Day 191 – Cinnamon in the Sandbox


The little man got a sandbox this year, and it has been a lot of fun for him. After a few weeks of use though, I noticed that little tiny bugs were starting to take up residence in it despite the cover. They looked like gnats, but didn’t fly. I had no idea how to get rid of these, until Pinterest provided an answer as usual.

Cinnamon keeps the bugs away! I brew my coffee with cinnamon so I always have one of these gigantic containers in the house. A little bottle won’t cut it for this project. I sprinkled about a cup or cup and a half of cinnamon over his sandbox.

I then used a rake to mix the cinnamon into the top layer of sand. I have had it in there for about a week already and it’s still keeping the bugs away. We’ve still found the occasional spider, but I expected that. I definitely recommend this method if you have a sandbox at home.

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64 Comments… Share your views

  1. I wonder if it keeps animals at bay as well?….

  2. This doesn’t attract any ants?

  3. Have you tried this on plants? I might give this a try in my rose/plant garden. We never know until we try it. Right?

    • I was actually debating that, Deborah! I was going to sprinkle some around my basil plants to keep the bugs away. I would cry if it killed my basil though, so I haven’t had the guts to try yet.

      • You could always try it on a weed in your yard. if it doesnt kill the weed then your plants should be safe.

      • Small amount of hydrogen peroxide mixed w/water keeps the gnats, insects away. You can research the amounts online. Also, epsom salt is great for plants – again, research online.

      • we did cayenne on our basil last summer for squirrels and that didn’t kill them. It’s hotter than cinnamon, so I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a problem.

    • when I plant seeds and my seedlings come up, like sunflowers the squirrels have a feast until I started putting cayenne pepper on them and now nothing gets them. As Whole Dried Cayenne in the bird feeder keeps the squirrels out but not the birds cayenne is high in Vit. C and it’s good for the birds.

  4. I am interested in brewing your coffee with cinnamon??? How do you do that? Sounds yummy! 🙂

  5. I am wondering about bees? We built our GRANBABIES a swingset with sand under it like a playground and they get nervous when they see a bee and come in the house… Just hoping the bees stay away too!!!! Thx for the great idea….

    • Uggg yes! We don’t get bees in our sandbox but the bees love the sand at our local playground. If this keeps the bees away too, I’m going to suggest it to our township. Let me know if you try it!

  6. I’ve learned from pinterest to get rid of spiders, use peppermint oil. So i am assuming if you spray the edges down with the oil and add cinnamon to the sand, you will have a happy, bug free, Christmas smelling sand box!

  7. Does it keep cats out?? And what happens when it gets wet ? Do you have to redo/ how often ???….

  8. Please be careful with cinnamon, it CAN affect:
    Antibiotics: Cinnamon is a powerful antibiotic, but check with your doctor before taking cinnamon if you are taking prescription antibiotics, because it may change the way prescription antibiotics act on the body.
    Blood Sugar: People taking medication to regulate blood sugar should be careful when taking cinnamon, as it also has a powerful effect on blood sugar and the two in combination may lower blood sugar too much.
    Blood Thinning: Cinnamon may have anti-clotting properties and may cause over thinning of the blood if you are taking blood thinners. Large doses of cinnamon should also not be used before surgery, during heavy menstruation, or in any situation where a lot of bleeding may occur.
    Increased Heart Rate: Large amounts of cinnamon have been reported to increase heart rate which could be dangerous for those with a heart condition. Increased heart rate is also linked to cinnamon oil poisoning in children.
    Kidney and Liver Problems: There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that people with kidney or liver problems or people who are taking drugs that are processed in the liver may want to avoid taking high doses of cinnamon due to its coumarin content. Coumarin levels are higher in cassia than in true cinnamon, but cinnamon does contain compounds that are known to be toxic to the kidneys at high doses.
    Skin Irritation: The essential oil of cinnamon must never be applied directly to the skin unless properly diluted. Small amounts of the diluted oil can be used for refreshment and to fight infection but the oil alone can quickly cause severe burning and irritation to exposed skin. Allergies are rare but sometimes manifest as sores.
    Stomach Irritation: Those with any prior condition of the digestive system such as an ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome should be careful when eating cinnamon. Large amounts (more than 1/2 a teaspoon) may cause the lining of the stomach to become irritated.
    Uterine Contractions: Some traditional medicine practitioners will give a mother cinnamon in order to induce or normalize contractions. Therefore, pregnant women may want to avoid cinnamon.
    With Children, you just WANT to be especially cautious is all!!!

    • Aren’t these side effects if you eat too much, though?

