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.
What’s wrong with commercial ant repellents?
Since ants can live both inside and outside the home, it is really important to choose a 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.
Some of the chemicals included 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.”
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:
- Sealing all cracks in walls or flooring
- Frequent vacuuming/sweeping of floors
- Clean pet eating areas frequently
- Tightly seal all food items not stored in the refrigerator
- Empty garbage frequently
If you’ve tried all these tips and you are still getting ants, I have a great ant repellent recipe that will help dissolve any food trails.
My recipe is super easy and it uses only two essential oils: clove bud essential oil and peppermint essential oil.
Clove bud essential oil is spicy, strong, and warming. It is effective against ants 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.
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 is also very strong smelling. 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 a cotton ball in peppermint essential oil and place around the house to prevent ants. This also works well to prevent mice and as a substitute for mothballs in your dresser.
Homemade Natural Ant Repellent
- 35 drops clove essential oil (find pure clove EO here)
- 35 drops peppermint essential oil (find pure peppermint EO here)
- 4 oz water
- Mix essential oils and water in a medium spray bottle.
- Shake well.
- Spray baseboards, porches, and anywhere you see ants with the solution.
- 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 skin because the oils are very strong and could cause burning or tingling. 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.
Want more information on dealing with ants in your home? Check out more of our tips on How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally.