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7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

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7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

It’s a compliment, I’m sure . . .

The way ants are descending on my kitchen. The sticky sweet smell of homemade strawberry jam is irresistible if I do say so myself. But after watching them take an afternoon dip in my coconut oil I’m not feeling very hospitable.

I draw the line at coconut oil, y’all.

There are certain spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric, that are thought to repel ants, but I haven’t had much luck with them. So this year, I dug around on some university entomology pages for effective alternatives to synthetic pesticides – here’s what I turned up!

7 Ways To Get Rid Of Ants Naturally

Mint oil

1. Essential Oils

When a forager and goes out and discovers food, it marks the path from the food to the nest using a pheromone trail. Other ants, who smell with their antennae, then follow the path. Certain botanical scents interfere with these scent trails  – here are a few of the most effective ones:

Peppermint Essential Oil

Not only does this one really work, it smells great to boot! It’s often used to support alertness and mental clarity. Not a bad oil to have around, huh?

To use: Place a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe on baseboards and other entry points. You can also leave a peppermint-infused cotton ball in cabinets and other areas as needed. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone, or see below for how to use it as a spray.

(Where to find peppermint oil)

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree is a great all-purpose oil to have around. I use it as a disinfectant in homemade cleaners and a general antiseptic.

To use: Place a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe on baseboards and other entry points. You can also leave a  tea tree-infused cotton ball in cabinets and other areas as needed. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone, or see below for how to use it as a spray.

(Where to find tea tree oil)

Clove Essential Oil

In addition to disrupting scent trails, clove oil kills ants on contact.

“Eugenol is a component of clove oil. It is a fast acting contact insecticide that is effective on a wide variety of household pests such as cockroaches, ants, dust mites, flies, wasps, spiders, crickets, and fleas. It is also used on some ornamental plant pests such as armyworms, thrips, aphids and mites.

Eugenol has little or no residual activity [meaning it’s effectiveness fades quickly], although the scent of cloves will linger. Products based on eugenol are considered minimum risk pesticides with very low risk of damage to the environment or user.” (source)

To use: Clove oil works best when mixed with another oil. It is very strong, so I recommend using it in small amounts. See recipe below for ideas.

(Where to find clove oil)

Lemon Or Orange Essential Oil

Citrus oils contain d-limonene, which is toxic to ants. It also masks their scent trails. (Orange, lemon and grapefruit essential oils all contain d-limonene)

To use: Place a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe on baseboards and other entry points. You can also leave a citrus-infused cotton ball in cabinets and other areas as needed. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone, or see below for how to use it as a spray.

(Where to find orange oil. Where to find lemon oil.)

7 Ways To Get Rid Of Ants Naturally

Ant Away Spray


  • 1/4 cup purified water
  • 1/4 cup vodka (Used to help suspend the oil in the water. If you don’t have any available you can just use water and shake often)
  • 15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 7 drops citrus essential oil (orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc) OR 1-3 drops clove essential oil


Pour all ingredients into a small spray bottle.

How To Use Essential Oil Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. If you’re spraying on a food surface, omit the tea tree oil and add 15 drops peppermint oil. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

Diatomaceous earth

2. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Just one teaspoon of boric acid can be fatal to children, so I prefer not to keep it around. (source) Instead, I use diatomaceous earth (DE), “an off white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (such as bed bugs, ants or fleas) it compromises their waxy coating so that their innards turn into teeny tiny bug jerky. But it doesn’t hurt mammals. We can eat it. ” (source)

And in fact many do. It is rich in silica, which is good for hair and nails, and is thought to help clear parasites and bacteria, heavy metals, etc. (source)

It’s also odorless and non-staining, and can be used safely indoors.

How To Use Diatomaceous Earth:

Gently sprinkle a thin layer in places ants are likely to be: on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, garbage cans, etc.

Note: DE that is used to filter pools is not safe to breathe. Food grade DE is. More info here.

(Where to buy food grade diatomaceous earth)


3. Vinegar

Like essential oils, the smell of vinegar repels ants and also masks their scent trails. It is best used with another repellent, like citrus peels or essential oils.

How To Make Vinegar Spray:

Add 1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup water to a spray bottle. Add 30 drops of one of the essential oils listed above, if desired. (If you are using clove oil, I recommend using just a few drops as it is very strong)

How To Use Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.


4. Citrus Peel Spray

Waste not, want not, right? This is a great way to use leftover lemon peels from your most recent batch of gummy stars or lemon jello.

How To Make Citrus Peel Spray:

Add peels to a pot, then pour in enough water to cover them. Or if you prefer, add 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. Heat water/vinegar until steaming, then turn stove off. Allow to steep overnight, then strain and pour the liquid in a spray bottle.

How To Use Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.


5. Dr. Bronner’s Soap

Like diatomaceous earth, soap also dissolves the waxy coating on the outside of the ant.

How To Make Bronner’s Soap Spray:

Fill a 1 quart spray bottle almost all the way to the top. Add 1/4 c. peppermint castile soap, attach nozzle, and shake gently to mix.

How To Use Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

(Where to buy Dr. Bronners soap)

Powdered sugar in a metal sieve

6. Baking Soda & Powdered Sugar

Apparently, the powdered sugar attracts the ants and the baking soda kills them. Mix 1 part sugar with 1 part baking soda and then place your mixture in shallow lids wherever you see ants. More details here.

