Everyone dreads seeing a line of ants marching across the floor. Because once they've found their way in, it feels like it's impossible to get rid of them without resorting to harsh chemical sprays. If they've already taken up residence, your kitchen is full of natural ant remedies to get rid of them and to keep them from coming back.
1. Use essential oils.
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Want to get rid of ants and make your home smell great at the same time? Try essential oils. Ants hate certain scents, especially strong ones like peppermint and cinnamon.
Make an easy ant spray by mixing 20 drops of an essential oil like peppermint with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray it directly on ants and around entry points. Spritz baseboards and trash cans and enjoy the fresh scent.
You can also dip a cotton swab into an essential oil like cinnamon leaf and trace the outline of entryways and windowsills.
Other essential oils to try: tea tree, lemon eucalyptus, lavender, and citrus oils like lemon or sweet orange.
2. Clean with vinegar.
We love this cheap, effective cleaner, but ants hate it because it eliminates their scent trail. Mix up an all-purpose spray cleaner with white vinegar that eliminates and deters ants at the same time.
Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle, and start spraying. You can also add essential oils, as mentioned above. Use it to clean floors, counters, tables, and anywhere you see ants.
WARNING: vinegar can damage certain surfaces. Avoid using vinegar with marble.
3. Recycle coffee grounds.
Old coffee grounds are a cheap way to ward off ants because they dislike the strong smell. This solution is a bit messy to use indoors, but is great for outside.
Recycle your grounds by putting them in the garden or around the exterior of entryways. Use caution if you have pets that might eat the grounds and get an unexpected caffeine fix.
4. Try borax.
If you have borax on hand for the laundry, it can also be used to get rid of ants. Borax kills ants when they eat it so combine it with sugar to attract ants and they'll do the work of carrying it back to their nests for you.
Combine 1/4 cup borax with 3/4 cup sugar in a bowl, and enough add water to make a paste. Spread it on small pieces of cardboard and put them where ants may be entering. Replace every couple of days.
This can also be done with boric acid, but be sure to use gloves. Both borax and boric acid should be avoided if you have children or pets.
5. Squeeze a lemon.
Ants hate all things citrus so when life gives you lemons, turn them into an ant repellant. Combine equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle, and then spritz directly on ants and around windows and entryways to turn that ant trail around.
Place lemon (or other citrus fruit) peels in cupboards or around entryways. You can also buy citrus-scented cleaners or add citrus essential oils to a homemade cleaning spray.
6. Sprinkle some powder.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a fine, odorless silica powder that makes a super simple natural pest control. It kills not only ants but also fleas and roaches.
Sprinkle the powder around the perimeter of your house and on entryways. Apply it directly to ant trails or on top of ant mounds.
DE is safe to use around children and pets but it can be harmful to some insects that you want to keep around, like bees.