How to Get Rid of Ants in the House: DIY Ant Killer Without Borax

Ants, though small, can cause significant damage to your property, attract other pests, and pose health risks. Ignoring their presence in your home is not an option. Fortunately, there are effective ways to get rid of ants from your property, including a DIY ant killer without borax.

The advantage of using natural repellents over conventional methods is that they are safer for the environment and living organisms. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about getting rid of ants using a DIY ant killer without borax, including preparation and application.

Why Ants Come to Your House

Ants may come into your house for several reasons, and understanding these reasons can help you take appropriate steps to prevent or manage ant infestations. Here are some common reasons why ants might enter your home:

  1. Food Attraction: Ants are primarily searching for food. They have a keen sense of smell and can detect even tiny traces of food in your home. If you leave uncovered food, crumbs, or spilled liquids, ants will be drawn to these food sources.
  2. Water Source: Ants need water to survive. If there is a source of moisture or standing water in or around your home, it can attract ants. Leaky pipes, dripping faucets, or even pet water bowls left out can provide the necessary moisture.
  3. Shelter: Ants will seek shelter in your home if they feel threatened by environmental conditions such as heavy rain, extreme heat, or cold temperatures. They may enter through cracks, crevices, or openings in search of a safe and suitable nesting site.
  4. Scent Trails: Ants leave chemical scent trails that guide other ants to food sources. Once ants find a food source in your home, they’ll create a trail to and from the nest, which can lead to more ants entering your house.
  5. Colonization: Some ant species, like carpenter ants, may establish satellite colonies inside structures. These ants may damage wood as they create nesting sites.
  6. Accidental Entry: Sometimes, ants enter homes accidentally. They might crawl inside when you open doors or windows, especially if there’s an ant colony nearby.
  7. Seasonal Patterns: Certain ant species, like pavement ants, tend to become more active during specific seasons, such as spring and summer. You might notice increased ant activity during these times.

Signs of Ants in Your House

Detecting signs of ants in your house early can help you take action to prevent an infestation from becoming a major problem. Here are common signs to look for if you suspect ants may be present in your home:

  1. Ant Sightings: Seeing ants inside your house is an obvious sign. They can be found in various areas, including the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, or other rooms. Some ants, like carpenter ants, may also be seen outside your home, particularly around wooden structures.
  2. Ant Trails: Ants often leave visible trails as they travel back and forth between their nest and a food source. These trails can be seen as lines of ants moving in a straight or winding path. The trails may appear on countertops, floors, walls, or along baseboards.
  3. Small Piles of Dirt or Debris: Certain ant species, such as carpenter ants, excavate wood to create nests. As they tunnel through wood, they may push out small piles of wood shavings, insulation, or other debris. If you notice these piles indoors, it could indicate a carpenter ant infestation.
  4. Presence of Ant Nests: If you can locate the ant nest, that’s a clear sign of an infestation. Ant nests vary depending on the species. Some ants nest underground, while others may create nests in wall voids, insulation, or other hidden areas within your home.
  5. Audible Sounds: In the case of some ant species, like carpenter ants, you may hear faint rustling or chewing sounds coming from within walls or ceilings. This is a sign of ants actively tunneling and nesting.
  6. Swarming Ants: Some ant species, like termites, go through a swarming phase where winged reproductive ants emerge from the colony to mate and establish new colonies. If you see swarming ants indoors, it’s essential to identify the species to determine if they are ants or termites.
  7. Damage to Wood: Carpenter ants, in particular, can cause structural damage by tunneling through wood. Look for wood that appears hollowed out or has small holes in it, which can be signs of carpenter ant activity.
  8. Trails of Food Particles: Ants leave behind food particles, such as crumbs or tiny food scraps. If you notice a concentration of such particles in one area, it may indicate ants are foraging there.
  9. Sticky or Greasy Residue: Some ant species, like sugar ants, leave behind sticky or greasy residue as they move along surfaces. This residue can be seen as dark or shiny trails.
  10. Pet Food Disruption: Ants are attracted to pet food, so if you see ants swarming around your pet’s food bowl, it’s a sign of their presence.