Homemade Lemon Juice

7. Lemon Juice

Works for the same reason as vinegar. It is best used with another repellent, like essential oils.

How To Make Lemon Juice Spray:

Add half lemon juice and half purified water to a spray bottle. Optional: Add 15 drops of essential oil for every 1/4 cup. If you are using clove oil, I recommend using just a few drops as it is very strong.

How To Use Spray:

Spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

Do you have a tried-and-true trick for keeping ants away?

Please share it below!

Additional sources for this post:

University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology

Texas A&M University Department of Entomology

Photo credits: D Sharon Pruitt, Jason Ross Williams, Lex McCall, Fireballsedia

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150 Responses to 7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

  1. Cheryl Misiuda Richardson via FB says:

    I will read the article soon but we just mix 1:1 ration sugar baking soda and well Boom they are eliminated right to queen…

    • Deb W says:

      I had ants overrunning my hummingbird feeder, to the point that the hummingbirds didn’t even try to use the feeder. I really didn’t want to use chemicals, though. I tried the old “chili powder soup” – didn’t work. I tried the baking soda/powdered sugar – all it did was attract more ants. I tried cinnamon – it didn’t work, either. I set the feeder on a table surrounded by a “moat” of water and they still swarmed to it, even though they couldn’t get beyond the water. If the water evaporated, the ants got into the feeder. Even the geckos and whiptail lizards weren’t making a dent in the ant population. I finally had to give up and have the exterminator spread stuff on the anthill and the ants are gone! I hung the hummingbird feeder back in it’s old place and the hummingbirds are happy!

      • Nikki says:

        When ants invaded our hummingbird feeder we wiped the string it was hanging on with vegetable oil. No more ants!

      • kathy says:

        My hummingbird containers were hung on a shepherds hook the ants would not leave them alone so I took Vaseline and went half way down on the pole and layered a thick one to two inches of Vaseline around the pole the ants would try to go through the Vaseline and would die trying. Usually the first application would work if u need too apply again as needed hope this works for you

        • Susan says:

          We did this as well and had a freak accident with one of our hummers. He flew up against the pole and got stuck steadfast in the Vaseline.
          I put on gloves and went out and carefully pushed him away, he was stuck by his chest feathers. He lost some of his feathers but okay after a rest in the hostas on the ground. Scared the crap out of me.

  2. Cheryl Misiuda Richardson via FB says:

    Sorry forgot to add its easy to make and honestly it has been a lifesaver for the gardens!!

  3. How about fruit flies? They are taking over here.. :(

    • Catsagas says:

      For fruit flies, put a small amount of dish washing liquid in a spray bottle with water. Fruit flies are difficult to catch or kill otherwise. When you see one in flight, spritz with the mild soap-water and watch them die within SECONDS!! Be careful not to spray near food as it will settle on the surface below the fruit fly. I especially like when it get a nice fat juicy one because I just KNOW there were other flies inside waiting to be hatched! :)

    • Cyn says:

      For fruit flies… take a small tub or dish with straight sides (like a yogurt container) and fill 1/3 with apple cider vinegar. Cover the top with cling wrap. Secure the cling wrap in place with an elastic around the lip of the container. Using a toothpick, poke many holes in the cling wrap lid. Fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar, and go in through the little holes but cannot get out. They eventually drown in the vinegar which then disintegrates them. Works everytime.

    • Chas Carpenter says:

      Fruit flies use a solo cup n put dish soap n warm water to make suds n lil splash of apple cider vinegar n they will attract to it sitting on sink counter n be dead

    • Hope says:

      Fruit fly bait: Mix 1/2 cup wine, 3-5 drops dish soap, then about 1/2ish cup of water right from the tap so the dish soap gets bubbly. The flies get stuck in the bubbles and sink to the bottom. We’ve tried lots of things and this works pretty well. If you have a lot of fruit flies, you may have to rebubble the mixture. I usually just add in a little more water with the sprayer by the sink.

    • Robyn says:

      I have had problems with fruit flies in the past, but when I do now I just bring my vacuum cleaner into the kitchen and turn it on and suck them off cabinets, counters, windows and even in mid air. Works great and eliminates them immediately. I have been doing this for several years and works every time.

  4. Andrea Shorkey via FB says:

    Jennifer- I use ACV with a drop of dish soap and a piece of fruit in a glass. Cover the glass in Saran Wrap, and poke a hole or 2 in the top using a toothpick. They can get in, but they can’t get back out. Good luck!!


  6. We love Food grade Diatomaceous earth!!
    Kills all bugs with an exoskeleton (cuts them up and dries them out) and YET is so safe you can ingest it (has health benefits too!!)

    Freakin’ wonder product :)

  7. Andrea Shorkey via FB says:

    So, Mommypotamus, which one of these have you tried and found success with?

    • Annie says:

      Dunno about Mommy, but I actually found this page when looking for solutions to ants having found my dog’s food dish. I’m using a variation of the essential oil solution:

      I couldn’t find a spray bottle, so I used some cotton balls soaked in each- peppermint, wild orange, melaleuca (aka tea tree).. because that’s what I had.

