10 All Natural Ways to Repel Ants

All Natural Ways to Repel Ants

With Summer comes grilling, lounging by the pool, picnics in the park, and ANTS.  The last part is not so fun!!  I hate ants– they really creep me out because once they get inside you can’t get rid of them!

repel ants

I’ve tried all sorts of sprays and repellents, I keep the counters and floor clean, vacuum CONSTANTLY…. but they keep coming back!  I hate the idea of having all of those chemicals near Little Man and our pets!  So, today I share with you some all natural ways to repel ants.  Make sure you also check out 8 Plants to Repel Pests for keeping mosquitos, roaches, and other yucky bugs away.

Disclaimer: I’m not a pest control expert– I leave that stuff for my brother.  I simply hate pests and have done the research and have used these best practices in the past to kill/repel ants.

Now, different things work for different ants….I don’t know why but all ants don’t like the same things…weird I know.  So, I do the trial and error approach when dealing with those pesky critters.  For example- last Summer using grits worked on the ants that got into our kitchen but this Summer it did nothing for the sugar ants that we had but coffee grounds did the trick.  But, I didn’t have to resort to chemicals so that’s good!

1. Grits

Grits are my go to first approach when dealing with pesky ants!  The idea behind grits is that the ants will take them back to the Queen and they’ll eat them- then the grits will expand inside them and boom– no more ants.  Gruelsome but it works….and if my toddler eats the grits I leave sitting out it’s no big deal because he eats them for breakfast anyway.  So go for it– let your toddler help with this one– I let Little Man take the bowl of grits and throw them all over the porch and entry way.  After I give the ants a few hours to get their fair share I vacuum up the remaining grits and go about my day.  If this worked you should see the ants disappear within a day or two.

2. Coffee Grounds

So, I’m really not sure how exactly the coffee grounds work– there’s conflicting stories.  Some say that coffee repels the ants- others say the caffeine is toxic to them, it gives them all heart attacks.  I don’t know who’s right but I just tried this trick when nothing was working and the ants were gone in just a few hours!  I like this too because it’s completely safe for Little Man– other than I have a SUPER hyper active baby when he decides to taste the coffee grounds and then decides he REALLY likes the taste— REALLY?!  Oh, toddlers!

3. Vinegar

Mix 50% vinegar with 50% water and spray down the trail of ants.  Vinegar is supposed to remove the scent trail the ants are leaving so they can’t find their way back into your home.  In order for this option to work you have to do it every few hours and every time you see a new ant.  I usually use this trick in conjunction with one of the others.  No sense in killing them all if there’s still a scent trail for others to find– you most likely have more than one colony living in your yard.

4. Baby Powder

Sprinkle baby powder around any openings.  The talc in the baby powder will deter ants and keep them away.  This is a no kill solution so you will still have a colony living outside and they can potentially find their way in another way but you’re bringing no harm to them. Smile

5. Mint

Another natural deterrent is mint.  Peppermint oil to be exact is helpful in warding off ants– they hate the smell and this should keep them away.  Sprinkle some near doorways and windows every few days and your ant problem should go away.

6. Garlic

Garlic has been useful for larger ants.  I’ve taken whole garlic cloves and pealed them– then just leave them out wherever you’re having an ant issue and this will keep them away.  I also use this trick for picnics or when we’re eating outside.  I’ll toss a few pealed garlic cloves on the table and keep the ants away from the food!

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another natural deterrent for ants.  Many people recommend using it in the sandbox to keep ants away.  You can also sprinkle it along door jams and window sills– it can get a little bit messy– but I’ll use whatever to keep them away!

8. Cornmeal

Just like grits, cornmeal is another great option for killing off the whole colony.  If you find that your ants don’t like grits (which mine apparently didn’t this Summer) try using cornmeal.  It’s completely safe if your toddler or cat or dog decides to try a bite but it too will cause the ants to go BOOM!

