What Repels Ants?

Published On: July 16, 2021Categories: Pest Control

Pest Strategies

Dealing with ants in your home can be an annoying experience. You don’t want them to contaminate your food or cause other issues. If you want to know how to repel ants, there are a few methods that you can try. If the infestation is particularly bad, consider looking at the cost of professional ant extermination so you are prepared if that becomes necessary.


Borax not only repels ants, but it actually kills them. It does so by hurting their digestive system. Conveniently, it is already in a lot of the cleaning products you likely have in your home.

To use borax, just combine it with water and sugar to form a syrupy paste. Find shallow containers that have ant-size openings and place the mixture within them. Put the little bait stations by the area with the ants. Hopefully, the worker ants will bring the paste back to the nest, and you will kill most of the ants.

A Note on Safety

The toxicity rate of borax for humans is very low. Even so, you should not use it around pets or children. Stick to other methods if there’s a risk of either putting it in their mouths or touching it and then their mouths.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is related to borax and has a similar effect on ants. To get the ants to eat it and bring it to the rest of their colony, try mixing it with cornmeal.

Ants like cornmeal a lot, so combine about nine parts cornmeal and one part of boric acid. Turn it into a paste with peanut butter or soybean oil. You can place this in homemade bait stations.

A Note on Safety

The same safety considerations apply to boric acid as borax. Don’t use it around children or pets.


One of the most popular natural remedies to repel ants is cinnamon, something you likely already have on hand. It works as a repellent and kills ants, serving two purposes at once.

To use this remedy, sprinkle the cinnamon in the path of ants or across areas you don’t want them to enter. You can also use cinnamon essential oil if you prefer.


Citrus has natural acids that are great at repelling ants.

You can puree some orange peel and mix it with water. Next, rub it along door jams or other areas to keep ants out. Or squeeze citrus fruits and then use a spray bottle to apply the juice.

Coffee Grounds

Experts aren’t positive why coffee grounds repel ants. Some say ants don’t like the smell, while others say ants don’t like walking over the texture.

You don’t need to know why this method works to know that it does work. Just spread coffee grounds by plants that you want to keep ants away from.


Flour is a simple solution that gets in the way of ants’ scent trails. Just spread it over their path or any other area you want to keep ant-free.

Fresh Mint

Fresh mint is one of several scents that ants are not a fan of. You can try placing some around the areas you don’t want the ants to be. Or you can just keep ants out of your garden by planting mint there.


Pepper helps keep ants away as the insects aren’t a fan of its strong smell.

There are two methods of using this natural repellent. You can grind black pepper or cayenne pepper and place it on the ant scent trails. This will interfere with the trails and keep the ants out. You can also put pepper in a spray bottle with water. Just spray this solution along the entry points to your home.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is among the most common home remedies for repelling ants. Even experts agree it works well, albeit temporarily. Using this method requires diluting vinegar in water. Aim for about three parts vinegar for one part water. Put this combination in a spray bottle and apply it wherever you see the ants and under doorways.

In case you are curious, vinegar works because of its strong smell. That smell interferes with the scent trails of ants, preventing them from tracking their way back into your house.

Most Solutions Are Short-term

As you try the above solutions, keep in mind that most of them will only provide short-term results. You will have to reapply the repellent regularly or get to the source of the problem.

Many of the above solutions also won’t work well if you already have a large ant infestation. Once the ants manage to get past the repellent and find food, they will keep trying to return and let their colony know.

When All Else Fails, Hire a Professional

If you try all of the above methods and don’t see results, turn to the professionals. Pest control professionals will have more solutions available than the average homeowner, and their experience helps them choose the right one quickly.