We have received this question more times than we can even begin to count. The question of how to deter ants, repel ants, get rid of ants, etc. and all with the question of doing this frugally and naturally! Well there are ways to get rid of ants naturally and all of these ways are also frugal options as well!
There are foods and natural household products that are effective in it’s job. Now one thing to note is that many of these will need to be reapplied every few days. When you are not working with harsh chemicals, then it takes a bit more work to continue to see results. But the fact that you can do this for pennies and that it is safe for you and your kids and pets is all worth the extra effort.
Also, there are reports that some things work well and some not so well of the same idea. Basically this means that a bit of experimenting as many factors can affect how effective these solutions may be for your region, type of ants and more.
Ants hate cinnamon. It is often strong for us, so imagine an ant! You can sprinkle cinnamon in the problem areas, place sticks in window sills, or even use the essential oil version for a much more effective concentrated amount and stick the oil on a q-tip or cotton ball and place where you need it. Or create a cinnamon spray with cinnamon essential oil and witch hazel or vinegar. Note that we also use cinnamon in our cleaning products, so it is an oil that you can get many uses out of!
Ants also hate the smell of peppermint. But this one is pretty much going to only be effective in an essential oil form. Peppermint candies won’t work as the sugar is an attractant. Like the cinnamon, stick the oil on a q-tip or cotton ball and place where you need it. Or create a peppermint spray with peppermint essential oil and witch hazel or vinegar. Note again that we also use peppermint in our cleaning products, so it is an oil that you can get many uses out of!
Black pepper can also be effective in deterring ants. Just sprinkle in the problem areas!
Cayenne pepper may be more effective of the two peppers. But if you have pets, they may not like this so much either!
Clove is very similar to cinnamon. And so this can also be a great option if you have clove on hand! Clove also comes in an essential oil form and you can also use clove on a toothache for natural relief (just an extra tidbit :)). You can sprinkle clove in the problem areas. For the oil version stick the oil on a q-tip or cotton ball and place where you need it. Or create a clove spray with just like the cinnamon version by mixing with witch hazel or vinegar.
Citrus oils or peels (or cucumber)
First, if you use the citrus peels or the cucumber peels – these are toxic to the types of fungi that ants feed on and so ants naturally avoid them and will go another direction. However, these can also rot easily (especially cucumber) so using them outside might be best. For indoor use, use the citrus oils in just the same manner as mentioned above.
Leave full dried bay leaves in problem areas, in cupboards and other spaces. Dry bay leaves will not rot in your cupboards and keep the ants out!
Tape (Masking is a good one!)
For an immediate and temporary fix, place tape sticky side up around the foods/areas you want to protect. Kids and pets also like to play with “sticky side up” tape, but it can be an immediate fix! Masking tape is the easiest one to work with in this capacity!
Interestingly enough, ants don’t cross chalk lines. So draw some chalk lines where needed. On most surfaces in your home, chalk will not damage it, but be certain before drawing all over your house like a toddler.
Dish soap spray
Make a spray of dish soap and water – a pretty strong solution of it of 1 part dish soap to 4 parts of water. The soap will wash away/kill the pheromone trail that ants leave, preventing other ants from finding the trail. This one should be used in conjunction with a deterrent – get rid of the trail and then deter them from starting again with the other ideas!
Borax and sugar
Create a mixture of borax and sugar. Basically, equal parts. You can also put this in a tuna can or a baby food jar with holes poked in the lid to trap them. The sugar attracts them, but the borax kills them. You can also use Boric Acid – but note that Boric Acid is toxic and dangerous for pets and kids. Borax is not. Boric Acid is created by mixing borax with sulfuric acid. Read about the safety of Borax HERE. I recommend using the Borax instead as this is a safe and natural option for your home, family, pets.
Baking soda and sugar
Same concept and action and the borax and sugar above – just another option.
Same concept as chalk, it is not toxic to ants, but a simple line of baby powder deters them as they will not cross the line.
White Distilled Vinegar
Spraying straight vinegar in your problem areas not only deters ants, but also kills their pheromone trail to keep other ants from finding the trail. As a note, make this far more effective and keep the vinegar smell at bay for you and your family by including the essential oils listed above!
Finally, we have a super popular recipe on our site to replace commercial carpet deodorizers with a natural version. This version also works on furniture and mattresses, along with rugs. In addition, if it is made a little wet – you can scrub it into stains on carpets, rugs, furniture and mattresses. Well….. why am I telling you all of this and how does it relate? Well, the oils and ingredients used in this product also deter common household pests, including ants! So if you use this on your carpets by sprinkling on before you vacuum and wait 20-30 minutes before vacuuming, your carpets will be cleaner and brighter, but the ants will not want to go near them! See the recipe HERE for homemade carpet deodorizer!
Also, you can make a natural bait trap by mixing any of these ideas in with borax in a tuna can or a glass baby food jar with holes poked through the top.
Note: for the Essential Oils – we wanted to share with you where we get 100% pure essential oils for less. Find affordable essential oils that will also be used for cleaning in our 7 Best Essential Oils for Cleaning HERE (and a $10 off coupon code). Remember that a small 15ml bottle of essential oils has approximately 300 drops of oil and lasts forever!
See our Homemade Products Gallery to save money making your own products