Updated on January 18, 2021
It can happen for any number of reasons. Perhaps you’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to clean. Or perhaps an arachnid snuck into the room and set up home. Whatever the reason, you now have webs decorating bits of furniture or ceiling corners.
Getting rid of a spider web can be easier than you think, and it may have some unseen benefits as well.
See Also: Get Rid of Spiders (and Keep Them Away)
Some Notes About Webs
There are a few things to keep in mind when you see a web. They can be a sign of poor cleaning habits, as common house spiders prefer to build webs in relatively undisturbed locations.
It can also be a sign that you have access points around your home, such as a poorly caulked window frame. But most importantly, looking at a web closely will reveal any captured prey, which in turn can warn you of an insect infestation.
Why Should You Remove Webs?
We’re guessing you already know that webs make a house look unkempt. But there are other reasons you should get rid of spider webs when you see them.
Allergies are one good example, as webs will collect dust and allergen particles over time, not to mention the obvious implications for those with spider allergies.
Removing webs can also encourage spiders to move along, as they produce a limited supply of silk and need time to recharge before they can replace a destroyed web. No web, no food, no reason to stay.
Webs on Plants Might be Mites
Spider mites are a common pest on plants that can create webbing. These aren’t actual spiders, so you’ll need to use different methods to take care of these critters first if you want their webs to go away.
Spider Web vs Cobweb (What’s the Difference?)
Contrary to popular belief, cobwebs are very different from spider webs. The term “cobweb” is commonly used in reference to an old, abandoned, dusty spider web. In reality, this usage is usually referring to spider webs, not actual cobweb. The same goes for changing the name based on whether the web is occupied.
In a more precise definition, cobwebs are produced exclusively by spiders in the Linyphiidae and Theridiidae families, and have a different silk composition than that of other spiders. The name itself is derived from the Old English word for spider, coppe.
Cobwebs are easy to spot because they resemble a tangled mass of netting made after Ms. Spider had one too many.
Cobweb has many important qualities. It was commonly used in the Alps to make fabrics for painting throughout the 16th century. It’s also chock full of antifungal and antiseptic goodness, as well as vitamin K, making it a popular folk remedy in first aid to this day.
Conversely, spider webs can be made by most other web-spinning spider families. They’re well-designed and will be a flat net, funnel, or similar structure designed to protect egg sacs or capture prey.
Spider webs have similar medicinal qualities, but some care must be taken to ensure the web doesn’t belong to a venomous species.
Getting Rid of Spider Webs and Cobwebs
There are a lot of methods out there, such as using bleach water, but these can often be quite impractical or even damage your furniture or wallpaper. The following methods are generally safe and effective for around the home and even outside.
Suck It Up
Vacuum cleaners are the quickest and safest method out there, especially if you’re in an area that has black widows or brown recluse spiders. A good shop vacuum (ie: Shop-Vac or Vacmaster) will make quick work of removing spider webs or cobwebs. You can also use your regular indoor vacuum with a wand extension or a handheld model such as Shark or Black+Decker.
Not only can you suck up the webs, but also any spiders or egg sacs present. The wand and edger attachments allow you to safely get into tight spaces, around window and door frames, and under furniture.
Dispose of the bag or carefully empty the container into a sealed bag to avoid letting any surviving spiders escape.
Dust Them Out
Using a broom or duster to take on webs is a tried-and-true solution. You will want to clean the webbing off afterwards, preferably wearing gloves to avoid any surprise bites.
Roll It Up
Highly textured surfaces such as popcorn ceilings can be hard to clean without damaging them, but a simple lint roller will get the job done without any risk to paint or fragile materials.
See Also: Getting Rid of Hobo Spiders
Bonus Tip: Harvesting Webs
Due to the medicinal properties of fresh cobweb and spider web, you may wish to collect the web rather than destroy it. To do this, you will want to scare away any spiders and ensure the webbing is fresh (i.e. no caught bugs or dust).
Using a meat skewer or a gloved finger, gently run along the edges of the web to detach it. Twirling the skewer slowly works especially well.
Once collected, roll the webbing into a ball and store it in an airtight container inside your first aid kit. The web can be used to pack wounds and will help form scabs as long as it’s touching the edges of the wound.
Cover the packed web with a bandage to hold it in. Webs won’t cause a reaction, and can be safely absorbed or removed one the wound is healing.
Please note that you should avoid collecting webs made by venomous spiders and should never use a folk remedy if you’re unsure how to perform them safely.