5 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants In The House

 

Summer time is when most people look for help and advice on getting rid of ants in the house.

Not Me.

We do battle with the ants in the winter.  The colder and snowier it is, the bigger the problem.  As far as we can figure things out, they have an underground nest next to our basement wall where the furnace is, and the warmth draws them into the house.  Pesky Ants!

And so once again as our temperatures here in Michigan dipped down into the single digits last week, the invasion began.  They’re the teeny tiny ants and the first place we spot them is always around our fireplace hearth.

In years past we’ve always relied on D-Con Ant Killer.  And this year I might have done the same thing – except I looked all around the house and couldn’t find it!  BUT – what a blessing in disguise that turned out to be because I discovered a natural remedy that works just as well, maybe even better!

Ant Repellant

Using Peppermint Essential Oil To Get Rid of Ants

To get rid of the ants I put about 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil on a cotton ball and then wiped it around the edge of the fireplace hearth where it looked like they they were coming in.  I then left the cotton ball near that area too, to help keep the smell of peppermint around.

Yeah, the room smelled a  bit peppermint-y.  But it was actually quite pleasant and was a HUGE improvement over the smell of a commercial ant killer spray.

So how did it work?  Pretty darn awesome.  I didn’t see any ants until a few days later when I spotted just a couple random ones hanging about.  So I repeated the peppermint oil treatment again and that seemed to do the trick.   So far, I’m VERY HAPPY with this new method and I’m willing to repeat it every few days if that’s what works.

More Natural Remedies To Get Rid of Ants

If you’d like to get rid of ants naturally, here are some more ideas to try:

1.  Other Essential Oils.   I chose the peppermint oil, but if you have another fragrant essential oil, give it a try.   The scents make it hard for the ants to follow their trails, and the smells may be unpleasant to them too.

2.  Cinnamon.  Cinnamon is said to be one of the scents that repels ants.  Try sprinkling some ground cinnamon around the area where you want to keep ants away.

3.  Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, or Chili Pepper.    These strong smells can also discourage ants from coming around and can be sprinkled in the area where the ants are a problem.

4. Vinegar.   Here’s another strong smell that ants hate and that will remove the smell of their trails.  You can put some vinegar on a cotton ball and wipe it around, or if you are using vinegar and water as an all purpose cleaner, spray some around the area where you want to discourage the ants.

5.  Chalk or Baby Powder.     You can also try making a barrier with chalk or baby powder which naturally repel ants.

I’m pretty jazzed about my new peppermint oil discovery and would love to hear if anyone else has a favorite natural home remedy for getting rid of pesky ants.   Please share with a comment if you do!

 

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Comments

    Feel free to comment or share your bright idea!

  1. says

    I recently sprayed vinegar on our bathroom ants and they disappear for several days. When a few come back, I spray them again and they disappear again. It works as good as, or better than real ant poisons we’ve used in the past, which tend to draw MORE ants to the area before it kills them off for a few days. (I’ve found Windex works, too. must be the ammonia)

    • BeverlyBeverly says

      Good to know the vinegar works. I hadn’t tried that one yet but suspected the smell would do the trick. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kim says

    Good to know this oil works for ants too. I use it as a spray with water in all my windows to keep spiders out. It works well. I spritz all the way around my back door -outside- with a vinegar/water mix in early spring every few days for about a month. I haven’t had ants come inside in several summers.

  3. says

    Vinegar works for us only to kill the ones around. I’ve never found it to be effective in preventing their return.

    I’ve tried so many things for ants! I mixed aspartame with honey, hoping they’d carry it back to the queen and kill the colony, no avail. I have to keep the honey standing in water. Our pesky ants are so small that they can get in a tightly closed jar of honey by walking around the screw top rings.

    One thing we’ve found effective is to line the base of the house with diatomaceous earth in the spring. DE is safe for pets and people, although you do not want to breathe in the powder or get it in your eyes. It is razor sharp to bugs (vets use it internally for pets for worms). They can’t build an immunity to it.

    I’ll have to remember peppermint next spring when we begin to have problems again (no winter ants here). Thanks, Bev.

