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Kitchen Pantry Shelving System

Eight Ways to Prevent Pests in Your Kitchen Pantry

What could be worse than opening up your kitchen pantry and finding that it has been overrun with bugs? The nightmare of finding ants, cigarette beetles, flour beetles, Indian meal moths, rice weevils, or saw-toothed grain beetles infesting your food supply is not something you want to have to deal with.

Thankfully, there is something you can do to prevent them: 

  • Clean Up Crumbs Immediately
  • Use Airtight Containers
  • Honor Expiration Dates
  • Deep Clean Your Pantry Regularly
  • Purchase in Smaller Quantities
  • Inspect Your Packages at the Store
  • Leave a Cinnamon Trail
  • Place Bay Leaves

Read on to learn how you can prevent these creepy crawlers from making a home in your kitchen pantry!

Clean Up Crumbs Immediately

This suggestion should go without saying, however, many houses with children perhaps need to hear it. Little pieces of potato chips or cookie crumbs may not seem like a big deal to you, but to a bug, they might be a feast. Think about that little drip of pancake syrup that has made it past the top of the bottle and down to your pantry shelf. An ant has just found its favorite dessert. Prevent this situation from happening by wiping up any crumbs or spills as soon as they occur.


Use Airtight Containers

The cardboard boxes or paper bags that contain your dried goods are simply not durable enough to keep pantry pests from getting inside of them. It just makes sense to seal foods such as cereals, flour, sugar, nuts, and more in airtight containers.

Not only will this keep bugs from being able to get in, but your food will also stay much fresher this way. Clear glass or plastic containers are ideal so that you are able to plainly see the contents of each one.

It should also be mentioned that you should never leave open food in your pantry. A package of crackers or cookies that are not closed properly is an open invitation for pests to come in and have a taste.

Honor Expiration Dates

Manufacturers stamp expiration dates on their products for a reason. When perishable foods begin to spoil, they emit an odor that bugs can pick up on. Although this is particularly true of foods like fruit, it applies to other foods as well. Don’t give bugs a chance to make a home in your expired food and spread throughout your pantry. Check the expiration dates on your food and throw out anything that has passed its date.

Person Cleaning a Surface

Deep Clean Your Pantry Regularly

Speaking of cleaning up, your pantry needs a good deep cleaning every few months. Begin by removing and inspecting each item. Logically, throw out anything that looks to have been visited by a pest or two. Wipe down your pantry shelves with a vinegar and water solution and a clean, dry towel. Vacuum out or sweep the floors and finish by neatly replacing and organizing all of your pantry’s contents.

Purchase in Smaller Quantities

Many people buy their food staples in bulk in order to take advantage of reduced pricing and to make sure that they never run out of the basics. However, this is not the best approach to keeping pantry pests at bay, according to Food This is because the more time that a food item is in your pantry, the greater possibility there is that bugs are going to find it.

Ideally, you should only purchase quantities that you know you are going to use within a few months. Be sure to use up your goods that you purchased first, before opening anything new.

Grocery Store Shelving

Inspect Your Packages at the Store

Before you purchase anything that is going to be placed inside of your pantry, it is wise to thoroughly check the packaging for any tears, dents, or holes. This is important because you may unknowingly be bringing bugs into your home from foods that are contained in damaged boxes.

Leave a Cinnamon Trail

According to, the smell of cinnamon is a natural repellant to pantry pests. For this reason, they recommend sprinkling a trail of cinnamon throughout your pantry to discourage bugs from getting near your food. You can also “dab” a bit of cinnamon oil within your kitchen pantry, or as a less messy alternative, you can scatter cinnamon sticks throughout.

Place Bay Leaves

Another natural way to repel pantry bugs is found with the help of dried bay leaves. says that the pungent smell of bay leaves, along with their natural essential oil content, is what drives away bugs. Simply place a few bay leaves in various places around your pantry. You can also place a bay leaf in each of your airtight canisters to give each of them a little extra insurance.


Preventing bugs from invading your kitchen pantry involves proactive cleanliness and attention to detail. Placing bay leaves or sprinkling cinnamon will also help discourage them without having to worry about using harsh tactics or harmful chemicals.


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