Have an ant problem? Avoid harsh chemicals with these 10 all natural and effective solutions!
Ants feel very comfortable inviting themselves into my home. This summer they seem to have spread the word that my kitchen is the place to be. Nearly every morning I wake up to a sea of tiny moving black dots. Yes, cleanliness is key, but those little rascals are relentless in finding any unguarded aromatic morsel in your home. For those of us who like to avoid harsh chemicals in the home (especially important for homes with pets and/or small children), here are the 10 most effective ways to get rid of ants using natural ingredients!
1. Baking Soda
Baking Soda is one of nature’s magical cure-alls. It’s great for cleaning, restoring your pH balance, and is a natural disinfectant. But baking soda is also disastrous for ants, disrupting their body’s natural chemistry. Create your own natural ant bait by mixing equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. Pour the mixture into a shallow container (plastic or metal lids work great) and place it near the line of marching insects to attract them to your homemade bait. The ants will take it back to their nest, eat it and rapidly dwindle in numbers, thus saving your pantry and your sanity!
You can also strategically position this natural ant bait in places where ants might enter or your home like window sills or in the corners of your pantry and cabinets where food is stored to prevent future invasions.
Borax works similarly to baking soda, and may help eliminate roaches and other critters if you have them. But it is extremely poisonous to all animals, so keep out of reach of children, pets, and other small animals.
Mix some borax with water, sugar and peanut butter to make a paste (the complete step-by-step recipe can be found here). Punch a few holes in a plastic container, fill it with your borax mixture, secure the lid and place your homemade trap near ants or in any places that may be of interest to these pesky critters.
I love this trick! So simple, easy, and effective. Ants won’t cross a chalk line. While this may seem silly, it’s a fact! The powdery substance disrupts the insects’ pheromone trails – the scent markings which an ant uses to communicate with the other members of its colony. Drawing a fresh line of chalk or pouring a powdered chalk line between the ants’ points of entry and their desired food source (e.g., your pantry, cabinets, kitchen trash, etc) will prevent them from reaching their destination.
4. Soap & Water
For a quick fix that will eliminate the ants currently in your home and keep their brethren at bay long enough for you to mix up a more permanent solution, a simple mixture of soap and water will do the trick. Just fill a spray bottle with warm water, add a liberal amount of liquid dish detergent, shake and spray. The soap will coat the ants’ bodies and suffocate them while simultaneously washing away their scent trail so the rest of the colony won’t be able to find whatever delicious snack to which it previously led.
Vinegar is up there with baking soda with its array of uses. Besides cleaning and deodorizing (among other things), it is an excellent natural remedy for repelling the ant invasion. Like chalk, vinegar works by destroying the ants’ pheromone trails. You can watch this effect in action by spraying a mixture of vinegar and water in a circle around a group of marching ants. Cut off from their scent markings, the line of ants will almost immediately break apart and the insects will start to wander aimlessly around, lost without their scent trail to direct them.
Because it disrupts their pheromones, ants also hate the smell of vinegar. Spray around doors and windows or any other places where ants might enter your home to keep them out. Of course, the mixture will evaporate over time and will need to be reapplied daily to be effective. Still, this is a great natural and totally non-toxic solution to the ant problem – even better if you love the smell of vinegar!
I put anti-ants chalk marks around the table’s legs to keep ants from attacking whatever’s left on the table. I think ants are evolving and are getting stronger than ever. They can even rip though food cubes, boxes, and other food packaging. But yeah, I have pets and I can’t just spray pesticide so I want to try natural solutions like baking soda or soap and water.
I can tell these animals get stronger depending on what they eat. The last day I saw a group of ants eating a dead fish, these ants must be super ants right now. LOL
Thanks for the tips, though Borax is not outright toxic it can cause skin irritations. I have cats, so sadly I can’t use it. I may try baking soda and see if it works! I just need to find out where they’re coming from and I may use caulk to seal them out.
I have a friend who used it close to his dog’s bed and guess what happened… Try to avoid using that kind of chemicals if you have pets, something bad could happen to them.
Thank you for this!! I have been dealing with ants for the past month now. They are pesky and hard to get rid of! I dont like using store bought chemicals. I like to go more natural, and this is a useful list here! Borax works like a charm!
Thank you for these wonderful tips. I knew about the chalk method but baking soda and vinegar were a surprise. I would definitely try out these methods. Ants have been crawling around my house for awhile now. Hopefully, these natural remedies will help.
Great article, I legitimately didn’t know about some of these tips. We’ve been getting lots of ants recently, so these are sure to be a help. Also, something as simple as just not leaving food out is a good tip!
These are great solutions, especially since this is ant season. With the chalk, you can enlist your children (or grandchildren) to help. “We can color on the floor and the walls with chalk? Cool!” Just be sure they don’t go overboard. 😉 I’m going to have to try this one myself, since I’m pretty artistic.
I’ve tried cinnamon and baby powder, and those do not work at all. I’d heard something about using cucumber from a friend. Does anyone know if that works?
This was super informative. I have had ant problems in my house before and it’s awful. What’s even worse is having to use harsh chemicals to remove them. Now I have a solution if they ever come back. Thanks!
I just experienced an ant problem the last night, they were trying to eat some cheese I had in my fridge, I somehow managed to get rid of them, I used the tip number five, it was really useful. I have been checking the fridge looking for ants and apparently they are all gone, thank you for sharing these tips, I will surely try the other ones just in case, I really love experimenting new stuff.
This is so helpful! I have ants that attack the cat food in the kitchen every fall and winter. My house is a very old house, and the ants literally crawl through the walls! This is going to be of use for the impending ant season.
