Natural Ant Repellent Spray: A Simple and Safe Spray That Works

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Natural Ant Repellent Essential Oils

This natural ant repellent uses essential oils for ants and it works well. It is simple, inexpensive, and safe for use indoors and out.

Anytime it’s warm out, that means ants.

In the house, on the porch, and practically around every corner I turn, I find ants crawling around. They follow scent trails leading to crumbs and other food sources. Naturally, where there is one ant, you will find another.

Want more information on dealing with ants in your home? Check out more of our tips on How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally.

Commercial Ant Repellents

Since ants can live both inside and outside the home, it is really important to choose an ant repellent that is natural AND effective. Many store-bought varieties are not only toxic, but they are dangerous to have around children and pets. Not to mention your eating areas or living space.

Chemicals in commercial pesticides include:

  • Neonicotinoids – A toxic chemical that can be absorbed by the skin.
  • Avermectin This chemical is toxic to the nervous system and during pregnancy.
  • Fipronil – oxic to ingest
  • Organophosphates and carbamate – These are toxic to children, neurotoxic, and possible carcinogens.

Personally, I’d rather not spray any of these in my home. With ants, as with the famous saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why we developed this natural ant repellent spray!

How to Prevent Ant Problems Indoors

The best way to rid yourself of ants is to avoid getting them in the first place! Some great ways to prevent ants in your home include:

  1. Sealing all cracks in walls or flooring
  2. Frequent vacuuming/sweeping of floors
  3. Clean pet eating areas frequently
  4. Tightly seal all food items not stored in the refrigerator
  5. Empty garbage frequently

If you’ve tried all these tips and you are still getting ants, I have a great, natural ant repellent recipe that will help dissolve any food trails.

This recipe is super easy and it uses only two essential oils: clove bud essential oil and peppermint essential oil.

Clove Bud Essential Oil

This oil is spicy, strong, and warming. It is an effective natural ant repellent because its strong scent masks the smell of the food trail. I’ve even read accounts where people claim that clove bud essential oil kills ants on contact. Clove bud essential oil is very potent and feels warm when applied to the skin, so I definitely believe that it could kill ants on contact.

In fact, a study of clove essential oil’s effectiveness as a natural ant repellent showed it a 100% ant mortality within 6 hours, and it repelled 99% within 3 hours of application.[1] That’s awesome!

Also, many commercial natural insect repellents include clove bud essential oil as one of their main active ingredients. So I say skip the middle man and make your own.

Note: Caution should always be used when working with clove bud essential oil as it is not suitable for pregnant women or those suffering from liver disease. In these cases, have someone else do the mixing and spraying for you.

Peppermint Essential Oil

This is also a great essential oil for ants and is perfect for our natural ant repellent spray.[2] It is common knowledge that peppermint essential oil is great for ridding the home of ants and other pests. Peppermint essential oil is also cooling and stimulating.

Many people will simply soak cotton balls in peppermint essential oil and place them around the house to prevent ants. This also works well to prevent mice and as a substitute for mothballs in your dresser.

Natural Ant Repellent Essential Oils

Natural Ant Repellent That Works!

5 from 2 votes

This natural ant repellent uses essential oils for ants and it works well. It is simple, inexpensive, and safe for use indoors and out.

Prep Time
2 minutes
Mix Time
2 minutes
Total Time
4 minutes
4 ounces
Estimated Cost



  1. Mix essential oils and water in a medium spray bottle.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Spray baseboards, porches, and anywhere you see ants with the solution.
  4. Repeat if necessary.


Remember to always shake the bottle before use. Essential oils will separate between uses.

I always use a dark colored spray bottle to prevent the oils from oxidizing, but your oils will stay fine if you store your spray bottle in a dark, cool place in between uses.

Do not use this spray on the skin because the oils are very strong and could cause burning or tingling.

Made this recipe?

Mention @diynatural or tag it #diynatural!

If you are looking for a natural alternative to combat bugs, learn How to Make a Homemade Bug Repellent Cream for your next cookout or camping trip.

Need more than a natural ant repellent spray? Check out our other tips on How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally.

Tip: Also, try making our homemade mosquito repellent!



  1. Kafle L, Shih CJ. Toxicity and repellency of compounds from clove to red imported fire ants. Pubmed. Accessed May 2019.
  2. Brian P. Baker, Jennifer A. Grant, and Raksha Malakar-Kuenen. Peppermint as an Active Ingredient Eligible for Minimum Risk Pesticide Use. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Accessed May 2019.

About Katie Vance

Katie is a wife, mother, aromatherapist, and lover of all things DIY. She offers consultations and gives simple aromatherapy advice at Katie Vance, Aromatherapy Simplified. You can also find Katie on Facebook.

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  1. Carol L says

    @ Datacenter Private Proxies Free :
    This post and recipe is not meant to be a be-all-end-all recipe: Not all bugs (including ants) are identical, and not all areas are identical either, therefore, what works for one person in one area with a certain type of ant won’t necessarily work for someone else. These are suggestions and helpful comments for what has worked for some readers. Try one thing, if it doesn’t work, try something else! I like options as I have tried some recipes that didn’t work for me, but others have. Just like deer deterrents: not all ideas work for all deer. But having options is a great idea and trying them to find which ones work for YOU is what you are supposed to do with the information you glean from posts like this one.