  4. Julie says

    Using oils works on ants and other insects not because of the smell, but because it dissolves the waxy cuticle on their bodies, causing them to die nearly-instantly from dehydration. Commercial orange oil sprays are recommended for ants for this reason and are 100% pet/child safe since it is just a food-derived oil.

  5. Jackie says

    I also use the vinegar/water spritzing to erase ants’ trails.

    But even more effective is baking soda/bicarbonate soda.

    We had an army of ants coming through the brickwork near the front door. I sprinkled some baking soda all along the ants’ paths, especially the cracks and holes. Gone were the ants! And the spiders didn’t like it either.

  6. says

    I have been crawling all over your blog and your pinterest today and I have to say I am in luv! U have the greatest ideas I can’t wait to have ants so I can try this… lol

    Thanks so much for sharing Bev

    • BeverlyBeverly says

      So glad you are having fun checking out all the info here Lizz. And the ants will probably show up sooner or later :)

  7. Lynn says

    This is the first winter we have had the tiny ants “pizz ants” they are HORRIBLE around our stove !! It seemed very unusual to have ants during the winter but since I read this post it made more since about the warmth & since our kitchen is on the center of our home that has to be the reason! I am going to try this !! Thanks for sharing !!

  8. Lois says

    another formula:
    1cup sugar
    3 Tbsp boric acid
    3 cups warm water
    Mix dry ingredients, add warm water, stirring to prevent lumps. Put cotton in a jar lid and pour solution to saturate it. The will take it back to the nest. Can be stored in a jar until ready to use. (do not disturb ants climbing on the jar lid to drink the solution – let them drink and go back to their nest.)

  9. andrea says

    i have never heard of using cinnamon before. i use garlic powder that i get at the dollar store. the ants stay away for awhile. i have also pored plain white vinegar in their holes and watched them dissolve. i have also been told that poring some Borax down their homes works as well because they take it to other colonies and they then get destroyed as well. hope this helps

  10. liz says

    this idea also works for mice too. we just put the cotton balls all over the kitchen and where ever the nest maybe i have even found them in my dresser before after returning from vacation.

  11. Deborah says

    I have used the peppermint solution in the past, with varying degrees of success. If you have hardwood floors, it is important to be careful, as it will strip off the varnish.

    Thanks for the other ideas. I’ll give them a try.

  12. Leslie says

    So excited about peppermint spray for ants & spiders thanks!
    In case anyone was looking to rid their house of carpenter ants- they apparently hate corn meal (do not confuse with cornstarch). I put a little dish of it on my kitchen counter and voila… no more ants!
    PS> this does NOT work for the mini ants… Just the large black ants.

  13. Dallas Sparkles says

    We have those tiny ants in the couch! Peppermint oil think like it would work the best as far as the mail goes, however how would I do this with the fabric? Even leaving a cotton ball in the cushions seems like it would be absorbed by the fabric. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    • BeverlyBeverly says

      Oh that must be super frustrating to have ants find their way into the couch. Perhaps you could set the cotton ball (with peppermint oil on it) on a dish, and then set that on the couch.

    • Wilna says

      Put the cotton wool ball into a plain sandwich bag but don’t seal it. You can this pop it in the couch and every time you sit down on it, it will expel the air and smell into the couch and so keep the ant away but the essential oil wont leak into the couches material.

  14. lisa says

    I’ve been having problems with ants crawling in my cupboards, and I realized mint leaves also work! I didnt have any peppermint oil, but I had some bags of dried mint leaves (the kind for making tea). The ants still invade the kitchen but at least they are just on the floor now.

  15. Brotherhood Of The Tentacle says

    You ever tried corn starch? How about peanut butter and borax? Either of these will kill the ants off. It keeps our doomsday bunker ant free. Burning fresh herbs in your fireplace also works well. The peanut butter and borax should be kept away from pets though.

  16. Diane Perez says

    I did not know ants were not fond of cinnamon, I just sprinkled some where I suspect where they are entering…fingers crossed ! I will try peppermint oil as well because I heard it works for spiders as well and they have been an issue for me. Thank you !!