The 20 Most Effective Methods to Eliminate Ants From Your Home Without the Use of Harmful Chemicals

  • Can ants cause harm?
  • Strategies for Permanently Removing Ants Without Chemicals
  • Alternative Methods
  • Summary

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White vinegar and some essential oils may be effective in deterring ants from your home. However, some things shouldn't be used in the presence of animals.

The presence of one ant usually indicates the presence of many more. While this information might not be too concerning on a picnic in the park, it would be important to know in the event of an ant infestation in your own home.

More than 12,000 species of ants have been identified, per the National Wildlife Federation. Most of these ants pose no threat to human health.

However, ants' ability to transport bacteria makes them a potential vector for disease. The Monomorium ant, for instance, was shown in a 2019 animal study of limited size to carry bacteria that can be harmful to humans. The pharaoh ant, a species of the genus Monomorium, was implicated as a potential trigger of bronchial asthma and respiratory allergies in a 2005 study.

Aside from removing the ants themselves, there are a number of methods for eradicating their nests from the While there are times when only a professional exterminator can get rid of a pest problem, there are times when natural remedies can do the job just as well, without adding any harmful chemicals to your environment.

We've compiled a list of some of the most effective natural ant killers and repellents that can be made with items found around the house or at a nearby store.

SiO2 (silicon dioxide) found in diatomaceous earth

The silica in diatomaceous earth comes from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic plants and animals called diatoms (a type of plankton).

The use of diatomaceous earth is safe because it is not toxic. The oil in the insects' skeletons is absorbed by the powder, and the powder then dries them out and kills them. To avoid irritation, diatomaceous earth should not be inhaled or allowed to come into contact with the skin.

Internet retailers sell diatomaceous earth that is safe for human consumption. Use the powder as directed on the package, or simply sprinkle it wherever you see ants.

Liquid dish detergent and a glass cleaner

When ants travel, they leave behind a scenting pheromone trail that serves as a sort of map for other ants to follow. If you follow these steps, you can eliminate the odor and prevent the ants from returning.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Fill a new spray bottle with a mixture of glass cleaner and liquid detergent (dish soap).
  2. Apply the solution by spraying it in the cracks and crevices where ants are most prevalent.
  3. Leave a slight residue after spraying and wiping down the area.
  4. You can perform the aforementioned actions as often as necessary.

It is important to note that any kind of soapy water (i.e. e Cleaning products (e.g., soaps for hands and dishes) probably neutralize ant pheromones.

3. pepper, ground black or red

Natural ant deterrents include black or red (cayenne) pepper, as the insects seem to find the smell irritating.

This method requires the use of pepper, which is sprinkled along baseboards and in crevices behind appliances. There is anecdotal evidence that this method is safe and effective for preventing ant infestations.

Peppermint, No. 4

Insects, such as ants and mosquitoes, may be deterred by peppermint, a natural insect repellent.

Here's how to make ant-proof cookies using peppermint essential oil:

  1. In a clean spray bottle, combine 10–20 drops of peppermint oil with 2 cups of water.
  2. Apply the concoction to your home's trim and glass with a spray bottle.
  3. Make sure the mixture is dry before using it again.

Peppermint oil, like other essential oils, should be kept out of the reach of pets, especially cats, who can get very sick if they come into contact with it.

Peppermint essential oil might be available at your neighborhood supermarket or natural foods store.

Five, tea tree oil

Tea tree oil, like peppermint oil, has been shown to be an effective ant repellant. Follow these instructions to implement this method:

  • In a clean spray bottle, combine 2 cups of water and 5-10 drops of tea tree oil.
  • Apply the concoction to the areas of the home where ants are a common occurrence. Another option is to soak cotton balls in the solution and scatter them about the house.

A mixture of tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and water can be used to dilute the aroma if it proves to be too much.

Tea tree oil, like other essential oils, should be kept out of the reach of pets.

Tea tree oil is widely available and can be bought at any supermarket, health food store, or even online.

6-Oil of lemon eucalyptus

Another natural insect repellent is oil from the lemon eucalyptus tree. It has citronella, which is put into candles to ward off mosquitoes and other flying insects. It may also be useful for warding off ants, according to anecdotal evidence.

Here's what you need to do to put it to use:

  1. Fill cotton swabs to the brim with pure lemon eucalyptus oil.
  2. Cotton balls should be positioned in high-traffic areas of the home to deter ants.
  3. Once a week, swap out the stale cotton balls for new ones that have been soaked

Lemon eucalyptus oil should not be ingested. Please keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Lemon eucalyptus oil is something that you could find at a natural foods store near you. You can get it elsewhere, too. online

Seventh, OLE (Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus).

There is a distinction between oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) and essential oil of lemon eucalyptus, despite their shared names. In Australia, the gum eucalyptus tree is where you'll find OLE. P-Menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) is a chemical found in it that serves as an efficient insect repellent.

The EPA has designated PMD as a biopesticide, meaning that its use is not only permitted but also encouraged.

OLE is widely available at home improvement stores and garden centers, as well as on the web.

