This guide reveals 11 home remedies for ants in the kitchen. You can use any of the products from the list to prepare a safe homemade ant killer that will evict ants from your kitchen overnight.
Plus, you’ll also find out the preventive measures to stop ants from coming back to your kitchen.
So, if ants in the kitchen are driving you mad, this guide is for you.
Let’s dive right in.
Why Are There Ants In The Kitchen?
Ants invade kitchens for two reasons – 1) food and 2) shelter.
The thinnest of gaps on your home’s and kitchen’s windows and walls are enough for ants to crawl into your kitchen.
When the weather gets warm outdoors, ants move inside your home to escape the heat.
Ants lookout for alternate places to hide, build their nests, and food sources in the summer.
Any species of ants can move inside your home. But the most common ones that sneak in are sugar ants, including carpenter ants and odorous ants.
Red fire ants are also home and kitchen invaders, especially in southern states like Florida and Texas.
Inside your home, ants look for damp places to hide. The closer it is to their food source, the better.
And there’s no better place than the kitchen that provides them both moisture and food. Dampness because of the constant usage of water and food makes your kitchen the prime real estate for ants.
Ants will look out for thin gaps and cracks on the walls, kitchen furniture, and floor to build their colonies in the kitchen.
They’ll feed on food stains and crumbs on kitchen cabinets, kitchen sink, counters, kitchen trash bins, and kitchen floor.
Ants won’t spare your food pantry either. Poorly stored food in weak jars that are not airtight will draw ants.
Add food spillovers on the pantry shelves, and there you go, ants in the kitchen have a lot to feast on.
Food deposits in electrical appliances like toasters, dishwashers, ovens, and gas stoves draw ants into them.
Ants can also sneak inside electrical outlets and sockets to build their colonies in the walls.
Ants can carry diseases too. They carry pathogens and bacteria like salmonella that can make you sick if they transfer it to your food.
Use These Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Ants In The Kitchen
Now that you know why and how ants get inside your home, it’s time to eliminate them naturally. If their numbers increase in the kitchen, then ants can spread to your bedroom and in other areas of your home.
Here’s the list of non-toxic ingredients that guarantees ant removal in your kitchen.
#1 – Boiling Water
Boiling water kills ants instantly. And it’s the simplest and easiest to make.
All you’ve to do is pour boiling water on the ants.
But to make it more effective, it’ll be best to pour it on the ants’ nests.
And locating ant nests can be a tricky job. But you can do it by following the ant trail.
Ant trails operate between their nests and their food source. A single ant will discover a food source, and the other ants will follow them.
They’ll carry the food crumbs back to their nests to feed to the queen and the larvae in their nests.
Follow the ant trail. It’ll lead to a hole or crack in a tight corner of your kitchen. Inside the crack is the ants’ colony.
Drill a few holes to make the crack bigger and unearth the ant’s nest.
Pour boiling water into the nest. It’ll kill the ants, their larvae, and the queen ant too.
But there’s a catch. Some species of ants, like the carpenter ants, make multiple satellite nests.
They do it to keep the queen safe. So, in that case, you’ll have to unearth multiple nests to ensure that you kill all the ants in the kitchen.
But remember, to get rid of ants in kitchen and home, it’s critical to destroy ants.
Many species of ants, especially carpenter ants suddenly disappear when winter arrives. They’ll go to their nests and hibernate only to re-emerge in the late spring.
#2 – White Vinegar
White vinegar is a cheap way to kill ants. Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water, pour it into a spray bottle and shake it well.
Spray the mixture where you’ve noticed ants. Do not skip places like the kitchen counters, cabinets, floors, and stove.
You can also spray it straight on the ants.
On top of being a cleaning agent, white vinegar kills ants. The acidic smell of white vinegar also helps in repelling ants and bugs.
Do not wipe off the mixture after spraying. Let it dry up.
#3 – Essential Oils
Essential oils are also helpful in eliminating ants from your kitchen. And they should be a part of your home remedies for ants in the kitchen.
Studies have shown that essential oils like cinnamon leaf oil contain trans cinnamaldehyde that kills and repels ants.
Other essential oils like Neem oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil also help get rid of ants in kitchen.
So, how to use essential oils to eliminate ants in your kitchen?
There are two ways to use them. First, add 10-15 drops of essential oils in 250 ml of water and shake it well.
Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it in your kitchen.
The second way is by soaking cotton balls in essential oils and keeping them in different corners of your kitchen where you’ve noticed ants.
#4 – Boric Acid
Another effective yet often overlooked ant killer is boric acid. Many people don’t use boric acid because they don’t see ants dying when they use it.
But you should.
The trick for using boric acid for maximum effect is to mix it with foodstuff that ants eat and keep it as a bait.
So, mixing it with sugar, cornmeal, or peanut butter and keeping it in places where you noticed ant trails will draw the ants to the mixture.
The ants will consume the mixture. They’ll even carry a bit of it to their nests too. The ants will die eating the bait with boric acid in it.
Boric acid is lethal for ants. It damages their digestive systems and kills them.
It’s not an instant killer. But it’s very effective, especially when you fail to locate the ants’ nests.
Let the ants carry the lethal mixture made of boric acid by themselves. And let the boric acid do its magic.
You can use Borax instead of boric acid.
But keep both the boric acid or Borax and the mixture out of reach of children and pets.
#5 – Diatomaceous Earth
Scatter diatomaceous earth anywhere you see ants. Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant that kills ants.
Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossils of marine organisms called diatoms, a type of plankton.
It cuts inside the ants’ bodies and absorbs the oils and moisture inside the ants. The exoskeleton of ants breaks, they get dehydrated, and the ants die.
You can scatter diatomaceous earth in places like your kitchen cabinets, pantry, and in the tight gaps and corners behind baseboards and kitchen appliances.
Use food-grade diatomaceous earth for your kitchen.
Avoid breathing in diatomaceous earth because it irritates when inside the nostrils.
It’s better to wear a mask while using diatomaceous earth.
#6 – Dish Soap Or Liquid Detergent
Mix dish soap in water and spray the mixture in your kitchen. Wipe off the surfaces with a piece of cloth.
The soapy water will remove the scent trails of pheromones that ants leave behind for the other ants to follow.
Ants move in trails by following the pheromone smell that the other ants leave behind. That’s how they reach their food source or a new nesting site.
Using soapy water is a great deterrent. It breaks off the ants’ communication and prevents them from entering your kitchen.
You can use hand soap or detergent soap to make the soapy water.
#7 – Black Pepper And Cayenne Pepper
Pepper of any type, black or cayenne, is a great ant deterrent. Ants hate the strong smell of pepper.
Sprinkle pepper in the corners of your kitchen, kitchen cabinets, pantry, and behind appliances to keep ants away.
#8 – Cinnamon Sticks
Another spice that helps keep ants away from your kitchen is cinnamon sticks. The spicy smell from cinnamon also repels bugs and ants.
And cinnamon is perfect for keeping ants away from places where you store food, like the kitchen cabinets and the pantry.
Keep a couple of sticks in these places to keep ants from invading your stored food in your kitchen.
Bay leaves also have the same effect as cinnamon sticks.
#9 – Coffee Grounds
Used coffee grounds are great ant repellants. The intense smell from the coffee grounds keeps ants away.
Keep one or two tablespoons of coffee grounds on your kitchen counters, pantry, and inside cabinets.
The smell from the coffee grounds will also prevent ants from entering your kitchen.
You can also use coffee grounds outdoors in your yard from where most ants enter homes.
There are minerals like potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium in coffee grounds. These minerals are suitable for the soil too.
#10 – Lemon Sprays
Next time when you make lemonade, make a little bit more. And pour it in a spray bottle.
Spray it in places where you noticed ant activities.
The smell from citrus fruits is also an ant repellent. And the lemon juice also prevents the growth of fungi, which is also a food source for ants.