I’ll make sure to test a few of these out! my late husband was a Buddhist so he would never let me call an exterminator for our ant problem. Now I can rid my house of pests without a hippie to nag me about it!
It’s nice to find some natural ways to deal with ants. I really don’t like to use ant spray, it has so many chemicals in it and feels very unhealthy.
I have heard of some of these before but some of them were new to me. The chalk line sounds especially interesting. I’m curious to see how well it works. The soap and water sounds like a nice alternative to commercial sprays as well.
When they say borax is extremely poisonous to all animals, that means humans, too! It’s probably better to avoid borax if you can. Long-term exposure can affect the male reproductive system in nasty ways.
I’ve heard cinnamon works for ant control, but I’ve never tried it myself.
Thanks for this article I found it really informative. I’m pretty health conscious and I don’t like the idea of using harsh chemicals in my home. I heard about the vinegar trick from my mother in law and it seems to work wonders. It as completely stopped my pesky ant problem.m I will definitely be trying more of the tips I found on here too. Thanks!
Ugh, every, every summer… clean as I might… ants invade my house. I have to second the Borax cure, but only on the outside of the house – gotta keep my kitties safe, after all! On the inside of the house, I use cinnamon oil to line the windows and doors. It is an old remedy my grandmother recommended, and for some reason the Borax outside/cinnamon inside solution has really helped keep the little creepy crawlies at bay.
+1 on the borax suggestion. It really does work to get rid of ants. Find the hole that they’re coming in through, plug it with borax and you’re all set.
As an added tip, if you have ants in the house already it may be possible to get them out without killing them. If you exhale slowly over the ants, they won’t be able to breathe and they’ll want to run back to the hole that they’re getting in through. The added benefit is that doing this will help you find the hole. Plug it with borax and you’re done!
That’s such a good tip I did not really know about. I will be trying this soon because there’s an ants cave somewhere in my bathroom and I really want to get rid of them. Thank you for sharing.
Regular chalk doesn’t do much to ants. They might hindered for a bit but they’ll cross it over eventually. What people mean by “chalk” is insecticidal chalk, which is illegal in the US. due to its contents and because children might get their hands on it.
Essential oils can be added to most of these things to add some extra ant stopping power! Peppermint oil is great for keeping ants away. Also planting mint plants near your home will make them go away!
Thanks for such a helpful article! I’ve had a problem with ants but was hesitant to use harsh chemicals due to children and pets. I’ve used both chalk and vinegar and they work like a charm (plus my little one enjoyed drawing chalk lines!). It’s amazing what everyday household products can do to get rid of nature’s annoyances. Thanks again!
I’ve had an issue with ants in my house too, and what worked for me was spraying with a harsh insecticide, after I had tried all of your methods. Of course I would have taken a more environmentally friendly route if I had read this article beforehand. Thanks for sharing.
Wow, those are some practical tips right there! Ants are very annoying and they always seem to find a way to gather in different places in the house. I really hope those tricks do actually work!
Well you can add another use of vinegar to the list, and that list just seriously keeps growing by the day. I hardly even use vinegar for cooking anymore, but cleaning and battling creatures is where it really comes in handy. First fruit flies, now ants….the gift that keeps on giving I guess.
You definitely are right. My mom uses vinegar for cleaning the toilet and anything in our bathrooms, it realyl has a strong power against bacteria.
What a timely article! We’re currently experience an “ant invasion” at home and it’s got our pets all riled up and uncomfortable. My mom gave me chalk but she also said, to avoid harming our pets, I can also use salt and sprinkle it around the infested area. It’s just as effective, she says.
Thanks for the tips and tricks. I am really embarrassed by ants. Ants are really irritating when they spoil the useful food and keep on walking my body for no reason. I really hate it when they bite as it feels like a needle prick.
I am going to apply these trick right now. Thanks a lot once again.
Oh, I never knew Borax is used against ants. I think I’ll avoid it though because we have 3 pets and 2 children in my household so thank you for the heads up about the poisonous side.
I’ve seen some weird mutated ants lately compared to the past! They’re getting bigger and bigger. I hate ants though. Once you get them they can be a pain to get rid of.
From personal experience, I’d also suggest Baking Soda and Vinegar. I’ve been using traps with baking soda and powdered sugar and they work like a charm. It’s because ants have an acidic substance inside them so this mixture has a chemical reaction with it. My grandmother tends to use Vinegar too and is happy with the results. Just don’t wait too long so they don’t spread to everywhere.
This was very timely for me to read because it’s the time of year when our “friendly neighborhood ants” show up in the kitchen… never fails year after year. It’s the only pest problem we’ve ever had an issue with and it’s soooo annoying.
What we’ve been doing is using “exterminator strength” traps that hubby got from a contractor friend. I truly hate using things like that, especially in the kitchen, so I plan to try some of these natural tips to see if they help. These are not typical ants that you think of when you think of ants…. they’re tiny and very fast. Ugh!
I’ve heard about the Borax over the years and might have thought of using it, but I never knew until I read this article that it’s poisonous for pets! We have a cat, so there’s no way I’ll be trying that one, but I’ll probably give the rest a try one by one. If it’s like other years, they’d be sticking around for 3 or 4 months yet, and I’m just not going to let that happen this time. 🙂
Wow! I didnt know any of these. Thank you and ill keep a note on this one. Its our problem in our home, my niece always wake up in the morning with lots of rashes and ant bites. Now i can try it and see if it works. Ill update in this post. Thank you mycareexpert!
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