How To Get Rid Of Ants In The House

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Perhaps they are in your home for food, shelter, or water. Whatever the case, ants are not something you want in your home. Their teamwork and determination are commendable, but having them march across your kitchen or living room is a different story altogether.

These industrious little creatures are relentless and seem to appear out of nowhere, forming unwelcome trails in pursuit of crumbs and moisture. An ant infestation is a problem you want to solve quickly.

Fortunately, there are ways to bid farewell to these uninvited guests. Let’s uncover the effective ways to get rid of ants in your house.

What Are The Most Common Ants In The House?

how to get rid of ants in the house

Before we tackle the steps for eliminating ants, let’s look at the types of ants you are more likely to find at home.

  • Odorous House Ants: You commonly find these ants in kitchens or areas with sweet or greasy food. They emit a foul smell if you crush them.
  • Argentine Ants: These ants form large colonies and often nest near moisture sources, such as in bathrooms or around plumbing.
  • Carpenter Ants: They’re often found in moist or damaged wood and can damage structures.


  • Pavement Ants: These ants build nests in cracks in pavement or foundations and are commonly found in basements and along sidewalks.
  • Pharaoh Ants: Known for being difficult to control, these tiny yellow ants prefer warm, humid areas and can nest in wall voids or behind baseboards.
  • Acrobat Ants: Identified by their heart-shaped abdomen, these ants often nest in damp or decayed wood. You can also find them indoors sometimes.

How To Get Rid Of Ants In The House

get rid of ants in the house

1. Seal Entry Points

Ants typically go into your house through cracks or openings, so your first line of defense is sealing them. Common entry points include gaps around windows, doors, pipes, and cables entering the house.

Seal gaps and cracks with high-quality caulk or silicone sealant appropriate for the material you’re sealing. In addition, repair or replace tears or gaps in your window screens.

Also, apply weather stripping around doors and windows to create a tight seal. Furthermore, close any holes or cracks in the foundation, walls, or siding.

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2. Remove Food Sources

As you already know, the search for food is a major reason ants invade homes. Ants consume nearly everything we do, often eating leftover crumbs or food scraps, and are particularly enticed by sweets.

Therefore, drive ants away by wiping up spills and crumbs immediately, especially in the kitchen and dining areas. Moreover, keep food, especially sweets, honey, and syrup, in sealed containers.

Food particles can accumulate under and behind kitchen appliances, so clean them regularly. You should also dispose of garbage regularly and keep trash cans clean. As for the floors, make sure they stay clean to avoid crumbs accumulation.

If you have pets, don’t leave their food out for extended periods. Also, place pet food dishes in shallow dishes of soapy water to create a barrier ants won’t cross.

Aside from food, ants need water, so fix leaks promptly and ensure there’s no standing water around sinks, tubs, or anywhere else.

3. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

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This natural substance is harmless to humans and pets but deadly to ants. Diatomaceous Earth absorbs oils and fats from insects, including ants, dehydrating and killing them. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of food-grade DE along the ant trails and entry points, focusing on the ants’s most active areas.

Despite being safe for humans and pets, avoid inhaling the dust. Do so by wearing a mask and gloves when applying DE.

4. Vinegar

This versatile, common household product deters ants due to its strong scent and acidic properties. Mix vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) in a spray bottle, then thoroughly spray the solution along ant trails, entry points, windowsills, doorways, and other areas where you will likely find ants.

Consider cleaning your surfaces with a vinegar solution as well to remove ant trails and scent markers. This will disrupt their communication and foraging patterns.

5. Try Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar

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With this homemade ant killer, you can target an entire ant colony, as the ants will carry the mixture back to the nest, eventually affecting the whole population. However, keep in mind that while it is effective, it is slow-acting.

Combine equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar in a shallow dish or container. The sugar attracts ants, while the baking soda disrupts their digestive system. Once you have your mixture, place them where ants are active or entering your home.

Be patient because this remedy may take time to work. Also, monitor the bait regularly and replenish it as needed.

6. Lemon Juice

How to get rid of ants in the walls naturally

As an ant remedy, lemon juice functions like vinegar-  its acidic nature and strong scent act against these insects. However, that’s not all; lemons contain d-limonene, which is toxic to ants. Squeeze fresh lemon, mix the juice with water, then spray the solution where ants frequent.

You can also place lemon peels or citrus-scented essential oils near entry points or areas prone to ant activity to deter ants from entering. Additionally, wipe down surfaces with lemon-based cleaner, especially in the kitchen.

7. Essential Oils

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Some essential oils have strong scents ants find unpleasant; hence, they go a long way in ensuring you have an ant-free home. Suitable options include peppermint oil, tea tree oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil, thyme oil, lemongrass oil, and citrus oils.

Always remember to dilute essential oils with water or a carrier oil (like coconut or vegetable oil) because highly concentrated oils can irritate your skin or mucous membranes.

8. Pepper

Pepper, especially black or cayenne pepper, emits a strong odor that can interfere with the ants’ ability to follow scent trails and locate food. This helps get rid of ants since they rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate, communicate, and find food sources.

Sprinkle ground black pepper along the ant trails and entry points. You can keep ants from crossing these spots by forming a barrier with pepper.

9. Detergent


Detergents effectively eliminate ants by disrupting their exoskeletons and ability to function. The detergent breaks down the ant’s waxy layer, causing the ants to lose moisture rapidly through their exoskeletons, leading to dehydration and eventual death.

Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent with water in a spray bottle, then spray it directly onto areas with ants.

Also, wash surfaces or areas where ants frequent with a detergent solution. This erases the pheromone trails they leave behind, making it harder for other ants to follow and locate food sources.

10. Salt

You can also keep ants away by sprinkling salt strategically in different areas, making the environment unconducive. Salt absorbs moisture from the ants’ bodies, severely dehydrating them.

Salt helps disrupt ants’ trails, discouraging them from crossing areas with salt. However, these resourceful insects might find alternative routes or develop strategies to bypass salt barriers.

11. Boiling

Are the ants inside your house in a nest or concentrated in one place? Pour boiling water directly onto the nest or into the ants’ paths. The water will scald the ants and even destroy their habitat. However, be careful when handling boiling water to avoid burning yourself.

You could also damage surfaces sensitive to heat, such as some flooring and carpet types.

12. Boric Acid

You can wipe out an entire ant colony within just three weeks of boric acid exposure. Mix boric acid with a bait substance that attracts ants, such as powdered sugar, honey, or syrup, then put the ant remedy in places where you typically find ants.

Use boric acid with caution, especially in homes with children or pets, as it can be toxic if ingested in large quantities.

13. Cornstarch

If you intend to smother a lot of ants at once, get cornstarch. Here’s how you can kill ants with cornstarch.

  1. Generously sprinkle cornstarch over the entire cluster of ants and follow it by adding water. This will result in numerous deceased ants coated in cornstarch, making cleanup easier afterward.
  2. Alternatively, apply a layer of cornstarch over the ants, vacuum them up, and dispose of the sealed vacuum bag.

14. Commercial Ant Bait

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Place gel baits, liquid baits, or solid bait stations where ants often traffic. These baits typically contain a mixture of attractants and slow-acting insecticides that the ants take back to their colony, eventually eliminating it.

15. Ant Spray

To directly target ants, spray them with an ant spray, as it is fast-acting and effective. Use an ant spray designed for indoor use. However, note that ant sprays aren’t for use around pets and children.

16. Ant Trap

These devices attract ants and capture ants, typically using bait or a lure to entice the ants inside. Ant traps come in different forms, such as stations, gels, or containers filled. Besides baits, ant traps also have a toxic substance or adhesive material that prevents them from leaving.


While generally harmless, living with ants is unpleasant and irritating. Luckily, you do not have to, as there are many effective and easy ways to eliminate them. A more comprehensive ant control strategy combines methods like baits, sealing entry points, and keeping a clean home.

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