During the warm spring and summer months, you may notice an increase in the number of ants inside your home. Homeowners, landlords, and business owners alike often find it difficult to prevent these tiny insects from getting in. Fortunately, however, there are several common home remedies for ants that are quite effective.
But before we dive into home remedies for ants, it is important first to identify how they got in, and where they are located in your home.
Table of Contents
- Things to Do Before Using Home Remedies
- 6 Natural Home Remedies for Ant Removal
- The Damage Ants Can Cause to Your Home
- Benefits of Using Homemade Remedies
- What to Do After Applying Ant Remedies at Home
Things to Do Before Using Home Remedies
Whether it’s a seasonal or year-round issue, finding ants inside your home can be extremely frustrating. In most cases, ants enter your home looking for food or water. If they find a food source, they will keep coming back until it is gone.
The situation can get much worse, however, when ants decide to build nests indoors and become your newest roommates. If you have ants inside your home, you may notice most congregate around food and moisture sources or in areas they feel protected like under appliances or floors. That’s because ants eat a lot of the same things humans eat including sugars, starches, and even some meat. In most cases, the food ants are after is a crumb or two left behind on your cutting board or stove. That’s why keeping your home clean is so crucial in eliminating indoor ants. So, before utilizing any natural remedies for ant removal, you should first do the following:
- Identify the species of ant – Because not all ants behave the same, correctly identifying the ant is one of the most important pieces of information you have in treating the infestation.
- Find the trail and follow it – Ants don’t enter your home through the front door like other houseguests. Finding the trail will help you determine where they are coming in, so you can look for holes and cracks. Seal up anywhere wires or pipes enter your home. Once you find the trail, you’ll know where to set traps and bait.
- Eliminate excess moisture – All living things need water and ants are no different. Eliminating as much moisture as possible from the kitchen and bathroom by fixing leaks or cleaning spills will deter ants from coming inside.
- Regularly mop your floors – Dirty floors are breeding grounds for ants. Regularly sweep up crumbs and mop the floor to get rid of any residual sugars or food that could attract an army of ants.
- Keep everything clean – After a long day of work and cooking dinner, it’s easy to leave the sink full of dirty dishes, but they are prime targets for many species of ants. Along with cleaning dishes right away, regularly clean the dishwasher, microwave, and oven and take out the trash. You should also make sure to keep leftovers and other food products in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Apply these cleaning techniques to outdoor eating and grilling areas as well as anywhere else you may eat or drink.
- Vacuum – Carpet can trap a lot of crumbs and other materials, so make sure to vacuum on a regular basis.
- Don’t forget the outside of your home – To go in and out of your home, ants need a safe environment to return to after finding food and water. Move items such as mulch, fallen logs, tree limbs, or anything else that provides protection or moisture to ants away from your home’s foundation. You should also trim all tree limbs to make sure they aren’t overlapping or touching your home. Additionally, do not store firewood inside your home unless it has been thoroughly inspected for ants.
By being proactive about cleaning your home, you can control the factors that brought ants into your home in the first place. After eliminating the source of ants, you can then take appropriate action to eliminate them and ensure they never come inside again.
6 Natural Home Remedies for Ant Removal
After doing everything possible to eliminate an ant’s source of food and moisture in and surrounding your home, it’s time to start killing them. Home remedies will allow you to get rid of ants and do so with products that are in most people’s home. Hardware stores are full of ant poison but applying poison inside the home isn’t always ideal, especially if you have small children or pets. Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies that are equally as effective as poison including:
1. Lemon Juice
While it doesn’t kill the ants in their track, it will act as a natural repellent and keep ants away. That’s because the acidity and smell of lemon affect an ant’s ability to smell and find its original path.
How to Apply:
Put lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray the entry points to your home. Apply this solution daily to any spot that you’ve seen ants entering and exiting your home.
It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking cinnamon, but it’s an effective way of keeping ants out of your home for good. Just sprinkle some ground cinnamon or spray cinnamon oil around doors, window sills, floors, and anywhere else the ants are coming in. You can also mix cinnamon with cloves for an even more effective treatment method. Not only is it an effective way of deterring ants but it’s easy to clean up and leaves your home smelling great!
How to apply:
Simply take a cup of water and add ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil to it. You can soak a rag or a cotton ball in this natural home remedy for ants and apply it to any surface where you have seen ants in your home. Continue to use this solution on a daily basis until you no longer see ants inside.
3. Borax and Sugar Mixture
While the above treatments work mostly to keep ants away this solution is an ant-killer. You can find borax at your local hardware or grocery store or online. This solution is attractive to ants and is extremely toxic to them. It can be used in the home or your garden to significant effect.
