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Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

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photo of ants eating a scrap of onion

Have ants taken up residence in your home? The kitchen can be a challenging place to get rid of ants since there are so many sources of food. This is a guide about get rid of ants in your kitchen.

Solutions: Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Using Vinegar to Get Rid of Ants

I live in what used to be an orchard, so as the weather warms, I get ants coming in. My solution, the natural way, is to keep white vinegar in a spray bottle in the kitchen and in the bathroom. When I see ants, I spray to cover. I leave for a few minutes then go in and take a paper towel to wipe the counter; in the bathroom, they come in via the tub so after spraying I just use the shower head and rinse. Since vinegar is an antibacterial, I get twice the benefit, it kills the ants and gets rid of odors at the same time (it may take a few times for the ants to get the message). Plus it's not toxic to the pets and humans living in the house.

By Dee from Salem, OR

Tip: When You Get Ants, Make Lemonade!

Well, don't really make lemonade, but I read in an old fashioned tip book that ants don't like lemons. When I got ants in my pantry, I took an old bottle of lemon juice, dampened my cleaning rag with it and wiped down the shelves and walls. The ants went away and haven't come back. I also cut up lemon peels and sprinkled them around a ant bed beside my patio and they left. I have used the lemons several times and it has always worked for me.

Source: An old book whose title is missing.

By Elaine from OK

Tip: Use Pledge to Deter Ants

Follow the ants' trail and try to find where they are entering from. Spray the area with lemon scented furniture polish (Pledge) and they will stop entering the house, kitchen, or wherever you see them. You may have multiple areas where they are coming in, so you would have to spray all of them.

In my experience, I only had ants in an isolated area so it was pretty easy to find the source, on the floor baseboard from a crack in the the front of the house. I simply sprayed the furniture polish in that spot inside and left it. I didn't wipe it up or clean it off. I never saw ants again in the five years I lived there!

Ants will come in from somewhere and go towards food sources so you might not necessarily have them coming in where you store the food. Hopefully this helps!

By

Tip: Safe Way to Get Rid of Ants

I found this online doing a search. I tried it, and it worked fast and easily. I took cornmeal and poured a bit of it near the door where the ants were coming into the house. Within 2 days, they were all gone. I didn't have to worry about my nosy dogs getting into something poisonous.

By KatherineC from Reno, NV

Tip: Getting Rid of Ants Without Chemicals

Use Vinegar! We had this problem in one of our apartments. The ants literally went from our balcony sliding door right to the dog food. I put vinegar in a spray bottle, sprayed the track of the sliding glass door, the balcony, and the carpet to the dog dish and under it. No more ants. I've done this in my current home on counter tops, door frames, carpets, everywhere. No worries.

I don't know if this would work in the garden since vinegar is also a short term weed killer, but it may work on the ant mounds.

By lkaserman from Adelphi, MD

Tip: Ant Repellant Spray

Materials

  • one spray bottle
  • 3/4 full of water
  • 4 tsp. of peppermint oil (go to GNC)
  • 3 Tbsp. liquid dish soap

Instructions

Shake and spray where you see ants. It smells nice and can be used outside too. Have sprayed at wasps and they have flown away. You might have to use a few times before no more visible ants. Can be sprayed on wall or floor.

By 1bettybooper from St. Louis, MO

Tip: Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth For Ants

We have 2 cats and small children around and even if we didn't have the cats or the small children, I wouldn't want to use the chemicals and poisons that are in insect repellants, sprays, traps, etc. that are being sold in today's markets.

We use the food grade only diatomaceous earth for everything, and we can sprinkle it all over countertops, floors, furniture, in cabinets and cupboards, closets even if food is right there, and if it gets into the food, that's not a problem as it will not hurt you, your children or your pets. It'll sure make all the bugs disappear including those busy little ants who invade even the tiniest crevice and crack they can find.

Just be sure that it is "food grade" diatomaceous Earth, and nothing else. There is a diatomaceous earth used for swimming pools, and in gardens which kill slugs and snails, and other pesty things that chew all your leaves off everything. That's fine for the garden and pool, you just don't want it in your house at all. If you cannot find the food grade DE at WalMart or your local plant nursery, order it online.

If you want your pets to be free of all parasitic vermin like tape worms, etc, just sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of food grade diatomaceous earth into their food 2-3 times a week. You can put it directly on your pets (being careful not to get it in their eyes, or nose as it's dusty and will choke them if they get too much at one time. Dust it into their fur to help them stay free of fleas and tics.

It's wonderful to use in all farm animal foods as it'll keep them free of the various parasitic little vultures that attack them too.

