Photo by Thomas Kinto on Unsplash

One of the most annoying household pests is ants, right? And there’s never just one. There’s no such thing as a random ant just casually strolling through your kitchen. Where there’s one, there’s a lot more. 

Ants are one of the most common reasons Australians make use of pest control services. Have you ever wondered if there are ways to rid your home of ants without using toxic chemicals? 

What to do When Pesky Ants Invade Your Home

While some people prefer the chemicals used by a pest exterminator, there are also several natural ant repellants. Some of them you may already have in your home. Here are a few common home remedies that repel ants. 

Cut Off Their Food Source

The first thing you should do before you start mixing and spraying anything, is to find the reason the ants are there in the first place. Often, they’re simply after your food. Here are a few tips to clearing up any possible food sources:

Clean crumbs and food spills from your counters, tables and floors.
Vacuum carpets and couches regularly. 
Clean up pet food instead of leaving it standing around.
Wash kitchen surfaces with bleach or citrus cleaning agents to eliminate the smell of food. 
Ensure sugary and starchy items are placed in sealable containers. 

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper, also known as red pepper, has a very strong smell and taste. Ants are repelled by this. Sprinkle the pepper in places where you notice ants or on their trail. 

By destroying the scent they leave behind, other ants won’t be able to locate the chemical signs pointing them to the food. You can also mix cayenne pepper with turmeric powder and water. This won’t only destroy the scent but kill the ants as well. 

White Vinegar

An easy way to destroy ants’ pheromone trails is by making a mixture of water and vinegar. When spraying this solution on the ants they become directionless and can’t locate the food they were heading off to. Spraying the vinegar mixture around all the main entries to your house will keep them from entering.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is a white powder poison that has been proven to kill worker ants and the queen within 21 days of exposure. This happens when the boric acid erodes the ants’ outer shells and stomachs. 

Note that boric acid is poisonous to pets and children. So, when using it, use gloves and ensure that this mixture isn’t put in areas where pets can lick it up or children could touch it. There are different ways of making a boric acid mixture, the most common of which includes sugar and water. 

Baking Soda

Almost every house has a container of baking soda because of its many diverse uses in and around the home. An interesting fact about baking soda is that is repels ants. Baking soda mixed with a little sugar water works because the sugar attracts the ants while the baking soda disrupts their bodily functions. It’s a very effective way to get rid of sugar ants as well as several other ant species


This may sound a little crazy, but did you know that ants won’t cross a chalk line? Apparently, the powder from the chalk interrupts the pheromone trail which ants use to communicate. It’s recommended that you draw a chalk line around the main entry points or around your cabinets. 

Soap and Water

A simple solution of soap and water will not only kill ants but also repel them and prevent them from coming back. Soap forms a coating on an ant’s body and this causes the ant to suffocate to death. The trick here is to add a liberal amount of soap to make the solution very strong. The stronger the solution, the more effective it is. 

Fresh Garlic

A peeled garlic clove around the area where you see the ants will also help drive them away. The advantage of garlic around your kitchen is that it’ll also drive other pests away. As an alternative to leaving fresh garlic cloves all over the kitchen, you can also mince a clove, mix it with a little water and make a garlic spray. This might be easier to spray in corners and behind appliances. 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is another one of those little potions that are helpful for so many things around the home. Simply mix water with some tea tree oil and spray around entry points. You can also spray it behind appliances or around drains. An added advantage of tea tree oil is that it keeps spiders out of your home as well. 

In Conclusion: When Nothing Works

There are instances when no amount of natural remedies and repellents can rid your home of an ant invasion. Then you’ll need to call in the professionals. Some pest control exterminators make use of chemicals that aren’t as toxic as you might think. They’ll also be able to give you tips on how to ensure these bothersome little pests don’t return.