How to apply:
Simply mix borax in a bowl with sugar and water and put the paste in ants’ path or set it out on a countertop. You can do this directly on the ground or spread it across a piece of wood or cardboard. Worker ants will take the mixture back to the queen, which will kill her and any other ant that touches it. This method is useful but does require some patience and may take weeks to see results.
Read the detailed instruction on how to kill ants using borax.
Warning: Of all the home remedies for ants listed on this page, this mixture is the most dangerous to children and pets. Make sure not to leave any mixture containing borax out where kids or pets can come into contact with it.
4. Powdered Sugar and Baking Soda
Similar to the borax mixture, this combination will slowly kill the ants over time. Ant species that are attracted to sugar will ingest it with the baking soda. Ants have a naturally-occurring acidic substance in their bodies that will react with the baking soda and will die. This home remedy ant-killer is extremely effective because the ants will often carry this food source back to the colony to be consumed by the queen and other ants.
How to Apply:
Mix baking soda and powdered sugar in a container and place it near the ants’ entry points in your home.
5. Coffee Grounds
The good thing about this remedy is it is readily available in most homes across the United States, and it’s a great way to use your old, used grounds after making coffee in the morning.
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How to Apply:
Let the coffee grounds dry out and place them in cracks where you see the ants entering your home. You can also spread the grounds in your garden, other areas of your yard, and even around the perimeter of your home. While coffee grounds won’t kill the ants, it will act as a natural repellent.
6. Boiling Water and Soap
These two ultra-common household ingredients can be used to significant effect against an ant mound in your yard. If you know the location of the nest or mound, merely apply this mixture and instantly kill the ants inside.
How to Apply:
Boil a pot of water and add dish soap to it. Remove the pot from the stove (using an oven-mitt) and take the water outside to the mound. Carefully pour the water and soap mixture directly onto the hill, making sure not to splash yourself and scald yourself during the process. This is a simple-yet-effective way to kill the ants in your yard immediately.
The Damage Ants Can Cause to Your Home
Ants inside your home can cause a lot of damage. They cause structural damage, and their bites or stings can cause physical harm to you and your family. As a property owner, it can be daunting to think about fighting off an insect that outnumbers humans one million to one. Fortunately, there are many natural ways you can take action to eliminate ants from your home, yard, and garden, and most of the remedies can be found in your pantry and under your sink.
Benefits of Using Homemade Remedies
If you are a homeowner who is struggling with an ant infestation in your home, rest assured that you are not alone. Fortunately, there are many solutions for eradicating these insects from your home, lawn, or garden. While expensive and sometimes harmful pesticides and poisons are effective, they may not be the best solution for you.
For homeowners who are looking for an inexpensive and natural remedy for ant removal, there are fortunately many options (as listed above). The benefits of using baking soda, cinnamon, coffee grounds, lemon juice, and other common household substances are clear. You can:
- Create homemade ant-repellant or ant-killer without spending a lot of money on expensive pesticides
- Can quickly address the ant-infestation problem without having to go to the store
- Use all-natural ingredients that are not harmful to the environment
- Keep your kids and pets safe from accidental ingestion of a toxic substance (please note: the remedy that suggests using borax could be harmful to children and pets)
Some of the best and most effective remedies for killing ants can be found in your own kitchen. By following the steps listed above, you can effectively kill them or at least disrupt their path into your house.
What to Do After Applying Ant Remedies at Home
Once your home remedies have effectively killed the ants in your home, it is time to make sure that they do not return. There are a few practices that you should adopt that will hopefully prevent the pesky insects from returning. These best-practices are:
- Routinely clean your kitchen and workspaces with lemon juice or vinegar to make sure that ants do not return to those areas.
- Do not leave pet food out overnight. Instead, store pet food in the refrigerator overnight to keep ants from getting to it.
- Clean up spills immediately, and don’t leave sticky or sweet substances on floors, tables, or countertops. Ants are attracted to sweet products like soda, jams, honey, and other food, so make sure to clean up spills thoroughly.
- Inspect your home regularly for cracks, worn weather-stripping, and windows and doors that are not aligned properly. Ants can fit through tiny spaces, so any visible holes or entry points should be repaired immediately. Several of the home remedies listed above are incredibly useful for repelling ants, so be sure to apply these mixtures as needed.
Ultimately, the goal is to make your home as uninviting as possible for ants. By keeping surfaces clean and applying the home remedies for ants listed above, you have at least a fighting chance against these all-too-common invaders. Once ants get into a home, there is practically no chance that they’ll choose to go away on their own, so it will be up to you to figure out a natural solution for removing them. Hopefully by using some common household ingredients, you can safely remove the ants in your home and keep them from ever coming back.