I will repeat once more: Be sure you buy the food grade variety of diatomaceous earth. It's by far the best and easiest way to take care of all those ants and other things that aggravate us and make us and our animals sick.

Hope this helps.

Source: We've been using this so many years that I have no idea where it came from. If I had to guess, I'd say probably Mother Earth News.

By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

Tip: Cooking Oil Spray Kills Kitchen Ants

I learned today that the cheap nonstick cooking oil spray kills black kitchen ants on contact, even if it lacks the ability to keep them from coming back.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

Tip: Natural Ant Deterrent

My parents lived in Africa and had an infestation of army ants. A local boy gave my mother some brilliant advice; put ash in a ring around the house. The ants will be tricked into thinking there is a forest fire. My mother did this in a great panick to stop the ants swarming over me as a new baby and, like magic, the ants disappeared! I have an infestation in my kitchen at the moment so plan to put ash across the threshold where they are coming in and post a note if it does the trick on English black ants.

By

Tip: Talcum to Deter Kitchen Ants

Every year ants invade my kitchen for a few weeks in June. Last year, they almost drove me crazy until my daughter gave me this tip. I sprinkled talcum powder across the threshold of the door and they will not cross it. It must be talcum powder. It really worked.

By Lilac from Springfield, MA

Tip: Use Cinnamon To Deter Ants

To get rid of ants in the kitchen I sprinkle cinnamon on them and around the spot that they seem to be interested in. My local dollar store is a great source for cinnamon. The ants came marching in to the dog and cat food bowls and I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon.

Source: I really don't know where I learned this, possibly from Organic Gardening or Mother Earth News years ago or it could have been from my Mom because she was a true organic gardener.

By Linny from Roundup, MT

Tip: Hot Sauce for Ants Around Sink

I put a little hot sauce bottle, that was empty, with a small amount of water in the bottom, by the kitchen sink. When I see ants, I shake it on the area and wipe up with paper towel.

I have been happy with the results, so I am going to get a full bottle of it and use it undiluted, and also pour some into my dish soap and water mixture in my spray bottle. I have warned everyone what I have done. Even though I wipe the counter with a dry paper towel or tissue, the ants know it is there somehow.

By

Tip: Cucumber Peel to Deter Ants

I use a peeled strip from a cucumber, the green skin. Lay it down where they are. It works even when dried up. Does not harm pets or children.

By

Tip: Brown Ants Gone For Good

No games by scaring these little pests. Just use "Eggo" syrup or other pancake or waffle syrup , and some powdered 20 Mule Team Borax.

Mix 60% syrup to 40% Borax very well. Place mixture on a plate or something NON-porous, like shiny flat cardboard. Leave it in a place frequented by the little varmints. When they are all at the feedbag, they are fattening up so they can take some back home. This mixture will KILL all ants within 12 hours at their house, not yours. The next day, you will NOT see any more ants. Throw away the paper or cardboard with the remaining Dinner.

Guaranteed to KILL ants, and NOT scare them! Do not use Borax around where your pet can get at it. Too much borax in the mix will cause them not to indulge.

Source: My Mom .

By

Tip: Deter Ants with Bay Leaves

To deter ants from invading your house, find out where they are getting in and lay bay leaves along their track - they will go away fast!

By Gill E.

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Questions

Here are questions related to Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen.

Question: Ants in the Kitchen

We have got ants everywhere in the kitchen. How can I get rid of them?

By Alec


Most Recent Answer

By Sandy Ochsner A.08/05/2013

We have ants that live under the slab Of our house in the dirt. They come up thru The cracks and I don't like to use bug killer Sprays indoor because of our cats.
What really works, sometimes they will come In thru another crack but then you just repeat, What really works is "Skin So Soft" Oil in the Spray jar from Avon. Really, really works.

Question: Getting Rid of Ants in Dishwasher

How do I get rid of ants in the dishwasher without a lot of expense?

By Joan


Most Recent Answer

By Denise G.10/16/2012

To get rid of the ants try 20 mule team borax around the outside of the outside of the dishwasher.

Question: Getting Rid of Tiny Ants

I seen people saying apple cider vinegar works to get rid of the tiny ants. I was wondering if it really worked and have also seen people saying peppermint oil, would peppermint extract work? We can't tell/see where they are coming from because of the way our kitchen is built/setup. I am using the baking soda/powdered sugar trick and they are running away from it, it seems they are attracted to water only, from what we have tried. So I was wondering if the apple cider vinegar and water, or apple cider vinegar and peppermint extract would work? or even peppermint extract with water. Please help! I am getting annoyed with the ants, seeing as how they are in the kitchen and taking over. And we don't have very much money, so I am trying to use what I have to kill the ants and keep them away.

