it sit for a little bit before adding a tablespoon of cayenne pepper.

Keeping pests at bay

There are also safe ways to keep the pests out of your garage, which tends to be a haven for all kinds of creatures. Spiders, in particular, will naturally come toward clean, warm environments that are easily accessible, which makes your garage the perfect home. But you can make the area better for you and worse for them.

Spiders hate peppermint oil and cedar oils, two scents that humans are naturally drawn to. You can spray mixtures of these oils around the perimeter of your garage to keep them away, focusing on corners and crevices, where these creatures congregate.

To keep other pests away, make sure there are no open food containers (including ones with pet food) or bins. You should also make sure all holes and gaps are filled in and that there are not too many hiding spaces. If you have a cat, make sure they have access to your garage, because they are great for warning away or killing pests.

You should also consider buying a secure garage door with garage door insulation to keep your home safe and make life difficult for animals and insects seeking refuge.

Eco-friendly paints

Environmentally friendly paints have been around for some time, but only in the last few years have they developed enough to offer the same finish and quality as their their less-natural counterparts.

Regular paint contains many ingredients that may be harmful, including heavy metals and formaldehyde. They can cause serious harm when ingested and inhaled, and it’s not the sort of thing you want lying around your garage, even if it's not on your walls.

So, make the switch to ecofriendly paints, and you won’t need to worry about those unused tins, or your new decor. The paints you need to look for are “low-VOC” or "zero-VOC" and water-based.

If you're looking to get rid of old cans of partly used paint, you can check to see if your area has a local paint recycling center where you can dispose of it safely.

Securing tools

A garage is usually off-limits to children and pets, but it doesn’t need to be. You shouldn’t have to worry about your kids gaining access and injuring themselves with sharp tools. So, once you move the toxic chemicals out of the way, focus next on securing your tools.

All it takes is a simple cabinet or glass-fronted rack that you can lock. Make sure that all tools are accounted for and placed back in their respective positions after you have finished working with them.

Many larger toolboxes also come with secure locks. These are often in place to stop your tools being stolen, but they can also make sure that curious little fingers don’t go poking through them.

With just a few minor adjustments, your garage can be a safer, healthier part of your home.

Learn more about nontoxic pest control