8--Vinegar, white

White vinegar, which can be found at any major supermarket, can be used to effectively eliminate and prevent future ant infestations. The natural compound can also be used as a cleaner.

Use a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water to disinfect any hard surface where ants are likely to congregate, such as floors and countertops. Spray the mixture on any ants you see, or use a paper towel to remove them.

After the vinegar dries, the ants can detect it, but most people won't notice the smell for very long.

Water that is brought to a boil

The best way to get rid of ants is to fill their holes with boiling water if you find any near your house. Many of the ants inside can be killed quickly and efficiently with this method. Although anthills don't look very big, the ant colonies that live within them can be quite sizable.

Unfortunately, the boiling water won't be enough to exterminate the entire colony. This is why it's important to treat any ant holes you find near your house.

Ten. Maize Flour

Cornstarch, which can be found in most grocery stores, can be used to effectively smother a large number of ants at once.

Cornstarch can be used to eliminate ants in two distinct ways:

  1. The first technique involves dousing the colony of ants in cornstarch and water. You'll be left with a mess of cornstarch-encased ants that have died.
  2. The alternative is to sprinkle cornstarch over the ants and then vacuum them up, making sure to throw away the vacuum bag in the open air as soon as possible.

Eleven. Oil extracted from cinnamon leaves

Essential oil from cinnamon trees, specifically trans-cinnamaldehyde, was found to have anti-ant and anti-biting properties in a 2005 study.

  1. Cotton swabs soaked in pure oil from cinnamon leaves should be used.
  2. The cotton balls should be positioned in high-traffic areas of the home where ants are likely to congregate.
  3. Cotton balls should be changed out weekly for new, soaked ones.

Cinnamon leaf essential oil is commonly found in health food stores. It's also available on the internet.

Oil of Neem

The neem tree, found primarily in India, yields a natural insecticide known as neem oil.

Use neem oil wherever you see insects like aphids or ants on plants, as recommended by gardeners. Aphids (small sap-sucking insects) are raised by ants, so eliminating the ants will also get rid of the aphids by poisoning them with neem oil.

Products containing neem extract or diluted neem oil have been reported to be ineffective.

Neem oil is widely available in health food stores and over the internet.

Thirteenth: Coffee Scratch

Ants can be discouraged by using brewed coffee on their grounds. If you notice ants congregating around food sources like pet bowls, try spreading out some of the used coffee grounds on a disposable surface (like index cards) and leaving them there.

The soil can also be displayed on windowsills. Because their effectiveness may diminish with drying, the grounds should be replaced frequently.

Boric acid, number 14.

According to an older animal study from 2003, boric acid is a poison that can kill certain types of worker ants and their queen within 3 weeks of exposure. As a result, the ants' exoskeletons and digestive systems deteriorate.

Boric acid can be toxic, so it's important to keep it out of the reach of kids and animals.

Here are the steps you need to take to use boric acid:

  1. Get some protective gloves on.
  2. In a bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of boric acid, 8 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 cup of warm water.
  3. The sugar and boric acid should be mixed until they are dissolved.
  4. Place cotton balls that have been soaked in water in the areas of your home where ants are most common.
  5. Don't forget to rinse or trash your containers after use.

In addition, boric acid can be used as a component in homemade ant traps. Sugary liquids like maple syrup or corn syrup, when combined with the powder, will lure ants. Put down on a flat, disposable surface like cardboard, and place it in the areas where ants have been spotted.

Boric acid can be purchased from gardening supply shops or online.

Borax (sodium tetraborate) ranks as the fifteenth most common household chemical.

Although they share a name, borax and boric acid are two different chemical compounds. When it comes to eliminating ant infestations in the house, either option could be equally effective.

Keeping borax out of the reach of kids and animals is crucial.

Here's how to put borax to use:

  1. Get some protective gloves on.
  2. Combine 1/2 tsp. borax, 8 tsp. sugar, and 1 cup warm water to form a solution.
  3. Until the sugar and borax are dissolved, stir the mixture.
  4. Put cotton balls soaked in water in the places around your house where ants tend to congregate.
  5. Don't forget to rinse or trash your containers after use.

You can get borax from any store that sells gardening supplies or online

16. Lemons

Spraying or wiping with lemon juice can discourage ants from setting up camp by neutralizing the odor of food and eliminating pheromone trails.

Ants can be discouraged from making your kitchen their home by putting lemon rinds in a cupboard.

Toss out any dead plants and see if your indoor plants are healthy

If you see swarms of ants around your houseplants, it could mean that there are ant nests in the soil. Any plants that look infested should be thrown out.

The rinds of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can be placed around the plant's soil to discourage ants from setting up home there.

Don't bring the outdoors inside the house.

Do not let trash accumulate in your yard. Any plants or vines that are touching or leaning against the outside of your home's walls or windows should be removed.

19. Deprive yourself of nourishment

Starchy and sugary foods, such as sugar, honey, and cornmeal, are particularly appealing to ants. Therefore, one of the best ways to discourage ants is to remove all potential sources of nourishment.