9. Vacuum them up! DON’T SQUASH THEM!

This tip comes straight from my brother (the real pest control expert).  Whatever you do DON’T SQUASH the ants– they will just send reinforcements.  When you squash ants they release a pheromone that signals the need for help and more ants will arrive.  So use the vacuum cleaner and vacuum them up– and I always immediately empty the vacuum and take the trash OUT.

10.  When all else fails break out the Borax.

When I’ve tried EVERYTHING and I’m faced with some determined ants I’ll break out the Borax AFTER Little Man has gone to bed.  For those super pesky, don’t want to give up ant, I take out ALL of my aggression– I mean seriously, by now they should know that the Welcome Mat is no longer out– really they’ve just brought it upon themselves.  Mix 50% Borax with 50% table sugar in a plastic container.  Make sure you SEAL the container if you have pets or children around.  Then poke several holes in the top of the container and leave it in the path of the ants overnight.  The ants will consume the Borax with the sugar and the Borax will basically break down their exoskeleton.  You just don’t want your child or pets to be exposed to the Borax because it is a poison if injested.

And there you have it– 10 All Natural Ways to Repel Ants!

Make sure you check out these 8 Plants that Repel Insects and Pests.

Do you have any tips/tricks to getting rid of pesky ants??

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  1. kate says

    The herb Tansy helos. Lay it around the perimeter of your house . Also on the counters. Also eucalyptus and rosemary essential oil wors great too.

  2. says

    I like how everything in the list could be found inside the house. It seems like it can also fall under the category of” immediate solutions for ant problems. ” Thanks for this Jennifer!

  3. says

    great hints and tips! Summer is the worst for ants sneaking in the house! we have used the cornmeal and vinegar and they do work. I can’t help myself and squish them though every time!

  4. Jasmine says

    Hi, just found this through Pinterest and wanted to add my 2 cents about the cinnamon- which I swear by. I’d read on another blog to use cinnamon essential oil. Well we’d gotten desperate so I wanted something more immediate that I had on hand so I simply combined ground cinnamon and water and dabbed it around the places the ants were coming in with a cotton ball. Less messy then just sprinkling it around dry and it stopped them from coming in COMPLETELY! Sure they’re outside still but we haven’t seen any in our home since.

  5. says

    Thanks for sharing!
    While I was sitting here the past hour or so, two large ants crawled right next to me! Ewww!
    Moved things around to throw off their path, but also trying to find something that is a little less offensive to the nose (and little ones) than the bleach that I just swiped across the entrance.


  6. says

    Wow, I had no idea about the effect that squashing an ants has! Really interesting stuff. On a side note, I’ve tried the vinegar method and I strongly recommend it!

  7. says

    I can;t begin to tell you how excited am I to find this. Ants have been a huge problem for me this year and I don’t want to use chemicals around my pets. I can’t wait to try these. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. says

    I think ants are in cahoots to take over the world. We have more ant hills than I have ever seen in our yard! Stopping by from How We Roll. Pinned it and getting ready to put several to use.

  9. says

    I was just talking about this problem with my cousin who was saying she had ants and was having a hard time getting rid of them. I’ll need to email this to her. Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    Thanks! We are getting a few ants in the bathroom and these tips look great, we have wild mint growing outside so I’ll collect some! Stopping by from Weekend reTreat blog hop

  11. says

    I found this at Keeping it Simple link party and the timing is perfect. We have had few ants in our kitchen. I have been meaning to gt on Pinterest, but had not found the time. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Valerie says

    My brother in law told me about sea salt. I sprinkled around everything doors, windows, inside and out. No ants at all this year!! It’s like they just vanished!! Try that it should work!

  13. says

    Thank you for the tips there’s a little puppy and I want to keep him and me free harmful chemicals, in my apartment & these all natural remedies are going to help me and the puppy so much. I was inspired by you and in the process of creating a WordPress blog about the things that I am into 🙂 thank you for your helpfulness ♡☆↑ namaste peace love light 🙂

    • says

      Fantastic…I’m glad you found this useful. Just be careful if you try the borax treatment….you don’t want the little pup to get into that stuff! Grits always do the trick for me so I’d give that a try first. 🙂 Congrats on your blog– they’re a lot of fun! 🙂

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