      After I vacuumed up all the ants.. and watched some come from the dish and got them too, I put the cotton balls in the hole they’d used as entrance. After an hour and a half, I haven’t seen any more. I’ll be changing out cotton balls daily or so over the next couple days/week.. we’ll see how it works.

  8. Andrea Karen via FB says:

    I’ve read Peppermint oil is supposed to repeal Spiders but I spray my house often with peppermint/Vinegar Mix and I still find spiders everywhere.
    The vinegar works on the ants though!

    • Rachael says:

      Try mixing the peppermint oil with just water…works at my house..also be sure you are using a high quality essential oil

  9. Kami says:

    Can you tell me if all of these are safe to use with pets, as well? I don’t want to harm my cat :)

    • Heather says:

      I know the diatomaceous earth is considered safe, but I would double check on the others – especially the essential oils.

    • ashley says:

      tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca) can be toxic to pets, so use it carefully. i’ve used it for years in homemade cleaning products with no problems (and i have a dog), but only on counters and windows, etc. i wouldn’t use it on floorboards or other lower places where a pet might ingest more easily. opt for some of the other oils mentioned.

      another method for treating ants outdoors is just to pour boiling water on the ant mound if you can find the source. it’s super cheap, but a bit more cumbersome if you have a large mound of ants. kills them instantly.

      • ashley says:

        oh and one other tip that does work (though i have no idea why) is to put a piece of chalk in front of where they are coming in if you can find their point of entry. it takes a day or two to take effect, but they usually don’t come back.

      • Janet says:

        Veternarian’s Best hot spot spray and shampoo is Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera, so it must be in the concentration that’s the problem?

        • Lisa says:

          I’ve heard that even a little bit on their tongues when grooming can be deadly, but I don’t know how scientific that article was. It’s something that I intend to look into when I get a chance because I do like to use tea tree oil on my skin.

      • Lisa says:

        Yes. Please be careful around cats when using essential oils!

    • Jayme says:

      Cats HATE citrus and it can actually repel them, so I’d use the citrus oils cautiously so as not to upset your kitty.

  10. David says:

    Tried most of those tips when ants invaded our pantry. Sadly, none of them worked and we had to resort to spraying chemicals, then thoroughly cleaning the entire pantry before we put the food back in. Not fun! One natural tip that DOES work, though, is collecting used coffee grounds and putting them on top of the ants nests in your yard. Apparently the ants all eat it and die. I’ve been using this tip for about 5 months now and it does appear to really work.

    • Heather says:

      That’s so interesting! I almost included coffee grounds, but one entomologist said they don’t work:

      From what I understand, most of these recommendations require several applications, so I included that in the instructions. Some remedies, like coffee grounds, are species specific according to some. Of the ones that I researched these and neem oil had the broadest application in terms of effectiveness. I certainly have had success with some of them, but perhaps it was due to their species – sorry it didn’t work out for you!

      • Daniel says:

        I can vouch for the effectiveness of Neem Oil as a systemic pesticide. We mix 1 tbsp Neem Oil with 1 Liter of water, and pour near the base of trees. Keeps Ant and their Mealybug harvest at bay.

    • tzofia says:

      Neem oil works. I mix I tbsp of neem oil and 2 tbsp of dish soap mix with hot water and spray all around your house in and out continue once a week . It also kills flies and earwigs.

  11. Lizie Taylor via FB says:

    I have had a recent invasion as well!

  12. Laura Powell via FB says:

    Was talking to my husband about this maybe 10 minutes ago. It seems you have superpowers to know exactly what is going on in my life. I’m glad you are using them for good! ;)

  13. Sue Duffy Arroyo via FB says:

    Greg Arroyo

  14. Diane Brodeen via FB says:

    This looks helpful. I’m sure they’ll be showing up any day now, with the heat wave we’re having.

  15. Nicole Conrad via FB says:

    Sean Starr

  16. Tabitha Becker via FB says:

    GMO cornmeal! It is AMAZING for getting rid of ants. I was absolutely plagued by ants for a couple years. I tried everything- even Avon SSS, which has worked in the past. The cornmeal takes a couple of weeks to work but they soon learn that the food in your house is poisoned!
    (Apparently ants learn waaaayyy faster than people.)

  17. Danielle Mein via FB says:

    Zach see if any of these ideas work for you guys

  18. Emily Powell via FB says:


  19. Jamie Rebecca Hernandez via FB says:

    Cinnamon works well too!

  20. Marina DeMarco via FB says:

    Robyn Mercier, saw your post earlier. Maybe this helps you?

  21. Amber Glotzbach via FB says:

    Last year I had ants in my kitchen….I used peppermint oil and they went away.

  22. Melissa Hallman via FB says:

    DE paint brush , mask and base boards then borax maple syrup and just because why not cinnamon sticks. Your welcome. That got rid of a bunch of carpenter ants in a few days and they never returned

  23. Laila LisaMarie Prescott via FB says:

    We just got invaded last night by dozens of large ones in random places after a heavy rain!

  24. Each year we sprinkle grits around the perimeter of our home as soon as we seem them, and BINGO! they’re gone. Works like a charm!

