If you're a fan of natural solutions to pest control and you've found yourself with an ant infestation, you may find yourself wondering "does vinegar kill ants?" After all, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar have quite an array of household uses, including as an insect repellent, and they are eco-friend and safe for use around kids and pets. Unfortunately, while vinegar can be quite useful at keeping ants out of your home, it's less useful when it comes to killing these pests. Since household ants do not present a threat to humans, a repellent may be enough, but if you want to kill them, you may want to try commercial ant poisons instead.
How Does Vinegar Repel Ants?
Ants communicate with one another through the use of pheromone scent trails. They avoid areas filled with potent scents because they can't smell their pheromone trails. Since vinegar has a notably strong odor, it can mess with the ants' scent trail, preventing future ants from entering the area and confusing those already there.
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To use vinegar to repel ants, pour straight white vinegar into a spray bottle and squirt it in the entry points where ants invade your home or around food areas likely to be targeted by ants. If you can't stand the potent smell of vinegar, you can try disguising it by diluting it with up to 50 percent water and adding up to 10 drops of essential oils. Scents such as lavender, orange, peppermint, lemon eucalyptus, or tea tree oil are effective at repelling ants the same way vinegar does because they disrupt ants' ability to smell their pheromone trails.
Unfortunately, vinegar and essential oils only stick around for a day or so, meaning you need to reapply your homemade ant repellent at least once daily until the ants decide to leave you alone on their own.
Killing Ants With Vinegar
Disappointingly, vinegar can only kill ants by drowning them, which water can do just as effectively. If you already have a spray bottle of vinegar or a vinegar/essential oils mix, you can spray it directly onto the ants to drown them or spray vinegar on a cloth before wiping up the ants. However, these methods are not the most efficient ways to kill ants.
You don't have to ditch the vinegar entirely if you want to kill and repel ants. Add a few tablespoons of dish soap to your vinegar spray. Shake the bottle gently to mix the ingredients before spraying and then squirt the solution on the ants in your home. The dish soap will kill ants on contact, and the vinegar will repel them.