Home Remedies for Killing Ants

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If you believe ants only ruin picnics, think again – these small pests are everywhere. They can infiltrate your pantry, gather around the kitchen sink, or call a corner of your room their very own. When you see one, there is always another not too far behind. Use home remedies for killing ants to make sure you keep populations down and stop the pests in their tracks.

Your Possible Targets

In the United States, you may encounter around 11 different types of ants – with the most commonly dreaded pests being the carpenter, fire, and pharaoh species. Carpenter ants range from ¼ inch to ¾ inch in size. They set up shop in decayed wood, building their nest and then attacking healthy wood later on. It is usually difficult to get rid of this type of ant, so it’s important to stop a colony before the infestation gets too large.

When disturbed, fire ants can pack quite a sting. They are known for being quite territorial – establishing mounds as nests in dirt and sand. They come in an array of colors, including black, brown and red. The pharaoh ant (also called the sugar ant) is yellow in color and very small. When fully grown, they reach no longer than 1/12 of an inch in length. While they are found all over the United States, they mostly call the South their home.

Ant Killing Home Remedies

Ants like to enter homes in search of food. Depending on the ant, they will feast upon starches, meats, fats and sugary sweets [1]. Others prefer to build nesting spots in decaying or moisture damaged wood. At any rate, home remedies for killing ants can help keep an infestation under control. Suggestions to consider include:

a) Boiling Water:

To eliminate ants from an anthill or infestation on your walkway, pour boiling water over the insects. If you add dish detergent to the boiling water, it will make it even more difficult for ants to live, as their bodies start to cling to the sides of the anthill or walkway.

b) Boiling Hot Coffee:

Boil a fresh pot of coffee or reheat already-made Joe. Pour the boiling hot coffee down an anthill to kill the pests. The boiling liquid kills the ants at the source and does damage to the entire colony.

c) Cornstarch:

Leave a trail of corn meal where you have seen ants, as the fiber in the food cannot be processed by the ant’s digestive system. They will expand after eating and die.

d) Grits:

Sprinkle a bit of grits where you have spotted ants in your home. The fiber in the grits is indigestible by ants. Once they eat it, they die because their body expands with no way to expel it.

e) Baby Powder:

Baby powder is not appealing to ants – especially when it is the scented kind. Sprinkle over the ants and they will become upset and leave. Even after the baby powder treatment, it may be a long time before you see another ant.

f) Vinegar:

Add plain white vinegar to a squirt bottle and administer anywhere you have seen ants in your home. Let the solution dry. Since the vinegar has a knack for altering the ants’ natural scent, they tend to avoid it.

g) Indigestible Meal:

You can kill ants from within by laying traps of food that they cannot digest. One recipe is to create a paste made out of cornmeal, bacon grease, baking powder and yeast. Combine five tablespoons of cornmeal, three tablespoons bacon grease, three tablespoons baking powder, and three packages of yeast. After mixing, spread the concoction over the top of an anthill using a wooden spoon. Place the remaining mix in a shallow dish by the anthill. The ants will eat the paste, but will be unable to digest it.

h) Cinnamon:

Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon in or around the place you see ants gathering and they will quickly make an exit.

i) Lemons:

To keep ants out of the kitchen, squirt lemon juice on the thresholds of your doors and windowsills. Squeeze the lemon juice into any holes or cracks that you have seen ant activity. Scatter small slices of lemon peel around the entrance of your outside door [2]. You can also pour a mixture of the juice from four lemon rinds and ½ gallon of water into an anthill situated close to your home to encourage the pests to find a new home.

j) Lemon Juice:

Add equal amounts of lemon juice and water to a spray bottle and douse ants with the mixture. The combination is toxic to their ability to breathe.

k) Oranges:

Add orange peels to a blender and make a smooth puree that you add to one cup of warm water. Slowly pour the solution over anthills to have the pests running in the opposite direction.

l) Black Pepper:

Sprinkle black pepper where you see a gathering of ants and they will scatter immediately. If you sprinkle where you have seen them enter, they will not return.

m) Windex and Ivory Soap:

A mix of equal parts Windex and Ivory soap creates a good spray for treating places that ants frequent in your home.

n) Bay Leaves:

Bay leaves is another substance that ants to do not like – place on counter and along the paths of the insect.

o) Simple Green:

Spritzing ants that enter your home with Simple Green is an effective way of handling the pests. Do not use this remedy if you have a cat in the home – it is dangerous to felines.

p) Mint:

The scent of mint is unappealing to ants, so people with the plant surrounding their house are less likely to need home remedies to kill ants. Planting mint close to your doorway if you suffer infestations is highly suggested.

q) Cayenne Pepper:

The heat of cayenne pepper can be used to stop ants from gathering in your home. They will not generally cross a line made out of the spice.

r) Whole Cloves:

Adding whole cloves around the house (including windowsills, door jams and other ant hideaways) can help kill and deter the pests from setting up shop inside your home.

s) Chalk:

A line of plain white chalk will stop ants from entering your home.

t) Borax:

Borax is known in households as a laundry detergent, but it can also be used to kill ants. To make Borax more appealing to ants, mix equal parts of a sugar-filled jelly with Borax. Spread some of the concoction where ants like to gather. The sweetness of the jelly is attractive to the ants. Once they eat the mixture or bring it back to their nests, the Borax will kill them. Do not use this remedy if you live in a home with small children or pets.

u) Tobacco:

Add pope tobacco to a container of water and let it soak overnight. In the morning, use a strainer to separate the tobacco. Pour the tea over any anthills close to your home.

v) Salt:

Kills ant at your door entrances by sprinkling salt across the door frame and directly on the pests. In the future, lingering ants will think twice before crossing the barrier.


[2] Extraordinary Uses for Everyday Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 199.