  25. Melissa Lichty Villalobos via FB says:

    Great info, thanks, pinned

  26. Melissa Lichty Villalobos via FB says:

    I read that Cheyenne (red) pepper sprinkled in snake prone areas deters snakes!

  27. Shari says:

    I love the essential oils. I’ve taken to using doTerra’s TerraShield because it uses a few different oils and smells great! It works for far more than just ants. I even use it as bug repellant for my kids when we camp!

  28. Rita F. Petersen via FB says:

    Theresa Chiovari Rotella, read and pass on to mom!!

  29. Chantal Peters-van Der Panne via FB says:


  30. Peppermint essential oil diluted with water in spray bottle. Aunts hate the smell and leave. Plus it’s completely safe for the entire family and smells great.

  31. Kristy Chapman via FB says:

    Stephanie Bickford:)

  32. olivia says:

    you can also try slicing cucumbers in half and leaving them around the house. ants hate them as much as they hate citrus peels. they avoid them due to the same bitterness found in citrus skins. i find this to be the easiest because i have two dogs in the house. i caught one investigating the bathroom once and carrying the cucumber to her bed, but as soon as she tasted how bitter it was.. she abandoned it. cucumber peels alone will do as well so you can use the meat for eating :)

  33. Mistie Moore Jones via FB says:

    Diotomacious earth, baby!

  34. Jennifer Trolan via FB says:

    Marsha Trolan

  35. love your page mommypotamus, to bad sucky zucky tried to steal you from me, but I gotcha back hehe. thanks for the info on the clove oil, comeer critters, i gotcha now

  36. Lol, Joseph Smith! Welcome back! :) :)

  37. The essential oil one will repel most spiders too!

  38. We recently got an infestation and used baby powder. It worked really well!

  39. Jeanmarie says:

    There are great, Heather. I already use citrus-peels-in-vinegar spray (I don’t heat them, just let them steep for a few weeks) plus essential oils as an all-purpose kitchen spray.

    Now that you’ve solved the ant problem, can you ask your entomologist friends how to get rid of flies?? Thanks!

  40. tracu says:

    Cinnamon works every time! they hate it

    • Mahi says:

      I agree! Our local kindergarden was invaded by ants, and naturally they couldn’t use pesticide on the floors and shelves. Cinnamon did the trick and the kids thought is was fun and very strange.

  41. Kathleen Pelton via FB says:

    Zabrina Reed #6 is doable with pets. I may try it.

  42. Thank you Kathleen Pelton!

  43. eponbak says:

    borax and sugar….works ASAP. melt it in water and leave a dish outside your house where they are entering. gone overnight. also you can dust borax along the inside to create a barrier inside the house.

  44. Monique Leet via FB says:

    Lindsey Crow

  45. Omg Monique ! Perffffect! They literally attacked my coconut oil for the first time yesterday!! It’s the one in my bathroom and it was all milky from the heat. Yeah, I found a few buggers there! Ahh

  46. Monique Leet via FB says:

    Lindsey Crow those little Fers!!!!! I’ll have to try this myself. They’ve gotten in our pantry. Never use to be there. And on Avery’s formula. >.<

  47. Nicole says:

    Beneficial nematodes are highly effective as well.

  48. Kay says:

    Does anyone know… while these remedies work for carpenter ants as well? The big black ants that like to eat the wooden parts of your home? Found in surprise, surprise… houses that are located in wooded areas! Info would be greatly appreciated!!!

    • Jen says:

      Kay, I have woods behind my house, and those are the ants I would get in my kitchen every single day! I sprinkled cinnamon over my doorways and they were gone all summer last year! I killed a total of 2 all summer. The years before, I was easily killing 10-20 a day.

  49. RinnRaven says:

    [Kay: All of these should work fine for carpenter ants, too :) ]

    Cayenne pepper, sprinkled in a line across their entry point — and around garden beds, etc — works wonders against most pests/pets. The scent is too strong for most mammals, and is an irritant they will happily leave alone — though be forewarned: some cats are known to react to it in much the same way they would to catnip. >_< For snakes and insects, contact with it literally burns, due to the high levels of capsaicin. You can also do the same with a solution of the oil and water, spraying it on them. Though you probably don't want tyo do this /inside/ your home.

    Cornmeal is another one that will deter/kill ants. They're incapable of digesting it, but will still eat it, anyway. They'll also carry it back to the nest, killing those that haven't wandered out yet/those that choose it as a first meal upon reaching maturity. This will also kill off the Queen, eradicating the entire colony.

    A carefully balanced mixture of boric acid [Borax] and sugar [for bait] will do the same thing. Make certain it isn't too strong, or they'll die before they can carry it back to the nest. Avoid this one if you have kids or pets, of course.

    If you know where they're nesting, dumping club soda into the nest will kill the colony; drowning them in the water, and suffocating with the carbonation those that are missed.

    A heavily diluted [1% oil/99% water] solution of Ceylon cinnamon leaf oil in a spray bottle will also work wonders at repelling them — and is completely safe… even to the point of being edible — by fouling their sense of smell. This is extremely useful because ants will ignore food-as-bait if they're seeking water. You can spray your home inside and out with it, and most insects should avoid it like the plague. If you /do/ somehow manage to find the Queen… drip the oil on her neat. It will kill her instantly.

