10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (2022)

Easy Home Remedies to Repel and Remove Ants

By

Erin Huffstetler

Erin Huffstetler

Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.

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Updated on 08/23/22

Reviewed by

Amanda Rose Newton

10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (1)

Reviewed byAmanda Rose Newton

Amanda Rose Newton holds degrees in Horticulture, Biochemistry, Entomology, and soon a PhD in STEM Education. She is a board-certified entomologist and volunteers for USAIDs Farmer to Farmer program. Currently, she is a professor of Horticulture, an Education Specialist, and pest specialist.

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Fact checked by

Sarah Scott

(Video) 10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants And Bugs In Your House

10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (2)

Fact checked bySarah Scott

Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.

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10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (3)

Ants can quickly invade a home and will rapidly multiply if they find a food source. Fortunately, you usually don't need to call an exterminator to get rid of ants. Here's how to get rid of ants naturally using 10 different remedies you might already have at home.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Ants?

There are several strong smells that ants hate, including cinnamon, vinegar, and citrus. The key is to scout out the ant activity in your home, and then apply these scents along their trails and at access points from the outdoors. This is an efficient method to get rid of ants in the house quickly—sometimes seemingly overnight. But you have to maintain the scent for as long as you see a few ants here and there to get rid of the ants permanently. Otherwise, without the natural ant repellant, their numbers will start to increase again.

  • 01 of 10

    Borax

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (4)

    Mix together a teaspoon of borax and 5 ounces of either syrup or jelly. (Borax plus sugar also works.) Then, place the mixture where the ants will find it. If you have small kids or pets, be sure to put it out of their reach. It may be natural, but borax is still toxic.

    Why this works: Once consumed, borax is a slow-acting poison that damages an ant's digestive system. The ants that encounter it will pass it to the larger population, allow you to get rid of the ants permanently.

  • 02 of 10

    Chalk

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (5)

    Draw a line of chalk in front of the spot where the ants are entering your home. It'll act as a barrier that they won't cross. Refresh your chalk line periodically, so it continues to work.

    Why this works:No one is really sure. Some people think it's because ants don't like the calcium carbonate in chalk. Others think it's because the chalk line interrupts their scent trails. Whatever the reason, it seems to do the trick to get rid of ants practically overnight.

  • 03 of 10

    Coffee Grounds

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (6)

    Are you a coffee drinker? If so, get in the habit of sprinkling your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house.

    Why this works: Ants hate the smell of coffee grounds. This makes the grounds a great form of natural ant repellant.Plus, because coffee grounds are full of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, they also happen to be good for your garden soil.

    (Video) A Natural Way to Get Rid of Ants in Your House
  • 04 of 10

    Vinegar

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (7)

    Wipe down your countertops, cupboards, and any other places where you've spotted ants with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Repeat the process throughout the day to maintain the efficacy.

    Why this works: Ants hate the smell of vinegar, and vinegar can remove the scent trails they use to get around. So vinegar will keep ants away for as long as they can smell it on a surface. In addition to repelling ants, vinegar has many surprising uses, including as an all-purpose cleaner.

    Warning

    Due to its acidity, vinegar is often too harsh for natural stone countertops. If you have granite, marble, quartz, or some other type of stone countertop, use your regular spray cleaner to wipe down your counters instead. It'll still help with the ants by eliminating scent trails.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    Cucumber Peels

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (8)

    Place cucumber peels at known entrance points for ants or places where you tend to see lots of ants congregating.It helps to observe the ants to see the trails they're following and then block those trails with some peels.

    Why this works: The scent of cucumber peels is known to repel ants. However, this will only be a temporary solution unless you have lots of cucumbers on hand to replace the peels as they dry up and lose their potency.

  • 06 of 10

    Mint

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (9)

    (Video) 30 Natural Home Remedies To Get Rid of Ants From Home & Garden

    Apply some mint essential oil to areas where you've seen unwanted ants. Or simply scatter some leaves from a mint plant in those areas.

