How to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails in Your House

How Do Slugs Get Into a House?

If you’ve just found a slug, or a family of slugs in your home, the first thing you want to know is how did they get into the house! The answer is very simple. 

Slugs can get into the house in a variety of ways. Here are some possibilities:

  • The slugs have got into your house by going through a gap in the wall.
  • The slugs have travelled through tiny holes in your window sills in order to pay you a visit.
  • The slugs have squeezed themselves under the front/back door and have entered your house. 
  • A family of slugs will also use any cutouts in walls/boards in your home to get in – holes made for cables, for example.  
  • Pets can also walk on baby slugs and can bring them into the house on their paws. 
  • You could’ve brought a baby slug in on your shoe. 
  • They can travel along pipes. 
  • Slugs will go through vents to get into your house. 

Now you know how they get in, the next thing you need to know is why they’ve decided to pop in for a cuppa with you! 


How Can I Stop Slugs From Entering a Flowerbed?

The best way to keep slugs out of an area is to stop them early in the season.

In the early spring, rake your flower beds and ornamental plants to remove leaves and other debris. This will also disturb and remove slug eggs at the same time.

Also work to remove any areas where slugs can shield themselves from the sun. Remove boards, flat rocks and other objects where slugs hide. Even large pieces of mulch can protect a slug. Likewise, don’t pile mulch more than 3 inches high.

An immediate option for keeping slugs out is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the border of the area. Slugs do not like to cross over territory covered with a rough or sharp texture that diatomaceous earth creates. An even better option is to sprinkle TERRO® Ant Dust around your ornamental plants. This will kill slugs and many other harmful plant pests, including ants, crickets, cockroaches, ticks and wasps.

Folk remedies suggest protecting your plants with a ring of crushed egg shells or sand, but this doesn’t work. In fact, snails appear to be attracted by the smell of eggs, and sand doesn’t bother them (unless they’re stuck in a desert). Coffee grounds and copper strips, two other commonly suggested folk repellents, don’t work either.

8. Make Tiny Copper Fences

Lore has it that copper shocks slugs; though I haven’t seen much science behind that theory. Whatever the magic, copper tubing, flashing, or tape works as an excellent barrier in keep slugs at bay. You can put it around certain plants or around whole beds – just be sure to have previously trapped all the slugs within the fenced area first.

How to Use Copper Tape

If you found a slug in your house, the best first step is to prevent them from getting inside in the future. A great way to do this is to use copper tape.

There are a number of them on the market, and as an avid gardener, I have tried a number of them. I like using the tape because I found it worked best.

  • The tape is just slightly wider than an inch, flexible enough to bend and adjust to shapes and corners, and is easy to attach. It works great for wrapping around flower pots and tubs.
  • It uses an organic solution that doesn't actually kill the slugs. It simply stops them in their tracks and sends them off in a different direction.
  • It is also harmless to wildlife, family pets, and children. That makes it different from slug killers such as pellets.

I've used this tape a lot around the back and front doors as well as certain areas of my garden. It works really well, is easy to fix, and lasts for around three years before it needs replacing. Always wear gloves when putting this on, as the metal edging is very sharp and will cut you.

The tape is a cheap and easy method to end your problem. The main drawback of using this is that you do need something to attach it to, and in certain circumstances, it can be very difficult to keep it on.

I Picked Up a Slug and Now My Fingers Are Slimy. What Do I Do?

While it may seem like a good idea to wash off slu

While it may seem like a good idea to wash off slug mucus, don’t do it! Their mucus reacts with water, causing it to spread. Instead of washing it, rub your hand and fingers together. This causes the mucus to ball up (much the same way as rubber cement would), and it is then easy to pick off your skin. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve pulled up the slime, you should then wash your hands for sanitary reasons.

10. Opt for Plants That Slugs Shun

When all else fails, plant a garden that is decidedly not slug friendly; or at least do so in areas where slugs are persistent. Slugs don’t like highly scented things, so go with lavender, rosemary, begonias, and sage. Other slug repellers include ferns, cyclamen, hydrangea, California poppy, nasturtium, and lantana.


A slug, or a family of slugs, in your home is horrendous! But, as bad as it may seem, if you deal with the problem quickly and appropriately you can eradicate the slugs from your home. 

It’s likely that the solutions above will take time to work, and not every solution will work for everyone, but it is possible to rid your home of slugs! 

