12 Tried-and-True Tricks to Stamp Out Ants

Usually found marching along a kitchen sink, the tile near a baseboard, or outside on the porch by your welcome mat (some welcome!), ants are tiny and persistent home invaders. Sure, you can wipe away a trail of ants with a paper towel, or hose them down if they're outside, but if you don't pursue a more "perman-ant" solution, you're sure to endure subsequent infestations. Luckily, getting rid of ants for good doesn't have to be a big deal, and it doesn't have to involve exterminators and harsh chemicals. Your cupboard is very likely already stocked with a number of environmentally safe, pet- and child-friendly products that you can use to get rid of these pesky visitors.

  1. Peppermint Oil

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    Peppermint Oil for Ants

    Fresh mint leaves keep bad breath at bay, and they'll do the same for ants. To make a sprayable deterrent, mix two to three tablespoons of peppermint oil with a quart of water. Spray liberally around the ants' points of origin, making sure to hit all the nooks and crannies. As a bonus, your home will smell minty fresh.

    Related: 10 Reasons Bugs Love Your Home

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  2. Cucumber

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    Cucumber Deters Ants

    You'd be hard-pressed to find ants crawling around in a cucumber salad, because ants loathe the scent of this crunchy vegetable. Set a few peels or gratings near your ant infestation to shoo them away. Once you're free from the worry of those little pests, place two leftover cucumber slices on your eyes and relax.

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  3. Honey and Borax

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    Honey and Borax for Ants

    To an ant, a snack of honey and borax is simply "to die for." Mix one tablespoon of honey with one tablespoon of hot water, then stir in one teaspoon of borax. Create a trap by spreading a fine layer across a small note card or flat lid, and lay it down near the ants for a day or two. As delicious as the concoction is, not a single ant will make it back for seconds.


    SAFETY TIP: Take extra precaution if you have children or pets, because borax is harmful if ingested

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  4. Cayenne Pepper and Garlic

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    Cayenne Pepper and Garlic for Ants

    Ants who take up residence in garden patches pose their own particular problem—anthills. A spray made from two teaspoons cayenne, a few blended bulbs of garlic, and a cup of water will send ants running from the hills. Spray liberally where the ants reside, and wave goodbye.

    Related: 8 Things the Exterminator Won’t Tell You for Free

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  5. Apple Cider Vinegar

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    Apple Cider Vinegar for Pests

    Ants use scent to follow each other in their infamous marching line. Disrupt the scent with apple cider vinegar. Make a spray of one part apple cider vinegar to one part water, and apply wherever a conga line starts to form. Repeat applications until the ant parade comes to permanent halt.

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  6. Cinnamon

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    Cinnamon Ant Deterrent

    A sprinkle of cinnamon will spice up your French toast, but don't expect ants to join you for brunch, because they can't bear the scent of cinnamon. Make use of their aversion by sprinkling powdered cinnamon or placing a couple of cinnamon sticks wherever ants congregate. Just be sure not to use too much, or your home might start smelling like Cinnabon!

    Related: The Top 10 Most Dangerous Insects to Avoid This Summer

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  7. Nicotine and Water

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    Nicotine and Water for Anthills

    Anthills on your property act as bases for ants to stage assaults on your home. One great way to fire back is by soaking those hills in nicotine-infused water. The same pipe tobacco that can be harmful to humans over the long term will instantly dispose of an entire ant infantry. To stage your sneak attack, soak pipe tobacco in water overnight, then pour it over the anthills.

    Related: 10 Bugs That Are Living in Your House—and How to Get Them Out!

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  8. Caulking and Cement

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    Pest Prevention Indoors

    Natural remedies help combat ants who have already found their way to your home. If, however, you have holes and cracks in your walls and floors, you're leaving the door open to more unwelcome visitors in the future. The best way to prevent infestation is by using caulk or cement to seal up any ant entry points, making it harder for the trespassers to get in.

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  9. Powdered Sugar and Baking Soda

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    Powdered Sugar and Baking Soda

    It may not be the kindest way to vanquish the ant army in your kitchen, but it is effective. Mix one part powdered sugar with one part baking powder, and leave the mixture in corners of your kitchen where ants are located. The ants will be drawn to the sweetness of the sugar, but it's the baking soda that will kill them when ingested. 

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  10. Dish Soap

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    Dish Soap

    The scent trails that ants use to follow each other into your home can be disrupted with nothing more than ordinary dish soap. Fill a spray bottle with water, add 1/4 cup of dish soap, and shake the bottle to dissolve. Spray the mixture liberally near access points like doorways, windows, and other cracks. The sticky mess should deter ants from crossing the line, but if they do manage to make it across, they won't be able to leave a scent trail for other ants to follow.

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  11. Lemon Juice

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    Lemon Juice

    Humans may like the smell of fresh lemons, but ants, on the other hand, do not. The bright smell of citrus isn't the only reason that fresh lemon juice makes a good ant repellent. Like apple cider vinegar, and dish soap, lemon juice disrupts the scent trail that ants leave for other ants to follow. When applied at key access points around the house, lemon juice can deter ants from entering your home.

    Related: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

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  12. Diatomaceous Earth

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    Diatomaceous Earth

    If these creative remedies don't remove your ant infestation, consider using a more powerful solution like diatomaceous earth. This all-natural powder is non-toxic to pets and humans but lethal to ants, roaches, bed bugs, and any insect with an exoskeleton. Opt for food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is just as deadly to ants but safer for you and your household.

    Related: 9 Best Buys for a Bug-Free Home

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  13. See the House of the Week

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