      • I was going to say that those all sound like side effects from ingesting too much cinnamon, not putting it in the sand box. Honestly, even if you put a whole huge tub of cinnamon into your average sized sand box, your child would have to ingest the entire sand box worth of sand before they would even begin to have health problems from the overdose of cinnamon. If your kid eats sand by the bucket full, you have more problems with your sand box than just a few little bugs.

        • My child just had a fast very red and painful skin reaction to cinnamon mixed well into a sandbox. She had never shown a reaction before in any foods. So skin test it first!

    • Pleeese. they are not. Ingesting it in the sandbox!! Just sprinkling it . Wow!!

    • I’m just guessing here, but as I read this, I thought this cautionary post might have been aimed at the comments about putting cinnamon in your coffee, if you’re doing that often. ? Just a guess! 🙂 Thanks for the tip for putting it in the sandbox!

    • We tried this & my kids got a rash all over their legs. They didn’t eat any of the sand/cinnamon mix.

  9. I’m curious as to whether the cinnamon leaves a hard-to-remove color or film on the kids’ skin? It’s hard enough to deal w/ clean-up from sand alone, so I’m just wondering! (I realize the cinnamon is mixed in well, but I thought maybe the sand would tend to grind it onto the skin?)

  10. In response to what affect cinnamon would have on roses – roses love garlic; plant garlic around your roses and it will keep aphids away. I have tried it and it does work.

  11. Great idea! I just pinned it 🙂

  12. We have a severe tick problem in our area. I wonder if this would keep them away from the sandbox or not!

  13. My son has a skin sensitivity to cinnamon. Any idea if a different but similar spice such as allspice or ginger would work? He’s not allergic to cinnamon, but when he eats it, everywhere it has touched his face for an extended time (you know a toddler’s cinnamon mouth) gets red and splotchy almost like very mild hives, but they match up exactly to where the cinnamon -touched- which is how we know it’s strictly a skin sensitivity rather than an IgE or t-cell mediated allergy.

    Any idea if sticking actual cinnamon sticks in the sand box (so perhaps my son wouldn’t be actually handling the cinnamon so much) would have the same effect? I suppose I’ll just have to trial and error. I hate to waste good spices, though!

    Also, bay leaves are supposed to keep weevils out of rice, pasta, flour, etc. so I wonder if bay leaves in sand would deter the bugs. Hmmm. Lots to try.

  14. What about scorpions? Does cinnamon keep them away from the sand as well? Or do you know what will? We live in the desert! 🙁

  15. Will it keep cats out of the sand box?

  16. This is a great tip. We do not have a sandbox yet, but I will keep this in mind when we get one. Thank you.

  17. A cup to a cup and a half of cinnamon…to what size of sandbox?

  18. We had some ant problems in other areas of our yard & thought I would add the cinnamon to the sandbox before it became an issue. Within a day of adding a generous amount to our crab sandbox, the lid was COVERED with ants. I’m going to treat the area with an organic/natural bug spray & hope that works. I really don’t want to dump the several bags of brand new sand I just filled it with. Interested if anyone else has had the same problem. Any way to counteract the cinnamon or add something else to help repel?

  19. Sorry to hear that Trisha! I’ve been researching about cinnamon trying to kill fungus gnats in my indoor potted plants. I’ve learned that there are two main types of cinnamon (Ceylon and Cassia). Apparently, most grocery stores in the US carry Cassia cinnamon. While good at killing fungus in soil, at least one person reported that the Cassia cinnamon then attracted ants.

    Here’s the link I got this info from :

    I’ve read that coffee grounds will deter ants (as well as cats as mentioned above).

    When I had ants coming into my kitchen a few months ago I sprayed with Home Defense. Not sure about toxicity or if it would work as a barrier for the sandbox, but I know it stopped the ants for me.

    Good luck with your sand!

  20. I read online that a box of baking soda will keep the ants out of the sandbox. Has anyone tried the baking soda?

  21. does it work for ear wigs? yuck.

  22. My son is ALLERGIC to cinnamon, so if you do this, please inform the parents of children that may play in your sandbox BEFORE they do so. That way if the child has a known allergy, or a reaction afterward, the parent will know.

  23. I have added pumpkin pie spice 1tsp. to my coffee filter and then added the coffee. Mmmm good.

  24. We have a sandbox and two kids that play in it and we use Baby powder to dust the kids off after playing in it and the sand just falls off. Put baby powder on the kids where the sand is and rub all over area. I am however going to try the cinnamon idea though, thank you.

  25. Jeannine MacMillan July 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Will this kill all bacteria in the sand box.?would save a lot of work!

  26. The “cinnamon” most people purchase at the grocery store and are familiar with is “cassia” which can have some side effects such as thinning the blood, etc. especially if used a lot. “True” cinnamon “cinnamomum verum” aka Ceylon cinnamon is beneficial for health.

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