7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (2023)

Ants can quickly invade a home and will continue to show up in large numbers if they find a food source. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get rid of ants without calling an exterminator.

Here are 7 easy and natural methods for getting rid of ants in your home or yard.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Ants?

It's understandable that you'd want to get rid of ants fast, and the internet is in no short supply of all-natural ant control methods. The problem? These solutions aren't backed by results. With natural pest control, speed shouldn't be the primary goal; efficacy should be. Reader expectations are set high when website after website is plastered with claims that vinegar, essential oils, herbs, spices, and other strong-smelling substances will repel ants in your home.

While some homeowners may have success with methods like these, overall they could make your ant problem much worse and waste precious time, energy and money. Natural pest control doesn't always involve spraying solutions or applying homemade concoctions. In fact, sometimes the most effective pest control solutions are also the most simple.


Depending on what type of ant you're dealing with, repellant products could make your problem much worse. Sugar ants (known to the pros as odorous house ants) are an example of this. Sugar ants are a budding ant, meaning the colony will fracture if repellants are used (even if they're natural repellants). The ant activity you're seeing may die down for a few weeks, but once the new colony (or colonies) are established, the activity can come back worse than ever.

  • 01 of 07

    Clean Up Food Messes

    7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (1)

    If ants are able to find a verified food source inside, controlling them and getting them to move back outside could be tricky. Ants have one mission: collect resources, feed the queen, protect the colony. If there are crumbs under your sofa or food residue on your counters (even in your couch cushions), this might be the source of your indoor ant issue. No food source is too small for an ant—even a few crumbs are enough.

    Why this works: If ants are not able to find a verified food source inside your home, they're likely to move on with their day. Their primary interest is collecting food and signaling other ants where to find it, too. By removing potential food sources, you're eliminating an ant buffet!

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.

    (Video) 7 Genius Ways to Get Rid of ANTS!
  • 02 of 07

    Seal Entry Points

    There are a number of ways to approach this step. Start by considering where you see ants entering your home, then:

    1. Make sure window screens are hole free and in good, functioning order
    2. Seal cracks around windows and doorframes, as well as cracks in your tile
    3. If ants are a repeated issue inside your home and they come up from behind the baseboards, it may be time to caulk your baseboards to seal out ants (and other pests like spiders!).

    Why this works: If ants can't get it, they won't be able to find food, and if they can't find food, they're not likely to become an established problem inside.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.

  • 03 of 07

    Landscape Around Your Home

    7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (3)

    Make sure that the plants in your yard are well kept and trimmed back, especially up against the house. Plants should be cleared at least 18" around the foundation. Also, make sure that any shrub or tree limbs hanging onto the roofline or along the gutters are trimmed back, too.

    Why this works:Ants are a worldwide problem, and keeping them out of your yard entirely is impossible. The main goal is to keep them outside where they belong, and plants and limbs against the home can become highways for ants hoping to get inside your home to look for food.

    (Video) 7 GENIUS Ways to Get Rid of Ants NOW!!! (3 Easy Steps) | Andrea Jean

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.

  • 04 of 07

    Keep Pet Food Away

    7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (4)

    Ants love pet food, especially ants like the pavement ant. Pavement ants love greasy, protein-rich foods and will happily feast on your pet's breakfast, lunch or dinner. When your furry friend isn't enjoying their meal, put the food away, keep stray pieces swept up, and don't leave food oustide!

    Why this works: Pet food is a commonly overlooked ant food source. Leaving pet food around for ants can be asking for ant trouble, and if you're leaving it outside (especially at night) you might be attracting other animals, too, like raccoons.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • 05 of 07

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

    Address Moisture Issues

    7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (5)

    Carpenter ants, moisture ants, termites, and other wood-damaging pests look for moisture-damaged wood to nest in. By staying on top of your home's maintenance needs and ensuring that leaks and water damage are repaired quickly, you'll avoid creating an ideal breeding ground for an ant problem.