By Christa


Most Recent Answer

By weinerdog41 [32]10/01/2013

Cinnamon will deter ants. In the past when I've had them I sprinkled cinnamon on my kitchen counter tops behind small appliances like my toaster. I sprinkled it inside my kitchen cabinets near the back walls and in the floor of the pantry. Worked for me.

Question: Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

Please help I have ants are all in my kitchen.

By


Most Recent Answer

08/17/2012

This sounds so weird but it has worked for me a few times when I can find the origin of the trail and the ants aren't too bad yet. Spray the area where the ants are coming from outside and all the ants on the trail inside with a high alcohol content body spray (the perfumed kind) and then don't clean up the ants or the body spray for a day. Or since it's probably the high alcohol content that is doing the trick perhaps just put some isopropyl alcohol in a bottle and spary with that instead.

If they are really, really bad and you can't find their entry of origin go to your local hardware store and get the Combat ant disks that have 'guaranteed in 24 hours' written on the package and put one under your refrigerator and one under your stove. How these work is the ants put the poison'food' in them in their mouth, carry it back to the nest, feed the queen ant with it, the queen ant dies from the poison and the entire colony dies because she died. Ant those particular disks indeed work in 24 hours ;-)

PS - My indoor kitty cat does not lick up the perfumed spray/dead ants and she can't get to the disks under the refrigerator or stove so am pretty sure other pets or children wouldn't/couldn't either.

Question: Ants in the Kitchen

I have tiny ant like bugs all over my kitchen. I keep all the water wiped from sinks and spray, but they just move to another area. I live in Georgia and I have never seen ants like this. They are really getting out of hand. Any suggestion on how to keep them out of my kitchen?

By Angie


Most Recent Answer

By jennifer [1]07/28/2012

Try sprinkling 7dust around your house. Also check for cracks in foundation and fill with a cement. You should be able to get a tube of filler at the hardware store.

Question: Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

How does one get rid of the small tiny ants that keep coming back almost every summer in the kitchen?

By John


Most Recent Answer

By Shirley [5]06/15/2012

I spray apple cider vinegar full strength along baseboard and door sill as well as on my counter tops. Kills the ants and won't harm you. It lingers quite a while to keep them away.

Question: Ants in the Kitchen

I am a vegetarian and try not to kill living things and this includes ants. Is there anything I can use to keep ants out of the kitchen without killing them?

By CuddlyDuck from Birmingham, West Midlands


Most Recent Answer

By Harlean from Arkansas [125]06/13/2012

I have used cucumber peelings scattered wherever you see the ants. This is a good remedy for your countertops, and windowsills, because they are safe to use in that environment. If you want to kill them, Terro is the best solution. Just a few drops on a small piece of waxed paper in a strategic place near their entry works well. Minutes after they discover it, they will form a circle around the drop to drink. You will not have to deal with them further for they will carry the "treat" back to their nest. And they will just disappear from your kitchen.
Harlean from Arkansas

Question: Getting Rid of Ants Inside

Does anyone have a suggestions on how to get rid of ants? They are on my kitchen counter and believe it or not in my bathroom! Please help.

By Kathy F.


Most Recent Answer

By coville123 [320]03/26/2012

When I first moved in I had alot of ants I sprinkled cinnamon in my pantry. I also sprinkled salt and borax all around the house where they might be coming in. I also sprinkled salt on the counters.I did this two years in a row and now I have no ants. Hope this helps.

Question: Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

I have ants in my kitchen; how can I get rid of them for good?

By Bobbie from Cotter, AR


Most Recent Answer

By Lilac [18]08/15/2011

Put a line of talcom powder across the place where they are coming in. They won't cross it.

Question: Getting Rid of Red Ants Inside

Can anyone please tell me how to get rid of tiny red ants in the house?

By EMG


Most Recent Answer

By vicki hood [4]08/09/2011

Karo syrup and about 10% 20 mule team borax in a squeeze bottle warmed just a tad so Borax dissolves. Squeeze into cracks and areas where pets cannot lick or ingest. Ants eat and carry back to nest. The nest including the queen is killed. Queens live up to 20 years and produce many more queens. Important entire colony is killed instead of just repelled with products that only repel the workers. The sticky is gone as the workers ate it. Same principle as Terro only simplified and inexpensive. Terro has only 4% Borax.

Question: Getting Rid of Sugar Ants in the Kitchen

I have had this problem with ants being in my room and in my kitchen. About a year ago I woke up to thousands of ants (sugar ants) in my bed and biting me all over! I just now got bit twice by another one of these tiny black ants. I'm just wondering how to get rid of them when they are in my carpet and just all over the house.

Also I'm wondering why it swells up so much when I get bit? Each bite is about the size of a quarter and it burns like I just got stung by poison ivy! I need to get rid of them!

By Annonymus from Manti, UT


Most Recent Answer

By Louise B. [5]07/31/2011

I think if you have thousands of ants in your bed, it is time to call an exterminator. This has gone way beyond home remedies.

Question: Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

How can I keep ants off my kitchen cupboard?

By Joann


Most Recent Answer

By Vick07/18/2011

Ants lay down a scent for other ants to follow. The thing to do is to get rid of their scent. Watch them and find out were they are traveling from and then wash down the path and where they have been with bleach and water.

Question: How Do I Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen?

I have these little brown ants crawling all over my kitchen counters, my sink, etc. and want to get rid of them. I have tried all kinds of things, but nothing works. I would like to know if anyone has a natural home remedy for getting rid of these pesky ants? It is kind of unappetizing to have these things crawling over the dishes and silverware and everywhere else!

By Linda from Brighton, MI


Most Recent Answer

By prematurely gray [2]09/20/2011

When they first showed up on my counters I sprayed them with kitchen counter cleaner (also any place/crevice they might have snuck in). I now have very clean counters and backsplash and seam under my window. After two days, I used a fine mist spray with straight vinegar after cleaning up after dinner. I will continue to do that.

Please note that I spray enough that where there are seams, some liquid will go down. I haven't seen any in two weeks. Happily I like the smell of vinegar.

Question: Infestation Of Tiny Ants

How do you get rid of those tiny ants once they are in your house? Is there a home based solution, other than an insecticide? We have found some in the kitchen, have sprayed and put out ant traps, but they are still around.

By John from Chicago, IL


Most Recent Answer

By susan [33]08/14/2010

You may want to have your home checked for termites. I say this because I had the same problem and found out I had termites that I didn't see. After treatment for termites I've yet to see any ants around my house now. Good luck. :)

Question: Ants Inside a Coffee Maker

How do I remove ants from the inside element of a coffee maker?

By chrispriv from Pembroke Pines, FL


Most Recent Answer

By Kathryen [5]06/05/2009

I had that problem many years ago and found it was the calcium deposts in the coffee maker that the ants were after! I stared using vinegar in the coffee pot overnight every few weeks to clean the calcium deposits out and that solved the ant problem in my coffee pot. I'm still battling ants in my kitchen but per hint on this site, I will buy a box of borax today!

Question: Ants In Stored Cereal

I have a pantry and I went to get some fruit loops out that was in a zipper bag and it had a lot of small ants in the bag. They appeared to be ants as they were rather small. Where did they come from and how do I get rid of them? Thanks in advance.

Mary from Mendenhall, MS


Most Recent Answer

By Cricket [201]04/06/2010

My mother had a rule of thumb she stored food by: If it doesn't come in a can or a bottle, it goes in the fridge!
Mine is similar to hers but not exactly the same: If it doesn't come in a bottle or a can, it goes in a Lock & Lock container (they now have generics that are equally as good). If it can't go in one of those, it goes in the fridge.

Lock & Lock (and the generics) have a tight fitting seal around the top that not only keeps the bugs out, but also keeps the freshness in. I have brown sugar in one that I've had for 6 months and when I pick the container up it moves around just like it did the day I first put it in there. No hard clumps at all.

They can be a bit pricey, but I've noticed lately that the Dollar store has started carrying the generics too and have bought several from there and been just as satisfied.

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By Trish [2]07/14/2011

Have not tried this but read somewhere that ants hate cucumbers and that if you place the peel where the ants come in, it will repell them away. And its harmless.

By Millicent07/13/2011

Windex works for me, just spray the critters and wait a bit, then wipe up. I also spray a light trail on the counter for a couple of days just in case.

By vicki09/16/2010

Cinnamon, works great.

By DeAnna09/16/2010

Cinnamon is the only thing that I've found that works on getting rid of ants and it's also safe around your pets or children. I placed it around my kitchen and used a turkey baster to get behind my counters and into the cracks. Not only does it make my kitchen smell really good but I haven't had ants since I put it down.

By Patricia Hamm [4]09/16/2010

I had those little buggers and found out by accident they hate Fantastic Heavy Duty cleaner that comes in a spray bottle. Simply spray them and in a few minutes wipe them up. I clean with this now and only occasionally do they get brave enough to try again. I simply spray them and the area around where I find them and wipe it away.