Got your own story to share? Let us know in the comments below! 

Bethan Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!

Get Rid of the Ones That Are Inside Your House

There is nothing worse than waking up on a beautiful morning, only to find slugs in your house. They look horrible and leave a slime trail everywhere they go. My kids are also frightened of them, and my wife hates them with a passion.

For a long time, I had a problem with these slugs both in my house and in my garden. I tried all the usual off-the-shelf products, including various types of pellets, sprays, and beer traps. Some of them worked for a while, but the slugs returned. My other concern was that I have kids and a dog that could get into poisonous pellets or sprays. I had to be careful using these as well.

The frustrating thing about battling slugs is that you feel you made some progress, but the slugs just come back year after year. I remember going on a real crusade to get rid of them one year by picking them off every time I saw one. The only thing I can say about that is that there are more slugs than I had time to get rid of, both in my garden and just outside my house.

I asked my neighbor if he was having similar problems, and he said that he had been tortured with slugs at one time. He still had the problem but greatly diminished it by putting a bird feeder into the garden. It attracted quite a few wild birds that apparently helped eat the slugs.

The Good News

The good news is that slugs are not actually that clever, but boy, can they breed quickly! The only appeal your house has for them is darkness and dampness.

We all have darkness in our houses, and they will have some moisture inside. We like to make our houses look nice with flowers and planters, but don't leave them right outside your door. That makes a very short path for them, and slugs move a lot faster than you might imagine. Trust me, I had a personal vendetta against slugs for many years because they destroyed my flowers for years.

I hope you have found this helpful and that you are able to get rid of slugs from your home quickly and, hopefully, permanently.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Enda McLarnon

How to get rid of slugs in the house

1. Copper tape

Copper tape is a well-known way to protect plants and pots from slugs and snails in the garden but it can also be used indoors. The texture of the tape creates a small charge when the slugs touch it which doesn’t harm them but does deter them.

“Inside, you could use some of the barriers recommended for protecting pots, one that would suit this use well is copper tape,” says Hayley.

2. Salt

If you have found a slug trail in your kitchen or bathroom, trace it back to the entry point and fill it with salt to deter them slugs coming through the hole again.

“Salt can be a very good barrier,” says Hayley. “But this will only be worth it if you can create the barrier somewhere dry, otherwise it will wash away quickly and may make the soil in the nearby area, or the surface, too salty.”

3. Ducks and slug predators in the garden

“A great thing to think about is how you can make your garden more friendly to the natural predators of slugs and snails,” Hayley explains. “Provide food and water for birds, and install a ‘hedgehog highway’ hole if you don’t have one already. A pond is a great wildlife-friendly addition to a garden, and will attract frogs and toads that will help keep your slug numbers down.”

A great natural predator of slugs is ducks – although they will also eat your lettuce seedlings so keep them protected until the plants have matured.

We did a bit more research and found a couple more helpful products that claim to help prevent slugs coming inside the house:

4. Slug trap

Slug trap often lure in the animal using beer or a sugary liquid. Once inside, they find it hard to navigate their way back out again. This can be a humane way to get rid of slugs in the house but make sure you empty the trap far enough away for you house so they won’t come back in. You can also make your own beer trap by filling a container half full with beer and leaving is near a problem area. You cannot guarantee the slugs will survive if using a homemade trap.

5. Wool pellets

Wool pellets are a great organic way to deter slugs in the garden and they can also be used to block entry points into the house. Wool is a natural material so is not harmful and it breaks down naturally.

6. Sharp barriers

The soft body of a slug finds it uncomfortable to travel over rough surfaces to creating a natural barrier using egg shells or garden cuttings can be effective.

7. Plant slug repelling plants

Astrantia gives off a scent that repels slugs and snails and so acts as a natural pesticide. Wormwood, rue, fennel, anise and rosemary all have the same effect.

8. Put up bird feeders

Encouraging birds into your garden who prey on slugs is a great natural repellent. It will improve the biodiversity of your garden as well as making it less likely slugs will enter your home. Here’s our selection of nine squirrel-proof bird feeders for your garden.

9. Reseal windows and doors

Survey the windows and doors in your house and reseal any areas that may have become loose and created holes.

10. Diatomaceous earth (silicon dioxide)

The name of this substance might make it sound serious and harmful but diatomaceous earth is a type of silica that works by drawing out oils in insects and so drying them out. It can be an irritant for humans so avoid breathing it in.

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