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5 Home Remedies for DIY Ant Control

Ants crawling on a blue kitchen wall
Rapin_1981 / Shutterstock

It’s not uncommon for ants to start showing up in homes during the warm spring and summer months. Business owners, homeowners, and landlords can find it challenging to prevent these insects from getting inside and causing problems. However, there are home remedies for ants that can help you successfully get rid of them. These methods are effective for those who prefer not to use chemicals for ant control.

5 home remedies for ants

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon for ants might sound unusual, but it is an effective home remedy that helps keep them out of homes for good. Cinnamon works as a natural ant deterrent because they do not like its strong smell. This DIY ant killer works more effectively when you mix cloves or essential oil with the cinnamon because it produces a stronger smell.

Step-by-step guides for home remedies for ants like this one include adding between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil to a cup of water. Soak either cotton balls or a small piece of cloth in the mixture. Then, apply the mixture to all surfaces where you have seen ants. Continue using it until you no longer see signs of an infestation.

For those who would prefer using fresh cinnamon, just sprinkle this spice in doorways, entry points, and windowsills. The powder is also effective when you put it into cracks, gaps, or holes where ants might be coming into your home. You can also use cinnamon sticks to help deter ants. Place them in the ant’s path as a way of stopping them in their tracks. Cinnamon may be unsafe for pets, however, so choose a different method if you have cats and dogs at home.

2. Lemon juice

If you would prefer repelling ants instead of killing them, using lemon juice is an excellent option. This natural home remedy works because the smell and acidity of lemon affect an ant’s sense of smell. Without that, they are unable to find their original path.

The citrus smell should deter ants from creating a new scent trail. This trail helps other ants know where there is a food source. Using this ant deterrent involves putting lemon juice in a spray bottle. Then, spray down all of your home’s entry points. Use lemon juice daily until you no longer see any ants.

Another method for using lemon juice involves soaking cotton balls. Place the lemon juice-soaked cotton balls near all of your home’s entry points and any other areas where you see ant activity.

3. Baking soda and powdered sugar mixture

Using a mix of baking soda and powdered sugar is an extremely effective way of making DIY ant traps. For this ant control method to work, you must use confectioners sugar. Otherwise, the ants can separate the sugar from the baking soda. Home remedies for ants such as this one work because they take the mixture back to their colonies. The natural acidity in an ant’s body reacts with the baking soda and causes them to die.

This method involves mixing equal parts of baking soda and confectioners sugar with a couple of drops of water. Ideally, it should be a crumbly mixture that you can sprinkle wherever you see ants, including entry points, doorways, and windows.

You can also make these DIY ant traps by creating a paste from equal parts of baking soda and confectioners sugar and water. Do not make it too thin, or the ants will not be able to carry it back to their colonies. Place the mixture on small pieces of cardboard or paper wherever you see ant activity.

4. Coffee grounds

Homemade ant killer using coffee grounds is convenient because these are readily available in coffee shops and homes throughout the country. After you make coffee every morning, this is a great method for reusing the grounds. While this method will not kill ants, it works as a natural deterrent, as ants do not like the smell of grounds from freshly brewed coffee.

When ants approach these DIY ant traps, they will smell the used coffee grounds and march right in the other direction. This is an optimal method for those who prefer not to kill ants. Before placing the used coffee grounds anywhere in your home, allow them to dry out completely.

Apply the grounds every few days, and especially after it rains. Place the grounds in cracks, gaps, or holes where you see ant activity. It is effective to spread grounds around the perimeter of your home, as well as in your garden bed. Because coffee grounds can cause caffeine poisoning in cats and dogs, keep these DIY ant traps away from pets.

5. Peppermint

Many insects, including ants, dislike the smell of peppermint. It has a strong smell that works much like using lemon juice as an ant deterrent because it masks the scent trails ants naturally leave behind. Home remedies for ants such as this one do not work as a homemade ant killer. It simply prevents them from reentering your home.

Controlling ant activity using peppermint includes a few different methods. The most straightforward method involves mixing water with peppermint essential oil. All you need is approximately ten drops of the oil in a standard size spray bottle containing water. Then, spray that mixture along cracks, doors, windows, and other areas where you see ant activity. Spraying the solution and wiping it away is an effective method for eliminating the ant’s natural paths.

For anyone who would prefer not to use a spray, cotton balls soaked in peppermint work well. Wherever you see ant activity, place the peppermint-soaked cotton balls. Placing mint plants along the perimeter of your home is an excellent way to prevent ants from entering. This plant also prevents the infestation of other insects, including mosquitoes and spiders. Note that essential oils, including peppermint oil, are known to be toxic to pets.

The bottom line

There is no need to purchase chemical ant control solutions or traps to prevent them from coming into your home. Wherever you see ant activity, you can use any one of these five home remedies for ants. There are great options here, even if you have pets, and all of these choices will add a nice aroma to your home.


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