Ants wind up in many kitchens by coming in through windows, open doors, and even kitchen cabinets. Often attracted by food, ants can have a field day in the average kitchen, multiplying until you’ve got an infestation. The problem with tiny ants is that many people don’t know how to get rid of them.
Use our guide to learn more about how to get rid of ants in the kitchen so you’re no longer sharing your space with them. After all, it’s your kitchen, not theirs.
5 Steps Guide on How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
You are looking for easy and natural solutions that do not involve using poisonous chemicals or traps. But you don't want to spend hours trying out different methods either!
Here is a 5-steps guide to getting rid of ants in the kitchen quickly and easily so you can stop worrying about your food getting infested with these pesky bugs!
Step 1. Eliminate Ants Food Source
The first step is to eliminate their food source. Since ants eat most things, you should clean up any spills and scraps of food (including pet food!), clean the kitchen thoroughly, seal up all food, and store it in containers with tight lids or plastic bags.
Here is a list of foods that ants can't resist:
- Sweet Drinks and Syrups, Beer, Soda, Champagne, Water, Tea, Coffee & Cream,
- Grains, Biscuits, Bread,
- Chocolate or anything Sweetened, Sugar, Candy,
- Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Corn,
- Oils, Peanut Butter,
- Pet Food, Dog/Cat Treats.
Step 2. Clean the Kitchen with Natural Cleaning Solutions
Make your natural cleaning solutions to clean up any left-over food particles or lingering smell of food around your kitchen.
Here are five easy recipes you can whip up using common household ingredients:
How to make Vinegar Solution
(works great on countertops and sealed tiles)
Put some white distilled vinegar into a small spray bottle. Add some water and shake it up. Spray it onto the surfaces where you see ants or their trails and wipe it off with a damp cloth or sponge.
How to make Lemon Juice Solution
(also works great on sealed tiles and countertops)
Mix lemon juice and water into a small spray bottle in equal parts and shake well. Make sure to use 100% natural lemon juice – not concentrate – as the artificial stuff contains chemicals that will only repel leafy greens! Spray thoroughly on surfaces where you see ants or their trails and wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge. This solution is also suitable for cleaning your cutting boards!
How to make Tea Tree Oil Solution
(great disinfectant and safe around food prep areas)
Add 20 drops of tea tree oil into a small spray bottle filled with water. Shake well before use. Spray on surfaces, and wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge.
How to make Peppermint Oil Solution
(safe around food prep areas, smells great too!)
Add 10-15 drops of 100% pure peppermint oil (NOT PEPPERMINT OIL FROM THE GROCERY STORE) into each 1 cup of olive or vegetable oil in a spray bottle and shake well before use. Some people add 5-8 teaspoons of sugar to the solution for even better results! Spray lightly onto countertops where you see ants or their trails and wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge.
How to make Baking Soda Solution
(works great on sealed tiles and countertops)
Put two tablespoons of baking soda into a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of water and mix until you get a thick paste consistency (you might need to add more water). Apply the paste onto surfaces where you see ants or their trails, let it sit for 10 minutes, and wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge.
Step 3. Use Baits to Kill the Ant Colony
The TERRO Ant Bait Stations are an excellent way to kill off an ant colony, provided you use it correctly.
They will not work if you don't follow these four simple steps:
- 1. Once you open a bait station, please do not touch it with your bare hands. The bait attracts ants but won't work properly if you come in contact with it. You can wear gloves or tongues to get the bait out of the station.
- 2. Place one TERRO Ant Bait Station on each floor of your kitchen, preferably in places where it sees the most foot traffic. That includes near the dishwasher, under the sink, beside cabinets, etc. Make sure to place them away from direct sunlight or moisture!
- 3. Check the bait stations daily to see if ants have returned to return food to the nest. If so, throw out all the ants and replace them with fresh bait stations!
- 4. If no ants return after three days, try moving the stations to different locations for better results. Bait stations are great because they have no expiration date, so you can leave them in your kitchen for months without worrying about throwing them away.
Step 4. Block Entry Points
After you kill ants in your kitchen, make sure to close down the ant's entry points they use to enter your home. Make sure trash cans are sealed tightly with lids or bags.
If necessary, spray around the base of the cans with an insecticide like EcoRaider to kill ants that might be foraging in them. Also, be mindful of any cracks in your foundation walls where ants may enter.Remember, when you see ants outside on your patio or in your garden, say away from their nests (especially if they're coming up when you're near them). They're not looking for food but finding a new ant nest site!
Step 5. Prevent Ants From Coming Back
The best way to prevent ants from returning is by keeping your home as dry and clean as possible. Clean up all spills and crumbs, wipe dishes and surfaces after meals, and store food in tightly sealed containers.
You can also sprinkle Borax or diatomaceous earth (DE) around cracks on your kitchen floors to make the area less attractive to ants; they won't be able to crawl over such a surface! Just ensure you don't leave it there for more than 48 hours as it will kill whatever is living there… including your pets, if they touch or eat it!If you ever notice new ant trails outside of your home on concrete, sidewalks, or patios that originate from anywhere inside of your house (especially near windows and doors), keep an eye out for a new outdoor colony at those locations because they may have found a new home!
- Sweep, mop, or vacuum the floor frequently (about once daily) and ensure you wash dishes immediately.
- Always store food in airtight containers and never leave them uncovered; this includes pet foods, too.
- Take out garbage regularly using durable grocery bags.
Got Ants in the Kitchen? Figure Out What Kind You Have First
If you want to know how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen, the first and most crucial step is figuring out what kind of ants are causing you a problem. Not all ants respond to the same removal methods, so identification is a necessary first step.
Here’s how you can identify ant species in your kitchen by color and size:
- Look at the size of the ants.
Carpenter ants, which tend to be attracted to areas with wood-like cupboards, are a little bit larger.
Common pavement ants and pharaoh ants are both relatively small in size.
The kitchen is the number one place for an infestation in the average home. Bathrooms are the second most common area where ants enter the house because of open windows and the potential for standing water in sinks, cabinets, and the shower.
Where Did the Ants Come From?
Once you’ve figured out what kind of ants are causing you a problem in your home, you then need to determine how the ants got into your kitchen in the first place. If you don’t do this now, getting rid of the ant infestation will likely be a short-term solution.
Check these areas to figure out how ants got into your home:
- Look for cracks around doors that lead into your kitchen. Old weather-stripping and seals that do not function properly may unknowingly allow a stream of ants to enter your house.
- Check inside cabinets that are positioned on an exterior wall. Damage to cabinetry or cracks can lead to ants indoors. You should also check the outside of these areas on the exterior of your home to make sure no damage could let ants pass through into the inside of your cabinetry.
- Visually inspect windows’ screens to ensure they aren’t damaged or bent at the edges. A torn screen or one with a bent corner will make it very easy for ants to get into your kitchen.
- Inspect the outside of your home for tree branches or growth that may entice ants. If this growth is very close to or touching your home, this could be a pathway for ants.
Why Are Ants So Interested in My Kitchen?
When people discover an army of ants marching across their kitchen, they wonder first of all why they have an ant infestation. While getting ants is common, some things make your kitchen look like a haven for those pesky bugs.
Reasons ants tend to like living in the kitchen include:
- Freestanding water. Ants require very little water, so something as simple as a wet paper towel or dish rag can seem like a vast supply of freshwater for them.
- Ants are attracted to food particles, particularly those with sugar. You don’t have to leave dirty dishes all over the counters to attract ants, though. Even food particles in the sink can be inviting to ants that already have access to your home.
How Do I Keep Ants Out?
Prevention is vital when learning how to keep your kitchen from most ants. After all, simply clearing an infestation that’s only going to come back again in a month isn’t very smart.
Use these tips to keep ants out of your kitchen and away from your food:
- Don’t let freestanding water remain in your kitchen when you have an ant problem. Even wet dish towels can draw ants toward your space seeking fresh water. Avoid soaking pans and dishes for more than a few hours, and keep anything with water or liquids in it covered when possible.
- Never leave uncovered food out on your counters. If you have sugar items, like cookies, put them in a sealed container with a tight-fitting top. As a general rule, if you’re not eating it, it should be put away to keep ants from entering your home.
- Check the seals around your windows and doors. From weather stripping to general silicone caulking, damaged seals are a straightforward entry point for ants that want to get inside.
- Make sure all of your screens are in good shape. Replacement screens are inexpensive, and you may be able to repair damaged ones in a matter of minutes.
Identifying where ants come into your house is the first step when you’re trying to keep ants out of your home. Once you find that area, applying basic white vinegar can deter ants from using that point of entry. Vinegar will also help deter ants while you make necessary repairs to keep them out for good.
How to Get Ants Off the Kitchen Countertop
The kitchen countertop is one of the most common places you’ll find ants once you have an infestation. When you wake up one morning to find 1,000 ants marching across your kitchen countertop or loitering on your windowsill, it can be hard to know how to tackle the issue. You probably don’t want to use ant spray that contains poisons on your kitchen countertops if you don’t have to, though.
One of the simplest methods for removing ants from kitchen countertops is to combine a capful (about one tablespoon) of dish soap with a full spray bottle of water. Spray the ants and wait five minutes before using paper towels or a rag to clear them from the area.
This method won’t solve the infestation problem, but it can get your counters clean now so you can take care of the bigger problem.
What About the Sink?
