No matter where you live, ants are always uninvited houseguests that somehow manage to keep showing up. A few ants here and there is frustrating, but an entire colony can transfer bacteria, contaminate your food, and even bite, if you’re unlucky enough to have a Fire or Harvester ant infestation. Although they’re most common in the summer, ants can pop up at any time — especially if your counter frequently has crumbs or spills on it. Fortunately, this is a common problem and hence there are plenty of natural and chemical remedies for ants.
Here, we’ve included a guide to both natural and chemical methods of how to get rid of ants in the kitchen and anywhere else. Natural might be a better route to take if you’re worried about pets or kids breathing in toxins, but chemical-based formulas or commercial bait often work more quickly and effectively. Just make sure they don’t get into any of food or dishes you cook with if you’re using them in the kitchen.
There are even a few DIY methods you can employ if you run out of your particular ant remover during an infestation. One common home remedy is citrus. Bitter or sour ingredients keep ants away, so consider adding lemon peels to ant hot spots, or squeeze some juice in the area. Orange will also work. You can also make a lemon-based cleaner, or purchase one — we’ve included a few in our round-up.
Here’s how to get rid of ants and all the chaos they can cause in your home with the very best remedies on the market right now.
1. TERRO Indoor Liquid Ant Killer Baits
These pre-filled ant baits come in a pack of six, using borax to swiftly attract and kill ants. The sugary liquid works to disrupt the ant’s digestive system, but before it’s killed, it has time to return to the colony and share the mixture with them. Consider placing them around baseboards or on counters, but be sure to clean these surfaces of crumbs or any other sources of food before placing your bait station there. If you’re looking to avoid spray pesticides, these non-intrusive traps get to work immediately.
TERRO Indoor Liquid Ant Killer Baits
2. Raid Ant & Roach Killer Fragrance-Free Spray
If you’re looking for an aerosol-based way to get rid of ants, Raid offers a foolproof remedy that’s helped millions get rid of those pesky pests. This value pack comes with two cans and is completely fragrance-free, so you don’t have to worry about any lingering scents in your home. With a single spray, its unique formula doesn’t just kill on contact — it keeps being effective for up to four weeks, and also works on roaches, crickets and household spiders.
Raid Ant & Roach Killer Fragrance-Free Spray
3. Eliminator Ant, Flea & Tick Killer Plus Granules
Another popular way to take care of ants staying past their welcome? Granules. This ant, flea and tick killer uses small grains that you scatter around your home’s perimeter, both indoors and outdoors on your lawn or to protect your garden. You can do this manually or with a handheld broadcast spreader. Just one bag can cover a whopping 16,000 square feet, so if you don’t want to waste money on restocking, Eliminator’s option is an affordable investment for value-minded folks.
Eliminator Ant, Flea & Tick Killer Plus Granules
4. Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer
If fire ants are more of an issue than sugar ants in your home, go for this treatment, which can take care of up to 164 mounds with just one bottle. Just sprinkle the formula over the mound and watch it start working within an hour — no water required. This solution is ideal if your ant issue is mostly outdoors or surrounding ornamental plants, but if you’re an apartment dweller, it also works if you place it around your doors, baseboards, or balcony doors.
Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer
5. Syngenta Optigard Ant Bait Gel
Besides sprays and granulated beads, a gel is an effective method of getting rid of ants. This Syngenta gel bait comes in the form of a tube with a plunger, using a potent active ingredient to take care of all ant species indoors and outdoors. The thickness of the gel works to stick onto countertop edges, under ceilings, and more. One buyer says, “After squeezing out drops in a bunch of spots we saw an almost total drop in ant sightings.”
Syngenta Optigard Ant Bait Gel
6. Aunt Fannie’s Ant Remedy
Wondering how to get rid of ants without toxic compounds? Consider Aunt Fannie’s sprayable Ant Remedy, which kills ants on contact without any overwhelming chemical smells. For this reason, more buyers feel safe using this product in their kitchen or around pets and children. Others use it to get ants out of their bird feeder without harming the birds. However, it’s worth noting that a customer mentions, “It does leave oil on any surface once it dries so it does need to be cleaned up afterward instead of spray and go.”
Aunt Fannie’s Ant Remedy
7. Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil Spray
Many DIY’er place drops of peppermint essential oil around their house, since mint is a natural deterrent for ants. This Might Mint formula is still all-natural, but comes in the form of an easy-to-use spray bottle rather than leaving oily little drops all over your home. All of the bug-fighting ingredients are derived from plants, with the star being a 4% peppermint oil solution. Unlike diluted or manufactured synthetic oils, this product comes straight from the farmer, so you can rest easy.
Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil Spray
8. Heinz Distilled White Vinegar
White vinegar both kills and repels ants naturally. This affordable method involves either creating a diluted vinegar solution mixed with water or using straight vinegar if you can handle the scent. Create a spray solution or wipe directly on a damp cloth. You can also use this naturally bacteria-fighting solution to clean your countertops and floors, which can help keep ants away for the foreseeable future. Don’t worry — after vinegar dries, the scent becomes unnoticeable for most people.
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar
9. Florida Laboratories Boric Acid Powder
While boric acid doesn’t contain the same chemical compounds found in store-bought ant removing products, it’s important to note that boric acid, although extremely effective at killing insects, should always be kept away from pets and kids, and you should always wear gloves when handling. Simply mix half a teaspoon with eight teaspoons of sugar and a cup of warm water, soaking cotton balls in the mixture, and placing them around problem areas in your home.
Florida Laboratories Boric Acid Powder
10. EcoRaid Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
You may have heard that genuine citrus like lime and lemon is a great way to nix pests from your home. However, most products on the market use a lime or lemon scent that isn’t naturally derived, making them ineffective for dealing with ants. EcoRaider’s spray, on the other hand, uses actual citrus, instantly killing ants and breaking down their trails while preventing re-grouping. Not only is it more health-conscious than using pesticide-filled products, but it actually works better, according to over 1,000 Amazon reviewers.
EcoRaid Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
11. Also Consider: Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
This electronic indoor pest repellant uses low-frequency ultrasonic waves to keep ants away. Three settings work to repel them: green is used for mild pest infestations, while blue is for average pest problems, and red (the only setting audible to humans) is for seriously infested areas. With this method, no foreign ingredients enter your home or risk harming a member of your household. Multiple shoppers were wowed by how well it worked, on everything from bats to mice.