    Why this works: Mint is another smell that ants hate. It won't be fatal to them, but it will help to naturally repel them from your home and other areas where you don't want them.

  • 07 of 10

    Baby Powder

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (10)

    Using baby powder to get rid of ants naturally is similar to using chalk. Make a small line of powder to form a barrier where the ants are entering your home. Refresh the line as needed to ensure it stays intact.

    Why this works: Like with chalk, the ants won’t want to cross the powder line. It also helps to confuse their scent trails.

  • 08 of 10

    Citrus Peels

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (11)

    Leave citrus peels in areas of known ant activity in your home to send them on their way.

    Why this works: Citrus peels have been shown to exhibit antifungal activity, therefore inhibiting the growth of one main food source of ants. The strong scent also repels ants. If you're battling ants in your kitchen or bathroom, switch to lemon or lime-scented cleaners. For best results, look for products that are scented with actual citrus oils. Synthetic fragrances won't have the effect you're after.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    Cloves

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (12)

    Sprinkle some cloves in areas where you've seen ants, especially targeting entrance points both from the inside and outside. You can use ground cloves or essential oil.

    Why this works: The strong scent of cloves is another smell ants hate. It won't kill them, but it will help to get rid of ants in the house quickly as long as you've covered all of their entrance points.

  • 10 of 10

    Cinnamon

    10 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants (13)

    (Video) 10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants

    If you don't have cloves, you also can sprinkle cinnamon in areas of ant activity. Placing a few drops of cinnamon essential oil on cotton balls and then sticking those cotton balls in problem areas can be an efficient way to get rid of all the ants in your home. Replace the cotton balls as the scent wears off.​

    Why this works: Ants hate the smell of cinnamon. It will get rid of ants in your home naturally and then continue to act as an ant repellent for as long as the scent remains.

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Is Ant Bait Safe Around Children? Poison Control.

  2. Ant Baits: A Least-Toxic Control. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension.

  3. Behavioral Responses of Household Ants (Hymenoptera) to Odor of Different Coffee Species and Formulations: Sustainability Approach for Green Pest Management Strategies. Household and Structural Urban Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

  4. 5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Natural Stone Surfaces. Natural Stone Institute.

  5. Cucumber vs Ants: a Case Against the Myth of the Uses of Plant Extracts in Insect Pest Management. Sociobiology.

  6. Antimicrobial Activity of Citrus Sinensis and Citrus Aurantium Peel Extracts. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific Innovation.

  7. Fumigation Activity of EssFumigation Activity of Essential Oil ofCinnamonum LoureiriiAgainst Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis Invicta) Workers. Journal of Pest Science.

(Video) NATURAL ANT REMEDIES: How to get rid of Ants at Home and Garden – Top 12 Ant Killer Ways

FAQs

What is the best homemade ant killer? ›

White vinegar and water: Take a spray bottle and fill it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray the solution on the ants and their entry points. A mixture of dish soap and water: Make a mixture of dish soap or dishwashing liquid, put in a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray it on the ants.

What keeps ants away permanently? ›

Diatomaceous Earth is one of the most effective ant-killers out there, and placing them in the ant entryways can solve the problem of “how to get rid of ants permanently”. Diatomaceous Earth is made from remains of diatoms. Basically, by sprinkling them, ants dry and die.

How do I get rid of ants permanently overnight? ›

Salt-boil salt and water into a mixture and once cooled, pour into a spray bottle and spray nooks and corners. Oranges-half fresh orange juice and half water sprayed around your home will keep the pests out and keep your home smelling nicely. Essential Oils-used like lemon or orange juices.

What smells do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

What stops ants from coming in the house? ›

8 Ways to Prevent Ants from Entering Your House
  1. Take Notice of Scout Ants. ...
  2. Keep Surfaces in and Around Your Home Clean. ...
  3. Store Food in Sealed Containers. ...
  4. Seal Off Cracks & Entrances to Your Home. ...
  5. Remove Ant Trails. ...
  6. Deploy Ant Baits around Active Areas. ...
  7. Control Ant Colonies around Your Property.
8 May 2015

How do you make strong ant killer at home? ›

How To Make Homemade ANT KILLER - YouTube

What gets rid of tiny ants? ›

To get rid of tiny ants on the kitchen counter using diatomaceous earth, simply sprinkle some powder wherever you've noticed ant trails, in addition to their suspected entry point. Some common entry points for all types of ants include the space below doors, windows, or cracks in your walls or ceilings.

