A flock of seagulls are standing in the snow

11 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Pesky Ants

If the heat of summer is bringing ants into your home and yard, don’t panic. You may not require toxic pest control products or a professional service to take get rid of these pesky ants.

In fact, chances are good you already have everything you need to do it yourself. Or if you prefer a commercial product that is eco-friendly and really works fast, I’ve got that for you, too.

Ants getting into a house

Soap and water

If you have ants or other bugs around the house, pour a 50/50 mixture of Blue Dawn dish soap and water into an empty spray bottle and keep it handy. When you see the insects, spray them with the mixture. Provided you really saturate those little critters, the soap actually breaks down their exoskeletons, and they die almost immediately. Cheap and easy cleanup, too.

Mop and vacuum

To get rid of sugar ants, start by mopping the floor at least once a day. Mopping and vacuuming helps to remove the ants’ pheromone trails. Cleaning and mopping will also rid your home of the food and crumbs that attract the ants. Make sure you don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink and empty the trash bin regularly.

Black pepper

To deter sugar ants, sprinkle ground black pepper around the home’s entry points to keep the ants from coming inside.

Ants close up of a rock

Vinegar and water

A 50/50 ratio of water and white vinegar can also deter ants. Spray this mixture on countertops, window sills, and high traffic areas.

Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon affiliated sites.


Spray any areas where ants are feeding or accessing your house with WD-40. The spray will kill ants and also serve as a deterrent from further access as long as residue from the spray remains. Not sure where they’re coming in? Spray WD-40 along the outside perimeter of the house. They will not cross it because ants hate the smell of WD-40. (So do rabbits!) Repeat as necessary.

RELATED: For Every Problem, WD-40


Keep ants at bay by drawing a line around your home’s entry points using an ordinary blackboard or sidewalk chalk. The ants will be repelled by the calcium carbonate in the chalk.

Boiling water

If fire ants plague your yard or patio and you’re tired of getting stung by those tiny attackers, a flowerpot can help you quench the problem. Place the pot upside down over the anthill. Carefully, pour boiling water through the drain hole and you’ll be burning them and their house for good.


You don’t need insecticides or ant traps to ant-proof your kitchen. Just give it the lemon treatment. First, squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance.

MORE: What Would You Do with 35 Pounds of Lemons?


Sprinkle your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house. Ants are repelled by the scent given off by the grounds and as a bonus coffee grounds are good for your soil and plants.

Killer Ant Spray

If you prefer a commercial product to get rid of pesky ants, take a look at Harris Ant Killer Spray. It works fast, has no fumes, and super safe around kids and pets. I use this quite often without any worries because it is:

  • Eco friendly. Uses clove and cottonseed natural plant oils as active ingredients that are safe to use around children and pets
  • Quick kill. Proven to kill ants in 30 minutes or less
  • Non staining. The formula will not stain when used according to label directions
  • Indoor & outdoor use. Can be used as an outdoor perimeter treatment as well as an indoor all-purpose spray
  • Pleasant scent. Essential oils emit a pleasant, light odor without the use of artificial fragrance

Since I had my bottle out just this morning to tackle a small ant invasion that I needed to deal with pronto, I snapped a photo for you. And yes, geraniums! They thrive in the glorious Colorado sunshine, even when temps soar—and armies of ants appear suddenly, looking for food and water.

A vase of flowers on a table

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is my first line of defense because it’s non-toxic, readily available and it just plain works! Make sure you’re using food-grade diatomaceous earth (NOT swimming pool DE, which has been chemically altered).

Sprinkle the food-grade DE outside around the perimeter of your home. You can also safely sprinkle it inside where you see the ants—as long as it is food-grade, it is totally non-toxic.

If the diatomaceous earth you select does not come with a powder duster, make sure you have one so you can strategically distribute the DE exactly where you want it.

Once the ants (or any kind of crawling bugs) walk in the fine powder they’ll die because the DE quietly destroys their exoskeletons.

Caution: DO NOT let DE get wet or it will not work. If that happens, let it dry, then reapply.

More from Mary's Everyday Cheapskate

Milk and dairy products on a wooden table
toilet tissue
Black + Decker cordless handheld vacuum
US coins and bills
Lightbulb sketched on a chalkboard

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our EC users. Keep your comments positive, encouraging, supportive, and on-topic. Please no lectures or personal promotions.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
5 replies
  1. Chezl says:

    Can the reader that left the tip regarding bees and Borax post how they used it? or will EverydayCheapskate please reprint or direct me to the article with the instructions for Borax and bees. We have bee issues here every year that try to build nests in the front of the house…shutters, into the siding, etc. Any advice would be appreciated. I am hesitant about spraying because of small pets and personal sensitivities.

  2. Mary says:

    I have been using oatmeal for large ant infestations. Those who will eat up a shrub, rose bush and such. Put the oatmeal by the hole they have and they take down to their nest and eat it. Next day no more ants.

  3. Bonnie Alcorn says:

    I was excited to see the headline of this post. I’m always looking for simple solutions for common problems. I know I have used the simplest (and most effective, in my opinion) of them all in the past, but have forgotten the ratio of Blue Dawn and water. Would you please reprint that?

  4. Gina Stevens says:

    A few years back, I had bees swarming in my gutters. I tried all sorts of bee repellents, which worked temporarily then they returned. I was ready to call “the guy.” Being a cheapskate myself, I asked myself, “What would Mary Hunt do?” Not that I recall you ever recommending this, but I thought you’d suggest something odd, like 20 Mule Team Borax. With nothing to lose, I tried it and the bees disappeared.

    • Mary says:

      Oh my goodness! As I was reading my heart began to pound, as I was preparing for you to let me have it because a DIY tip DIDN’T work for you! Whew! This is great and I would LOVE it if you would go to tips.everydaycheapskate.com and add this to our new interactive site! So easy. And you can enter your tip in the current contest to win CASH Prizes. I just awarded the 3 Winners from last month’s Contest. Please do it! This is great.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *