10 Ways to Keep Those Pesky Ants Out of Your Kitchen

Editorís note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on May 4, 2013.

I love springtime — except for the invasion of†ants in my kitchen that this time of year seems to encourage.

We all have our worst ant moments; mine happened when I was preparing to give my 5-year-old son his breakfast cereal, and discovered that the entire contents of the package were alive, moving with all the ants that had found their way in.

Maybe you’ve tried making a trail of sugar, with the idea of leading the little critters away from your home, but that hasn’t worked? So what to do?

Here are 10 tips for keeping those ants out of your house. Best of all, the “recipes” are all natural and involve items you’re likely to have in your home already.

1. Deterrence

The best way to get rid of ants is to prevent them from ever considering your home an easy target. Ants are tiny, and can find thousands of doorways that you didn’t even know about. But as much as you can, block those entryways.

2. Caulk

Continuing on this theme, try sealing with caulk any windows, doors and any cracks the ants crawl through. This will also give you better temperature control and lower energy bills, and is one of the least risky methods if you have kids or pets.

If those two don’t work, try†the next two deterrents:

3. Vinegar

Clean surfaces in your home with a half-and-half solution of white distilled vinegar and water. As an added bonus, this is a great mixture to use for cleaning in general, replacing detergents with polluting phosphorus. Vinegar works because ants hate its smell, and the vinegar removes the scent trails they use to get around.

4. Lemon juice

Just like vinegar, lemon juice also seems to destroy those scent trails that ants follow. Try spraying lemon juice around the places you think ants are using for entryways.

lemon juice

5. Peppermint oil

Here’s another super-easy one to try. Clean off your surfaces really well, and then wipe them down with a clean damp cloth that has a few drops of†essential peppermint oil on it. Ants seem to really dislike the smell, and it’s environmentally friendly,†as well as safe for humans and children. Not to mention, your kitchen will smell minty fresh.

6. Spices and herbs

Another deterrent to make your home smell awesome! Sprinkle black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, cinnamon, mint, chili pepper, cloves or garlic — whichever you have at hand — wherever you’ve seen ants and along your home’s foundation. You can also try placing†bay leaves in cabinets, drawers and containers.

7. Coffee grounds

Sprinkle your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house. If you can locate exactly where the ants are getting in, be sure to put some there. You should see them move away from your home because they dislike the smell of coffee grounds.

coffee grounds

8. Chalk and baby powder

Try drawing a line of chalk or sprinkle baby powder across the spot where the ants are entering your home. It works because talcum powder, an ingredient in both chalk and baby powder, is a natural ant repellent.

9. Cucumber or citrus peels

You can repel ants by leaving these peelings in areas of known ant activity. That’s because cucumber and citrus peels are toxic to the types of fungi that ants feed on, so they don’t want to go anywhere near them.

10. Dish soap

Put a very thin line of dish soap around baseboards, windows, doors and wherever else the ants tend to gather. You can also try pouring dish soap directly onto ant hills or mix the soap with some water in a spray bottle.

Related at Care2
Sick Butterflies And Ants Treat Themselves With Medicine
Zombie Ants Saved By Fungus-Castrating Fungus
10 Surprising Uses For Potatoes

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

1129 comments

Ruth S
Ruth S5 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M22 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M22 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M22 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M22 days ago

Thanks.

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Barbara M
Past Member 22 days ago

thank you

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Marie W
Marie W28 days ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jetana A
Jetana A29 days ago

Peppermint oil definitely works against tiny red "oil and protein" ants. But I hated the smell, so will try wiping my desk/table with lemon juice next season. Thanks for so many ideas to try!

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Jetana A
Jetana A29 days ago

Thankfully, ants will soon retire underground for the winter. I really hate when they get into a batch of quinoa cooling in my outdoor kitchen. 1 tiny ant can ruin a big bite of delicious food, which I found out when eating a handful of tiny native wolfberries (100 of them!). Nasty little devils!

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