ants in house

When the ants go marching one by one into your home, you want them to march right back out. Nobody wants to come home to an ant infestation or call various pest control companies on a Tuesday afternoon. Desperation and annoyance might lead you to try any number of “home remedies” for ants that you learn about from friends or from online articles. 

From essential oils to white vinegar or an alcohol vinegar solution, we’ve heard it all! Does vinegar kill ants? Does baking soda kill ants? 

Do ANY solutions work?

Don’t waste your time on pointless home remedies. Today, we’ll talk about which remedies ants hate that really get rid of ants and which ones are completely ineffective (even dangerous). Keep reading to find out!

Home Remedies for Ants

#1 Can Lysol or Household Chemical Kill Ants?

Many homeowners have Googled “What household cleaners kill ants?” in an attempt to find a budget-friendly pest fix.

Yes, this home remedy is somewhat effective. Grabbing a spray bottle of Lysol and dousing ants will kill them

Still, using household cleaners as ant control isn’t an effective long-term solution to your ant problem, especially for ant infestations. 

That’s because ants live in colonies. Where there is one ant, there are hundreds or even thousands of others in a single ant colony. Once one ant has entered your home in search of food, other ants will use their scent trails (invisible ant pheromones left behind) to follow.

A good, long-term ant control solution won’t just kill the ants you see; it will also locate and destroy the entire colony. This will make sure that you aren’t trapped in an endless battle against thousands of ants!

#2 Can You Use Borax to Get Rid of Ants?

We’ve talked about borax in previous blog posts. It’s been touted online as a solution not just for ants but also for cockroaches and other pests.

Like household cleaners, borax technically kills ants, but it is not the best solution because it is a “remedy” with a couple of problems.can borax kill ants - ants crawling on borax

First, borax is difficult to use correctly. Ants will not simply walk over a pile of borax; they will go around it if they see it. This means you must use a misting bottle and apply the borax in a very fine mist. Many online articles advise mixing the borax with maple syrup or sugar to attract the ants. 

Don’t do this! Your goal is to repel ants, not attract them. You’ll end up attracting even more ants, along with all the insects that see ants as food sources, like cockroaches, which can lead to future infestations of a worse kind.

Second — and most important — borax can be dangerous to use. Borax fans will point out that it is a naturally occurring mineral, like diatomaceous earth, but natural remedies are not always safe. Borax can be toxic to humans and animals in high doses and can irritate the skin and eyes in low doses.

While borax poisoning is rare, it’s essential to be aware of the danger — especially if you have children or pets. Adults, of course, know not to eat borax; children and pets, on the other hand, have a knack for finding and ingesting things they aren’t supposed to.

So, while ants inside your home are annoying, and you want to remove ants from your sight as quickly as possible, borax is a solution that you must handle with care. Even then, it’s not a sure way to prevent future infestations.


Using coffee grounds to stop ants from entering your window sills has some anecdotal support from the occasional homeowner, as they say it’s a natural way to deter ants, but the majority opinion is that this home remedy is a myth.

Ants are not so repelled by coffee grounds that they will avoid your home or leave it entirely. Instead, they’re more likely to ignore, go around, or even move the grounds sprinkled around your home. That’s right — they can pick up and move the coffee!

Worst of all, this remedy could actually end up doing more harm than good. We advise against sprinkling food, crumbs, or anything edible around your home, as it can attract roaches (which eat anything) or other bugs.


Ants hate vinegar. Right? Vinegar — whether white vinegar or apple cider vinegar — is a common ingredient in many kitchens. That’s probably why many homeowners hope that a basic vinegar treatment using a mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap will act as an ant repellent and kill ants when you spray them. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Vinegar does not kill ants in the traditional sense: you spray it, and the ant dies. The only way this remedy is effective is if the ant drowns in vinegar (though water accomplishes the same thing).

If an apple cider or white vinegar solution doesn’t kill ants, does it at least repel ants? Some online articles tell you to use vinegar as a repellent, but again, this isn’t really effective. Ants can simply go around a strong smell or find different entry points into your home. 

For such limited effectiveness, it’s not worth making your house smell like an old Easter egg.


Several years ago, there was a lot of buzz online about using an essential oil like tea tree oil or another strong ingredient like cinnamon to kill and deter ants. There was a study in 2014 that showed some promise as killing ants with cinnamon. 

The problem is that the study used a highly concentrated form of cinnamon essential oil – and nobody is going to find that. So you can sprinkle cinnamon around your window sills and the scent trail of ants you find, but store-bought cinnamon is not going to work the same way. Even if you get concentrated cinnamon essential oil, a few drops is not going to make ants leave permanently. 

The short answer, no, regular cinnamon is not effective at killing ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants Effectively

So, does vinegar kill ants? No. Can coffee or cinnamon prevent ant infestations? No. Lysol can take care of a small ant problem – as can borax – but neither attacks the ant colony, which is exactly what you need to do for effective ant control. 

Getting rid of ants quickly and permanently requires a multi-pronged approach that includes both killing the ants that you see and destroying the nest that you don’t. Keeping your kitchen ant-free is a process that often requires the knowledge and equipment of an exterminator.

If your home is plagued by more than a few ants, the pest control professionals at Scherzinger are happy to help.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and Columbus. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests.