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Natural Ant Killer Remedies

These natural ant killer remedies will help to control the ants in your home in a non toxic way.

I am so looking forward to the return of warm weather. With the sunny days come flowers, gardening and time spent outdoors.

Unfortunately, with the warm weather also come ants! These 10 Ant Killer Remedies and Ant Repellents are natural and effective. Rid your home of ants in a less toxic way!

It is fun for kids to see ants moving around in an ant arm, but not great to see them walking around in our homes. Ants have the ability to over winter.

Their body temperatures drop in the winter and they become sluggish.  The seek out warm places, deep in soil, under rocks, or in the bark of trees.  

This allows them to return in spring when the warm weather returns.

Unfortunately for us, one of the warmest places in early spring is our homes! Black ant 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really mind ants outdoors, (except for fire ants which is an invasive pest identified by the Department of Agriculture!)

However, seeing them trailing on my kitchen counter tops makes me want to take action immediately!

One of the best things that you can do to control ants is to prevent them from coming into your home in the first place. There are lots of things that you can do to keep ants out of the house.Ants on a flower

These ant killer remedies will help you to get rid of ants naturally!

Some of these remedies work to kill ants and others help to repel them.  The repellent varieties may need more repeat treatments than those intended to kill the ants.

Household VinegarAnt repellent made with apple cider vinegar and water

I keep a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar and water mixed 50/50 in my pantry. While not an effective way to keep ants from coming into the house all the time, it makes a good short term deterrent.

Ants don’t like vinegar and will avoid the area for days.  

You can use both regular vinegar or apple cider. I like the apple cider variety because the kitchen smells better after using it. See other uses for vinegar in this post.

General cleanlinessKeep crumbs off your counter to deter ants

It really doesn’t matter what you use to deter ants, even if you use a toxic chemical.  If you leave your counters laden with cookie crumbs and spilled soda, you will have ants roaming around.  

Keep your kitchen counters clean – the apple cider vinegar mixture above is a great all around cleaner! Store your food (especially sweet foods) in tightly sealed containers.  

Even if the ant bait is all natural and non toxic, if you leave desirable snacks around for the ants, they will wander in in search of them.

Essential Oils10 Drops of peppermint essential oil in a small bottle of water makes a good ant repellent

Many essential oils are effective at repelling ants. One that I like is to add about 5 drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball. Use it to wipe around the areas where ants are coming in.

Ants really dislike the smell of peppermint.  You can also mix 10 drops of peppermint oil in a small bottle of water and use it around window sills and door frames.  

An added bonus is the delightful smell of mint in your home. Clove Essential oil is another good essential oil used in ant killer remedies.

Herbs and plants work well too.

Garlic ClovesGarlic cloves are great at repelling ants.

Even humans can smell the strong aroma of garlic. While great for cooking flavorful meals, garlic cloves also make a great ant (and other bug) repellent.  

Leave a few cut garlic cloves where you see active ants. You will actually seem them avoiding the area.  

Eventually, the garlic cloves will dry up and not be effective any longer, so you may need to replace them if the ants return.

Lots of plants are great at repelling bugs. See my list of mosquito repelling plants here. And, if you have lots of mosquitoes in your yard, find out how to make a homemade mosquito repellent with essential oils.

Baking SodaBaking soda and confectioner's sugar makes a good ant killer

Baking soda is great for baked goods but it interferes with ants by disrupting their bodies’ natural chemistry.

Make your own natural ant killer by mixing equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar. The sugar attracts the ants and they will take it back to their nest.  

Eating it will kill them and make the colony size dwindle.

Baking soda can also be used in lots of ways in the garden. Check out this post to discover them.

HerbsGrown an herb kitchen garden to repel ants

Some plants are reputed to be effective at warding off ants. The theory is that the stronger the scent, the more effective the repelling effect will be.

Fortunately for us, these herbs are great for cooking, so setting up a kitchen garden with them may help to keep your ant problem at bay, too. Just keep the herb garden where you see ants.

These herbs are effective at repelling ants:

Strong scents are one of the keys to repelling ants

Pepperpeppercorns and ground pepper repeal ants.

Black pepper is an all natural, inexpensive, and safe way to get rid of ants.  Just sprinkle it where you see active ants and watch them scatter.

