How to Get Rid of Slugs in the House


I’m not too fond of slimy creatures, and slugs are my biggest nightmare. They leave repugnant trail marks everywhere, and the fear of stamping on one while not watching my step is a big ordeal. For many other like myself, you don’t want them anywhere near the inside of your home. 

However, with some simple techniques, I could get rid of them and finally live in peace. In this article, I will share the methods that worked and help you eliminate them entirely.

What attracts slugs to my house?

The foremost reason that attracted slugs to my house was the plants I had used to decorate my room. Slugs love bedding plants, and even if not placed inside your house, they find their way into your yard or vegetable garden. 

Slugs have an excellent sense of smell and can easily get attracted to plants. They are often drawn to pet food, kitchen and pantries. The dark and damp environment of some parts of your home can be another reason for them to be drawn in.

If you find a slimy trail in your house, follow it and see where it ends. It will probably point to vents, drains or cracks on walls if your home is old. Slugs do not have bones or shells and can squeeze themselves into very tiny holes or cracks. 


What causes slug infestation?

The most common period for slug infestation is during the rainy or foggy seasons, weather with high humidity or temperature ranging from 4-20 °C (40-70 °F). Slugs thrive in acidic soil and clay, and plants that grow in these soils provide the perfect comfort. The slimy trail that they leave behind is for them to remember their way back home. 

Moist locations are crucial for slugs as they cannot sustain dry conditions due to loss of body moisture. Damp leaves or wet spaces underneath rocks, fallen wooden parts and weeds, among many others, provide a safe space for them to hide. Arriving and staying during the night, they munch on leaves of the plants and retreat by the time the sun comes up. 

You must immediately take action if you have a vegetable or floral garden, as these creatures will damage your plants or seedlings and will undoubtedly return unless you throw them out. I will explain the numerous methods in the later sections that you can follow to safely dispose of them to another place or eliminate them altogether. 

Are slugs in the house dangerous?

Slugs do not pose any direct threat when they come indoors. However, the slimy mucus that they leave behind needs to be thoroughly sanitised. In case you have any pets like cats or dogs, do not let them near it.

If they ingest the mucus by any chance, it can lead to excessive drooling and vomiting. Some slugs carry a parasite called rat lungworm, and it can transfer to your pet if they consume an infected slug.

Another factor that I was concerned about was what if someone in my house was to eat the mucus by any chance, such as consumption of uncovered fruits. The parasites travel to the brain and spinal cord, eventually causing tissue damage.

People with this condition may have headaches, fever, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, the person can completely recover without treatment fairly quickly. While the infection is very rarely fatal, it can sometimes cause meningitis which requires special treatment. 


How to get rid of slugs in the house naturally

The most common way slugs enter your home is through tiny cracks on walls, holes left for electrical outlets, soggy pipes or even from underneath doors. Considering they do not have bones, they can slither their way through small entries.

However, there are some methods to control slugs naturally and get rid of them. I started by following the slimy trail using a torchlight and examined where they were entering from.

I filled and resealed the gaps with cement and other fillers that are readily available on the market. If the gaps are required for ventilation then you can install a fine mesh over them which air can travel through but not any slugs. 

Watering plants during the morning hours is the best way to prevent soil from staying moist. The heat content during the day evaporates the water, making the soil dry, and slugs tend to shun that area. 

If you are a plant lover like me and grow them inside your house, some useful additions are Astrantia, wormwood, lavender, rosemary, ferns etc. In short, slugs mostly hate with thick leaves that are hard to munch and emit a pleasing fragrance. I now have an attractive and aesthetic enhancement to my home with no anxieties about these slimy creatures!   

How to get rid of slugs in the house without killing them

No matter how annoying they are, it’s usually easier to get rid of them alive than killing them. In this section, I have listed some methods to catch the slugs without getting them killed. 

Considering that most slugs enter homes through cracks and holes, you can sprinkle ground coffee beans in the gaps. Unlike us humans, slugs seem to hate caffeine; in fact, the stronger, the better. 

Conversely, slugs love citrus fruits. Place a peel upside down on the ground overnight slightly away from where they usually enter your home. As potential food and a damp place to rest, slugs will usually stay there overnight and can be caught the following day.

Copper was another good solution to frighten slugs for the garden in my backyard. When the slimy mucus secreted by the slug comes in contact with copper, it produces a tiny amount of electric shock because of a disruption in their nervous system. Copper tape or foil can be wrapped around plant trunks or their containers to effectively repel slugs near them.


How to eliminate slugs in the house

A handful of salt on slugs can dehydrate them, effectively killing them. It causes the slug to die a very cruel and slow death, which I personally would not have the heart to do.

Another way to kill them is spraying soapy water on which them peels off their protective layer. Also, spraying vinegar on slugs will dissolve them. However, extra caution should be exercised around plants as vinegar acts as a herbicide and can prove fatal to common plants. 

Placing sharp barriers like eggshells or thorny cuttings can be potent around doors, windows and other small openings. The soft and slimy bodies of slugs will not venture to cross the sharp edges even though it isn’t impossible for them. 

Considering you need to get rid of the body anyway, it’s best to simply pick up a slug and place it away from your home. While a little gross, you at least don’t have to worry about the slug scurrying away! You can then take the preventative measures we’ve listed to stop them coming back.