Natural Pest Control: Get Rid of Ants With Simple Household Ingredients

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:28:50 PM ET
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The United States is home to 700 different ant species. These small insects can be a nuisance inside and outdoors. Traditional ant killers contain chemicals like imiprothrin, cypermethrin, and hydramethylnon. Most of the active ingredients can irritate skin if it comes into contact with it. Pesticides can pose a risk to children, pregnant women, and the elderly. 

Are you looking for a way to get rid of pests without using harsh chemicals? There are several homemade ant killers and repellents that you can make with ingredients you probably already have at home. 

Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar

For a simple do-it-yourself (DIY) ant killer, look no further than your baking shelf. All you need is baking soda, powdered sugar, and a shallow bowl or container. Mix the two ingredients in equal amounts. Place it in shallow containers. Use several containers placed strategically.

The powdered sugar lures ants in. Ants will carry the mixture back to their nest to eat. Once they do, the baking soda disrupts their chemistry and kills them.

Soap and Water

Kill the ants inside your home and mask their scent to prevent the rest of their colony from finding their way inside. Ants have pheromones that help guide others to follow them. Thwart the hoard by mixing warm water and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.

Shake to mix the ingredients and spray it right on any ants you find. The soap and water coats their bodies, suffocating the ants, and washing away their scent. The remainder of their colony should redirect its efforts.

Vinegar and Water

Vinegar's strong smell repels ants. When mixed with an equal amount of water and added to a spray bottle, you can use it as an ant killer. Spray it right on the ants and wipe them away to get rid of them. To repel ants, use the same solution. Spray it around perimeters, doorways, and windowsills to keep them away.

Borax, Sugar, and Peanut Butter

Many people use borax for cleaning and laundry. It's also a useful ant killer. Mix it with peanut butter, sugar, and water. Place the mixture in a plastic container with holes punched in it. The sugar and peanut butter attract ants. The borax kills them. Borax is also poisonous to pets — make sure you keep your household animals away from it.

Cayenne Pepper

Ants don't like this hot spice. If you're out of cayenne, you can substitute black pepper with equal success. Find where ants are swarming. If possible, identify where they're coming into your home. Sprinkle pepper over infestations and create mounds as a barrier to keep ants out.


When an ant comes into contact with cinnamon, it inhales the spice and dies from suffocation. Sprinkle ground cinnamon near a line of ants. Add it to areas ants are entering your home or sprinkle it around the opening of an anthill. To repel ants, mix several drops of cinnamon essential oil with water. Spray it around windows, cracks, doors, and ant trails to repel them.

When to Call for Help

If you've tried natural methods without success, consider calling an exterminator. Ants are mostly a nuisance, but they also can spread bacteria, damage the structure of your home, or even sting you, depending on the type of ant you're dealing with. Pros can assess the situation and explain treatment options to eliminate the problem when DIY methods fail.