You can also keep lemon peels on the corners of your kitchen. And use kitchen cleaners with lime or lemon in them.
The citrus smell of lemon repels insects and bugs, including ants.
#11 – Baking Soda
You can also prepare a home remedy for ants in the kitchen with baking soda.
Mix equal amounts of baking soda and grounded sugar. Keep the mixture in a bowl where you have noticed ant trails.
The ants will eat the mixture. They’ll carry some to their nests too.
The baking soda mixture will work the same way as boric acid does. It’ll mess up the digestive system of the ants and kill them.
How To Prevent Ant Infestation In Your Kitchen?
Getting rid of ants is essential. But the home remedies for ants in the kitchen will not be effective if you don’t take steps to stop ants from entering your kitchen.
And unless you take the following steps, the ant population in your home kitchen will grow. These ants will spread to other places in your home, including your bedroom.
Here’s what you can do to secure your kitchen from ants.
#1 – Seal Gaps And Cracks, The Entry Points For Ants To Get Inside Your Kitchen
Ants enter homes outdoors through gaps and cracks on the walls, windowsills, door frames, etc.
If there are any crevices, seal them.
Also, seal gaps and cracks on your kitchen walls, floors, kitchen furniture, and cabinets.
Ants exploit these crevices to hide and build their colonies.
For best results, use a silicone-based sealant. They’re strong, last long, and ants and bugs can’t chew through them.
#2 – Control Moisture Inside Your Home And Kitchen
Ants seek damp places to hide. And higher the moisture in your kitchen and home, the more it’s attractive for ants.
To control the moisture, fix water leakages inside your kitchen.
Check for any leaky pipes in the plumbing areas underneath sinks. Fix leaking faucets too.
If there are heavy damages to the walls and floors of your kitchen because of excessive moisture, repair them.
Damaged walls and floors become homes not just for ants but for pests like roaches, termites, and centipedes.
#3 – Maintain Cleanliness In Your Kitchen
Clean your appliances, kitchen sinks, and kitchen countertops of food stains. Do not let food crumbs lie in your kitchen for days.
Keep the kitchen trash bin empty. Dispose of kitchen waste lying in the kitchen trash bins daily.
Also, do not let stained plates and dirty dishes lie in your kitchen sink overnight.
The food deposits on stained plates start to decay and smell, which attracts ants and roaches.
#4 – Store Dry Foods In Thick Airtight Containers
Ants and pantry pests like flour bugs, weevils, and carpet beetles, can chew through thin plastic jars to access the stored food and destroy it.
So, store your dry foods in thick airtight containers.
Poorly stored pet food also attracts ants. So, ensure that you keep your pet’s food in thick airtight jars too.
Keep your kitchen pantry clean. Do not let food spillovers accumulate on the kitchen cabinets and shelves.
#5 – Keep Ant Traps And Baits
Ant baits are a great tool to nip ant infestation in the bud. It draws the ants to them.
The ants eat those baits and carry some back to their colonies. The result? The ants die after consuming the bait.
There are different types of ant baits and traps available. Some contain Borax or boric acid.
But some ant baits contain chemicals and poison. They’ve insecticides in them.
These baits can be harmful to children and pets. So, keeping them at places where children and pets can’t access those baits is critical.
The ingredients of each bait are present on the product label. Please read the label instructions before buying them and using them.
Keep a few ant baits inside your kitchen where you observed ant activities.
Here are the 11 home remedies for ants in the kitchen that you can use right now to get rid them.
- Boiling water
- White vinegar
- Essential oils like cinnamon leaf oil
- Boric acid
- Diatomaceous earth
- Dish soap
- Cinnamon sticks or cinnamon powder
- Coffee ground
- Lemon spray
- Baking soda
Other products like bay leaves, tea tree oil, chalk, and baby powder are also effective in keeping ants away.
But make sure to follow the steps to prevent ants in the kitchen. Else, the ants will be back again.
We are Mark and Jim. We dabbled with bugs and pests for most of our lives. And we provide information and hacks that work in making your home pest free.