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How to Get Rid of Ants Permanently

How to Get Rid of Ants Permanently

Wondering how to get rid of ants permanently from your home? So are millions of other homeowners, which is why we made this guide. Read on to learn all you need to know to make your home ant-free.


Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.


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Have an Ant Problem?

Ants are common invaders in homes. Unfortunately, deterring ants or eliminating them with pesticides and harsh chemicals may have unpleasant side effects, especially on your health. To avoid this, you should opt for safe and natural methods to deal with an insect infestation or prevent it from happening in the first place.

Why It’s Tricky

Ant resting on a green leaf

Achkin/Shutterstock

Ants don’t have lungs, so they don’t inhale chemicals or any natural repellents. Instead, they absorb oxygen and other compounds in the environment through tiny holes in their bodies.

Knowing this, you won’t have to endure unpleasant or toxic smells to kill ants. Instead, we’ll show you how to make home remedies that won’t put you and your family’s health at risk while still destroying the infestation.

There are 8 easy ways to get rid of ants permanently:

  1. Boiling water
  2. Liquid detergent and glass cleaner
  3. Cornstarch
  4. Boric Acid
  5. Pepper
  6. Chalk
  7. Peppermint Oil
  8. Cinnamon

Read on to learn about each of these and why each of these is so effective in getting rid of ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants Permanently and Safely

Method 1: Boiling Water

As a solution on how to get rid of ants permanently, a pot of boiling water sits on a stove

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

An ant mound close to your home may look small, but you’ll be surprised by the ant colonies underneath. One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to help an ant problem is by using boiling water.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Boil water in a large pot
  2. Pour the boiling water into the ant mound near your home

The result is instant: the boiling water both washes out the ant hill and kills the colony at the same time.

Method 2: Liquid Detergent and Glass Cleaner

Detergents and sponges on the windowsill

Olyamatyash/Shutterstokc

Another effective method to deter ants from entering your home is to combine liquid detergent and glass cleaner. Ants communicate with each other by giving off a pheromone trail. This home remedy removes the scent trail, confusing the ants.

To use this method:

  1. Mix liquid detergent with spray-on glass cleaner
  2. Spray the mixture on areas where ants enter, exit, or gather
  3. Allow the mixture to remain for a few minutes before wiping down the area
  4. Leave a light residue behind to repel ants in the future

Glass cleaner is potent, so it works best. But if you would rather use something more natural, you can make soapy water with liquid detergent or hand soap and spray it on the various entry points in your home and on the ant hill.

Method 3: Cornstarch

Image of cornstarch being mixed into a bowl for a piece on how to get rid of ants permanently

Guillermo Spelucin R/Shutterstock

Another highly effective way to get rid of ants is to use cornstarch. While it doesn’t kill them, it both attracts and then traps them. Ever cooked with cornstarch? If so, you know what we’re talking about — it’s really sticky.

  1. Pour a generous amount of cornstarch over the ant infestation
  2. Vacuum up the visible ants and dispose of the bag immediately

Alternatively, you can pour water on the ants after covering them with cornstarch. Use the latter method if you already have an active infestation.

Method 4: Boric Acid

To illustrate how to get rid of ants permanently with boric acid, a dish of the stuff sits on a table in a lab

Sulit.photos/Shutterstock

Boric acid kills ants by eroding their stomachs and outer shell. It’s a type of poison, so be sure to keep it away from kids and pets. Also remember to wear gloves when you work with the chemical.

Here’s how to get rid of ants with boric acid:

  1. Combine 8 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of boric acid into one cup of warm water
  2. Stir the mixture until it dissolves completely
  3. Deep cotton balls into the solution and place them in areas around your home where you’ve noticed ants

Here’s another way to use boric acid:

  1. Mix the boric acid with corn syrup or maple syrup
  2. Spread the mixture on cardboard or any other flat surface and place it where you see ants

Again, be very careful if you have pets or kids, especially if you’re using the syrup method. It’ll smell good, and it might even taste good, as the syrup masks the chemicals. But it can be harmful, if not deadly. So we highly discourage using the latter method if you have pets or kids.

Method 5: Pepper

A bunch of pepper balls sit on a wooden table with a wooden spoon as an image to illustrate how to get rid of ants permanently

Khunaoy/Shutterstock

While ants love sugar, they really don’t like pepper. You can use red or black pepper to deter infestations.

Here’s how:

  1. Sprinkle pepper on ant trails, entry or exit points, behind appliances, around baseboards, and other areas where you’ve seen the ants.
  2. A pepper solution (pepper and water) can also prevent ants from returning to your home.

Remember to clean the area where you applied the pepper solution afterward.

Method 6: Chalk

Pale of sidewalk chalk sits on a concrete pad

Alex Kosev/Shutterstock

The calcium carbonate in chalk is a good ant repellant, and if you have kids, you likely have some lying around. Get some white chalk, ground it into a fine powder, and follow these steps:

  1. Sprinkle the powdered chalk where you notice ants, and they’ll avoid that spot
  2. Alternatively, draw lines with the pieces of chalk at strategic spots in your home where there is an ant problem

The downside to this method is that chalk can stain, and it’s a little unsightly to have chalk lines drawn around front doors — only do this in discrete locations.

Method 7: Peppermint Oil

A vial of peppermint oil sits next to mint leaves on a table

Rawf8/Shutterstock

Similar to pepper, ants don’t like peppermint, making it an effective natural ant repellent. Here is how to get rid of an ant colony using peppermint oil:

  1. Pour two cups of water into a bowl
  2. Add 10 or 20 drops of peppermint oil to the water
  3. Give it a good shake to mix the solution properly
  4. Pour the solution into a spray bottle
  5. Generously spray the mixture in areas where you see ants and allow it to dry

Make sure to keep the peppermint oil ant spray away from pets, as they can become ill if exposed.

Method 8: Cinnamon

Cinnamon, a method to get rid of ants, sits on a table and in a fancy bowl

Bukhta Ihor/Shutterstock

The compounds in cinnamon can repel and kill ants. You can use powdered cinnamon or cinnamon leaf essential oil to get rid of ants permanently.

Here’s how:

  1. Sprinkle the cinnamon powder around baseboards, windows, and other areas where you’ve seen ants in your home
  2. Alternatively, you can deep cotton balls into cinnamon leaf essential oil and leave these where you notice ants

Again, be careful if you have pets. I know that my dogs love anything food-related, and they’d lick the cinnamon right off the ground, making the solution ineffective.

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We may earn a commission when you click this link, at no extra cost to you.

How Do You Get Rid of Ants Permanently

Results of what happens after you get rid of ants permanently with this guide, a dead ant lies on his back on a street

Dr.MYM/Shutterstock

The methods above are effective for getting rid of ants, but keep in mind that these insects can be difficult to permanently eradicate. Also, some ant killer home remedies may not produce instant results like commercially prepared products.

You may need to hire a professional exterminator if you don’t get the results you want. If all else fails, consider opting for pesticides, ant traps, or other popular options.