    • Hope says:

      We use cornmeal during the first invasion and cinnamon oil to keep them out. I notice that ants are really attracted to peanuts and that most commercial ant baits use them. Would love to know about natural mixture…maybe peanut butter and borax?

  50. Sarah D. says:

    We seem to have an ant problem right now, too. A few years ago, we had ants and I tried the cinnamon method, but it didn’t seem to work for me (not to mention that cinnamon can be expensive!). This time, I looked online and found the vinegar and peppermint ideas and have been trying them. I’ve sprayed straight white vinegar around where I’ve seen them and was just wondering yesterday if my orange peel vinegar would be more effective. lol I’ve also been putting peppermint oil on a cotton ball, rubbing it on the window sill (where they seem to be coming in), and leaving the cotton ball on the window sill. I’m seeing fewer and fewer ants everyday. I’ve been reapplying the peppermint oil and vinegar every night. Tonight when going to apply the peppermint oil, I saw an ant on the sill. It must have smelled the oil because it ran away! I’ve never seen an ant act that way! The ants that I’m seeing now seem to be disoriented, too. From your post, it sounds like I’ll need to keep doing this for a while. But, it seems to be working! I’m telling my husband about the diatomaceous earth. That sounds like the best method. Thanks for the timely post, Heather! =)

  51. Kathryn says:

    I started getting ants in my apartment kitchen about a month ago when we got over 6 inches of rain in two days. I never could find where exactly they were getting in, unfortunately, so I just treated the areas where I saw them and all around the window. First I tried vinegar, then peppermint oil, then a mix of peppermint, lemon, and orange oil, but no luck it didn’t seem to phase them one bit even if I sprayed it directly on them or wiped it all around them. Then I set out a borax/sugar mixture, no takers. Next I tried buying some ant trap contraption, but I saw them walk right next to it instead of going in it. Finally I resorted to spraying ortho home defense and since doing so I have only seen about half a dozen ants in a couple weeks time. Having ants in the kitchen makes me not want to do any cooking because before I know it they magically appear on my counters. I hate having to use chemicals, but I couldn’t stand it any longer. I also tried spraying essential oils all over my apartment many times for several months when I first moved in because there were small spiders everywhere, but it never worked and again I ended up having to spray the pesticide which took care of the problem very well. Wish I had better news, but the insects I’ve encountered don’t seem to mind the oils.

    • Tammy Scott says:

      I’ve used club soda on my ant hills and it works for me and its cheep.

    • Sarah says:

      I had ants that were like that September (in my 3rd floor apartment)! They didn’t seem to like ANYTHING I tried! Finally, I mixed some honey with borax and then dabbed it on the places where I saw them moving around the most. (Mine were “lazy” and didn’t want to climb anything but the walls. Eventually I did figure out where they were coming in and so I treated that area quite thoroughly.) They went straight for it and that took care of the problem, so much so that when pest control came a few days later (from the apartment complex), he was amazed that I had basically done the job for him…and asked how I’d managed it.

  52. emily says:

    I appreciate the attempt not to poison our children and our environment, but will definitely use the essential oils as I do not think we need to kill these ants that are no doubt performing a useful ecological job. Thank you.

  53. Ginger C says:

    Diatomateous earth works great! Get one of the “poofers” they sell or use an empty condiment bottle that you can squeeze to get it into small cracks and crevices. It’s messy but it’s worth it knowing it won’t harm pets & family.
    I am glad to hear about the citrus vinegar, I had ants in the kitchen recently (because we had so much rain) and when I sprayed my ant covered counter with my home made citrus vinegar spray, it slowed them down.

  54. Lady Anwyn says:

    I know that Tansy planted around the area where ants enter the house will keep them not only from entering your house, but from being anywhere around your house at all. Tansy repels ants. Plant from seed, or buy a plant at your local herb nursery, or a local nursery that carries herbs.

  55. Marjolein says:

    Oph, never knew about the essential oil spray. I always buy ant products, but now with my small daughter I’m looking for something less poisenous. Thanks Will try this out!

  56. Cassidy says:

    This is fantastic! I have a toddler and a dog who will eat anything, so I’ve been looking for some natural remedies for our yearly ant problem. Thanks for putting this together!

  57. suziQ says:

    I planted Pennyroyal a few years ago near the deck and house for outside pests. It spreads yearly (& smells good) so keeps them off the deck. I bring a sprig inside when it blooms in the spring to stick under/behind the microwave & other appliances where the cats can’t get at it (It’s can be harmful if ingested by pets & small children).
    It gets the ants out, and keeps them, out all summer. My neighbor came over to pick a bunch of it for her invasion or ants last summer. Keep the tree branches trimmed off the roof for upstairs entry!
    Will use this spray in other places where the Pennyroyal can’t be hidden…Thank You!!!

  58. Margo says:

    Good to see and hear from you again!
    Are these tips for black ants only ! We have FIRE ANTS and we usually kill the workers with hot boiling water but that kills the grass too. We need to kill the FIRE ANTS!!!

