Banish Ants from Your Kitchen Forever: 10 Eco-Friendly Methods That Really Work

Learn how to get rid of ants in the kitchen naturally without using heavy chemicals. It’s always best to try these non-toxic solutions first before you go heavy on the chemicals! You’ll need to study your specific situation and see where the trails are coming in. 

Wherever the ants are coming in; you want to intercept them with some of these repellents and baits we discuss below. So, step one is to look for the line of ants!

Understanding Ant Behavior

how to get rid of ants in the kitchen

Learning about ant behavior will help you tackle an ant infestation in your kitchen. Ants are social insects operating within a highly structured colony. Each ant has a role, from the queen, who lays eggs, to worker ants searching for food to sustain their community.

What Attracts Ants? Ants are attracted to your kitchen primarily because it’s a reliable food source. They aren’t picky eaters; they love crumbs, spills, and sticky residues. Sugars and proteins, in particular, can bring ants running—or, more accurately, marching.

Following the Trail: Once a scout ant finds food, it uses pheromones to lay a trail leading back to the nest. These pheromone trails ensure that other ants in the colony can follow the path directly to the food source. It’s like they’ve drawn a map for their nestmates to embark on a treasure hunt. 

don't leave food sitting out

  • Ant Nests: Typically located in protected, moist areas. Outside, you’ll find them in soil, but in the kitchen, check under appliances or in wall cavities.

  • Pheromones: Cleaning can disrupt pheromone trails. A thorough wipe-down with vinegar or soapy water can temporarily disorient foraging ants.

Understanding these behaviors helps tailor your approach to natural ant control and can guide you in preventing future infestations. Keep your kitchen clean and monitor for early signs of ants to stay one step ahead.

Natural Ant Repellants

Learn more about how to get rid of ants in the kitchen naturally. Natural repellants can be highly effective in keeping ants away from your kitchen. Household items like vinegar and essential oils create a less inviting environment for ants.

Vinegar Solutions

White vinegar is a stalwart in the fight against ants due to its acidity, which disrupts their scent trails. You can make a simple vinegar solution by mixing equal water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz this mixture around entry points and the perimeter of your kitchen. Add a squeeze of lemon juice for potency—the citrus scent further repels ants.

Essential Oils – Like Peppermint Oil

Essential oils, especially peppermint oils, are excellent natural deterrents. Mix a few drops of mint essential oils in water and spray it in ant-prone areas. Reapply every few days to maintain the repellent effect.

Other essential oils, like cinnamon, can also help you get rid of ants in the kitchen naturally—the strong smell effectively confuses ants’ scent detection.

Check out this study (Fumigant Activity of Eight Plant Essential Oils Against Workers of Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta) which show how essential oils were able to control red fire ants!

Spices and Herbs – How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen Naturally

Spices such as cayenne pepper, ghost pepper, black pepper, and cinnamon sprinkled in areas where you notice ant activity can deter them due to the strong scents.

Similarly, placing coffee grounds near entry points can be a barrier. Ants are not fans of bold and intense aromas like garlic, so placing crushed cloves where ants enter can also help keep them at bay.

5 Herbs That Repel Ants in the Kitchen

Not only will these repel ants, but they can also help with roaches in cupboards too!

Basil

Basil is not just for your favorite Italian dishes; it’s also an effective deterrent against ants. Its strong scent masks their trail, keeping them away from your kitchen.

Mint

Mint’s potent aroma is excellent for freshening up your kitchen and is known to repel ants. Plant some in a small pot or place dried mint near entry points.

Rosemary

With its woody scent, rosemary can guard your kitchen against ants. Place sprigs around all kitchen countertops or cabinets where ants are a problem.

Thyme

Thyme releases a pleasant scent for you but confuses ants, disrupting their scent trails. Scatter a few leaves in areas where ants frequent.

Lavender

While humans may love lavender for its calming properties, ants and other bugs tend to avoid it. To keep these pests at bay, tuck sachets of dried lavender in drawers or cabinets.

Tansy

Tansy is notable for its ability to repel ants, flies, and some types of beetles. You can plant it in gardens or dried around the home.

DIY Ant Bait Solutions – The Best Way

Creating your own ant bait solutions is an efficient way to tackle ant problems in your kitchen. These homemade baits are cost-effective; you can make them using simple ingredients at home.

Borax Mixtures

ants eating borax mixture

The good thing about borax killers is that they can work on carpenter ants, sugar ants, fire ants, pharaoh ants, or almost any other type of ant. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Borax
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. Mix sugar and Borax in a bowl.
  2. Slowly add water until you have a syrupy consistency.
  3. Place small amounts onto pieces of cardboard and position them near ant trails.

Caution: Use at your own risk and Keep Borax mixtures away from pets and children.

If you are not sure if you have carpenter ants or termites – we can help!

Food-Based Baits with Borax

ants eating borax

Use at your own risk and keep it away from pets and children.

Ingredients:

  • Honey or peanut butter
  • A small amount of boric acid powder

Instructions:

  1. Choose either honey or peanut butter as a base.
  2. Mix in a minimal quantity of boric acid powder.
  3. Spread the mixture onto a piece of cardboard or a flat container.
  4. Position your bait station close to where ants enter your kitchen or where you see the most activity.

Tip: Alternating sweet and protein-based baits can target different species of ants.

