Everyone who had to deal with ants in their kitchen knows how annoying and persistent they can be. Despite their tiny size, these critters will cause you lots of inconveniences while cooking. Even worse, they will settle everywhere where you are storing food.
We tend not to get too alarmed when we see a single ant crawling pointlessly in the kitchen. Yet, that is exactly what we should do. The one ant is potentially followed by thousand friends, and they are all looking to move indoors. They cause the most problems during the summer season, in particular the carpenter and the odorous kind.
Trying to get rid of ants in the kitchen is a difficult task, but not an impossible one. The cleaning solution you need is probably already in your kitchen, but you never knew how much it can help you. There are household repellent mixtures that you can combine with heavy-duty cleaners, and ants will soon be history.
Keep reading to learn how to get rid of ants in the kitchen and to ensure they won’t find their way back.
How come there are ants in your kitchen?
The answer is simple: This is where you store your food. There are many ant species, but the worst kitchen enemies are odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, Argentine ants, and thief ants. All of them have something in common: They love easily accessible food on dirty countertops. If there are fruits and sweets, they may as well have found their permanent home.
Once they are there, these pesky creatures crawl inside the smallest cracks and make it to all corners of the kitchen. Worse yet, they leave scent trails and pheromones as they move, so that others can follow them. This is how they help each other find water and food sources.
For you, this is how a common cleaning problem turns into a serious infestation problem.
Learn how to get rid of ants in the kitchen yourself: Try these 11 Homemade Solutions
There are plenty of ways to get rid of endless ant colonies in the kitchen. In some cases, you may need professional help from an exterminator. However, it is still possible to protect your kitchen from toxins and chemicals.
Diatomaceous Earth (Silicon Dioxide)
This is probably the most used solution to kill ants or other pests. Diatomaceous earth silica is a very effective tool, as it comprises fossilized aquatic organism remains. You can use it to eliminate all ant species.
Locate the kitchen areas where the ant colony gathers. It may be a crack on the wall, a nooky area on the floor, or a baseboard edge. Sometimes, they even make it inside along the windows and the doors. Take a little bit of diatomaceous earth and apply it to these exact areas.
If you notice they are still coming out, apply some more of the solution to the roots they follow. You can even repeat the procedure several times if the problem persists.
Give the solution a month to react and clean it with water. The ants will be long gone by then.
Liquid detergent and glass cleaner
As mentioned before, ants follow each other in map-like movements, as they follow the scented pheromones. Therefore, a great way to eliminate them is to get rid of the scent they leave.
Here comes an excellent suggestion:
- Make a mixture of your regular liquid detergent and glass cleaner. Pour it into a washed spray bottle.
- Shake well and spray some of the fluid on the usual entry or congregation areas.
- Wipe afterward, but make sure there is a light residue.
- Repeat the procedure as many times as necessary.
Here comes a bonus tip: If you don’t use glass cleaners, you can add dish soap. They will all work equally well.
Pepper, both red and black, can also help you get rid of kitchen ants. Sprinkle a bit on and behind your baseboards or in the areas ants usually gather. This is a completely natural and therefore safe solution for households with children and pets.
Ants won’t be able to tolerate the smell of pepper, and they will soon be gone. If you are also bothered by the smell, let air fresheners do the rest of the job.
We all love essential oils in our air diffusers and baths. Most of us, however, have no idea how powerful they are in the war against kitchen ants. We recommend especially tea tree oil and peppermint, as they repel ants. They are not fans of the strong fumes they release either.
Pour a few drops of the oil on the ant nest, ideally after each other. Don’t forget to check the doorways and the windowsills for ant trails.
White and Distilled Vinegar
There is no list of homemade cleaning solutions without vinegar, and for a good reason. Our favorite dressing also has several excellent cleaning properties and stinks just enough to send ants away. All you need to do is to mix it with warm water. Next, spray all critical surfaces, such as countertops and floors. If you are not a fan of the smell either, apply it only there where the colony usually moves.
The best part of the Vinegar-vs-Ant story is that these pests can smell vinegar long after it is dried out. That, however, is not the case with people.
What may convince you are also that vinegar is a noble solution. The water mixture will make ants crawl back outside, but it won’t kill them.
You can kill ants also without exposing yourself to chemicals and toxins. You should only spot the holes and come from and pour some boiling water inside. You won’t remove a whole colony at once, but you will for sure give survivors a good scare.
Repeat the process several times, and you will discourage ants from attacking your kitchen.
Cornstarch is also something you can purchase at a grocery store, and which can help you deal with entire colonies of ants at once.
It tackles ant infestation in two different ways:
- Pour it liberally over the ants and pour water over it. The dead ants will be encased in cornstarch and you can easily clean up afterward.
- Cover ants with cornstarch only and collect them with your vacuum cleaner. They won’t yet be dead, so make sure you dispose of the used vacuum bag as soon as possible.
