How to Make Homemade Ant Killer

By Amanda Lutz Updated February 6, 2024

Typically service cost ranges from $250 and $290.

Get Estimate

Nothing may be worse for you than watching a tiny, unexpected insect guest turn your home into its permanent residence. Besides being a nuisance, ants can transport diseases and cause structural damage to your house.

Using chemicals to get rid of ants may be effective but not always safe, especially if you have children and pets. Thankfully, there is always a homemade alternative. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to make do-it-yourself (DIY) ant killers, how to apply them, and when contacting pest control professionals is necessary.

Why Make Homemade Ant Killer?

Instead of investing in off-the-shelf treatments or professional ant control, you can create a custom ant killer from ingredients you buy at your local grocery store.

Besides saving time, other benefits of making homemade ant killer include the following:

If homemade ant killer doesn’t get the job done, you can turn to other options, including purchasing professional remedies or calling pest control.

Ingredients for Homemade Ant Killer

To make homemade insect killer, you’ll need several natural ingredients. They work in tandem to attract and poison ants. While these are natural remedies, they can potentially pose mild risks to humans and pets, so proceed with caution.


How It Works


Borax (sodium tetraborate)

Borax disrupts an ant’s digestive system. The poison works slowly, so they have time to bring it back to the ant colony, where others ingest it. However, ants won’t eat borax willingly. You need to mix it with other ingredients.

Borax can cause skin and eye irritation and ingestion toxicity.

Baking soda

Baking soda reacts with the acid in the ant’s digestive system. The reaction causes a release of gases that expand and lead to an ant’s death. To ensure the ant eats baking soda, you must mask it with sweet ingredients.

If ingested in large amounts, baking soda can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Dish soap

Dish soap disrupts the surface tension of water, causing it to spread and penetrate the exoskeleton of the ants. This leads to dehydration and suffocation. Dish liquid can also interfere with the ants’ ability to breathe through their spiracles.

Dish soap can cause skin and eye irritation and ingestion toxicity.

Ground black or cayenne pepper

Pepper has a strong scent that irritates ants and keeps them away from places where you sprinkle it.

Excessive consumption could lead to digestive problems and cause poisoning.


Lemon is a natural ant repellent. It masks the pheromone trails ants use to travel to and from their home.

Excessive use can lead to acid reflux and enamel erosion.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil masks pheromones that ants use for communicating with each other. It can also irritate ants and cause them to flee or even die.

Peppermint oil can cause headaches and allergic reactions.


Sugar, honey, and other sweeteners act as luring agents. They mask the scent of poisonous ingredients and trick ants into ingesting them.

Allergic reactions are possible.


Vinegar repels ants because it interferes with their pheromone trails. This confuses these pests and causes them to leave.

Excessive use of vinegar leads to stomach inflammation, nausea, and acid reflux.

Homemade Ant Sprays

To prepare a vinegar and dish soap ant spray, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Then add dish soap and shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. Spray the mixture directly on ants, their trails, and entry points.

This spray works well because vinegar has a strong odor that disrupts scent trails and keeps ants from entering your home. Meanwhile, the dish soap acts as a surfactant, breaking down the protective waxy layer on ants’ exoskeletons. This causes dehydration and suffocation.  Water helps control the strength of the solution, making it safe to use around your home.

To prepare a lemon juice and dish soap ant spray, you’ll need the following:

Squeeze the juice of the lemons into a spray bottle. Then add water and dish soap and shake the bottle to mix the ingredients. Spray the mixture directly on ants, their trails, and entry points.

The strong citrus scent of lemon juice repels ants and disrupts their pheromone trails, making it difficult for them to navigate. Lemon juice also contains citric acid, which can be toxic to ants. Meanwhile, dish soap breaks down ants’ exoskeletons and causes them to suffocate.

Homemade Ant Traps

To prepare a borax and sugar ant trap, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Mix the warm water and sugar in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add borax to the mix and stir well. Soak cotton balls in the solution and place them along the ants’ trails. Or you can just place the mixture in a bowl and leave it in places where pests usually travel.

After ants consume the mixture, the borax interferes with their digestive systems and eventually leads to their death. Before the solution kills them, ants have time to carry it back to their colony, where it can affect others. The sweetener in the mixture acts as bait to attract ants.

To prepare a baking soda and sugar ant trap, you’ll need the following:

Mix sugar, baking soda, and water to create a paste-like mixture. It shouldn’t be too runny, so be careful when mixing in the water. Place the solution along ant trails or wherever you usually see them. The ants will be attracted to the sugar and consume the mixture. The remedy will disrupt their digestive systems and cause death.

Application Tips

You must properly apply your homemade ant killer solutions to achieve the desired effect. The most important places to put your homemade baits and sprays are along the areas that ants commonly use when looking for food, such as windowsills and kitchen countertops. Take time to observe the ants’ behavior. You’ll see how they take the same route through your home.

Try to remove all other food sources so ants don’t have anything else to eat besides your bait. Make sure the “food” is always fresh. You may have to reapply these home remedies once or twice a day. Once ants begin feeding on your bait, don’t disturb them. Allow the pest to bring the poison back to its colony.

Proper application doesn’t just ensure you reach as many pests as possible. It also minimizes the use of ingredients and keeps your household members safe. Try to keep homemade ant killers away from children and pets. Let your family members know about your extermination plans so they don’t accidentally ingest the bait.

Preventing Future Infestations

Once you get rid of ants, you can take advantage of these tips to prevent future ant infestations:

When it comes to searching for food, ants are highly resourceful. That’s why you need to take these preventive measures regularly.

When to Call a Professional Exterminator

While natural ant killers can be highly effective, they don’t always deal with the problem. These remedies usually work when ants live outside your home and come inside searching for food. However, if these pests decide to reside on your property, you could face a serious infestation that doesn’t respond to DIY treatments.

If this happens, contact professional exterminator services. Pest control experts will evaluate the situation in your home and design a treatment plan that addresses your ant problem and eliminates the entire colony for good. These professionals can also suggest preventive treatments for your property.

Depending on your location, property size, and the type of ants you’re battling, one professional ant treatment costs between $250 and $290. If you have a significant infestation, you may need several treatments. Some pest control services include monthly preventive measures, which cost anywhere from $30 to $50 per month.

Our Recommendation

Natural ingredients can be highly effective for creating potent homemade ant killers. Mixing just a few products you’re likely to have in your cupboard allows you to battle the ant problem successfully.

While many of these ingredients are safe, you should still exercise caution when using them around children and pets. Excessive ingestion could lead to adverse reactions, such as allergies, stomach problems, and even poisoning.

How to Make Homemade Ant Killer FAQ

What smells repel ants naturally?

Smells that repel ants naturally include cinnamon, vinegar, lemon, peppermint, and many essential oils.

How do you kill an ant mound with homemade remedies?

You can kill an ant mound with homemade remedies that include boiling water, dish soap, and salt.

Where should I place homemade ant bait?

You should place homemade ant bait along its trails, which these insects use for foraging food.

How long does it take for homemade ant killer to work?

A homemade ant killer takes around 24 to 48 hours to work on minor ant problems. Larger infestations may take several days to control.

Can I use homemade ant spray outside?

Yes, you can use homemade ant spray to battle ants outdoors.