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Margo! Most of these are really meant to repel ants from the house. If you want to manage them in the yard you’ll probably need something else. I was **just** reading a book last week that had some suggestions for fire ants, but unfortunately our dogs found it on the porch and it is in a hundred or so pieced now :(

    • Chas Carpenter says:

      Grits dry n by the bag full dump on mounds or path n do so about 1 wk daily n be gone n I spend $700 on pest control ppl n n umm grits works n cheaper

  59. Sarah says:

    Ground cinnamon worked for me!

  60. Donna Marie says:

    I soaked orange peels in vinegar and mix that with water and use that as ant spray … doesn’t work forever but I don’t mind repeating

  61. Sue says:

    I had ants invade my pantry years ago…I sliced a cucumber & put the slices in the corners & ends of the shelves, never saw an ant again! The cucumbers just dried like a potato chip & never got moldy, so I just left them…It worked for me…Thanks for these tips!

  62. […] 7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally […]

  63. Tanja says:

    I use powdered cinnamon. They dont like it, but I do, and it is cheap. Ants have a purpose in nature, and I like them – just not too many, and not in the house, so this is a good way to keep them out, and away from where I don´t want them to go.
    But mind you, I live in Denmark, and we only got the BIG ants in the woods, and the garden ones are max ½cm, so you have to see how it works on other ants other places…

  64. Elle says:

    I put grits on the mounds and they are gone that same day.

  65. […] 7 Ways To Get Rid Of Ants […]

  66. Karen Marsalis says:

    What about RED ANTS?

  67. […] in the kitchen…and the place was just sprayed!  So enough of this, I will make my own concoction and deter my social lil friends instead of killing them…Hell, I think we’re all just […]

  68. Colleen says:

    I use a spray bottle filled with malt vinegar and washing up liquid to stop them when they are outside before they hitch a ride inside on the bottom of someone’s shoes. They run away at high speed and take there nest elsewhere.

  69. Katey Myers says:

    Cornmeal – they can’t digest it but will eat it

  70. Suzanne says:

    Put aspartame (fake sugar) in a small dish near the ants. They take it back to their nest and explode! Takes about 4 days, then GONE. It was invented to poison ants, feeding it to humans came later. Yuk.

  71. Tugba Aydogdu says:

    Thanks…I wanna tell another way to get rid of ants:TYHME…You can use dried thyme anyway,let it stay for two or three nights than sweep thoroughly…

  72. Lauren says:

    We have 4 cats and 1 dog and the flees get so bad sometimes… my grandmother even started to them from the animals.. do you know and VERY effective ways to get rid of flees PLEASE lol.. ways that are not harmful to humans or pets?

    • Leslie says:

      We use the tea tree oil lavender Dr. Bronner soap, rinse with a 50/50 Avc and water. Once they are dry we use food grade DE. and dust the betting down and the dog (be careful of the eyes and nose very dusty). We stopped using “dog shampoo” cause it doesn’t work. I would go back to rinse out the tub and the fleas would be jumping to get out!! The tea tree oil in the Dr. Bronners kills the fleas!!

  73. I’ve had luck with a mix of 1:1 Borox Laundry Powder and Powdered Sugar. Moisten with a little water to mix, and put on wax paper in the area where the ants are. They’ll be gone in a few days.

  74. Leslie says:

    Cinnamon! I use it a entry point when they get into the house. I will stain if it gets wet, tho! But it works for me. I have been ant fee in this house for 5 years now. Before cinnamon, every spring like clock work!

  75. Jen says:

    Cinnamon is amazing! I spread it over the thresholds of my doors, and went from killing 10-20 ants per day, to seeing 2 last summer!!! It works great!

  76. carol says:

    Are any of these remedies harmful to Bees? IE. powered sugar and baking soda mixed together.
    I’m looking for things that will ward off ants while no harming or even confusing my bees. I ‘m worried about the effects of baking powder to bees who might be attracted to sugar. Thanks

  77. Tina says:

    I’ve used most of these remedies over the years and they work very well. Wanted to add a couple things not mentioned which I wanted to add are: 1. the reason grits and cornmeal work, is that they are a concentrated dry food, and once the ants eat them and they become moistened, they expand within the ant and the ants’ stomachs explode. Yes, the above work outdoors as well. But once the rain washes them away, they need to be replaced. Mint leaves/cucumber peelings, vinegar, cinnamon, neem oil, (cheap from an Indian grocery store), bay leaves and other aromatics do work as a deterrent. However, when plagued with several ants, I mix a tsp. of diatomaceous earth, 1tsp. boric acid powder, 1 tsp. granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup corn meal and place in various sour cream tub lids in several locations around my kitchen, backyard, back deck, etc. You want them to eat some and track some back to their nest on their bodies, which will poison the ants at their source. Alternatively, you can leave out the cornmeal, stir the rest of the ingredients in 2 cups of warm water (in order to dissolve the sugar), and store it in a jar. Then dip numerous cotton balls in this liquid and leave them in a little lid nearby for them to come and feed off. The liquid can be stored and remains active for a good while. One other tip on fruit flies…these vinegar traps work well but take several days to get them all. When I get several flies, I pull out my little yellow plastic electric bug zapper that’s shaped like a little tennis racquet. They cost from between $3 to $7 and are battery operated. Be careful to keep away from kids and don’t touch the wire mesh even after the red light goes off, since it will hold a charge for a few seconds after. I just wave this thing through the air and kill multiple fruit flies in one fell swoop. Instant results. Works with flies, or even moths. I take it camping and each year to keep the kitchen tent bug free and kids are always more interested in playing with it than with their toys, so keep it out of their reach, or they’ll shock their finger on it inevitably.