    Author: Datacenter Private Proxies Free
    Comment:With every little thing which appears to be building within this subject material, many of your opinions are actually rather refreshing. Nevertheless, I appologize, because I can not subscribe to your whole idea, all be it exciting none the less. It seems to everybody that your comments are not completely validated and in simple fact you are yourself not even wholly confident of the point. In any event I did appreciate examining it.

  2. Datacenter Private Proxies Free says

    With every little thing which appears to be building within this subject material, many of your opinions are actually rather refreshing. Nevertheless, I appologize, because I can not subscribe to your whole idea, all be it exciting none the less. It seems to everybody that your comments are not completely validated and in simple fact you are yourself not even wholly confident of the point. In any event I did appreciate examining it.

  3. Tracy says

    Would it be okay to use vodka instead of water to dissolve the essential oils better?

    • Katie Vance says

      Tracy, You can absolutely use vodka or grain alcohol (151 proof or higher) as it does make a much better dispersant/solubilizer for essential oils. This post was originally published some years ago, and we’ve learned a lot more about these things since then. Water will work okay, but the oils/water will separate, so you’d have to shake pretty well before using and remember that there will be undiluted essential oils on those surfaces.

  4. Cheryl Longfellow says

    Has anyone tried this on fire ants? I have found nothing that really works on them.

    • Tanya Lundy-Freeman says

      I use straight clove essential oil. They hate it and it kills them. In my pantry I put some on a cotton ball and wiped the shelves and walls. Then I placed a cotton ball with the essential oil on the shelf I saw them the most….at both edges – not the back corners.

      I used eucalyptus and tea tree in my bathroom.

    • Melissa says

      Cinnamon doesn’t always work. I had an ant infestation a while back and tried cinnamon and it did absolutely nothing. Broke down and bought some terro traps. Next time I’ll try this recipe.

      • Carol L says

        Using ACV will maybe stop ants, however, it WILL cause other bug issues: fruit flies and other types of flies LOVE ACV!!! That is why you use it to lure them to their death with it. ACV is an attractant to many bugs, flying and otherwise. I’d stick with hydrogen peroxide if you don’t want to use essential oils.

  5. Carol L says

    I discovered, quite by accident, something that works to kill ants on contact: undiluted hydrogen peroxide. I keep both my ‘bug’ killer and H.P. in dark glass bottles, and grabbed the wrong one the other day. Noticed that the ants died immediately! Now, I am plagued constantly with teeny tiny black ants; these are NOT sugar ants, but prefer meat. They won’t go for sugar so the powdered borax/sugar won’t attract them, nor will Terro. I have tried putting whole cloves around the places that I THINK they are coming from (never can actually see a location where they enter) which has worked somewhat. But the hydrogen peroxide was miraculous. Obviously this won’t work to repel them in the first place, but if you find them coming in in droves, this will work to kill them. Oh, I actually add a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil…This is actually my shower cleaner for mold…
    I note that it also works for small/medium spiders and flies! They take a bit more spray, probably because they are larger, but it works.
    Again, obviously, be careful when using H.P. around clothing and carpets, etc.
    To follow up, and to clean their trails, I will use essential oils diluted in water or vinegar to clean up after them wherever I have seen them.

  6. Kate Kenner says

    I had a thought similar to the beehive one. I have hummingbird feeders and try to keep the ants out with non petroleum jelly but wonder if this would be as or more effective. I don’t want to kill them and honestly as long as they stay out of the food I don’t mind a few in the house.

  7. Birgitte Palmer says

    Cinnamon powder is another great ant repeller. We had ants coming up the legs of our dining table one year but when we sprinkled cinnamon around the four table legs the ants disappeared completely.

  8. Karen says

    I have used peppermint essential oil also in natural mosquito repellents, and it works as a remedy for mosquito bites.

  9. Your Feathered Friend says

    This is awesome. I’ve been looking for ways to eliminate chemicals in our home. We also use essential oils, so I’m looking forward to trying this. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Aaron says

    When I had ants, I made a spray with 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. It is incredibly effective even on other bugs.

  11. Dawn says

    Any idea how this would affect honey bees? I have ants around my hives & would love to be rid of them!

    • Katie Vance says

      Dawn, I would assume they would be safe as clove and peppermint herbs are naturally pollinated by honey bees, but since they are so concentrated these oils may actually repel your honey bees. You could try cutting the oils by half to see if that would still solve your ant problem without hurting your bees or honey production. Best wishes!

  12. Brenda says

    I have the 1 dram bottle of LorAnn clove oil from the grocery store. Several of the candy flavors that they sell are real actual natural oils. You can research it online and I’ve used it in homemade toothpaste, it’s great! They even sell a super tiny glass eyedropper that fits the bottle on ebay. Enjoy

    • Katie Vance says

      I had no idea, Brenda! I use the brands mentioned in the article and they work well for me, but I’ll have to look into the LorAnn oils.

    • Katie Vance says

      Hi Shawn, Peppermint and Clove are definitely safe for dogs and cats. In fact, many natural flea and tick shampoos include them. However, Clove Oil is not safe for use around pregnant animals (just as for pregnant women, because it is a uterine stimulant).

      • Ronda Tucker says

        Thanks for that information. I have cats and wouldn’t want to use anything that could potentially harm them in any way.
        Gonna use this DIY for sure. Thanks again, God bless

        • Virginia Hanley says

          If cloves are bad for pregnant women they should not be used to repel ants. To risky.