8 Ways to Eliminate Ants Without an Exterminator


Ants. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Well, wait a minute. Yes, I can definitely live without ants crawling all over my kitchen floor. So, in the last month I have fought and won the battle with these tiny beasts. And I am here to share with you how I did it — sans exterminator.

(Note: Though these methods are all natural, you'll want to keep most of these ingredients and mixtures out of reach of children and pets.)

1. Cleaning

First and foremost, try sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping down flat surfaces (counters, floors, etc.) on the daily. Consistent, scrupulous cleaning should at least help the issue by eliminating anything that's attracting ants. Of course, your castle could be neat as a pin and still have an ant highway a mile long.

2. Blocking

Though I haven't personally had wonderful results with this tip, our neighbor reports that she got rid of ants by caulking gaps near her doors and windows. If there are obvious places where the ants are getting in, this idea might work well for you. We did try it, but they found a new path a few feet over in our dining room.

3. Spices

At the first sight of ants, I sprinkle cayenne pepper or ground cinnamon to make a barrier. I learned this trick while researching ways to keep bugs out of my child's sandbox without chemicals. In your home, sprinkle spices close to entry points to deter the ants from crossing the line. I've read that chalk works in a similar fashion, especially on the outside your home.

4. Vinegar

Or you can go with a spritz or five of vinegar mixed with water. The combination helps to get rid of the pheromone trails the scouts leave the lead other ants through your house. This step is pretty easy if you're wiping down floors and countertops regularly (see above!) — vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner. (See also: 30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace)

5. Borax

A friend of mine shared with me that she puts out bowls of powdered sugar and borax. The sugar attracts the ants. When they consume it, they also consume the borax, which eventually kills them by disrupting their digestive systems. You can also make a wet mixture by combining about a cup of sugar with a tablespoon of borax and a half cup of boiling water.

6. Essential Oils

Peppermint is a powerful ant repellant. A simple line of the essential oil at window sills or on the floor near an entry point should make ants scurry in a hurry. If you'd rather create a formal solution, try this peppermint spray that combines the power of peppermint, citronella, and lavender essential oils.

7. Castile Soap

I use a lot of castile soap in my indoor routines, so I love that I can spritz a household cleaning spray on ants to give them the hint. To make the spray, just combine water, tea tree oil, and a quarter cup castile soap in a bottle. Use as needed — it will kill ants on contact — and wipe up when you're done.

8. Boiling Water

If you can find the source of the ants outdoors, try pouring boiling water over the anthill. My grandmother swears by this method, and she'll occasionally mix in some dish soap in a 1:1 ratio. Try pouring atop the anthill two or three times in a single day for the best results.

What natural solutions have you tried to deal with ants?

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