Boric Acid is another well-known ant enemy that can deal with your ant problem in a matter of days. This medicine acts as a powerful ants poison – it erodes the insects’ stomach as well as their outer shell.
Store Boric Acid away from your kids and pets. Don’t inhale it directly and use it only with gloves on. After you’re done, dispose of it down the kitchen drain.
Borax (Sodium Tetraborate)
Borax sounds like Boric Acid, but the chemical compound is not the same. Borax will only poison the ants exposed to it without killing them. After a while, the colony will be discouraged and unable to follow the trail.
This is how you can create a Borax cleaner:
- Create the solution with 1 part Borax, 1 part sugar, and 2 parts water.
- Mix well and soak some cotton balls to retain water and make sure it won’t evaporate quickly.
- Put the cotton balls directly on the ant trail. They will think it is food and the poison will soon become effective.
Take a bigger container and mix four cups of water with one cup of lemon juice. Dip a clean cloth inside and wipe all surfaces thoroughly and carefully. This natural solution can safely be used on windows, refrigerators, and other sensitive surfaces. Lemons attract ants, but once they have a taste they won’t be back.
What repels ants are both the citrus scent and the sour taste. Cucumbers and orange peel could have the same effect on carpenter ants.
Set smart traps for the colony
Bait traps containing poison are also a smart way to combat pesticides. Kitchen ants, for example, are lured inside with food and the poison starts acting slowly as they eat it. You can arrange such traps in all areas where they move, ideally close to their nest. Make sure, though, that your kids and pets can’t reach them.
Carpenter ants and other ants collect food, which means they will carry poisonous crumbs back to their colony. It will take a couple of days for the poison to kill the entire ant family. To be even more effective, make sure they are not distracted by other food sources.
How to make sure that ants won’t come back
You may have won the battle, but you can still lose the war. You may need to change a couple of practices if you don’t want ants to settle in your kitchen permanently.
The main rule is simple: proper food storage
Remember: it is better to be safe than sorry. Ants won’t organize seasonal get-togethers in your kitchen if you don’t give them a reason. This means all food needs to be properly sealed in containers and bags.
Keep in mind that ants love sweets and starchy things, for instance, sugar, honey, and cornmeal. Make sure you don’t spill and splatter items like these around the kitchen. They can also quickly locate crumbs and remains around garbage pails, so keep these areas clean. The same goes for your toasters and other appliances.
What you also didn’t count on is that ants will come after your pet food. To stop this, clean the pet bowls immediately and keep them out of reach. This is a step we often forget when planning how to get rid of ants in the kitchen.
Moisture is their sweet spot
If you let water stand somewhere for a long time, you are practically inviting ants to come and drink it. Therefore, wipe all stains and liquid spills as soon as you can. This also means you shouldn’t let dishes soak in the sink for hours.
Make regular inspections on your appliances and plumbing installations, to make sure there is no moisture. Repair leaks as soon as you can and prevent moisture from damaging your cabinetry.
Clean the kitchen more often
Detailed and careful cleaning is the best way to prevent an ant invasion. Rinse off dishes instead of letting them soak overnight. Remove food residue from all surfaces ants could easily access. In short, don’t go to bed until your kitchen us clean.
Even the smell food remains to create down the drain is a risk factor. Here and there, make sure you pour some bleach inside to discourage the ants. Also, don’t leave pet food around – it can also attract ants.
If you want to repel ants, keep the floors as clean as possible. A single crumb of bread can be enough for ants to attack your kitchen. Make sure you reach even the areas underneath cabinets and appliances.
Keep an eye on the house plants
Ants tend to form nests even underneath the soil, so keep plants under control. If you notice a swarm on the plant, it means it has been infested and you need to discard it.
To prevent this from happening to your other plants, put citrus rinds from oranges and lemons in the soil.
Figure out where the ants come from
Entry points are the most important to detect and block. You won’t be able to predict all areas ants could attack from, but you can at least seal the holes, cracks, and crevices you can see. Pay special attention to the radiators, walls, and floorboards.
If you can’t detect the main source, observe the colony as they move back. Sometimes, you will notice that they simply come inside through doors or windows. If you own the house, you can even go a step further and expect the exterior to check whether the problem hides there.
Ending thoughts on how to get rid of ants in the kitchen
One ant in the kitchen almost always means thousands of ants are about to come. Don’t lose time – observe their movement and identify their entry point. Once done, prepare a homemade remedy to solve this problem immediately.
Follow our best practices on how to get rid of ants in the kitchen and the problem will be gone. We advise you to seal all cracks and holes on windows, doors, and walls.
Clean regularly and thoroughly to make sure ants have no reason to attack your beautiful kitchen. This way, you won’t have to worry about future infestations.
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