Solutions for Keeping Pests Out of Storage Units

Pests, such as insects and rodents, are not only a nuisance but can also wreak havoc on the valuable possessions in your storage unit. No matter how clean and organized you keep your unit, any open gap is an invitation for tiny critters to enter. Rats can fit through a crack the size of a quarter, while mice can squeeze through holes as small as a dime. When storing your items in a storage unit, use proper precautions to ward off pests.

self storage units (21)

Photo by Flickr user Scott Meyers Self


Moths, ants, cockroaches and bed bugs are just a few of the repulsive insects that owners of storage units come across. Before moving furniture into your unit, clean and vacuum it thoroughly to eliminate any stains, crumbs or debris that may attract pests. Mattresses are a breeding ground for bed bugs. According to the National Pest Management Association, bed bugs can withstand intense temperatures, ranging from freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep insects out of mattresses by storing them in an upright position, covering them with a tightly sealed piece of plastic and avoiding direct contact with cement floors and walls. Other tips for protecting your storage unit against various insects include:

  • Spray for insects routinely, ideally monthly, and concentrate spray around the door frame of the unit.
  • Keep bushes, shrubbery and landscaping trimmed and away from your storage unit.
  • Eliminate moisture in and around your unit, and ensure that the storage facility you choose has a drip system in place to prevent pooled rainfall water from becoming stagnant.
  • Partner with a pest professional to inspect your unit on a regular basis. Learn how to take care of insects and bed bugs at
  • Wash items, such as linen and clothing, at a hot temperature to avoid bringing pests and pest eggs into the unit.
  • Clean your storage unit on a regularly basis and check for signs of pests.


Rats, mice and other unwelcomed pests can cause irreversible damage to furniture, clothing and other storage item goods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mice and rats are the cause of more than 35 diseases worldwide. Rodent baits and traps work well if you check and change them regularly to catch all the pests before they have the opportunity to reproduce. Keep these unwanted woodland creatures out of your storage unit with the following tips:

  • Ensure that your unit has a water and air tight seal, as pests can squeeze through cracks as thin as a credit card.
  • Store garbage in a tightly sealed container and dispose of it on a regular basis.
  • Store items in sealed, plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes to prevent rodents from nesting inside.
  • Don’t store live plants or perishable food items in storage units, as these items attract rodents and other pests.
  • Store items on raised pallets to prevent tiny critters from hiding underneath.


Spiders do have some good qualities, as they prey on insects that harm livestock and crops. They aren’t, however, wanted inside storage units. Cleanliness is essential to limit the reproduction of spiders. Look for a storage unit that does not have spaces where these arachnids can hide beneath doors or in cracks in the floor or walls. You’ll also want to avoid spiders that will bite humans when disturbed, such as the black widow and brown recluse spider. The brown recluse spider is native to the United States but is mainly found in the central Midwestern states. These spiders can produce a serious bite with venom that kills the tissues around the site. Use these tips to help eliminate spiders in your storage unit:

  • Wipe away any visible cobwebs as soon as you see them to encourage the spiders to move to a new location — outside.
  • Spray a natural spider repellent throughout the unit, such as a concoction with mint, lemon or anything citrus-based.
  • Keep the storage unit free of dust by vacuuming on a regular basis and declutter to easily spot new spiders.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and vinegar, and spray cracks and crevices around the unit.
  • Place a few chestnuts around the baseboards to prevent spiders from hanging out there, as these are known to drive spiders away.

By Ted Andersen
Ted learned woodworking and plumbing from his handyman father. There aren’t many things he can’t make or fix in a house.

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