    Why this works: Leaving an unattended leak to damage the wood in your home is, in a way asking for ant trouble. Moisture-damaged wood can lead to all kinds of problems for your home, including inside ant nests—and that's definitely not something you want to deal with. Address leaks quickly and replace any moisture-damaged wood to protect your home.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.

  • 06 of 07

    Vinegar or Essential Oil Based Cleaning Sprays

    7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (6)

    While vinegar and essential oils shouldn't be used as repellant products in an ant situation, there is still a place for them in an all-natural ant control plan. This won't work as well if inside numbers are large, but if you're seeing ants here and there inside, spritz them down with your cleaning product and wipe them up with a towel. Easy peasy.

    Why this works: Not only will your cleaning product spot kill the ants you're seeing, but it will also wipe up the pheromone trails the ants leave behind to signal food to their buddies. If they can't invite their friends, they won't want to come back and they'll move on to find other food sources.


    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 7 of 7 below.

    (Video) 3 Natural Ant Control Methods Using Household Ingredients That Actually WORK
  • 07 of 07


    7 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants Naturally (7)


    Borax may be natural, but it's still toxic. Borax contains boric acid, which is toxic to people, animals, and ants. To protect your loved ones (especially pets and children), make sure to place your borax bait where it can't easily be accessed by anyone but ants.

    To use borax to make ant bait, you'll need to mix it with something that appeals to ants as a food source. This will entice them to eat it. Identification is the first and most important step in pest control. What you use for bait depends on the species of ants you're dealing with:

    • For sugar ants and other sweet-seeking ants: use something sweet like jelly, syrup, or honey
    • For pavement ants and other ants that like protein and grease: use something like peanut butter or Nutella

    Mix together 3/4 teaspoon of borax with about 1/4 cup of the sweet or savory base of your choice. 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. The ants that consume it will be poisoned, but not before leaving scent trails that guide other ants to this new "food source". The hope is to give them a food source so fantastic they feel the need to take it back to the queen. No queen, no eggs, no colony.


    Consider making a miniature ant bait station using an old match box. Mix up your bait and place it inside the box, leaving the box cracked open and up on its side, This will allow ants to access the bait easily while containing any mess and making your trap more discreet.

Ultimately, natural and DIY ant control is easier than it sounds. Rather than choosing one natural ant control method, it's best to consider using more than one simultaneously. A multi-faceted plan of attack is what you need to keep ants away from your home for good.


What keeps ants away permanently? ›

Two of the best ways to eliminate ants are Borax and diatomaceous earth. Essential oils, including peppermint and clove, are a natural way to repel and kill ants. Food and moisture attract ants, so keep your home clean and dry to get rid of ants permanently.

What's the Best Homemade ant Killer? ›

Try combining three parts powdered sugar with one part boric acid. The sugar will lure the ants in and the boric acid will kill them, Pereira says. Liquid is better—adult ants prefer to drink their food—so water this stuff down a little.

What is the 8 way home remedy to get rid of ants? ›

8 Natural Ways to Repel Ants in Your Yard and Home
  1. Essential oils.
  2. Cayenne pepper / Black pepper.
  3. White vinegar.
  4. Lemon juice.
  5. Cinnamon.
  6. Chili powder.
  7. Citrus peels.
  8. Ant-repelling plants to grow in your garden.
Jun 17, 2022

What will ants not cross? ›

Better Than Hopscotch: Ants will not cross a chalk line. Draw a chalk line in front of exterior doors, to prevent ants from coming into the house. You can also draw a chalk line around tables on the porch or patio, to keep pesky ants away while dining outdoors.

What kills ants the quickest? ›

Boiling water is an easy, effective way to kill ants immediately. If you see ants emerging from a crack in the concrete or a hole in the ground, pour boiling water into the area. This will kill many of the ants within it.

What do ants hate? ›

Both cayenne and black pepper repel ants. Ants hate cayenne pepper. Black pepper will work just as well too. Locate the source of the ant infestation problem, sprinkle some pepper around that area and if possible, create a wall that will stop the ants from accessing your household.

