Can a Spider Drown? How to Get Rid of Spiders

Spiders are hardy, resilient, and able to thrive in many different environments. But can they survive being submerged in water? If you’ve ever flushed a spider down the toilet or washed one down a shower or bathroom sink, you’ve likely wondered if it survived the experience. Can a spider drown? Let’s take a closer look.

Will a Spider Drown in Water?

Can a Spider Drown?

Yes, a spider can drown, but differently than many other animals. Spiders take about an hour to die from drowning. They have a slow metabolic rate, meaning they don’t consume much oxygen, so they can live without breathing for much longer than many other animals.

Additionally, they require full submersion for the hour to drown. A spider will likely live if submerged in water for less than an hour.

Is Drowning a Good Way To Kill Spiders?

Can a Spider Drown?

Generally, no. Flushing a spider down the toilet or washing it down a drain will put it into the sewer system, but it won’t necessarily die. Instead, the spider might cling to walls or sewage and survive.

Of course, by that point, the spider has traveled far away from your home plumbing system. If your goal is to remove the spider from your house, washing or flushing it down a drain will work. But it also poses an ethical question.

Killing a spider by drowning can be considered needlessly cruel. After an hour of submersion in water, the spider will struggle and suffer before dying.

How To Get Rid of a Spider in Your House

Can a spider drown? Yes, but drowning is an ineffective and potentially inhumane method for killing spiders. Fortunately, several alternatives exist:


Squashing is the most popular way to kill an unwanted spider. You can use practically any semi-heavy object, such as a shoe, book, or rolled-up piece of paper.

While the concept is simple, execution can get tricky. Hitting the spider directly isn’t always easy, as they can move quickly when feeling threatened. Another drawback is clean-up, as squashing a spider creates a mess.


Do you want to kill the spider? The simplest, most humane method is freezing.

Catch the spider in a glass jar with a cap, such as a baby food jar. Then, place the closed jar in your freezer overnight. The cold temperature will painlessly render the spider unconscious.

After about 12 hours or longer, remove the jar from the freezer and fill it with rubbing alcohol. Add enough to submerge the spider completely. Finally, you can pour the spider and alcohol down the toilet.  


You can also use heat to kill a spider. For instance, if you place the flame of a lighter close to a spider, it will explode. The heat increases the pressure inside the spider’s exoskeleton to dangerous levels.

Killing a spider by making it explode is messy, dangerous, and generally not recommended – but it’s undoubtedly one of the most interesting disposal methods.   

Releasing into the Wild

You don’t necessarily need to kill any spiders in your home. Instead, you can trap them and release them outside.

The easiest way to trap a spider is with a glass and a piece of paper. Place the glass on top of the spider. Then, slide a piece of paper, such as an envelope, underneath the glass. Once outside, remove the paper and put the glass on its side so the spider can walk away.

Final Thoughts

Can a spider drown? Yes, but only after more than an hour of total submersion. More effective and humane removal methods include freezing it or releasing it outside. You may be wondering what spiders eat when they are in your house, find out here.