13 Ways To Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

13 Ways To Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

Kitchen
Cleaning
How To
By Mateos Glen Hayes April 13, 2022

No one likes having an ant problem in the kitchen. Having an ant infestation means any food you leave out becomes instantly covered in swarms of the little critters. Beyond being a mere annoyance, ants can also be a real problem for sanitary reasons since they cause food to rot.

Tiny ants on the kitchen counter are a sign that there are much more of them close by. While it may not be easy to get rid of ants, there are plenty of ingenious ways to keep small ants in the kitchen at bay.  

1. Seal Off Entryways 

Seal up cracks to keep ants out.

Seal up cracks to keep ants out.

Ants can come through any hole or crevice, no matter how small. Any gaps between your worktop and your kitchen walls, or any cracks in your walls can act as a point of ingress for the tiny critters.

One way to keep the tiny black ants in your kitchen out is to seal off any means of entry. This may not stop the ants completely, but it will greatly reduce the number that can get in. 

2. Check Houseplants and Your Garden 

Ants like hanging out in your houseplants.

Ants like hanging out in your houseplants.

If you have houseplants, they can act as a sanctuary for ants. Ants love to dig in the soil, so it's a good idea to check your potted plants and also to look in your garden if you have one.

Destroying any ant colonies you find in these areas is the most straightforward way to defeat an ant infestation in your kitchen. After all, ants are far less likely to cause you problems if their colony is not near your home.  

3. Borax is the Answer 

Borax is a potent ant killer.

Borax is a potent ant killer.

Borax bait traps are a universal solution that can help with a lot of pests, and this is for good reason. Because of its chemical qualities, borax is toxic to ants and most living things. When ants eat borax, it slowly destroys them from the inside out and eventually kills them.

The benefit of this method is that once the ant dies, other ants will eat it and therefore also be poisoned by the borax. Borax can therefore quite effectively decimate an ant colony. However, borax can also kill plants, harm pets, and cause skin irritation, so be sure to handle it with care and use it sparingly. 

4. Remove Food Sources 

Keep your kitchen clean to keep the ants away.

Keep your kitchen clean to keep the ants away.

Food is the main thing that will bring ants into your kitchen anyway. A messy kitchen that is overrun with garbage and crumbs is going to be a lot more attractive to pests in general, so it's a good policy to keep your kitchen clean.

Regularly cleaning won’t get rid of ants if you already have them, but it will make an infestation less likely, and prevention is also important.  

5. Silicon Options 

A chemical solution to your ant problem.

A chemical solution to your ant problem.

Silicon dioxide, also known as diatomaceous earth, is a form of silica that can be quite effective against ants. This solution works by dehydrating ants, thereby killing them rather quickly.

Because silicon dioxide is an irritant, it is recommended you wear gloves when using it and avoid getting any on your skin. Diatomaceous earth can be found in a food-grade form in online stores. 

6. Buy Some Lemons 

Lemon solution tends to confuse ants.

Lemon solution tends to confuse ants.

For a truly natural solution, lemons can be great for repelling ants and keeping them out of your kitchen. Lemons have a great ability to mask and absorb odors which makes them quite useful as a homemade cleaning product. This quality also makes lemons usable as a potent ant repellent.

Ants rely on pheromone trails to navigate, and the scent of lemons can disrupt this, making it difficult for the ants to find their way back to your kitchen. Plus, any food smells will be masked by a citrus scent that ants aren’t a huge fan of. 

7. Give Them Coffee 

Wet coffee grounds repel ants.

Wet coffee grounds repel ants.

It may sound strange, but giving your ants coffee - specifically coffee grounds - will keep them away quite effectively. Coffee is toxic to ants as it is to most insects, as the caffeine that gives you your morning high is meant to keep bugs from eating coffee plants.

Simply sprinkle some coffee grounds on an index card or a napkin that has been placed on your countertop perhaps to keep away the tiny ants around your sink or near pet bowls. Freshly brewed coffee grounds are recommended as the grounds are most effective when they are moist. 

8. Cornstarch Killer 

Smother ants with this baking ingredient.

Smother ants with this baking ingredient.

Cornstarch is another readily available grocery product that can help to fight off ants. Cornstarch is not poisonous to ants, but can easily be used to smother them.

One way of doing this is to just dump some cornstarch on an ant ‘platoon’ and then add water, which will lead to the ants becoming encased in cornstarch, at which point you can easily clean them up. Another way to get ants with cornstarch is to cover them in the stuff and then vacuum them, after which it’s crucial to throw away the vacuum bag as soon as possible.   

9. Medieval Methods 

Scalding water kills ants instantly.

Scalding water kills ants instantly.

In the dark ages, it was a common tactic for the defe’∂ders of a fortress to pour hot liquids onto invading soldiers. You too can fight off the tiny invaders known as ants and keep your fortress safe with boiling water.

Pouring hot water into an ant colony will instantly kill large numbers of ants. While this probably won’t kill the entire colony, it will reduce their numbers and help keep them at bay. Doing this repeatedly can also force a colony to move which can also be helpful.  

10. Traditional Oils (Neem Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil)

Essential oils prevent ants from returning.

Essential oils prevent ants from returning.

There are two oils that are especially effective natural remedies for an ant infestation in your kitchen. One of these is Neem oil. This organic oil comes from the neem tree that grows in India, and it is especially effective for keeping aphids and other pests off of plants.

Since ants eat aphids, killing the aphids will hurt the ants as well and keep them from coming into your garden and your houseplants. Another essential oil, cinnamon leaf oil, can also be quite helpful in dealing with ants specifically in your home.

Simply soak some cotton balls with the stuff, and then place those cotton balls in areas where you commonly see ants appear. This will keep the ants from coming to your home since they hate the smell of the oil. Just be sure to replace the cotton balls regularly so that the repellent remains effective.  

11. Eucalyptus Oil 

No insect likes the strong scent of eucalyptus oil.

No insect likes the strong scent of eucalyptus oil.

Lemon eucalyptus oil has a strong fragrance which can be quite effective at masking unpleasant smells. Eucalyptus oil is also a pretty effective insect repellent and can work against a wide range of unwanted critters.

Using the cotton ball method, eucalyptus oil has a similar effect to lemons by masking pheromone scents and therefore preventing ants from making their way back to your kitchen. 

12. Christmas Surprise (Peppermint) 

Perfect for candy and great for defending against ants.

Perfect for candy and great for defending against ants.

You may like peppermint in your candy and maybe even in your ice cream, but ants hate it due to its strong scent. For this reason, peppermint oil may be quite effective for repelling ants.

All you have to do to use peppermint as an ant repellent is to mix at least ten drops of the stuff with two cups of water and then spray this mixture on surfaces where you see ants often. You’ll have to spray every week so that the repellent stays effective. 

13. Detergents and Cleaning Agents 

Cleaning agents make it hard for ants to get around.

Cleaning agents make it hard for ants to get around.

Some old cleaning habits should be avoided, but traditional cleaning agents still have considerable benefits. They represent a less natural but still effective way of keeping ants away. Detergent, glass cleaner, or some other chemical cleaning agent can be used to confuse the ants in your kitchen. As with essential oils, the strong scent of most cleaning agents works to mask food smells that attract ants. Cleaning agents also destroy pheromone trails that allow the ants to get around.

If you are ok with using a solution that isn’t natural, detergents can be a more long-term solution because the scent lingers longer than with many natural oils.

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

comments

Under Construction - Coming Back Soon!

We are currently working on bringing you an improved experience. Please leave your name and email address and we'll let you know as soon as we relaunch.