6 Ways to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

Ways to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
Picture of Israel Alvarez
Israel Alvarez

Owner @ Insight Pest Management

Table of Contents

Dealing with an army of ants in the kitchen can be a nuisance. They just always seem to find their way back into the kitchen. Now, they aren’t necessarily dangerous. But if you do not take care of them early on, they can set up their colony there and take over your food items, rendering them inedible.

Although as many as 1,000 ant species are known in the United States, only a few are commonly seen, such as carpenter ants and odorous house ants. They’re enough to wreak havoc on your place, though.

So, if you are questioning how to get rid of kitchen ants, you need to eliminate the food source by clearing away any food remains and keeping your food sealed in plastic bags and sealed containers, clearing pet food bowls, and keeping the lid of the garbage bin closed.

It also helps to block ants’ entry points like cracks, crevices, and holes in the kitchen. You can also use deterrents like vinegar, lemon juice, fresh mint, coffee grounds, spices, and peppermint essential oil to eliminate ants in the kitchen.

In this article, we’re going to discuss these in more detail and also some other things you need to know.

Key takeaways

  • Ants in the kitchen can be a nuisance and may take over food items if not dealt with early.
  • Common ant species in the US include carpenter ants and odorous house ants.
  • Eliminate food sources by clearing away food remains, sealing food in plastic bags/containers, and keeping pet food bowls clean.
  • Block entry points like cracks and crevices and use deterrents like vinegar, lemon juice, mint, spices, and essential oils.
  • Keep kitchen clean, eliminate standing water, seal food and storage containers, and use natural deterrents like vinegar, mint, and spices.

Why do I have ants in my kitchen?

The reason why you have ants in the kitchen is that they are attracted to food, water, and such food resources that help to feed their colony and keep them alive and growing.

Yes, keeping your kitchen floor free from any small crumbs your family might have accidentally dropped is difficult. But ants are attracted to such food sources, and so they easily find their way to your kitchen.

Feeding bowls

Ants are also attracted to the food bowls of your pets as it’s a source of food for them and their colony to thrive. Throw away any uneaten pet food. Pick up the bowl from the floor and put it inside a sealed container. Clean the food bowl and also the area around the bowl as dogs and cats often scatter crumbs and water droplets from their food while eating.


Some house ants are also attracted to water. So, if there are leaky pipes under the sink or dishwasher, or if you have standing water in your kitchen, it could easily attract these ants.


The trashcan in your kitchen is also a hotspot for ants to thrive. Ensure that the lid of the trash can is on at all times.

Food and storage containers

If you store food in your kitchen cabinets without having them properly sealed, ants will find their way to it one way or the other. So do not keep your cereal boxes or the cookie jar open.

Another reason why ants could frequently be visiting your kitchen is the overly ripened fruits on your counter. Ants are highly attracted to sweets, so ensure you do not have any overly ripened fruits on the counter.

Tips on how to remove kitchen ants

Ant infestation in the kitchen can be inconvenient, but you do not have to lose your mind over it. Here are six methods to get rid of ants in your kitchen.

1. Block entry points

A good place to start getting rid of ants is by blocking all their entry points. While it is impossible to seal every single point, you can try your best to seal as many crevices, cracks, and holes as possible. You can also follow their path and find out the point from where they are making an entry into the house and seal it off.

Remember also to check the window frames and door, and if you are living in a standalone house, check the exterior of your foundation, and you may find a busy trail of ants going in and out.

2. Eliminate the food source

A good way to get rid of ants in the kitchen is simply by eliminating the food source. Do not give ants any reason to gather by clearing away the food remains and cleaning up anything you spill immediately. A lot of times, ants gather in your house to hunt for food, so make sure that your food is stored in sealed plastic bags or containers.

Ants are also fond of sweets and starchy things like honey, sugar, syrup, and cornmeal. So be extra careful to wipe them off properly if you spill or drop such food items in the kitchen.

Also, do not forget to clear the food crumbs around the appliances and garbage cans. The goal is to keep your kitchen as clean as possible to prevent ants from coming in.

3. Use deterrents

If you are wondering what gets rid of ants in the kitchen, there are actually some natural deterrents that can effectively do just that.

Here are some deterrents you can use that are easily available in your house to ward off the ants.

  • Vinegar and lemons: If you want to know how to kill tiny ants in the kitchen, here is a natural spray you can easily make at home. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of warm water and vinegar or lemon juice. Shake the bottle to make sure that they are well-mixed. Spray them on your kitchen floor, countertop, trail, and colony. This is one of the best solutions how to get rid of small ants in the kitchen.
  • Fresh mint: As much as we humans love the smell of mint, ants detest it. So keep a pot of fresh mint by the door to keep the ants away. You can also plant a large amount in the garden or the backyard.
  • Spices: Your kitchen spices don’t just spice up your food. They also help to get rid of ants in your kitchen. So, line the door with some pepper, salt, cinnamon, or curry powder but also be careful not to let your child or pets get near to them as it could get into their nose, mouth, or eyes.
  • Chalk: Although it may sound ineffective, drawing a line with chalk can interrupt the ants and cause them to turn around.
  • Coffee grounds: Let it be coffee grounds if you have to spill any food. They are known to keep ants away. So sprinkle some coffee grounds on the clean floor or windowsills to prevent them from entering the kitchen.
  • Glass cleaner and liquid detergent: You can combine glass cleaner with dish soap or liquid detergent to keep ants away from your home. This mixture removes the pheromone trail the ants leave behind as they walk.
  • Peppermint or citrus essential oils: Lynsey Crombie, known as the Queen of Clean recommends soaking some cotton balls in citrus or peppermint essential oils and keeping them in the corners of the cupboards to keep them free from ants.

4. Boiling Water

This is a simple method to destroy an ant colony in the kitchen. Look for ant holes in the kitchen or your house’s surroundings and pour boiling water into the holes. They may not kill the entire colony but will kill most of it. This is the best way to kill ants in the kitchen.

5. Boric acid

Boric acid is like a poison and can kill ants by eroding their stomach and also their outer shells. Be very careful to keep children and pets away from it and drain any dead ants down the kitchen drain.

6. Call a professional

If you have tried absolutely everything to get rid of ants in the kitchen but to no avail, make an appointment with professional pest control to eradicate the problem. That is the most effective solution to how to rid of ants in the kitchen.

Dealing with the ant infestation

An ant infestation in the kitchen can be very difficult to control. Thankfully, there are many ways in which you can get rid of them. Even small measures like keeping the kitchen clean, eradicating food sources, and using natural deterrents to discourage them from entering the kitchen can help.

Seek professional help if the ant infestation is out of your control. Pest control experts can help you find the stop these six-legged pests on their tracks – for the longer term. You can have an ant-free home too, and not have to worry about an ant infestation again.

Request an appointment today and let our team take care of your ant problem.

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