Friday, August 17, 2012

21 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants

I don't know if it's the unusually high temperatures we've been having or what, but ants are determined to move into my house and take up residence. First they came in through an electrical outlet in the dining room and found some crumbs my son so generously left under his high chair. Next they moved onto the kids bathroom, maybe to drink some water to finish off their meal from the dining room. The latest place they've ventured to is my bathroom, looking for remnants of my irresistible homemade sugar scrub.

After doing some research and trying out a couple natural methods to get rid of ants, my house is currently ant-free. As a celebration of sorts, I compiled this list of natural ant removal methods, including the ideas that worked for me. Secretly I'm kind of hoping the ants come back so I can try more of these ideas!

I put some distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and sprayed the entrance points. I also sprayed vinegar along the trail to destroy their pheromone trail. Once the vinegar dried, a few ants came back to check out the situation. After reapplying the vinegar a few more times, they got the hint they weren't welcome and moved on.

Essential Oils
Here are some essential oils that ants are known to dislike: eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, peppermint, and citrus oils. I put about 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil and water into a small squirt bottle. Then I sprayed entrance points and along trails. I had to reapply a few more times after it dried. I thought vinegar worked better, but maybe I needed more essential oil and less water. Amanda at Easy Peasy Organic swears by eucalyptus oil. She used a ratio of 50/50 eucalyptus oil and water. You can find essential oils at health food stores, Amazon, and Mountain Rose Herbs.

If you don't have essential oils, you can sprinkle powdered cinnamon, clove, garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, mint or bay leaves at entrance points.

Soapy water
This is Brie at DIY Life's favorite way to get rid of ants. Fill a spray bottle with 2 tablespoons dish soap and 1/2 cup water. It kills ants and destroys the pheromone trail. It only works when wet, so you'll need to reapply for a few days.

In a spray bottle, add 1 part rubbing alcohol or tequila to 1 part water. Spray at entrance points or trails. Reapply for a few days.

Ants won't cross chalk lines. Draw lines with chalk at their entrance points or to block their trails. Amanda at Easy Peasy Organic had good results with this method.

Baby Powder
Sprinkle baby powder at entrance points or to block their trails. They won't walk across it.

Citrus or Cucumber Peels
They are toxic to the kind of fungi ants feed on. Leave peels at entrance points. Replace every other day. Or puree peels in a blender, add water, and smear at entrance points or along trails.

Lemon Juice
Dab lemon juice at entrance points or areas they visit.

Coffee Grounds
Ants don't like the smell of coffee. Sprinkle used coffee grounds around the perimeter of your house or at entrance points.

Baking Soda & Powdered Sugar
The powdered sugar will attract ants and the baking soda will kill them when they eat it. Mix together 1 part baking soda and 1 part powdered sugar. Leave where you see ants.

Borax & Sugar Mixture
Tip Nut has some different recipes to try. The ants take it back to the nest and it kills the colony. Keep where children and pets can't get to it. You can find Borax at Walmart or Target in the laundry aisle.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Doesn't this sound like something from Lord of the Rings? From what I've read, it's an all-natural dust made from tiny fossilized water plants. It is lethal to insects because of its microscopic razor sharp edges. You can sprinkle it around the perimeter of your house and it will kill bugs that touch it. It won't harm warm-blooded animals, birds, or earthworms. You should be able to find it at home and garden stores, nurseries, and even Amazon.

What natural methods do you use to keep ants away?

This post was shared at: Little House in the Suburbs, Thirty Handmade Days, Simply Sweet Home Friday Favorites, Happy Hour Friday, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Encourage One Another Link-Up, Simple Lives Thursday, Natural Living Link-Up, The 36th Avenue, Catch a Glimpse Thursday, Simple Steps to Healthy Living, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Works For Me Wednesday, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Raising Homemakers Link-Up, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Living Green Tuesdays, Teach Me Tuesday, Tout it Tuesday, Too Cute Tuesday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Show Me What Ya Got Tuesday, Marvelous Mondays, Morristribe's Homesteader Blog Carnival, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Homemaker on a Dime, Motivate Me Monday, More the Merrier Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Alderberry Hill, Simply Natural Saturdays, Country Momma Cooks Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Get Schooled Saturday, Tatertots & Jello, Show & Tell Saturday, Say G'Day Saturday


  1. Yay, I love more natural ways to get rid of ants! I have such an ant problem in my house. I did borax and sugar and it actually seems to work pretty well as long as you keep a little bit that hasn't dried up in a lid on the floor or the counter.

  2. These are great ideas. I have used the vinegar method with great success, but it is good to have some other options to try.

  3. I used a mixture of 2/3 grape jelly to 1/3 borax and within two days all ants were gone! We had a huge problem with them in the house where they were looking for water. Since my kids are younger, I didn't want to leave the mixture in the house, so I put it right outside the door the ants were most active at. I put it in an old saucer I had and within a few minutes the ants were crawling all over it. I haven't seen a single ant since then.