If you follow them to see where their exit route is, you can sprinkle more black pepper at this spot to keep them from coming back into the house.  

It is a great because it is perfectly safe to use in cabinets, on kitchen counters and windowsills, near food and around children and pets. Grinding the peppercorns works best.

CinnamonCinnamon disrupts ants sense of smell

A great reason to choose cinnamon is that it is not harmful to children or pets.  Cinnamon has a strong smell that disrupts the ants’ sense of smell.

Since ants rely on this to navigate, it makes cinnamon effective as an ant repellent.

You can sprinkle cinnamon where you see ants, use a cinnamon essential oil, or dip a Q-Tip in cinnamon and use it to draw a line that the ants won’t cross near the point of entry.


Lemon slices and lemon juice are effective ways to repel ants

Lemons are one of my favorite ant killer remedies. They have a smell that deters ants and the acidic property of lemons mask the scent trails that ants give off.

To deter ants with lemons, rub some lemon juice on doorways, window sills and other areas where ants my be getting into your house. Adding lemon essential oil to cotton balls and leaving them in cabinets if an effective use too.  

You can also leave slices of cut lemons.  This remedy will need to be repeated every few days until you see that the ants are completely gone.

A good Semi Natural Alternative to Toxic poisons.


Borax is a commonly used household item that is effective at getting rid of ants.  

I tested several Borax ant killers recently to see which one worked best for me in comparison to the retail brand Terro.  

Terro was the most effective, but sugar water and Borax was a close second. See my Borax ant killer results here.

NOTE: Borax is one which is what I would consider borderline natural. Borax has warnings to keep it away from eyes and not to digest it. I will leave it up to my readers as to whether it should be considered natural.  See this article on Borax for more thoughts.

Borax is also something that I have used to preserve flowers preserve flowers in my home with great success.

Which of these natural ant killer repellents have you used?  I would love to hear of your experiences with them, as well as thoughts on other ant killer remedies that I have not mentioned here.

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Rob H.

Monday 29th of August 2022

Icing sugar and baking soda/bicarbonate of soda mixed together in equal quantities scattered around the nest or at point of entry. The sugar will attract the ants and the baking soda will suffocate them. So this is what happens, the ants collect the mixture and take it back to the nest and the other ants feast on it and subsequently die and all without harming animals and children. Then if you manage to find the nest fill it with builders foam.


Saturday 29th of September 2018

I have ants in my kitchen on the counter and there's no crumbs, so I don't understand why there running around


Friday 24th of August 2018

Thank you for this! The last two mornings I've found a line of ants, including winged ones, around the kitchen sink. I knew about peppermint, but I'm out so I was searching pinterest and came across this blog. I'll be cleaning and making a spray today! Thank you.


Saturday 25th of August 2018

Hope it works well for you Michelle. Carol


Tuesday 20th of March 2018

I've tried the borax w powdered sugar. NO help. Tried cinnamon NOPE. cayenne pepper... NADA. Peppermint Essence Oil some help but spring is just arriving. Indoor and OutdoorTerro no real help. Keeping counters and floors clean ants still come in. I found a group marching in and as much as I don't like chemicals I had no choice as they were in the joint between the wall and ceiling I used Ortho House Guard or something similar in name. It took a good dose to kill that platoon. I had a new roof put on. The roofer found a nest and left that part of the roof open for several hours (3-4 hours). When he returned they appeared to be gone. So far this week I've killed about a dozen. When I see a group large or small I use a long roller and with one swipe the majority are gone.


Tuesday 20th of March 2018

Hi Sharon. Lucky that the roofer found the nest before the new roof went on. Carol


Monday 17th of April 2017

Regarding mosquitoes, I planted lavender and rosemary plants ( which become bushes with proper care) right outside my front door. I just love the flowers and the smell of them. To my surprise, I've hardly had a mosquito come in my house in years. It turns out that both plants are natural mosquito repellents. You can also buy citronella plants and they too repel mosquitoes. These plants repel some other insects also. Too bad I don't know of any fly deterrents. But if I get one in the house I spray hairspray or Lysol on it. The stickiness and alcohol make them unable to fly and you can then get them out of your house with a paper towel.


Monday 17th of April 2017

Thanks for the suggestion Yolanda. I have rosemary planted on my patio and it does a great job of keeping the mosquitoes away. Carol

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