How long will vinegar keep ants away? ›

They may avoid an area that smells like vinegar, but they'll create a new trail to your food in a different area. Vinegar repels ants for 4–48 hours. Spraying vinegar will not repel ants permanently. Ants will create new trails around the vinegar.

Does salt get rid of ants? ›

Salt Treatment For Ants

In a way, yes. Salt is a natural treatment for ants. One existing way of doing this to mix regular table salt with boiling water and waiting for it to be slightly cool enough to be poured into a spray bottle. The mix is then sprayed all over ant infested areas of the house.

Does salt keep ants away? ›

Salt. Spreading salt near nooks and corners from where ants enter the house will help keeping ants away. Table salt is one of the best and the cheapest ways to get rid of ants naturally.

Why do ants suddenly appear? ›

Whenever there's a sudden ant infestation, the most likely cause of it is that there's food somewhere in your house for them. Most ants are opportunistic feeders; they'll eat just about anything. But they usually prefer sweets.

Why do ants keep coming back? ›

Just like with any other pest, ants need food, water, and shelter. If your house provides a food source, the ants will continue to invade. For this reason, one of the most effective ways to eliminate ants from your home is to remove their reason for being there.

Does cinnamon get rid of ants? ›

Cinnamon is often regarded as an effective DIY ant control option. It is believed that cinnamon acts as a natural repellent because ants cannot stand the smell. Also, if an ant inhales cinnamon, it can suffocate and die. Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on an ant's pathway for them to inhale.

What will ants not cross? ›

Flour. Wondering how to get rid of ants without dangerous pesticides? Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won't cross over the line. This is the best way to get rid of ants at home.

What do ants hate most? ›

Ants generally don't like vinegar, citrus smells, or spices, and are also turned off by pepper and baby powder. Even the delicious smell of a morning brew will send ants running in the other direction.

Is there a natural ant repellent? ›

Use peppermint oil

If you've got ants in your bathroom or kitchen, pour some peppermint oil onto a cotton wool pad and place them around the room. It might not look pretty, but it's a surefire way to keep ants at bay as they repel the strong smell.

How do I get rid of tiny ants in my living room? ›

To try and kill the ants at their source, make a Borax bait that the ants will flock to, and bring back to their nest. Mix one part corn syrup (or any sweet, sticky substance) with one part Borax, and spread the mixture on an index card. Place the index card in an area where you have witnessed a lot of ant activity.

How do I find where ants are coming from? ›

Use your flashlight to look for ants behind or under refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, sinks, and cabinets. Ants may also be found in or around floor drains, inside the motor areas of refrigerators and microwaves, behind wall paper, and in cracks and crevices in cabinets and around walls.

How do I get rid of little black ants in my kitchen? ›

How to Get Rid of Little Black Ants (3 Easy Steps) - YouTube

Does white vinegar actually get rid of ants? ›

Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Vinegar does not kill ants in the traditional sense: you spray it, and the ant dies. The only way this remedy is effective is if the ant drowns in vinegar (though water accomplishes the same thing).

What happens when you pour vinegar on ants? ›

Yes, vinegar can kill ants.

If you spray vinegar directly on ants, they will die. Increase the vinegar percentage, and it will kill them even quicker. However, you should note that this isn't a very effective way of getting rid of ants. There are millions of ants in a colony.

Why do ants hate vinegar? ›

The reason vinegar is so good at repelling ants is the strong, acidic smell of vinegar. It overwhelms their sense of smell, which confuses the ant and causes it to leave the area. Ants depend on their sense of smell to survive. They use it to find food, and if they can't find food, they can't survive.