  78. Julie McLaughlin says:

    Vinegar & cayenne pepper along the trail and where they might enter.

  79. […] 7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally […]

  80. […] of toxic chemical cleaners. When you’re done making this check out these other related articles: 7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally. It’s a compliment, I’m sure . . . The way ants are descending on my kitchen. The […]

  81. Taffy says:

    Living in California we get a lot of ants! About 3 years ago they were soooo bad I was starting to think they were just out to torture me…..okay maybe that’s a little dramatic :) but nevertheless coming downstairs every morning to an ant attack was starting to wear on me. A friend of mine told me to water outside my house and so I did. I tell you it worked!!! Now this method primarily works in the summer when the ants are looking for water. Now every time I start to see some ants outside or find a few in my house I water the outside perimeter of my house (which is not very big) and it works like a charm. I’m happy to report that I have not had an ant attack in 3 years which is a big deal in this area!

  82. Janet says:

    Ants were starting to arrive in the house looking for water. I had to place some peppermint oil at the heat register (where they were coming in) twice in a week and so far all ants are gone. Now I have a problem in the garden with them and I bought ant stakes, but I’m going to try some of these other methods first. The garden ants are farming aphids and scale, so I think I’ll try the sugar and baking soda idea since they want sticky sweet. Thanks for all the tips!

  83. […] 7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally | MommypotamusMommypotamus | […]

  84. […] with a cheap price point. The ultimate goal? More consumption. More sales. A bigger bottom line. 7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally | MommypotamusMommypotamus […]

  85. Megan says:

    I live in FL and sometimes the heavy rains bring the ant inside. Like ALL of them. My regular cleaner seems to kill them on contact and then they are gone after a few days. 1 cup water (which I have boiled and cooled), 2tsp liquid Dr. Bronners peppermint castile soap, 20 drops lemon essential oil. It cleans EVERYTHING amazingly too. Best cleaner I have ever used. I don’t remember where the recipe came from but I am done experimenting with natural cleaners now that I use this.

  86. Nancy says:

    I am just recovering from a horrific ant infestation; here on the central coast of California, we have major ant attacks. The best method for me (and I have tried quite a few over the years) is to fill a spray bottle at least half full with white vinegar, add about 1/8 cup or so of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint liquid soap and top off with water. This method is less expensive than using essential oils- which I used a lot of last year. It kills most of the ants quickly, smells good too. But be careful if you spray on the floor as it will be slippery. I have also used borax and powdered sugar in jar lids in the past and that helps but I didn’t bother this year. I also put peppermint eo on cotton balls in my cabinets, which also helps to keep mice away.

  87. Margie says:

    someone once told me this trick tried it and it works great also keeps ants away for a couple months RID SPRAY the kind they use on furniture to kill head lice I found the spray separate at walmart for about 7 dollars

  88. susan says:

    Boiling water. Kills on contact. I also pour it down the ant hill, if I can find the ant hill. But I am definitely going to add vinegar and water with the peppermint oil to my attack strategy.

  89. Pat Hathaway says:

    Borax works for me. We buy a gel in a little tube that the main ingredient is borax. The brand name is TORRO. It comes with a little cardboard square with a target drawn on it. You pop the square out, put a little mound of the gel on the cardboard, and set it in the middle of their pathway. They take it back to their home and share with the other ants and they all die. Works like a charm every time.
    I sprinkled a row of powdered borax across the opening of out garage to keep ants out of there, but I have no proof that it worked. I’m sure the gel works much better.
    Here is their website address:

  90. Monica says:

    Talcum powder… Spread it around where you want to stop them… They hate it and if you keep the talc there for a few days, they won’t come back

  91. Jeri Niksich says:

    Since the places to get the oils wasn’t right I’d like to suggest the web site King Arthur’s Flour, they have all kinds of oils for cooking ect.

  92. Alexis says:

    We bought a house that we found out had a major ant problem (sugar ants localized to the kitchen). We tried all these remedies for weeks and found that they worked well for small ant problems but couldn’t kill off our major infestation. Borax bate traps would kill them back a day or two but then they would show right back up in droves. The key there is to get the poison back to the queen and we never managed that. We also tried DE everywhere and while it would kill them if they touched it, they would invariably find a new route that didn’t cross the DE treatments and they kept. coming. back. We put every morsel of food into jars or sealed bags and they still found things to eat. At one point they had swarmed on a dish sitting inside my dishwasher that had been rinsed of its ketchup from lunch. No visible ketchup remained and they were still all over. That is just one example. We were never able to find a nest inside or out to treat and in the end had to call a pest company to come out. Interestingly they like to avoid spraying inside the home and instead bated the ants but used a stronger poison than our borax traps. They sprayed the foundation externally and the ants were gone in a day or two.

