8 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



    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.

  2. Cucumber



    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.

  3. Honey and Borax



    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

  4. Cayenne Pepper and Garlic



    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.

  5. Apple Cider Vinegar



    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.

  6. Cinnamon



    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!

  7. Nicotine and Water



    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.

  8. Caulking and Cement



    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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