If you want to know how to get rid of ants in your house, and they aren’t on your counters, there’s a good chance they’re calling your sink home, at least for now. That doesn’t mean you have to let them stay there, though.
The dish soap method for clearing kitchen countertops can work well in the sink, but you also have other options here. If the ants are in the drain – they likely are, even if you can’t see them there – baking soda is your best option.
- Pour baking soda into the drain and wait about 10 minutes.
- Add diluted vinegar to the drain to clear any food particles that may attract ants to stay in your drain.
- Rinse the sink and drain with boiling water after the baking soda and vinegar combination to clear the area.
3 Best Products to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
Spraying poisons and severe chemicals all over your kitchen isn’t a wise idea. If you need to know how to keep your kitchen from ants, though, it only makes sense that you’ll want some product to do the work for you.
While there are dozens of choices on the market, some products tend to be ideal for kitchen use:
Raid Max is the perfect solution for anyone looking to eliminate ants from their kitchen. These baits are designed with a child-resistant design, so there’s no need to worry about curious kids getting into them. They also have an extended 3-month life span, so you can use Raid Max Ant Baits without worrying about re-applying them too often!
The best part? Because this bait has been specifically designed for kitchens, you don’t have to deal with messy sprays or powders anymore. This product will kill ants fast and keep your kitchen ant-free!
- Eliminates ants in your kitchen within days.
- Child-resistant design.
- Keep the ants away from your food.
- Keep your kids and pets safe.
- No need to worry about messy powders or sprays.
TERRO Ant Bait Stations are pre-filled, ready-to-use bait stations with a patented design to prevent bait from drying out. The active ingredient is Borax 5.40%. This product is odorless. It can be used indoors, and the instructions on activating the station are included in the package. These best ant traps will last an entire year if activated according to instructions, but they can be reused until they are empty.
- The snap-off tab has been improved, making the stations easier to use.
- How long it takes to get rid of ants will depend on how many there are. It might take up to 2 weeks if there are many of them.
- No more ants in your kitchen or other areas where you don’t want them!
This product uses tiny amounts of active ingredients to quickly paralyze and kill ants on counters and around your home.
It can be purchased at significant hardware retailers like Home Depot and online through Amazon.
Effective Methods for Killing Ants in My Kitchen
Sometimes ants can take over your kitchen, and the only answer is to remove everything from your counters and sinks and use actual pesticides to kill them. Adequate ventilation is essential when using these products, so make sure you open up your windows. Using a fan to create more airflow can be beneficial.
Products that work for killing ants in the kitchen include:
This product is used by pouring a small amount of the liquid ant killer onto provided cardboard squares. These are then placed near the infestation to attract ants and kill them. Terro Liquid Ant Killer is designed for indoor use, but outdoor versions are also available.
Retailers like Home Depot and online stores, including Amazon, carry this product.
This product is applied directly to ant infestations and quickly paralyzes them.
It is available at major retailers, drug stores, and hardware stores throughout the country.
- Active Ingredient: 0.05% Indoxacarb
- Locations: Indoor/ Outdoor
- Safe for kids and pets
This product helps apply to cracks in walls and corners of cabinets.
It can be used indoors and outdoors and is available online through Amazon and some brick-and-mortar stores.
How to Remove Ants Quickly with Natural and Homemade Products
You’re not the only one who wants to learn how to stop ants in the kitchen. Ants can be a real nuisance; try as hard as you can. Sometimes they still end up inside. Getting rid of them quickly isn’t all that hard, though. Even some types of homemade ant killer can be effective.
Here are natural ways to get rid of ants in the kitchen quickly:
- Use the dish soap and water method. This will trap the ants, making them easy to wipe off of counters. Dish soap is also easy to remove and non-toxic for humans, making it an ideal solution for homes with pets and children.
- Pour boiling water into the sink. Boiling water will quickly eradicate ants in the short-term. A long-term solution may be needed for a chronic infestation.
- Combine a teaspoon of peppermint oil with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the ants and wipe them away when they die within a few minutes. As an added benefit, peppermint oil smells much better than your average ant killer, though it isn’t as effective for large groups of ants.
- Create a trap of 75% peanut butter and 25% powdered borax. This can work well if you have ants in one small part of the kitchen like on an island or in a single cupboard or cabinet. Mixing three parts of powdered sugar with one-part powdered borax can also be effective.
You may need to try a few different solutions when it comes to stubborn ant invasions. You’ll also need to shore up any areas around your home that are allowing insects inside in the first place.
If all of your hard work doesn’t pay off and ants are becoming regular visitors to your kitchen, it may be time to hire a professional to help you figure out the problem. Professional solutions can also take care of ants on the spot, so they’re gone in minutes.
The methods above can help eliminate tiny six-legged squatters in the kitchen quickly and easily. Use them around your home and kiss ants goodbye!