    So, my hope is now that we killed off the major infestation I can keep any new intruders at bay with the natural remedies. They do work as long as the ant can’t get a major toe hold on your house!

  93. Diana says:

    Diatomaceous Earth (DE) food grade works for me!

  94. Levant Erding says:

    In this case cleaning house is the best solutions if ant’s can’t find food to eat they don’t bother you than please clean don’t leave any bread or cookie crumps or any food that attract ant’s cleaning is the first solitions. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) works well but also it kills the Honey Bee wasp so on a bug that has an exoskeleton (such as bed bugs, ants or fleas,cockroach) You should try chinese chalk or chalk to draw a line where drowe pass,lime powder,traverten or marble dust,this solitions weel work well.

  95. Witchy says:

    Bay! as in Bay Leaves. Now, I recently picked up a book on Herbs from a local thrift shop and it suggested putting Bay Leaves in your sugar bowl to repel ants, which you can also do for flour to prevent weevils.
    However I am yet to try the suggestion exactly but I did make myself home made bath salts with ground dried bay leaves and dried wormwood(another great bug repelling plant) and seeing as we have had ants going after our toothpaste, scented body washes…
    They have being going for anything that smells even remotely sweet!
    So I thought I would test the Bay bug repelling effectiveness by sprinkling my home made bath salts near a couple of the ants.
    It kind of looked like some comedic horror movie parody from their reaction to the bath salt.
    Not sure if it was the Bay or the Wormwood or the combination of both but I haven’t had AS many (probably because having two young boys who always dob toothpaste somewhere in the bathroom so it’s a constant sweet supply)
    I guess it might be worth adding some Bay essential oil to whatever home made bug repellent you make :)

    You could always find some fresh Bay leaves and fresh wormwood and maybe soak in a combination of vinegar and distilled water or alcohol and distilled water.
    You will find it very hard to get wormwood essential oil as it too volatile.
    Bay you will find where any good essential oils are sold.
    I think though, Bay essential oil,orange oil,tea tree oil and peppermint oil would work as a great combination and would smell great too.

    • Tina says:

      Hi Witchy,
      I do lots of research –years — on old-time remedies. I’d be interested in knowing the title, author and perhaps ISBN of your herb book which you found in the thrift store. thx.

  96. Julie says:

    We use boric acid (NOT borax) mixed with mint jelly to a paste consistency. Suck it up into a plastic straw (it’s very slow,there’s no real danger of ingesting it). Cut the straw up into 1″ pieces and place where ants are. Obviously don’t put this in the path of small kids who might put it in their mouths. When we’ve had ants, they’re usually on the countertops, so it’s quite easy to put these behind the toaster oven and such, where a child wouldn’t find them anyhow.
    We’ve had GREAT success with this method!

  97. Susan says:

    we generally trace the route of the ants and then use a drop of kerosene at the place where they come in. It stinks for a bit but keeps the ants away.
    Turmeric powder also keeps off ants

  98. Weris C. says:

    Exactly Susan, generally we choose the easy and quick ways to get rid of the ants. The kerosene and turmeric powder resist the ants but after sometimes the situation has been same. The ants once more come and irritate me. So, I want a permanent solution to get rid of ants. Please help me with proper solution. Thank you!

  99. LISA Baugh says:

    My grandma always put Avons Skin so soft on cotton balls in corners of doors and windows, under sinks in bath and kitchen. Always repelled ANY and ALL insects.

  100. Rochelle says:

    I’ve found my orang power spray kills ants

  101. Susan Beppler says:

    I have been using wet coffee grounds to deter ants and it works like a charm…..If you spread the grounds where the antes are entering it will disrupt their pheromones and they go some where else. AND….this works for years…..I did this four years ago and have not seen one since. My family and friends were also amazed when I told them. It may leave a light stain on some counter tops which can be removes by a cleaner containing bleach

  102. Sue says:

    Don’t put neat essential oils in gloss painted surfaces it will start to dissolve the paint and leave it matte and sticky

  103. Holly S says:

    Trying the essential oil spray out today, as I discovered ants in my bathroom (going after the cat food) and would love to avoid using chemicals to get rid of them! After reading some of the other comments, I’ll be keeping my cat’s dishes in the other room for awhile just to be safe (even though I’m spraying on the other side of the bathroom). I’m very hopeful that this will get them to leave and not come back!

  104. Claudy says:

    Any good remedies for termites?

  105. Trisha says:

    Ive tried the cinnamon and vinegar, didn’t work. I tried the baking soda and sugar and the ants just separated it, took all the sugar and left the baking soda. So then I added a few table spoon of water to the baking soda/sugar. And that worked. But your have to make a new batch everyday because they will suck all the moisture out and start seperating it again

  106. EOs: Clove, Lemon, and Peppermint

    Base: equal part ACV, Rubbing Alcohol, and Filtered Water

    Dropper makes the ant instantly done. Spraying kills them too, though they wiggle for a few seconds. Cotton ball soaks up any excess I may create and is great for cabinets, base board swiping, etc, so it’s a double bonus.

    I’ve been trying for YEARS to battle the yearly spring house ants in every home I’ve had (South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana). This is the first time I’ve succeeded with ants (though I’ve got fruit flies already figured out). I hate ants, so this feels like a day to document lol!

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