Olivia Harvey
Updated Aug 03, 2017 @ 11:40 am
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Oh no — it’s happened again. You left the sugar jar uncovered after making your morning coffee and the ants are back in full force. They appear every year without fail and you’re tired of sharing your kitchen with the rudest of house guests. BUT, you also don’t want to fill your house with harmful poisons in your attempt to defeat the home invaders.

But fear not. There are actually plenty of all-natural home remedies for ants that are both effective and won’t be harsh on you — or your pet’s — systems. Because at the end of the day, there’s just something a little disturbing about covering our kitchens in sprays and capsules that aren’t safe to ingest…or heck, even touch.

So without further ado, here are seven all-natural remedies that should help you kick your critter problem to the curb.

1Essential Oils

What problem can’t be solved with essential oils? According to the MommyPotamus blog, peppermint, tea tree, clove and lemon or orange essential oils are great all-natural ant-away remedies. The simplest way to rid an area of your home of ants is to swab baseboards with a few drops of oil on a cotton ball. You can also leave a oiled cotton ball in cabinets to ward off unwanted foodies.

The MommyPotamus blog also provides a recipe for an Ant Away Spray. In a spray bottle, mix 1/4 cup purified water, 1/4 cup vodka, 15 drops peppermint essential oil, 15 drops tea tree essential oil, 7 drops of citrus essential oil OR 1 to 3 drops of clove essential oil.

Spray this mix on all entry points and places you’ve seen ants. If you’re using on food surfaces, swap out the tea tree oil for 15 more drops of peppermint oil. You should see your unwelcome guests disappear in a few days.

2Cayenne Pepper

According to OrganicLesson.com, ants can’t stand cayenne pepper. You know what they say — if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, ants! Sprinkle powered cayenne pepper on baseboards, windowsills, and thresholds to prevent ants from entering. Cayenne won’t kill ants, but it will deter them from getting at your sugary goodies.

Similarly to the essential oil spray, you can also mix powered cayenne pepper with some water in a spray bottle and spray points of entry as well.


Mixing up a solution of vinegar and water and spraying said solution where you’ve witnessed an ant party can mask ant pheromones and distract them from your kitchen counter. Combine 3 parts white vinegar with 1 part water and spray affected surfaces. Wipe up any dripping excess and let the solution dry.

The smell of vinegar will go away after a few hours. But for ants, that stench will linger and prevent them from appearing all over your fresh baked cookies in the future.

4Diatomaceous Earth

Often referred to as DE, Diatomaceous Earth sounds scarier than it is. In fact, we can actually eat food grade DE. It’s a powder made up of fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton, which still sounds scary — but we swear, this stuff is edible and all natural. You can find DE in many grain-based products.

DE is a super efficient bug killer due to the fact that when sprinkled on a bug’s exoskeleton, it dehydrates the critter’s innards. But again, humans and other mammals are unaffected by DE. Sprinkle this stuff around your home and you’re good to go.

5Dish Soap or Dr. Bronner’s Soap

Liquid soap has the same affect as Diatomaceous Earth. When bugs come into contact with liquid soap, their bodies dehydrate and they die as the soap dries on their exoskeleton. Watered down dish soap in a spray bottle works great, or if you want to stick to a completely all-natural regimen, use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap instead.

You can add a few drops of any of the essential oils listed earlier, but the soap alone should do the trick. The MommyPotamus blog likes using 1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap in 1 quart of water.

6Lemon Water

Juice a lemon or two and mix the juice in with water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the solution around baseboards, thresholds, and any affected surfaces. This method is more hands-on in comparison to the others because you’ll have to spray several times for ants to disappear.

You can also boil lemon rinds in a 1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar mixture. Let the rinds sit and steep in the liquid for several hours before spraying affected areas.

7Powdered Sugar and Borax Traps

Fill bottle caps or shallow Tupperware lids with 1 part Borax and 3 parts powdered sugar and place the concoction where ants gather. The ants will be attracted to the powdered sugar, bring the mix (aka: ant poison) back to the colony.

If you’re interested in taking a more natural route, try baking soda in place of Borax.

That army of ants have nothing on you now that you’re equipped with the necessary defense methods. Good luck and good riddance!