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Is a Homemade Ant Killer Efficient?

Last Updated: 05.02.23


Homemade ant killers are somewhat efficient only if you have enough time on your hands. Otherwise, you are far better off buying ant traps. Nevertheless, if you have an urgent situation and can’t wait for your order to arrive in the mail, today we’ll be exploring several options that are good enough as temporary solutions.


Things to know beforehand

You might be tempted to call pest control. However, it is not always a good idea. For starters, the chemicals used by the pest control services are somewhat toxic even to humans. They will have to arrive at your house early in the morning and you need to leave for at least a couple of hours. You need to keep your windows closed so that the chemicals do their thing efficiently.

If you’re going to work or school on that certain day, this won’t be a problem. But you still need to move things around the house so that they can spray the entire floor area. And if you live in an apartment complex, the ants will just move to your neighbors. Once the chemicals lose their effect, you might see them popping up again in your home.

The homemade solutions aren’t generally toxic to humans. However, you still risk the ants coming back once the solutions’ effects are gone, unless you apply them to the root of the problem – their nest. So, from the start, the best approach is using an ant trap. With all these out of the way, let’s explore these temporary solutions.

What you need to make homemade ant sprays

The good part about these temporary solutions is that you probably already have the ingredients lying around your house somewhere. If not, you can easily find them in most supermarkets and grocery stores. 

First of all, you’ll need a spray bottle with a spritzer cap. If you have an empty windows cleaner bottle laying around, that’s perfect. With some of these recipes, you’re not even going to need the bottle or the spritzer, but we’ll get into those down the line. 


Vinegar and water ant spray

This is so easy even a child could do it. And yes, it’s 100% safe both for you and your children. Vinegar has several uses around the house, not just for cooking purposes. One of its properties is repelling ants and even other bugs. Simply mix vinegar with water, half and half, in your sprayer bottle. Shake it thoroughly to make sure the two combine well.

Once you’ve done this, spray the solution on the spots where you see ants gather most often. And even more importantly, try to find the source where ants come from and spray there as much as possible. Again, to reiterate, if they’ve made their nest under the floorboards, you’re not going to eliminate the problem altogether. This is, after all, a temporary solution.


Dish soap and water ant spray

This method is also stupid-simple and safe. In fact, you don’t even need too much dish soap. While a 50/50 blend of soap and water is recommended, you can even use nearly empty dishwashing liquid bottles and fill them with a little water. Just make sure to give it a good shake before actually spraying the solution.

After you’ve done this, spray the solution directly on the ants. It will stop them in their tracks instantly. Next, you can just wipe the affected area with a paper towel and throw it in the trash. The soap scum’s sticky properties will make practically impossible for the ants to escape its grasp.


Essential oil ant spray

No matter what your view is regarding the use of essential oils as medicine, one thing’s for sure: they are outstanding ant repellents. Some of the best for this particular use are peppermint, tea tree, and clove essential oils. They’re great because they also work on more resilient species of ants, like red ants for example.

Choose one or even several essential oils and put 40 drops in a cup of 50/50 water and white vinegar. Place the mixture inside the spray bottle, give it a good shake and then spray directly on the ants to kill them or around the entry points to deter them from infesting your home. Once again, this is a temporary solution, as the effects won’t last more than a few weeks.

Diatomaceous earth (silicon dioxide)

Diatomaceous earth is a type of silica that contains diatoms – fossilized aquatic organisms. As hard as it is to spell or pronounce, it’s just as deadly to ants. Once ants come into contact with it, it sticks to it and stops them in their tracks. Not long after, it kills them through dehydration. Not the most merciful way of killing living things, but it’s effective.

While it’s not poisonous or toxic for humans, it is an irritant. You should avoid breathing it in or getting it on your skin. Get a pair of dishwashing gloves and sprinkle it around the areas where ants come from. As mentioned earlier, it will stop and kill them in their tracks. If you accidentally touch diatomaceous earth, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water.


Using peppers as ant deterrents

We mentioned earlier that you might have some of these items already in your home. Seeing that black and cayenne peppers are among American’s preferred hot foods, we thought it might be good to also include these on the list. As you probably already know, they’re not toxic to humans. Well, unless you count the eye-watering hotness they leave in your mouth.

Ants find pepper smell to be highly irritating, so it will keep them at bay. Cut the pepper into several small pieces and sprinkle it around the areas where ants come from. The pepper sprinkles act like a barrier and will work well for a couple of days. If you have pets, just make sure they don’t eat the pepper sprinkles.


Use boiling water on ant holes

If you’re lucky enough to actually find the ant hole where the tiny creatures come from, one of the most effective ways to deal with them is by pouring boiling water directly into the hole. Keep in mind that it won’t kill all the insects, but it will severely impact their numbers. As such, more ant holes might appear around your house. Make sure to keep an eye out for all of them.

Boric acid and borax

Contrary to popular belief, the two are not the same thing. They are separate entities that offer similar results. Warning: do not handle any of them with your bare hands and don’t use them if you have pets and children around. Otherwise, the recipe is similar for both these materials. Pour half a teaspoon of borax or boric acid in one cup of warm water and add eight sugar tsp.

Stir the solution until the sugar and borax/boric acid have dissolved completely. Now put bread or cotton balls around the areas where you see ants coming out of. Pour the solution on the bread or cotton balls and just wait for them to attract the ants and kill them.

Don’t forget to thoroughly wash the containers in which you have prepared the solution. If you’ve used disposable containers, simply do as the name suggests: dispose of them.


Closing thoughts

Keep in mind that the solutions listed here are only temporary fixes. We don’t guarantee that they will keep ants at bay for a long time. They are good in case you need an emergency fix, though. Having a temporary solution is still better than nothing, after all. 

You could also try making your own ant traps by spreading some of these ingredients on a sticky surface. But the same problem arises there: it’s only a temporary fix. Professionally-made ant traps are far better at solving your problem. You can check out some of them right here on our website.

So, to answer the question, yes, homemade ant killers are efficient, but only temporarily. Professional pest exterminators might also be able to do the trick, but as we’ve mentioned earlier, in most cases, that’s also just a temporary fix. In any case, feel free to try any of the above-mentioned methods. We wish you good luck!



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