GIVEAWAY: Win a Cuisinart Triple Forged 15-Piece Knife Block Set in white! →

From studio apartments to great big mansions, none of us are immune to ant infestations. There are lots of products on the market to help with this problem, and while they can be effective, they can also be harmful to more than just ants. These traps and sprays are literally poison, after all.

According to Muhammad Sarwar from the Department of Entomology at the Nuclear Institute for Food & Agriculture, “The exposure to pesticides may result in irritation to eye, nose, and throat; damage to central nervous system and kidney; and increased risk of cancer. Symptoms due to pesticides exposure may include headache, dizziness, muscular weakness, and nausea.”

Instead of using pesticides or other harmful chemicals, why not try out a few of these all-natural methods for eliminating ants?

Coffee Grounds


If you’re one of the literally millions of daily coffee drinkers, then this might be the easiest, most convenient method for you. If you’re willing to part with a few precious coffee grounds, then you already have everything you need to drive ants away.

Simply sprinkle a thin layer of coffee grounds on entryways, windowsills, and any problem areas, like under the kitchen sink. Why does this work? Ants are extremely sensitive to caffeine, of all things. That, coupled with the strong, acidic scent confuses the ants and makes them lose their scent trail

Borax Trap


Borax is often used in soap, detergent, and other cleaning products. It is made up of sodium borate, a naturally occurring compound. You can find borax powder for just a few dollars at most stores, which makes this a cheap, easy solution for getting rid of ants.

There are a few ways to use borax as an ant trap. One way is to mix it with peanut butter and honey and set drops of the mixture out on plastic lids where you’ve seen ants.

You can also make a self-contained ant trap. Mix 4 teaspoons borax, 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of sugar until dissolved. Slather small pieces of bread or cotton balls with a little peanut butter and then dip them into the Borax mixture, so it soaks some up. Place the pieces into a bottle with holes in the lid for the ants. Place the traps around entry points and out in the yard.

Why does this work? Borax interferes with the ants’ digestive system and gradually kills them. This slow kill allows time for the worker ants to consume the bait and bring it back to the nest to share with the rest of the colony and queen.

White Vinegar


White vinegar is seriously so useful around the house! I can’t remember the last time I used it in a recipe, but I use it for cleaning and all sorts of other things around my home. If you’re interested in all the ways you can clean with vinegar, check out this article!

But back to the ant infestation problem. This solution actually kills two birds with one stone…or, two ants, as it were. Grab a mop bucket and fill with hot water. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar for every gallon of water. Then, wash your floors thoroughly. Not only will you get nice, clean floors, but the ants will scurry from the vinegar smell, diluted though it may be. If you happen to have a sensitivity to vinegar as well, you can add a few drops of citrus and/or peppermint essential oil to mask the vinegar smell. Don’t worry, this won’t take away from the power of vinegar! In fact, ants hate citrus and peppermint, so you’re really only helping the cause.

Baby Powder


So far, we’ve talked about setting traps or warding off ants before they get into your home. But what about if you see a line of ants trailing through your kitchen? Instead of trying to smash them or sweep them away, try sprinkling baby powder on them.

Why? Ants breathe through tiny little pores in their abdomen called spiracles. Through these, they take in the oxygen they need to maintain their systems and activity levels. The fine dust particles in baby powder will clog those pores, thus suffocating the ants.

Oils & Herbs


You knew it was going to be on here somewhere! You can’t get through a list of “all-natural” anything without a mention of essential oils. The best way to use essential oils against ants and other unwanted houseguests is to make a spray. Use 5-10 drops of oil for every cup of water. Combine in a spray bottle and spray on the anthill if you know where it is, or around entry points if you don’t. The best oils to use are: cinnamon, clove, cedarwood, citrus, and peppermint.

Alternatively, if you’re not into essential oils and don’t want to drop a pretty penny on a bottle or two, you can use dry and ground herbs as well. Ground cinnamon and cloves can be sprinkled over windowsills and entryways. You can also lay a sprig of peppermint or several blades of lemongrass around entryways to deter ants.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes