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How to Get Rid of Ants in the Home

No matter how often you clean, ants can always seem to find their way into the home. Find out how to get rid of them for good here!


how to get rid of ants

Ants may be tiny, but they’re great for our environment. However, they don’t always seem so great when they’re living in our homes uninvited. Ants are a very common problem – there are actually nearly 400 species in the Philippines alone – and while they’re usually not dangerous, they can bring bacteria into the home. This is why it’s important to know how to control ants and keep your home fresh and clean. If ants are invading your house, we’ve got some simple yet effective ideas to try.

Staying clean is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of ants taking up residence in your home – a good bleaching product like Domex can help to prevent ants being attracted to the kitchen.

How to Get Rid of Ants in 3 Key Steps

The good news is that understanding how to control ants at home isn’t difficult. Here’s a simple three-part process that will help you get rid of ants and keep your home clean and hygienic.

  • Step 1: Clean Your Home

One of the reasons that you may have ants in your home is because they’re attracted to the foods you’re cooking up in your kitchen. If you eliminate the ants’ main food source, it is likely they’ll begin to look elsewhere. Carefully use a bleach cleaning product to clean your kitchen surfaces, and around any parts of your home where food may have been dropped. Try to use a bleach with good surface coverage, like Domex, to make sure you get rid of any food smells. Remember to read the the label first and follow the safety instructions carefully! When dealing with bleach, you should always protect yourself by wearing gloves and keeping the area well ventilated.

  • Step 2: Deter the Ants

We shouldn’t kill ants unless we feel we have to, so it’s worth trying to deter the ants from the home before trying other methods. Some types of ant really don’t like certain scents – particularly strong-smelling plant oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint.

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Try sprinkling a few drops of these oils in any places where you think ants may be getting into your home – cracks in the window frames, at your doors, or at any cracks in the walls. If ants begin to find it difficult to enter your home, they may begin to look for an alternative.

pest control at home
  • Step 3: Getting Rid of Ants

If you’re still noticing that you have ants in your home, you may wish to take measures to get rid of ants completely. The most cost effective way of getting rid of ants is to pour boiling water directly onto the nest. This can get rid of most – if not all – of the colony. If some of the colony remains, you may wish to use an insecticide, or call in a pest exterminator. When using an insecticide, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, keep your home well ventilated, and keep children and pets away from the area to prevent accidents.

Now that you know how to get rid of ants in the house, you should be able to quickly and easily control infestations. It’s also important to take measure to prevent these unwanted house guests from turning up again – try sealing up any cracks in the walls, and get into the habit of leaving food in sealed containers, rather than out in the open where it can attract hungry pests.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on getting rid of ants in the home

Ants are attracted to my laptop. Why?

Ants make beelines for pantries and store cupboards, but your laptop? Stranger things have happened. Ants are likely attracted to your laptop because of warmth and food, particularly if your desk isn't clean. A tidy desk will help reduce the flow of ants to your computer, and cleaning and disinfecting your keyboard should help avoid any crumbs getting in the spaces between your keys. If the ants are inside your laptop, you'll only have so much success by vacuuming them up through the fan space or baiting them out with food. You'll likely need to open your laptop up to see the extent of the infestation. Doing this may invalidate your warranty with certain providers so it may be better to seek a professional repair.

Can ants be attracted to clean clothes?

It may be odd to see ants in your folded clothes fresh out of the wash - can ants even be attracted to clean clothes? The answer, disappointingly, is no: food stains and sweat can contain nutrients and salt that are beneficial to ants. It is suggested that a sweet-smelling detergent or perfume residue may attract ants but this is far less likely than the clothes simply not being completely cleaned.

Can you kill ants with bleach?

Bleach is a potent household cleaner, so you may assume that you can kill ants with bleach as an effective way to solve a pest problem. This is true, but there is a catch. Cleaning your surfaces and places where ants enter your home with bleach cleaners does deter ants, as well as killing any ants that come into contact with it, but it could also leave traces behind that get into your food and this is not recommended. It also isn't recommended to use bleach when removing ant colonies as it can damage the soil and plants it comes into contact with. Instead, opt for more humane options including speaking to a professional.

How do you get rid of ants in a car?

Removing ants from a car is no more difficult (but no less tedious) than removing them from your home. The biggest difference is in ways of preventing them from entering your car in the first place. 2 golden rules are: avoid parking near any sources of ants (e.g. anthills) and deter them from coming in by using disinfectant and/or essential oils on the tyres (since this is a common point of entry for ants). Make sure the inside of your car is clean, and place traps if necessary.

Can you vacuum ants as a way to effectively deal with them?

Vacuuming ants is certainly a short-term solution for removing a lot of ants in a short space of time. Vacuuming with a low-powered vacuum can also keep ants alive but you will have to dispose of them outside as they are capable of crawling back out again. Can you vacuum ants as an effective long-term solution? Not really. There are more effective alternatives such as removing nests, keeping your surfaces clean, and deterring ants by using the solutions described above.

Originally published