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Please help me to get rid of the ants! I do not leave any food out and I keep my kitchen spotless but ants are all around my sink, counters and wall in my kitchen.

Thanks

Geri in KY


RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

This time of the year they are "swarming," or just exploring. They will usually "just leave on their own." But you can use boric acid to create "defense lines," as it were. (05/05/2004)

By Dr. Jose

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I have found this stuff called "Tero" to work best on ants. The ants will take the Tero back to their nests to feed it to their queen which will end up killing the colony. They are attracted to its sweet tasting liquid. You can check with different stores, but I have found it in Lowe's, Home Depot, pharmacy's like Walgreens, and I found it in WalMart. If you can't find it, check with your local pest control company like Terminix and they can give you some ideas as to how to control them. (05/08/2004)

By Melissa

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Mix white vinegar with equal parts water. Put in spray bottle and spritz ants. Sudden death to ants and some other bugs and this is human and pet safe. (05/25/2004)

By M.B.Wright

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I have had the same problem for about 8 years. The only thing I have found, that works, is Terro. I find it takes care of them for a while. They seem to come back every couple months though, so I have a constant battle on my hands. (07/05/2004)

By Gale

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I use old fashioned grits, sprinkle them on your counter but don't get them wet. The ants love these and when they eat them the grits swell up and the ants die. Two things to remember: they must be the old fashioned grits (not the quick kind) and you must keep the grits dry away from moisture. (09/10/2004)

By Diana Dwyer

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I put cinnamon along the bottom of my doors leading to outside (it is pet friendly). This keeps the ants from entering the house. You can also use cayenne pepper (not as pet/child friendly). The ants do not like to cross either of these. (07/18/2005)

By melissa

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I had ant problems too, coming into my bathroom. Someone told me to sprinkle baby powder and that the ants wouldn't cross it. Guess what, it worked! gail2656 (07/18/2005)

By gail2656

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Ants absolutely hate peppermint oil. Sprinkle a few drops in area where ants are and they will disappear very quickly. (03/04/2007)

By Sharon

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Windex. Spray on counters, surfaces or directly on ants. It really works. (09/05/2007)

By lw

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I used to have a mobile home that was located way out in the country, and the ants liked to take up refuge in my kitchen. The small black ants (also known as sugar ants) didn't concern me as much. It was the ones that bite I hate. I was told to use salt, and plain and simple it worked. They just kind of went away. (09/28/2007)

By Tabitha

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Mix equal parts of 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Detergent and white sugar. You can put it in shallow jar lids or little pieces of aluminum foil or you can just sprinkle it on your counter tops. But try not to let it get wet. The ants will eat it and carry it back to the nest and feed it to the queen. This works for sugar ants. For other types, try Amdro Ant Block. This is a poisonous bait. You can also sprinkle the Amdro Ant Block on the ground around the perimeter of you house. You will have to reapply it every few months. But it will kill the ants before they come in your house. Wood ants are especially bad because they will destroy your house just like termites will. This bait won't work on termites, but it does work on wood ants and many other kinds of ants. (10/29/2007)

By Robert Howard

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Pure eucalyptus oil, not oil with a carrier, 1 part oil 4 parts water shake and use, spray using the finest setting. One or two sprays will kill some and the rest will go. Have to repeat as they return but after a few sprays over a few days, only the scout ants will come looking. Just give a very light spray, spray around the entry places and around any obvious food places like dog bowls etc. 50mm oil lasted me 2 weeks (02/06/2008)

By Bill-- Australia

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Terro isn't as good since they took the arsenic out of it. I have found that the little buggers just go away on their own eventually. Yes, they are annoying, and cayenne pepper, boric acid powder really work for short periods of time. (03/23/2008)

By Jan

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

Add ammonia to Windex or any glass cleaner, spray the buggers and mop them up with hot water. Repeat as needed. Works. (04/24/2008)

By Linny

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

I read a posting about using peppermint essential oil. Since I knew the ants were coming in from my outlet I put the oil around the face plate. I used a wet cloth to kill the ants that were already on my counter top, and that has ended my ant problem. Best part was I didn't use any toxins and my kitchen smells like peppermint. The results were immediate. (07/17/2008)

By Ray White

RE: Getting Rid of Ants in Kitchen

After having tried vinegar, cinnamon, and black pepper, which seemed to work to a point, I just tried dabbing peppermint oil around where the ants were coming in. I sat back and watched as they sped up, raced around, then disappeared! I just hope it lasts and they stay away! Thanks for the suggestion. (07/24/2008)

By Penelope

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