Get Rid of Ants Cheaply and Naturally

Home Remedies for Ants

Search online for "ways to get rid of ants," and you're likely to turn up page after page of results, but which ones work and which ones don't? It's not so easy to decide. Save yourself the hassle of sifting through the lore, and give these cheap, natural and science-based ant remedies a try.

  • 01 of 06

    Vinegar

    Ant
    Paul Beard/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Wipe down your countertops, cupboards and any other places where you've spotted ants with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Repeat the process throughout the day to maintain the efficacy. In addition to repelling ants, vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner.

    Why This Works: Two reasons, really: ants hate the smell of vinegar, and it removes the scent trails that they use to get around. Observe ants for a little while, and you'll see that they all follow the same path in and out of your house. If you eliminate their scent trails, it will give you a serious leg up in the battle.

    Warning: Vinegar is not safe for natural stone countertops. If you have granite, marble, quartz or some other type of stone countertop, use your regular spray cleaner to wipe down your counters instead. It'll still help with the ants

  • 02 of 06

    Chalk/Baby Powder

    Chalk pieces
    MamiGibbs/Getty Images

    Draw a line of chalk in front of the spot where the ants are entering your home. It'll act as a barrier that they won't cross. Refresh your chalk line periodically, so it continues to work.

    Why This Works: No one is really sure. Some people think it's because ants don't like the calcium carbonate in the chalk. Others think it's because the chalk line interrupts their scent trails. Whatever the reason, it seems to do the trick. Try it, and see for yourself. This is one time you could even put your kids in charge of the pest control.

  • 03 of 06

    Borax

    Borax
    Borax. Erin Huffstetler

    Mix together equal parts borax and either syrup or jelly (borax and sugar also work). Then, place the mixture where the ants will find it. If you have small kids or pets, be sure to put it out of their reach. It may be natural, but it's still toxic.

    Why This Works: Once consumed, borax damages both the ants' digestive systems and their outer skeletons, which means certain death for them.

  • 04 of 06

    Herbs/Spices and Essential Oils

    Cinnamon
    Cinnamon. Matthew O'Shea/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Sprinkle cinnamon, mint, chili pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cloves or garlic in the area where you've seen the ants. Then, treat your home's foundation in the same manner. Placing bay leaves in cabinets, drawers, and containers can also help to deter ants.

    Certain essential oils have also proven to be effective against ants. Place a few drops of peppermint, citrus, eucalyptus or cinnamon oil on some cotton balls. Then, stick them in problem areas. Replace them as the scent wears off.​

    Why This Works: Many plants – including the ones listed – give off a strong scent to repel ants and other insects in the wild, and they work just as well in your home. Use something other than peppers, if you have pets or small children. The capsaicin in the peppers can irritate mucous membranes. Essential oils should also be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Coffee Grounds

    Coffee Grounds
    Coffee Grounds. Steven Brisson Photography/Moment/Getty Images

    Are you a coffee drinker? If so, get in the habit of sprinkling your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house.

    Why This Works: Ants are repelled by the scent given off by the grounds; and incidentally, so are cats. This makes them great pest control. Since coffee grounds are full of minerals, like potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, they also happen to be great for the soil in your garden.​

  • 06 of 06

    Cucumber/Citrus Peels

    Cucumbers
    Cucumbers. Ryo Takase/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Leave cucumber or citrus peels in areas of known ant activity to send them on their way.

    Why This Works: Cucumber and citrus peels are toxic to the types of fungi that ants feed on, so ants do their best to avoid them. If you're battling ants in your kitchen or bathroom, switch to cucumber or citrus-scented cleaners. For the best results, look for products that are scented with actual citrus or cucumber oils. Synthetic fragrances won't have the effect you're after.