Non-Permanent Remodel/Redecorating Hacks for Renters

Non-Permanent Remodel/Redecorating Hacks for Renters

Your home is your canvas, even if you’re just renting. With a little creativity and some renter-friendly tricks up your sleeve, you can plan a room makeover that reflects your personal style—all while keeping your security deposit intact. Here are some of our favorite remodel/redecorating hacks for renters.

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper: Transform those white walls into a style statement. It’s easy to do with peel-and-stick wallpaper. This type of wallpaper doesn’t require glue, and it’s easy to peel off when you’re ready to move out. Not only can you update your place with trendy patterns and colors, but you can also find removable decals with inspirational quotes.

Temporary Backsplash: An easy way to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom is with a temporary backsplash. Like peel-and-stick wallpaper, these options are easy to install and remove. However, if you’re putting up a backsplash near your stove, make sure to use one that is rated for long-term heat exposure. Thoroughly clean and dry your wall before applying for best results. To remove, apply heat with a hair dryer before peeling it off.

Peel-and-Stick Floor Tile: Give your floor a makeover with peel-and-stick tiles. You can apply adhesive tiles right over the current floor. Note that these tiles are not stickers. They’re thick and rigid and must be cut to size. In addition, they take some work to remove. Research the removal process before you commit. It involves adhesive remover, putty knives, a pry bar, and pliers.

Cabinet Hardware: Upgrading the hardware on your cabinets is an easy way to modernize your kitchen or bathroom. Replace the cheap brass with some matte black pulls for an elegant look or find one that’s uniquely you. Just keep the old hardware so you can replace it when you move.

Light Switch Plates: Chances are your light switch plates are old, faded, and ho-hum. Change them to bright white for a fresh look. Or take them to the next level and decoupage them with your favorite print. Again, keep the original plates to replace when you leave.

Decorative Lighting: Swap out those basic builder-grade light fixtures for something with pizzazz! Choose trendy pendant lights or chic table lamps to illuminate your space in style. Battery operated wall sconces are easy to install and they provide a cozy feel. Just remember to keep the original fixtures stored safely so you can reinstall them before you move out.

Colorful Curtains: Don’t underestimate the power of curtains to elevate your space! Choose bold colors and designs to add drama and personality to your room. They’re easy to install and can be taken down and rehung in your next place.

Furniture Makeovers: Don’t be afraid to get creative with your furniture! Add a fresh coat of paint to a drab dresser, swap out hardware for something more stylish, or cover an old sofa with a colorful throw blanket. These simple updates can breathe new life into your space without causing any damage.

Decorative Room Divider: Freestanding room dividers not only separate and define spaces but they can add to your décor. Use them as a display to hang accessories or art. Just make sure the items are lightweight and non-breakable should they get tossed when the divider is moved about.

Large Mirror: Lean a large mirror against the wall to create a spacious, airy feel and make your apartment seem immediately bigger. By leaning it, rather than attaching it to the wall, there are no holes to fill.

Window Film: If you don’t have window curtains or shades, try a patterned window film. It sticks to the window with just static cling or water and provides privacy without blocking the light. Plus, the pattern adds style to your space. Then, when you’re ready to move out, simply peel it off.

Showerhead: Chances are you have a standard showerhead. Replace it with a larger one to create a spa-like experience. Because showerheads just screw off and on, it’s easy to do. Just keep the original so that you can reattach it when you leave.

Paint: If your landlord allows it, paint is one of the easiest ways to renovate your space. It has an immediate impact, and it’s relatively easy to DIY. Since you will have to restore the original color when you move, consider painting a single statement wall.

Balcony Upgrade: If you have a balcony or porch, there are so many ways to create an inviting space. See our blog on easy apartment balcony upgrades.

Finally, protect your belongings with renter’s insurance. It is surprisingly affordable. For as little as $10 a month, you can get a renter’s policy at California Casualty.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Home Windows: Repair or Replace?

Home Windows: Repair or Replace?

We love light-filled rooms and beautiful views. But inevitably, our windows will let us down. They will stick, they will leak, and they will let in unwanted drafts. Whether to replace or repair them, that is the question.


Types of Windows and Frames

Knowing the type of windows is the first step. That will help you to understand what to look for in terms of repairs and replacements.

