Killing Ants With Soap Water

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Ants are annoying pests that enter your home and feed on sugar, syrup, honey, fat and meat. You can find them in sugar bowls, in groups on your counter and running along the walls. An infestation of ants is difficult to eliminate. Chemicals will kill ants as well as ant traps, but some people chose to use a friendly environmental approach. There are a number of non-toxic products and mixtures to kill ants effectively such as vinegar, hot water, hot pepper tea, cinnamon, salt and even cucumbers. Soap and water is another non-toxic mixture that does work, but you may want to use it as one step of many to eliminate the ants.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Warm water
  • Liquid soap or a piece of hard soap
  • Find out why ants are in the house. Ants enter homes for two reasons: food and warmth. If food is attracting ants, you need to eliminate the available food for the ants. Keep counters washed down and clear of food. Wash floors and keep the trash empty. You may have to store sugar in the refrigerator until the ants disappear.

  • Spray them with soap and water. To kill ants on contact, use soap water. Just take a spray bottle and fill it with warm water. Add either some drops of liquid soap or a small piece of soap. Shake it up. Spray the ants with the solution and they will die immediately. The soap forms oil on the water that helps drown the ants. Spray liberally and wipe up the ants and the soap. If you sprayed around the floor, make sure you get the entire soap residue up, so people will not slip.

  • Create an ant barrier. Now that you've killed the ants that are present, it's time to stop them from returning to your counters. Take either a potted plant or pet's food dish and place it in a larger dish. Mix dish soap and water together. Pour the mixture into the larger dish. When the ants try to reach the plant or pet food, they will drown in the soapy water.

  • Kill ants outside. For anthills, the answer is simple. Pour soapy water into the ant hills. You can also create soap water ant barriers outside using potted plants for the center of the dish. As you did for the inside, put the plant in the middle of the plate and add soapy water around the plate. The ants will fall into the soapy water and drown.

Tips & Warnings

  • For around the house, there are a number of other remedies. Spread cayenne pepper near the foundation. Baby powder is another cheap way to keep ants away. Sprinkle it all around the foundation and near the doors, especially any cracks. You will need to repeat the application if it rains. Buy the baby powder at a dollar store or buy a generic brand. Consider planting mint near the house because ants do not like the smell of mint.
  • Photo Credit ClickArt by Broderbund
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