What smell makes ants go away? ›

Using citrus fruits

Ants hate the smell of strong citrus fruits. Save your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and scatter them around entry points. It's a natural way to deter ants without harming them.

How do I get rid of ants once and for all? ›

"Mix equal parts of vinegar and water, place the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray on the ants directly," says Barrett. "The mixture will kill them and you can clean the area by collecting the dead ants using a wet wipe or damp cloth," they add.

What liquid kills ants instantly? ›

Vinegar: Wiping ants with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water or only vinegar may work the best. Spray the mixture of a cup of water, a cup of vinegar, and tea tree oil (5-10 drops) on ants. White vinegar kills and repels the ants. Apple cider vinegar and water solution spray can also help.

Do dryer sheets repel ants? ›

Dryer sheets, especially scented ones, have gotten a bad rap as of late. But these very same fragrance-laden fabric softeners are an excellent ant deterrent (among many other hack-type uses for dryer sheets, if you need to finish off a pack).

How do I get rid of ants permanently without killing them? ›

Use natural ant repellents.

A cinnamon stick, coffee grinds, chili pepper, paprika, cloves, or dried peppermint leaves near the openings will repel ants. You can also squeeze the juice of a lemon at the entry spot and leave the peel there. Planting mint around the foundation of the house will also keep ants away.

Does salt get rid of ants? ›

On the other hand, plain table salt does not. It is only effective in intercepting the ants. This should not be applied on heavy ant-infestation.

How do I stop ants from coming back? ›

Your best bet when ants keep coming back is to take your prevention efforts outside.
  1. Seal cracks with silicone caulk.
  2. Repair holes in window and door screens.
  3. Replace weather-stripping.
  4. Fix loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  5. Keep tree branches trimmed back and away from the house.
Sep 2, 2019

Why are ants so hard to get rid of? ›

The main reason is they live in huge colonies, each of which has hundreds of thousands of individuals. Their sheer number makes it difficult to kill them all. Even if you locate their nest, destroy it, and kill every ant in it, there will still be many survivors who were out foraging at the time.

What kills all types of ants? ›

Mix borax powder or boric acid with sugar, syrup, peanut butter, or another food that attracts ants. Use both liquid and solid bait foods so the adult ants and larvae will eat them. Place the baited borax or boric acid near a place where you've seen lots of ants.

How do I get rid of 100% ants? ›

“The most effective method for controlling an ant infestation is using ant baits. Set them out anywhere you see ants and expect a party,” Gangloff-Kaufmann says. “If you still see ants around the house, try a few different brands of baits until you find one that's appealing to this particular colony.”

How do you get rid of ants suddenly? ›

Ant Prevention: Spray Ant Entry Points

After ridding the house of ants, take steps to ensure they don't come back. Caulk and seal holes, and then spray insecticide around doors and windows. An insecticide that contains bifenthrin, permethrin or deltamethrin is one way how to get rid of ants.

What will drive ants away? ›

Salt, baby powder, lemon juice, chalk, vinegar, bay leaves, cinnamon, or peppermint oil are a few items that you have around your home that will stop ants from coming inside. Lay these out in areas where you see ants, and they'll stop using that area as an entrance into your house.

What do ants hate to walk on? ›

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.

What does deodorant do to ants? ›

While the propellants and other chemicals associated with deodorants can kill individual fire ants, they definitely do not provide long-lasting and effective control.

What kills small ants in kitchen? ›

Boric acid is a fairly common form of pest control that kills insects upon ingestion. Mixing boric acid with another substance that attracts ants, like sugar or honey, will lure them in and then shock their central nervous system.

How long does it take to get rid of ants with vinegar? ›

Use this white vinegar solution to spray all entry points of your home, try to spry all windows, doors, baseboards and the common paths that ants would travel within your home. Give about an hour for this solution to take effect, then after a few hours the ants should be dead.

What does hydrogen peroxide do to ants? ›

For ants, hydrogen peroxide is fatal, but when placed between a rock and a hard place, scientists found they'll drink the substance to cure themselves, New Scientist reports. Researchers fed one group of healthy ants a honey-based solution diet.