  • Awning windows are horizontal top-hinge windows that swing outward.
  • Bay windows have 3 panels at an angle that create an alcove.
  • Bow windows have 4-6 panels and are like bay windows.
  • Casement windows are hinged at the side and crank to the outside.
  • Single slider windows slide horizontally in one direction.
  • Double slider windows slide horizontally to either the left or right.
  • Single hung windows have the top sash fixed in place, with a bottom that slides up and down.
  • Double hung windows have both the top and bottom that slide up and down.


Window Wellness Check

An annual window inspection is a good idea to flag problems before they become expensive repairs or replacements. Schedule a time each year, such as when you replace your smoke detectors, to do a window checkup.

  • Check that your window opens and closes easily, and that your window locks.
  • Check the weatherstripping to make sure it’s intact and even all around.
  • Open the window a quarter of an inch or so. Make sure the opening is even across the bottom of the window.
  • Inspect panes for cracks and signs of moisture.
  • Check screens for rips or holes.
  • Check for signs of mold or mildew.
  • Aluminum windows: Check corner welds and exterior caulking. Make sure opening mechanisms are well lubricated.
  • Wood windows: Check the caulking on the exterior between the siding and the window frame. That’s where potential problems can arise. Regularly paint and seal the exterior finish and interior finishes.
  • Vinyl windows: Check exterior caulking and opening mechanisms.


Common Problems and What to Do About Them

Following are some common problems that you may encounter with your windows—and some guidance on whether to repair or replace.

  • Sticking/Not Opening

Windows are meant to be open, and when that doesn’t happen, it can be frustrating. If your window doesn’t open easily or at all, consider the following.

Repair: Some wooden windows are painted over so many times that they don’t open. Other times, dirt, dust, and pollen get lodged in the tracks. You can try removing the debris or paint and lubricating the tracks.

Replace: Aluminum windows that have broken corner welds are nearing the end of their lifespans. Similarly, steel frames that have deteriorated due to rust need to be replaced.


As windows age, your seals and caulk can dry out, leaving gaps. This can lead to water leaks when it rains.

Repair: Go around your window and reseal any cracks with caulk and weatherstripping. Almost all windows have bottom “weep” holes where water can drain out. Do not caulk over these holes. Otherwise, water can be trapped in there, freeze, expand and crack the window frame.

Replace: In some cases, windows can be defective and need to be replaced. In addition, if the leak has occurred for some time, the water may have caused the wood frame to rot.


If it’s cold outside, you don’t want to feel it through drafty windows. Check that you don’t have any openings and where you can, add extra protection.

Repair: Apply weatherstripping to your windows. Reglaze loose panes.

Replace: You can replace single pane windows with double pane windows that do a better job of blocking the heat of direct sunlight and still let the light come in.


Foggy windows could be a sign of expensive repairs to come so you’ll want to address this problem right away.

Repair: Condensation could be due to lack of ventilation. It can soak into the window trim and damage it. It can also lead to mold. You can try a dehumidifier with the windows closed to see if that eliminates the fog.

Replace: Fogging between double pane glass panels cannot be fixed and must be replaced. See the section on soft wood if the water has gotten into the wood.

Sagging Casement

Casement windows can be heavy, and the hardware must be strong enough to hold up over time.

Repair: You may notice the downward movement of the window sash on casement windows. You’ll need to reset the windows and replace the hardware.

Replace: While you can replace worn out crank mechanisms, you’ll need to replace them if they are bent or worn.

Soft or Rotted Wood

You may notice dampness and a darker color on the wood around your window. That could mean it’s structurally unsound.

Repair: When wood is soft to the touch, it is a sign of rot. Flashing protects the window frame from moisture, so make sure yours is not damaged or missing.

Replace: When water leaks into the walls, it can cause a more significant problem. It can attract carpenter ants, termites, and bugs. It can also affect your walls and foundation. Replace any rotted wood right away and eliminate the source of the moisture.


What You Need to Know About New Windows

New windows can boost your energy efficiency and help you save on heating and cooling bills. They can reduce exterior noise, increase security, and improve the look and value of your home.

However, new windows can cost $450-$1,400 per window or more. That means it’s expensive to replace all of them at one time. Also, even if you find a close match, new windows will look different. Consider replacing just a few on the same side. Ask about warranties. You will want protection that cover glass replacement up to 20 years.

Finally, your home is one of your greatest investments. Protect it with the right insurance for added peace of mind.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Removing Ice From Driveways and Sidewalks

Removing Ice From Driveways and Sidewalks

It’s the Houdini of winter, the slippery vanishing act that turns a simple stroll into a slip-and-fall. We’re talking about black ice, that invisible coating that has us spinning out of control on the roadways. When it appears on our driveways and sidewalks, pedestrians beware.

Not only don’t you want to slip on black ice, you also don’t want to injure someone on your property. That might lead to legal problems. It is your responsibility as a homeowner to keep your property safe.

Read on to find out how to remove black ice from your driveway and sidewalk.

What exactly is black ice?

Black ice is a thin, almost transparent layer of ice on the surface of a roadway, driveway, deck, or other surface. It forms when a surface is wet and then temperatures drop below freezing. What makes it so dangerous is that it’s hard to see. It blends in with the surface and you don’t realize that it’s there until you’re slipping and sliding on it.

If you’re looking for black ice, there are some telltale signs. Sometimes you can notice a glossy or shiny appearance. However, if an area looks dry while surrounding areas are wet or have snow, there could be black ice present. Whether or not you see it, there are steps you can take to remove it, and even prevent it from forming.

Ways to Remove and Prevent Black Ice

Put on protective gear.

To keep yourself from slipping and sliding, you will want sturdy boots with good traction. Water resistant winter gloves will help protect your hands. When spreading chemicals, you also will want to wear safety glasses to shield your eyes. Remember that stairs leading down from your house could be especially slippery and covered in black ice. Use handrails.

Clear the snow and ice.

Shoveling the snow and breaking up the ice will help prevent it from melting and reforming as black ice. Use a snow shovel and ice pick. Finish off with a broom with stiff bristles to sweep away the loose ice. Toss snow and ice away from driveways and walkways. Make sure that when the snow and ice melt, they won’t run back onto the driveway and sidewalk.

Pro Tip: Sometimes you cannot smash the ice or shovel it away. In those cases, use a spade to scratch the surface in several places. This will make the black ice visible to others.

Salt, sand, or de-ice.

You want to prevent slipping, and you can do that by creating traction with sand or sawdust. Alternately, you can use an ice melting product. Use a spreader or bucket to spread these products. Note that salt and chemicals can be harmful to pets, plants, and young children. They also can damage your surfaces and the environment, so use them carefully.

  • Rock salt lowers the freezing point of water, causing ice to melt. Spread a thin, even layer of salt. Allow it to penetrate and melt the ice. Use a shovel or broom to remove any ice and salt residue.
  • Sand provides traction. While it doesn’t melt the ice, it creates a gritty surface. Spread generous amount of sand, gravel, kitty litter, or sawdust. Leave it in place until ice melts naturally. After the temperatures warm and ice is no longer a danger, be prepared to clean up the mess that results.
  • De-icers (deicers) are chemical compounds. They come in many forms including liquids, pellets, and granules. Choose ones that are pet safe; even if you don’t have a pet, chances are your neighbors do. Sprinkle or spread the deicer evenly. Remove any remaining ice with a shovel or broom.

 Use heated mats.

While heated driveways aren’t an option for many of us, we can use the more affordable alternative: snow-melting mats. These heated mats are made of slip resistant, waterproof rubber with a built-in heating system. If you turn on the mats before the snowfall, your walkways could stay dry and clear. They make larger ones for driveway use that cars can drive on. Snow melting mats aren’t cheap, but they are less expensive than installing radiant heat under your driveway and sidewalk.

Try rubberized stair treads or tarps.

Rubberized stair treads provide a high traction surface for your shoes, so it’s less likely that you will slip. You also may try a winter weather tarp to cover the surfaces that would typically get ice and snow. They are like a carpet for your driveway. You put them down before a snowfall and lift them up afterward.

Unblock drains and gutters.

Blocked drains can cause water to build up and surfaces to ice over. Clogged gutters also can divert water to places where it shouldn’t go, such as driveways. Make sure that these areas are clear ahead of storms.

Finally, protect your home and property with the right insurance for added peace of mind. After all, it’s one of your greatest investments.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

10 Ways to Make Your Garage Door More Secure

10 Ways to Make Your Garage Door More Secure

It’s relatively easy to break into a garage. Thieves can do it in a matter of seconds, and grab your tools, sports equipment, and other high-value items before you know it. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your garage from a break-in. Follow these tips to make your garage door more secure.


Tip #1: Light the way.

Thieves lurk in the shadows. Add motion-activated flood lights around your garage. The sudden blaze of light is sure to startle a burglar and could scare him away. It also could alert neighbors or passersby to their activity, which could deter them as well.


Tip #2: Cover your windows.

You probably store high-value items in your garage, including your vehicle. Don’t broadcast that fact to everyone. Use interior curtains or blinds to cover your windows. You also can use an adhesive window film. Windows also are easy to break. Consider garage door windows with panes that are too small to use to enter.


Tip #3: Trim your landscaping.

Make sure there are no bushes near your garage where thieves can hide. You want your neighbors and every passerby to be able to see what’s going on. Pro Tip: Plant thorny shrubs under garage windows to discourage thieves from getting in that way.


Tip #4: Reinforce your service door.

If your garage has a service door that leads to the outside or inside of your home, make sure it’s secure. Most garage service doors can be broken with a well-placed, solid kick. Reinforce your door with a strike plate, using 3-inch screws to secure it.


Tip #5: Add a layer of protection with a lock.

Many garages use keyless locks which open the door with a keypad, fingerprint reader, or remote control. Alternatively, you can use a deadbolt or padlock, which require keys. You can even use a combination of locks, such as a garage door lock bar which stops the door from being raised, in combination with another type of lock for added security. Choose the one(s) that works for your budget and your needs. Pro Tip: Keep the keypad clean. A thief can look at the dirty keys to guess your garage door code.


Tip #6: Update your remotes.

If your garage door remote is old, chances are it is easy to hack. Thieves can use a code grabber that copies your signal. Then they can send it to your garage door to open it. Newer remotes use a rolling code, which slightly changes the signal that your remote sends every time. That’s a good reason to update your garage remotes to a newer model.


Tip #7: Don’t clip your garage remote to your car visor.

It’s like giving thieves a key to your home. They can just break into your car to get your remote. Consider using a smart garage door opener from your smartphone or attach your remote to your keychain so it’s always with you.


Tip #8: Close your garage door.

It may seem simple but sometimes we forget to close our garage doors. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving yours open. Consider an automatic door closer that will shut the door after a specified amount of time. You also may wish to invest in a garage door monitor, which displays whether the garage door is open or closed.


Tip #9: Protect your garage’s emergency release cord.

The emergency release cord is designed to open the garage door in a power outage. Thieves however use it to their advantage. They can push the door inward to create enough of a gap to insert a wire hook. Then they pull down on the cord. There are a few ways that you can protect the cord from this hack. You can pull the cord through a PVC pipe that is too thick and bulky to be pulled by the wire. You can cut the cord very short so thieves cannot easily grab it. You can zip tie it so it cannot be pulled. You can create a door lock shield with a scrap of plywood screwed to the opener’s arm.


Tip #10: Install a security camera.

Security cameras can help deter thieves, especially if they are visible. Make sure that the ones you buy are designed for outdoor use and specifically for the seasonal temperatures in your region. Consider features like motion-activated recording, and WiFi or mobile access via your smartphone or other device. Add a door alarm or security sensor to alert you of a breach. This is especially valuable if you are not home or are on vacation.


Finally, for added peace of mind, you will want to make sure that you fully protect your home with the right coverage. After all, your home is one of your greatest investments.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or



Insurance 101: Auto & Home Deductibles

Insurance 101: Auto & Home Deductibles

Insurance policies may seem like they’re written in another language. Yet it’s important to understand the terms so you can get the most out of your coverage. Here’s a quick tutorial on deductibles and what they mean for your auto and home insurance.


What is a deductible?

Simply put, a deductible is the amount of money that you pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. Generally, your insurer deducts the deductible amount from the payment that they make on your claim. You can find the deductible listed on the declarations page, which is the front page of your policy.

Example: If the cost of a repair is $1,500 and your deductible is $500, insurance will cover $1,000.

Unlike health insurance deductibles, you do not have to reach an annual amount in an auto or home policy before insurance will pay. Each time you file a claim, there is a deductible (if it applies). One exception is the state of Florida where hurricane deductibles are once per season.


High vs. Low Deductibles

You select your deductible from a range of choices provided by your insurer. If you choose a lower deductible, that means your insurer will need to cover more in the event of a claim, which will raise the cost of your policy. If you choose a higher deductible, you’re willing to cover more of the cost in a claim, and that will lower your premium.

Lower deductible = Higher insurance premium

Higher deductible = Lower insurance premium

It’s important to note that you will have to pay the deductible if a loss occurs in a car accident, even if you think the other driver is at fault.

You may think twice about filing a claim for a damage amount that is close to your deductible. For example, if your deductible is $1,000 and repairs are $1,250, it may not be worth it. You’d be responsible for the bulk of the repairs, and by filing a claim, your rates may go up when you renew. See our blog about when you need to file a claim and when you don’t.


Auto Policies & Deductibles

There are different types of coverage available to you for your vehicle. Some may be mandated by your state or your lender, and others are optional. Not all coverages carry a deductible.

The following coverages include a deductible, and you may choose a different deductible amount for each one:

  • Collision: This coverage kicks in when you collide with another car or object.
  • Comprehensive: This coverage is for damage from other causes such as hitting a deer or having a tree fall on your car.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD): This coverage is for property damage from accidents with another driver who is uninsured and at fault. UMPD may or may not have a deductible; it depends on the state and the type of loss. (Uninsured motorist coverage, which is different than UMPD, does not have a deductible.)
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): This coverage pays for medical expenses regardless of who is at fault.

Pro Tip: Being able to set a deductible for each type of coverage allows you to assess the likelihood of your needing that coverage. For example, if you live in the country and might be more likely to encounter a deer than another car, you can lower the deductible for comprehensive and raise the deductible for collision.

There is auto coverage that does not carry a deductible, and that’s liability coverage. With liability coverage:

  • If you are at fault: You hit another car and cause property damage and/or driver injuries. Your liability covers the damage to the other driver and his/her car without requiring a deductible. However, your own collision policy pays for damage to your car, which would come with a deductible.
  • If someone else is at fault: Another driver hits your car and/or injures you. Their insurance will pay for damages and medical expenses. There are no deductibles.

Your insurer can provide quotes for different levels of deductibles and work with you to determine the best coverage for your budget.


Homeowner’s Policies and Deductibles

Whether you’re buying a new home, or you’ve owned yours for years, your homeowner’s policy protects your investment. Costs vary by location, age of home, construction type, number of bathrooms, and many other factors.

With homeowner’s insurance, there are generally three choices for deductibles:

  • Flat deductibles: You would choose a fixed dollar amount, such as $1,000. That is the amount you would pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in.
  • Percentage deductibles: You would choose percentage of your Coverage A limit. If your policy covers your home at $300,000, and you choose a 2% deductible, you would be responsible for 2% of $300,000 or $6,000.
  • Peril-specific deductible option: You could have a flat deductible amount and then carry a different one specifically for wind/hail losses.

There are coverages under your home insurance that do not carry a deductible. These include Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) Coverage, Coverage E: Personal Liability, and Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others.

  • Scheduled personal property (SPP) Coverage is for items that have higher values above your personal property coverage limits. This includes heirlooms, watches, jewelry, instruments, furs, or anything about which you are especially concerned such as a special guitar. (Musical instruments for example do not have a contractual limit but you will want to schedule an instrument that is special to you.) SPP offers much broader coverage for your precious items – if you lose a set of earrings, they are covered; if a diamond falls out of a ring, or if a guitar falls off a shelf and gets stepped on, they’re covered. There is no deductible if the covered items are stolen, lost, or damaged. Insurance pays the lowest of the four options: repair, replace, actual cash value or the amount of insurance.
  • Personal Liability protects you if a claim is made or a suit brought against you for bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence to which coverage applies. These are expenses paid to third parties for their injuries and damages. Liability covers you at your place or anywhere in the world. If you are found liable, the policy will pay up to its limit of liability for damages for which an insured is legally liable. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent scarring. The policy also provides a defense in court, if needed, for the policyholder. This is at the insurance company’s own expense.


Insurance may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Your agent can answer any questions you may have. Contact your insurer to find out more about protecting your most valuable possessions.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or




How to Get Rid of Bugs Indoors

How to Get Rid of Bugs Indoors

Creepy, crawly, and flying insects are okay outdoors, but you don’t want them in your home. Yet sometimes they make their way inside.

