4 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants Without Resorting to Killing Them

Learn how to eliminate your ant problem naturally

Ants may be ecologically and environmentally important but having them in the home is not pleasant. Most people opt for the easy option and use a spray or chemical powder to kill them.

What if you don't want to kill them? or do you want to get rid of them in a way that doesn't require the use of potentially harmful chemicals?

Well, below are 4 top tips to keep ants at bay naturally, without resorting to killing them. If they are not in your home then killing them should be a last resort as they can do a lot of good. Some of the top benefits of having ants in your garden are they can create healthy soil, increase the germination of seeds and can keep other pests at bay.

Bust Out The Vinegar, Baby

Ants communicate with each other using sounds, touch, and the golden ticket here-pheromones. The pheromones are chemical signals. Scent trails, in essence. Ants perceive smells with their antennae and can determine the direction and intensity of scents. If a forager ant finds food, it marks a trail leading back to the colony, which the other ants then follow to the source of the food. Each time the trail is traveled, the smell is intensified. By using white vinegar at all of their entrances and any paths that you know of, you are disrupting their scent trails and making it harder for them to creep back to the food source they’ve been invading.

You will need…

- 1 part white vinegar

- 1 part water

- A clean cloth


Mix together white vinegar and water, and spray/wipe down all of the entrances you know or suspect they may be getting in by, and spray/wipe down all counters or surfaces by food sources.

Draw The Line

Have you ever noticed outside in the summer the way ants and sidewalk chalk just don’t seem to mix? That’s because they don‘t. Ants that stumble through chalk get covered in the stuff, while some people suggest minerals in the chalk (such as talc) actually kill the ants.

You will need…

- A stick of sidewalk chalk


Draw a thick, heavy line around entrances-repeat as needed. This generally needs to be used in conjunction with another method of elimination.

Essential Oil Entrance Blocker

Ants don’t like strong smells. They mess up their scent trails and communication, not to mention it covers their bodies if they literally have to crawl right through it-which they do, with this essential oil spray. Now you can really experiment with different oils, or blends of oils, and see what works best for you and your ants. For me, peppermint or eucalyptus usually does the trick. Regardless of what method I am using to get rid of ants, I always whip up a batch of this spray to further ensure success.

You will need…

- 20 drops of peppermint essential oil

- Fresh water

- A spray bottle


Fill a regular or medium size spray bottle with fresh water and mix in the peppermint essential oil. Spray liberally around any and all entrances to the house. Repeat when you deem it necessary (usually when the scent starts to fade.)

Ant Balls

If you find that spraying a solution of essential oil and water doesn’t work, it’s time to bust out the ant balls. The cotton balls serve as an extra barrier to keep the ants out of the home, while the undiluted essential oil will steer the ants clear at least 90% of the time. Be sure not to leave these where you think a curious pet or child would find them an appealing snack. If you don’t have essential oil, you can try using white vinegar in a pinch.

You will need…

- Cotton balls

- Peppermint essential oil OR undiluted white vinegar


Liberally douse the cotton balls with undiluted peppermint essential oil. I usually put the oil in a dish first so I don’t accidentally drip it all over my fingers. Alternatively, soak the ball in undiluted white vinegar, squeezing out just enough excess so that it doesn’t leave a puddle where you place it. Use one of the cotton balls to wipe down the area by the entrance, and then stuff another into the crack/hole/almost invisible opening that they are sneaking in through. Refresh as needed.