Do ants hate vinegar? ›

Ants hate Vinegar. The smell of Vinegar will cause them to stay away from it or permanently leave the house. Ants crawl in a straight line, marching towards the food sources. The Vinegar solution will interfere with these pheromones, and the ants will get lost.

How long will vinegar keep ants away? ›

They may avoid an area that smells like vinegar, but they'll create a new trail to your food in a different area. Vinegar repels ants for 4–48 hours. Spraying vinegar will not repel ants permanently. Ants will create new trails around the vinegar.

Do ants hate salt? ›

Salt does not kill ants, but it does help to repel them and keep them out of your home. Ants are attracted to the salt in their environment when it comes to food, but if there's too much salt and they will be repelled by it.

How does baking soda and sugar get rid of ants? ›

Mix equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar together. Pour the mixture into a shallow container or bowl, then place it near the line of ants. The powdered sugar will attract the ants to the mixture. The ants will take it back to their nest and eat it.

What will ants not cross? ›

Flour. Wondering how to get rid of ants without dangerous pesticides? Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won't cross over the line. This is the best way to get rid of ants at home.

Does cinnamon get rid of ants? ›

Cinnamon is often regarded as an effective DIY ant control option. It is believed that cinnamon acts as a natural repellent because ants cannot stand the smell. Also, if an ant inhales cinnamon, it can suffocate and die. Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on an ant's pathway for them to inhale.

Do ants hate lemon? ›

Lemon Juice

The smell of the lemons masks the scent trails that they use to get to and from food, and also generally deters them from taking up residence. Try sprinkling some lemon juice in and around the area where you're seeing ants, or putting a few slices of lemon peel in your cupboard.

Does white vinegar actually get rid of ants? ›

Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Vinegar does not kill ants in the traditional sense: you spray it, and the ant dies. The only way this remedy is effective is if the ant drowns in vinegar (though water accomplishes the same thing).

What happens when you pour vinegar on ants? ›

Yes, vinegar can kill ants.

If you spray vinegar directly on ants, they will die. Increase the vinegar percentage, and it will kill them even quicker. However, you should note that this isn't a very effective way of getting rid of ants. There are millions of ants in a colony.

Why do ants suddenly appear? ›

Whenever there's a sudden ant infestation, the most likely cause of it is that there's food somewhere in your house for them. Most ants are opportunistic feeders; they'll eat just about anything. But they usually prefer sweets.

Why does baby powder repel ants? ›

This trail helps them find their way home and gives other ants a trail to follow to food sources. Sprinkling scented baby powder in these areas and at entry points in your home is said to exclude ants. The theory here is that the smell of the baby powder overwhelms the smell of the ants' pheromones.

Does Pepper keep ants away? ›

Cayenne pepper or black pepper are hated by ants. You can also make a solution of pepper and water and spray it near the entrant areas. The pepper wouldn't kill the ants but definitely deter them from returning to your house. Make sure you clean the area where you want to spray the pepper solution.

Does baking soda repel ants? ›

Ants know to avoid pure baking soda, so you can sprinkle it around doorways, window sills, and other entry points to keep them out of your home. You can also sprinkle some in cabinets, under sinks, and in other dark, moist places where ants may find shelter in your home.

What happens if ants eat baking soda? ›

Baking soda kills ants when they ingest it and is thought to dry out their bodies from the inside. This happens very quickly, and ants will die within a few minutes of eating baking soda. That's why we suggest to sprinkle baking soda over the ant nests.

How do I get rid of little black ants in my kitchen? ›

If you find black ants on your kitchen countertops, fill a spray bottle with dishwashing liquid mixed with glass cleaner. Then use the spray bottle to clean off every surface the ants have access to, not just the kitchen counter, and be sure to wipe it down thoroughly when you're finished.

Does sugar water get rid of ants? ›

The sugar attracts the ants, and the baking soda is what kills them: It reacts with the acid in their digestive system and they explode. Place the mixture in strategic locations and wait for the baking soda to do its thing.

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5. A Natural Way to Get Rid of Ants in House Permanently (In 1 Minute)
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