How does Dawn dish soap keep ants away? ›

If you have ants or other bugs around the house, pour a 50/50 mixture of Blue Dawn dish soap and water into an empty spray bottle and keep it handy. When you see the insects, spray them with the mixture.

Will Ziploc bags keep ants out? ›

Use Zip-Lock Bags

If you open a bag of food and don't seal it properly, it won't take ants long to find it and alert the rest of the colony, and you will have a problem on your hands before you know it.

Can ants get through Ziploc bags? ›

Ziploc Bags

Food items like flour and sugar are often targets for ants and other small bugs. It is easy for ants to get inside bags of flour and sugar because they just do not stay sealed.

Does sanitizer keep ants away? ›

This home remedy is somewhat effective: grabbing a spray bottle of Lysol and dousing a few ants will kill them. Still, using household cleaners as ant control isn't an effective long-term solution. That's because ants live in colonies: where there is one ant, there are hundreds or even thousands of others.

What does hairspray do to ants? ›

A: Thanks for the tip. We heard about an even more unorthodox method of killing bugs: “A better way to kill insects is ordinary hair spray. Most households already have it, and the spray is sticky. It makes the wings of flying insects unusable and seals the breathing orifices to suffocate the insects.

Do ants like white 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.

Does cinnamon keep ants away? ›

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 like black pepper? ›

Deter with Ground Black Pepper

Ants are irritated by the smell of black pepper, and it's very effective at killing them when mixed with water in a spray bottle. The mixture of black pepper and water has been known to work within 24 hours of application to eliminate ants.

How do you permanently get rid of an ant colony? ›

Make a colony-killing bait by blending equal parts Borax and corn syrup. Smear on a small piece of cardboard or index card. Ants love corn syrup, and when they eat it, the Borax kills them. Sprinkle food-grade Diatomaceous earth (DE) along ant trails.

What smells do ants hate? ›

Ants hate the smell of strong citrus fruits. Save your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and scatter them around entry points. It's a natural way to deter ants without harming them.

How do I get rid of ants without coming? ›

Ants are not fond of the smell of mint so growing these plants around your home is a great deterrent. You can also cut off sprigs of mint and place them inside cupboards and other areas of your home to ensure that ants stay away. Other scents that deter ants are citrus scents, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

Can you starve an ant colony? ›

After 24-h starvation three of the baits did not result in any queen deaths, with only Exterm-an-Ant producing an average of 25% mortality. In contrast, 100% queen and worker mortality was observed in colonies starved for 48 h and given Xstinguish or Exterm-an-Ant.

How long does it take to get rid of an ant infestation? ›

Because ants swarm, once you have an infestation, they can be difficult to dislodge. It takes vigilance and a combination of treatments using both home and perimeter insect control, but an ant problem can typically be resolved within a week or two. Follow-up prevention is key to ensure that they do not return.

What do ants absolutely hate? ›

Ants hate cayenne pepper. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper or black pepper around that area to repel ants. Make a concoction by mixing pepper + water and spray the solution at the ants. This solution will deter ants from coming back.

What liquid do ants hate? ›

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.

What household items do ants hate? ›

Baking soda; vinegar; lemon juice; some detergents (and cleaning products); Tabasco sauce (and other spicy substances, such as red chili pepper, black pepper and cayenne pepper) usually repel ants to varying degrees, and you may have seen them trapped in these circles.

Why is vinegar not getting rid of ants? ›

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.

What kills ants other than vinegar? ›

Step 3: For more widespread control, mix equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar to create an ant bait. Ants will be attracted to the sugar and eat it, then take it back to the nest for other ants to eat it, too. They'll ingest the baking soda with the sugar and die.

What kills ants Besides vinegar? ›

6 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Ants
  • Mint. Plant mint around perimeter of your home to repel insects. ...
  • Vinegar. Mix a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. ...
  • Lemon Juice. ...
  • Cinnamon. ...
  • Cayenne Pepper or Black Pepper. ...
  • Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth.
Feb 20, 2017


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