*take the amazon affiliate link below into consideration, and just know that we earn a tiny commission if you finalize a purchase*

Use Terro Baits

TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Killer, 12 Bait Stations
  • Attracts & Kills – Kills common household ants including acrobat, crazy, ghost, little black, odorous house, pavement, and other sweet-eating ants
  • Kills the Ants You See & the Ones You Don't – As worker ants discover the bait, they share it with the rest of the colony to eliminate them all
  • Works Fast – You should see a significant decrease in the number of ants visiting the bait stations within just a few days
  • Ready to Use – Place the bait stations, watch it attract ants, and eliminate the entire colony
  • Use Throughout Your Home – Place stations near areas where you’ve seen ant activity including along baseboards, in corners, on counters, and more

If you place them strategically, they can wipe out the entire colony in 3-7 days. Use at your own risk and keep it away from pets and children.

Ingredients:

  • Terro liquid ant bait

Instructions:

  1. Purchase Terro liquid ant bait from a store.
  2. Place the bait stations according to the package’s instructions.
  3. Monitor the bait’s level and replace it as needed.

Note: While not a homemade solution, Terro baits are ready-made and contain Borax, which is effective against ants.

Sealing Entry Points

To effectively block ants from entering your kitchen, it is vital to identify and seal off their entry points. A thorough inspection will reveal gaps and cracks that need attention.

Caulk and Seal Cracks

Inspect your kitchen for cracks or gaps in walls, flooring, and around electrical outlets. Apply silicone caulk, a durable and flexible sealant, to these potential entry points. Ensure the caulk is smoothly applied, covering the entire crack or gap to create an impenetrable barrier.

  • Materials You’ll Need:
    • Silicone caulk
    • Caulking gun
    • Putty knife or similar tool for smoothing

  • Steps:
    1. Clean the area to remove any debris and ensure the caulk adheres properly.
    2. Cut the caulk tube’s tip, fit it in the gun, and apply the caulk.
    3. Use the putty knife to smooth out the caulk for a finished look.

Secure Window and Door Screens

Damaged or ill-fitting window screens and door screens provide easy access for ants. Check all of your screens for tears and holes. A screen repair kit can be used for small tears, while more significant damages may require replacement screens.

  • To Secure Screens:
    • Assess the screens for damage.
    • Utilize a screen repair kit for minor fixes.
    • Replace the screen entirely if the damage is beyond simple repairs.
    • Ensure the screen frame fits snugly in the window or door frame to prevent gaps.

By meticulously sealing cracks and securing window and door screens, you create a fortress against ants, helping keep your kitchen pest-free.

Preventive Measures

Implementing simple preventive strategies will help ensure that your kitchen stays ant-free. Here’s a breakdown of the practical steps to address common ant attractors.

Proper Food Storage

store food like cupcakes in airtight containers to help with ants

Keep all open food in airtight containers to prevent ant scouts from being attracted to the scents. Furthermore, seal all of your pantry staples, such as sugar, flour, and cereal. By storing food in airtight containers, you’ll minimize the chances of ants infesting open boxes of cereal and other food items.

Dealing with other bugs in your grains?

Check out our awesome pest-free pantry ideas!

Wipe Down Kitchen Counters

wipe down counters

Any tiny morsel of food or greasy stain can attract ants. For example, if you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and leave a little smudge of either ingredient, that can attract the ant scouts.

Maintain Cleanliness

maintain cleanliness to get rid of ants

Wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant to remove crumbs and spills immediately after cooking or eating. Regularly sweeping or vacuuming can significantly decrease the likelihood of ants finding a food source on your floors.

Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes in The Kitchen Sink

to get rid of ants don't leave dirty dishes in the sink

If you have an active ant colony around your kitchen, you definitely don’t want to leave dirty dishes in the sink. The ants will find them, and soon enough, you’ll have a trail of ants.

Control Moisture Levels

Fix leaky taps and ensure no standing water is present, as moisture attracts ants. Keep an eye on water sources like pet bowls. If you have an ant problem, you’ll probably see a few floating in your pet’s water dish. Use dehumidifiers or ventilate moist areas like under sinks to maintain a dry environment in your kitchen.

Don’t Free Feed Your Pets

Ants are attracted to pet food that sits in a bowl all day. The best thing to do is feed your pet scheduled meals. Whatever they don’t eat, you should pick it up and save it for later or dispose of it. Doing this will train your pet to eat the whole meal in one sitting. 

Houseplant Care

Monitor your houseplants for aphids or other pests that can attract ants. Keep the soil dry and clean up fallen leaves promptly. Consider natural deterrents, like cinnamon, around your plants.

Professional Ant Control

When faced with an ant infestation in your kitchen, consider seeking help from professional exterminators. These experts use their know-how and an integrated pest management plan to tackle your ant problem effectively.

Pest Control Companies use tools and techniques that adhere to their state and  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, ensuring safe and environmentally conscious solutions. They also offer natural pest control options that minimize harm to your family and pets.

Why Opt for Professional Services?

  • Expertise: Professionals have a deep understanding of different ant species and the best methods for their control.
  • Safety: Pest control operators follow strict safety protocols to protect your household.
  • Time-Efficient: A quicker way to deal with ants as experts have the right resources.

Here’s a brief overview for ant control and what you can expect:

   

Remember, while you can manage ants on your own, professionals offer safety, efficiency, and expertise, making them a worthwhile option for ant control in your kitchen.