Always use a secure lid or seal when storing food. After each meal, clean the table and the kitchen.

Use a broom or vacuum to remove crumbs from your home every day. Some potential crumb-collecting locations are:

  • Use the space under and around free-standing kitchen appliances
  • amongst settee cushions
  • into waste bins
  • spaces in your house where meals are eaten or prepared

Ants can also be attracted by pet food. Immediately after your pet has finished eating, take away the bowls. Remove any lingering odors from the food by washing the bowls right away.

Take away potential points of entry for ants, number 20.

To get rid of an ant infestation and stop further ones from occurring, you need to determine how the ants are getting inside.

Walls, floorboards, and the area around radiators should be inspected for cracks and holes. It's possible to use ant repellent or seal any openings that might allow insects to enter. If the window screens have any tears, fix them.

Getting rid of ants in the kitchen

The kitchen is a popular hangout for insects and rodents because of its proximity to a ready supply of food. Preventing ants from entering the kitchen

  • Keep the kitchen clean on a daily basis.
  • Dishes should be washed right after use.
  • You should wash the dog or cat's bowl every time it's used.
  • Remove the pheromone scent by using natural repellents (such as those listed above) to ward off ants.
  • Use containers or bags that can be securely closed to keep food fresh.

Pesticides and other commercially prepared products can be used to get rid of ants if natural methods fail.

Bait traps

Some people may find that enclosed bait traps, which use pesticides, are more convenient than open sprays. To catch ants, you set out a bait trap. When the ants consume the bait, some of it is taken back to the nests where it is used to poison other ants.

In some bait traps, you may find boric acid or borax. Some of them have hydramethylnon, which is harmful to humans, animals, and crops like tomatoes.

Many hardware and gardening supply stores, as well as online retailers, sell ant traps. In order to avoid toxins, it is important to read labels and know what goes into a product.

Store-bought mosquito sprays

It's also possible to find commercial repellant sprays that work on ants that aren't toxic to humans.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, the chemical spray Raid can be very effective. It lasts a long time and has two chemicals—imiprothrin and cypermethrin—that are harmful if inhaled or ingested.


Hiring an exterminator is a last resort. Find one that is dedicated to using non-toxic materials. Inform them if you have any minors, pets, or special needs (like asthma) that need to be taken into account.

Titles of some pest control companies may include the words "green," "organic," or "eco-friendly." Before hiring an exterminator, ask what chemicals they typically use for ant treatments if you're concerned about chemical exposure.

Ants are a common household pest in the United States, but don't worry too much about them. Although ants can be difficult to eliminate, the aforementioned natural methods can be used to successfully deter and ultimately eliminate them from your home. There are also commercial products available to help eliminate or discourage these insects.

Avoiding future ant infestations is as simple as keeping your house clean and eliminating entry points and hiding spots for the pests.

For stubborn ant infestations, hiring a professional exterminator may be your only option.

This article was last reviewed by a doctor on 12/20/2021.

When writing an article, Healthline follows strict guidelines and only uses sources that have been verified as credible by experts in the field, such as scholarly journals, hospitals, and government agencies. We don't bother with secondary or tertiary sources. Our editorial policy explains the methods we use to maintain the currency and accuracy of our articles.
  • The work of JS Alharbi and colleagues (2019) Pathogenic and potentially pathogenic bacteria can be transmitted by the Monomorium ant.
  • Ants (n d )
  • Ants (2021)
  • Schooling and ants (n d )
  • Torey R. Bunch et al. (2013) Informational handout on diatomaceous earth.
  • S.-S. Cheng et al. (2008) The use of essential oil extracted from the Cinnamomum osmophloeum leaf to exterminate imported red fire ants
  • Download our PDF data sheet on methylnon (hydramethylnon) here: (2002)
  • C.-W. Kim et al. (2005) Inhalant allergens in bronchial asthma from the pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, a newly discovered major culprit.
  • Klauck, Victor, et al. (2014) Tea tree oil and andiroba oil have insecticidal and repellent effects on livestock-associated flies.
  • A. Klunker et al. (1990) Formulations using borax bait for Pharaoh ant control.
  • To cite this article: Maia MF, et al. (2011) Overview of the effectiveness, research, and testing of plant-based insect repellents
  • Melancon M (2019) If you're a gardener, be careful when dealing with fire ants [Press Release].
  • (Neem) oil (Fact sheet) (2012)
  • (011550) p-Mentane-3,8-diol The [Fact Sheet] (n d )
  • John Sorvari; coauthors (2012) Urban legend busted: aspartame-based sweeteners are potent ant poisons.
  • DR Suiter et al. (2017) Pests from Argentina
    PDF file: 926_4.PDF
  • Natural remedy containing tea tree oil (n d )
  • To cite: Ulloa-Chacon P, et al. (2003) Comparing the effectiveness of baits containing boric acid, fipronil, hydramethylnon, and diflubenzuron against ghost ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) colonies.
  • Yigzaw E (2017) Ten natural insect repellent essential oils for green cleaning

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Dec 20, 2021

Written By

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