Ants in your garden, home and particularly your kitchen are not only a nuisance, they can pose a health hazard when it comes to your food. While chemical ant repellants may do the trick, they are not necessarily ideal for your pantry, cabinets and any area around your home where children and pets may have access. In these cases, you may opt for less toxic ant repellents, such as toothpaste.
Why It Works
Several herbs naturally repel ants, including peppermint and cinnamon, both of which are common ingredients in toothpaste. Baking soda is also repellant to ants, and is often found in toothpaste. For best results when using toothpaste to repel ants, choose a brand that uses both baking soda at least two of these ingredients.
Toothpaste can be used to create a thick barrier that will act as an ant repellent. On his website, Integrated Pest Management expert Stephen Tvedten recommends locating the ants' point of entry into your home and blocking it with toothpaste. To eliminate ant nests in tree trunks, first dust the nest with talcum powder and fill the cavity with aerosol foam insulation, then surround the tree with a barrier of fluoride toothpaste so they cannot escape and build a nest elsewhere.
Toothpaste smeared in the corners of your kitchen and around your pantry may help to repel ants, but it leaves an unsightly mess. Another option is to dilute the toothpaste in water and use it to fill a spray bottle, then spray the solution at points of entry and infected areas.
According to Beyond Pesticides, an organization that promotes nontoxic pesticides, toothpaste can also be used as a temporary sealant or caulk in door jams, windows and other entrances. Other options include petroleum jelly or duct tape. Silicone caulking is recommended for permanent sealing against ants.
Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.