Natural Methods for Controlling Ants

As tempting as it may be to spray chemicals throughout your house to kill off all those pesky ants sometimes, especially when you have children or pets, it simply isn't practical or safe.

Generally the best method for controlling ants around your home is simply to keep things clean and not leave food scraps or dirty dishes lying around to encourage them. However, some ants really will go out of their way to come inside. In these cases you may need an active deterrent method


Interestingly enough, ants really don't like the smell of mint. Spraying a bottle with some water and a few drops of peppermint oil in strategic locations around your house can act as a good natural deterrent and barrier. Additionally you may wish to place a few drops of the undiluted peppermint oil near their entry points as some extra discouragement. Check to ensure that the oil won't damage the surface first, though, along with being aware that cats and other small animals may be affected. You can also use simple mint tea bags. Planting mint outside can also be an effective way to discourage them from parts of your garden.

Talcum Powder

A light coating of talcum powder across an ant's path will leave them disorientated and send them running for home. Simply follow the ant trail and cover it with powder. You may also want to leave it around where they enter the house, as an extra barrier.


Ants really dislike the smell (and probably taste) of cucumber. While it is preferred to clean up any food scraps, leaving the cucumber peels next to any ant entrance points in your home can work as a very effective deterrent.

Other things that ants dislike include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Citrus oils
  • Coffee grounds
  • Lemon juice
  • Cayenne pepper and black pepper
  • Windex
  • Vinegar

For the most part ants dislike anything with a strong smell, so placing this near their trail or entry point can be a good discouragement. If you're intending on laying bait for the ants you may want to consider what they're being attracted to. For the most part ants prefer sweet things, however some can be attracted to grease. If you noticed your ants going after the dirty frying pan rather than the honey perhaps you'll need to rethink your choices.

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