One unfortunate fact about coffee makers is that they provide a perfect environment for ants, which are attracted to the warmth and water, and may even get nourishment from coffee grounds. The experience of finding ants floating in the water reservoir or forming trails into and out of the machine, where they may even establish nests, can be unnerving.
Finding ants in a coffee machine or bugs in a Keurig coffee maker is as distasteful as finding them swarming around a butter dish. But the coffee maker has many cracks and crevices that makes eliminating all of them even more challenging. When you finally do succeed, you have to take steps to prevent them from coming back, otherwise they probably will.
Getting Rid of Ants in Coffee Machines
The first thing you want to do when you discover ants in a coffee maker is to move the machine to disrupt the ant trail leading to it. Put the coffee maker in the sink or take it outside, pour out all the water from the reservoir and remove any beans or grounds. Disassemble the appliance into as many component parts as possible and clean each part with detergent and water.
After you've cleaned as many individual parts as possible, reassemble the coffee maker, fill the reservoir with a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water and run it through one or two coffee-making cycles. This is also the way to descale Keurig machines or any other brand of coffee maker, so you'll be giving your java generator a good dose of routine maintenance as part of the process.
After cleaning out the ants in the coffee machine with vinegar, empty the reservoir again, fill it with clean water and run it though at least one more cycle to rinse it. This procedure will free your Keurig of ants, so all you have to do now is prevent them from coming back.
How to Keep Your Coffee Maker Free of Ants
It's a good idea to find a new location for your coffee maker to frustrate the ants that already know the way to the old one, but there's an even more important issue to address. If ants were in your coffee maker, it's almost a sure bet they are roaming elsewhere in the kitchen, so you should look for trails in all the usual places, such as under the sink and in the pantry, and deal with all the ants at once.
Placing boric acid bait stations in strategic places around the kitchen is a good start and a better strategy than spraying visible ants with insecticide, because it provides more permanent relief. You should also seal gaps in the baseboards where you see ants entering or dust diatomaceous earth on the floor in those areas. Most important, keep floors and countertops dry and free of crumbs.
Use Natural Ant Repellants
Even if you're meticulous about cleaning, it's very difficult to eliminate ants from your kitchen completely, so it helps to deploy some natural repellants around the coffee maker to protect it. One simple strategy is to lift and clean the coffee maker after every use, as well as clean the countertop with vinegar or lemon juice and water. After drying the countertop, sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth under the coffee maker before setting it back in place.
You can also deploy ant-repellant spices around the coffee maker. Western Exterminator Company recommends cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper, which are all condiments that ants don't like. If they do happen to come back into your kitchen, they'll stay away from the coffee maker.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.