  4. I feel like I gave up too easy when I called the exterminator now. I should have done more research.

    1. Don't be too hard on yourself! I'm sure the ants will be back someday and you'll be able to try out these methods.

  5. Great ideas! Can't wait to try some of these around the house!

  6. We keep having problems with ants. In my garden I have sprinkled bicarbonate of soda on ant hills and then sprayed on vinegar. By my back door I found a whole load of fly ants and did something similar but added salt into the mix. When we found them coming into our house we blocked them.with bay leaves, cinammon and cloves. Most things seem to have worked!

  7. These are great tips! We have been so fortunate to not have too much of an ant problem in our current home, but our last home I think was built right on top of the world's biggest ant hill. I love the vinegar idea. We only get these teen tiny "sugar ants" that come in by my sink looking for water. I didn't have any spray on hand, so I usually just tape up the entrance, leave for a few days, and they don't come back. This worked great in my old home too, when they even started to come through the electrical outlets, ewww!!

  8. So glad you posted this!! I've been doing the vinegar and powdered cinnamon. So far, I think the cinnamon had done a better job. I'm going to try the baking soda and sugar one next =)

  9. Borax has been my favorite in the past. I will have to try some of the other ideas. Borax has also worked for me in the past with those huge wood roaches. We lived in a house that was literally at the edge of the woods and they were everywhere outside. Then we had a drought and they came inside all the time. Borax with either powdered sugar or granulated sugar. Equal parts. Thanks for the list!

  10. It's party time over at Debt Free Mommy Blog and you're invited! Please come by and link up any post(s) related to making your home a better space. I hope you'll join us for Making Space Mondays. Hope to see you there! -Tabitha

  11. I have used Bert's bees lemon stuff around the door frame, but I can't wait to try more of these because we have had lots of ants lately. Thanks for sharing. I am a new follower, Hope to see you at True Aim!

  12. We had terrible problems with ants in our last home. Lemon always seemed to help...these are all great ideas! :)

  13. Great tips! We just sprinkle plain borax in the area where we find them, and they go away pretty quick.

  14. Such a timely post for us - we found ants coming into our home through the front door yesterday! I put a bunch of cinnamon down by the door and tried to seal the entrance. I also vacuumed up all the ants unlucky enough to enter the house. Thanks for these other tips!

  15. Thanks for sharing this on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you’ll be back again this week with some more great ideas!

  16. We've tried the vinegar and cinnamon but it didn't work very well. We ended up having to resort back to pesticides. I will have to try some of the other methods you mentioned. Thanks for sharing on Marvelous Mondays! :)


  17. Plaster of Paris mixed with powdered sugar works well.

  18. This works!! Buy BORIC ACID - it is in powder form. Very potent stuff. Mix with enough honey to make a liquidy paste you can spread with a q-tip. Create thin trails where the ants travel and anywhere you have even spotted one! They LOVE it and carry the new "food" back to the nest. Once the queen dies it is all over. I had a LOT of ants on a windwow sill and after a few days I had a few "scouts" and then days later I had NONE!! Pretty amazing success!

  19. Hi kendra,

    i have been following your wonderful blog for quite sometime. I must say it's awesome. One more spice repel ants and it's a tried and tested by Indians for thousands of years, you can put a bit of Turmeric power on the entrance points and trails and ants will be gone within minutes.


    1. I hadn't heard of turmeric! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for following Our Homemade Happiness!

  20. I had been seeing small ants in the bathroom, I think they are called sugar ants because they are as small as a grain of sugar. They didn't seem to be doing any harm, but I don't like any kind of bugs in my house.

    I think I cleared out the colony using a spray of vinegar and lemon juice, not harmful to the cats or me, deadly to the ants. So that cleared the colony and removed any pheromone trails so no more will be attracted.

    Was kind of a shock to see how many ants there were fleeing from their home. I don't have an issue with insects outdoors (ok hate mosquitoes & black flies) but in my home, it is not acceptable!

  21. Got lots of small ants in the bathroom and bigger ones elsewhere but I have two dogs and don't want to use bad sprays for my dogs

  22. Between animals & small children, I had to find an alternative solution for our ant issue. I use Peppermint essential oil. You can put a few drops on cottonballs & place them around your kitchen (or where you're find the ants) and it drives them out-- no need to try to find the ant trails. This year, I've been in a candle making mood, so I put some Peppermint essential oil in the wax (once melted & removed from heat). I saw 1 ant, lit the candles (I use them daily) and I haven't seen another one. It seems the smell is enough to drive them out!

  23. Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil works the best against ants. Better than anything else. But you need good quality Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil with at least 75% Eugenol content, which is what repels ants. The cheaper blended Cinnamon oils has very little Eugenol content so they don't work well. If you use better quality Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil, you need to use less of it.

    The mixing ratio is 1% Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil with 99% water. Mix in a pump sprayer. Always shake the sprayer constantly since oil and water does not mix well. Hope this helps.

  24. Does the bakingsoda and powdered sugar method work? Also, is bakingsoda dangerous for dogs because I don't want my puppies to get sick.


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