We researched tried-and-true methods to remove bugs indoors. Follow this handy guide to get rid of what bugs you this summer.

Common bugs in your home

Crumbs of food and a reliable water source can attract ants to your house. When it’s too warm or wet outside, spiders may venture in, especially if there are other bugs in your home to eat. Flies, bees, and wasps love rotting fruit, and flies flock to garbage. Light, trash, and food also attract beetles. Weevils hitch a ride in your groceries, via eggs laid by adults in products like rice. Other common bugs include earwigs, firebrats, centipedes, silverfish, cockroaches, bedbugs, termites, and if you have pets: fleas and ticks.

Steps to take to combat bugs

While these buggy visitors may be common, they’re certainly not welcome. Here’s what you can do about it.

Step 1: Seal cracks and openings.

Bugs often crawl in through tiny cracks or holes in window screens and around windows and doors. Carefully check all these potential openings.

  • Close up holes by replacing screens, caulking openings, or applying weatherstripping.
  • Caulk is generally used for cracks near stationary items, while weatherstripping is for things that move such as doors and windows.
  • Don’t forget to check where electrical lines and pipes enter your house. Canned spray foam can help to seal these openings.

Step 2: Clean the kitchen.

Bugs feast on your crumbs. They eat flour, cereal, baking mix, crackers, dried pasta, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn, and pet food. Ants especially like sweets.

  • Wipe down cutting boards and counters after food prep.
  • Keep food in sealed containers and/or in the fridge or freezer.
  • Put a lid on your garbage can and empty it regularly.
  • Clean the crumbs from your microwave, stove, toaster ovens, and other appliances.

Step 3: Beware of hitchhiking bugs.

Some bugs come in with items that you bring into the house, such as groceries, or even your pets.

  • Meal moths, weevils and beetles love the grains and cereals in your pantry. Store those items in glass, metal, or sturdy plastic containers with airtight lids.
  • If you notice bugs in your pantry in one container, check the ones next to it. Throw away any boxes with bugs. Remove all items from the pantry and clean the shelves with soap and water.
  • Pro Tip: Freeze any items for 3-4 days or heat them in a 140F degree oven for an hour or two to kill insects and eggs.
  • For those bugs getting a free ride on your fur babies, keep pets up to date on flea and tick Check them for fleas and ticks regularly.

Step 4: Clean and declutter.

Bugs look for shelter, and they will find it among your clutter. Vacuum and keep your home neat to help keep bugs at bay.

  • Avoid piles of newspapers and stacks of boxes where spiders and cockroaches love to live.
  • Even piles of dirty laundry can be home to bugs. That’s a good reason to put clothes away.
  • Make sure to declutter and donate items that you no longer use.
  • Store firewood outside and away from the house. Check any wood for bugs before you bring it inside.

Step 5: Dry areas that are damp.

Bugs also look for water. Some prefer damp places, such as drain flies that live in your kitchen sink and bathtub drains. If you can dry the areas that are damp, that will help eliminate bugs.

  • Fix leaky faucets, drains, and pipes as a first defense.
  • In areas where it’s typically damp, like a basement, use a dehumidifier.
  • Make sure washing machines and dishwashers are working correctly and not leaking.

Step 6: Use the scents that bugs hate.

Certain scents repel bugs. Fortunately, these same scents usually smell pretty good to humans.

  • Peppermint repels ants, mosquitos, and spiders. Put some essential oil on a cotton ball and adjust the strength as needed.
  • Tea tree and citronella oils also work well in keeping away a range of pests.
  • Spiders don’t like onions. Slice some and put them in a bowl of water.
  • Many brands of fabric softener sheets contain a compound, linalool, which has a scent hated by mosquitos and other flying insects.

Step 8: Place bug traps.

You can find bug-specific traps on the market, or you can make your own.

  • Sticky flypaper will trap flies and gnats. Be sure to hang it up and away from your pets.
  • Ant bait traps use various insecticides. Keep them out of reach of pets and toddlers. For a nontoxic ant remedy, sprinkle some cornmeal. Ants like to eat it but cannot digest it.
  • For fruit flies, put apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and punch holes in it. The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar and get trapped beneath the plastic.


Your home is one of your greatest investments. Perform regular home maintenance and insure your home for added peace of mind.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


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