How to Make DIY Ant Killer

Having established that most store-bought ant killers are hazardous to your household and pets, learning how to make a natural ant killer can be incredibly useful. This DIY solution allows you to control these annoying creatures in your house, trash cans, at their entry points, and around your plants.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Two cups of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Two tablespoons of baking soda
  • Two tablespoons of liquid dish soap


  1. Combine vinegar, baking soda powder, and dishwashing liquid in a large bowl.
  2. Stir the mixture gently, then pour it into an industrial spray bottle.
  3. Fill the remaining space in the bottle with water as required.
  4. Since baking soda and vinegar produce a lot of foam when combined, be cautious when applying this ant deterrent spray over your sink. Experts advise adding the contents gradually into an industrial spray bottle as you wait for the foam to subside before introducing more.
  5. Allow the foam to settle very well before you tighten the bottle’s lid.

Note: Avoid using cheap bottles as they can cause clogging problems and require frequent replacements.

Ants often create invisible routes to navigate from their dwellings to your house, their food supply. The homemade ant deterrent spray not only eliminates these invisible trails but also acts as a repellent that ants will avoid.

How to Use Homemade Ant Killer Spray

Making a natural ant-repellent spray is one thing; knowing how to use it effectively is another. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Take your homemade ant killer and spray it directly on every ant you see.
  2. After spraying the ants, apply the spray to their routes, access areas (such as cracks in the flooring and windowsills), and the surrounding environment.
  3. Allow the ant killer to soak for a few minutes before wiping with a moist towel.
  4. Spray this DIY ant killer where you see entry points and let it settle. This will deter them from returning.
  5. Remove anything such as food sources that could sustain an army of ants.

Using natural ant deterrents as outlined above not only keeps ants away but is also considered safe to use around kids and pets, not to mention they have a pleasant scent.

Additional Tips to Keep Ants Away Naturally

  1. Seal Entry Points:
    • Inspect your home and garden for any cracks, gaps, or holes where ants can enter. Seal these ant entry points with caulk or weather stripping to block their access.
  2. Clean Regularly:
    • Maintain a clean environment by regularly wiping down surfaces and cleaning up food crumbs and spills. Ants are attracted to food sources, so keeping your home and kitchen clean is crucial.
  3. Use Vinegar:
    • Create a vinegar solution of white vinegar and water. Spray this solution along ant trails, entry points, and any areas where you’ve seen ants. Vinegar disrupts their scent trails and deters them from returning.
  4. Lemon Peels:
    • Place lemon peels or lemon juice in areas where ants are likely to enter your home or garden. The strong citrus scent masks the pheromone trails ants use to communicate and navigate.
  5. Cinnamon:
    • Sprinkle ground cinnamon in areas where ants are active. Cinnamon acts as a natural ant repellent and disrupts their communication, making it difficult for them to find their way.
  6. Mint Leaves:
    • Plant mint around the perimeter of your garden or keep potted mint plants near entry points in your home. Ants dislike the smell of mint and will avoid areas where it is present.
  7. Coffee Grounds:
    • Used coffee grounds can be spread around your garden to create a barrier that ants are reluctant to cross. Coffee grounds also enrich the soil.
  8. Diatomaceous Earth:
    • Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the foundation of your home or in garden areas where ants are a problem. This natural substance is harmless to humans and pets but effectively dries out and kills ants upon contact.
  9. Bay Leaves
    • Place bay leaves in your kitchen cabinets, pantry, or anywhere you store food. Bay leaves release a scent that repels ants and keeps them away from your stored food.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with an ant infestation can be frustrating, especially when conventional ant killers may be harmful. Fortunately, this guide has provided a non-toxic approach to controlling ants, along with an easy-to-follow procedure for making a natural ant killer.

Be sure to use it on the ants and their invisible scent trails to effectively curtail their activities.

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