You don’t want ants in the kitchen, but sometimes the pesticides used to get rid of them are toxic and you don’t want them in your house either. There are many herbs and spices, most of which are so common you already have them in your spice cabinet, that can drive the ants out without being harmful to children or pets.
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Spread salt in the corners of rooms and in spaces between and behind appliances to repel ants. You also can boil water and salt together and pour the saline solution into those corners.
You can spread cinnamon sticks on the path the ant troops take, which will force them to march back, or just sprinkle cinnamon in a line, which the ants will not cross.
The smell of sage repels ants. Growing it in your garden or keeping a fresh plant in a pot in your kitchen should keep them out of the garden and kitchen. If you don’t want to grow sage or need a stronger aroma, get fresh sage, place it on a large baking sheet and put the sheet in the oven for several hours on low heat. Leave the oven door slightly open, and the scent will fill your home, which drives ants out.
Fill the foot part of pantyhose with white peppercorns and make it into a sachet; place these around your home with extra emphasis in the kitchen and other problem areas. You also can sprinkle ground white pepper behind the stove, refrigerator and other appliances, across doorway thresholds and other inconspicuous places. If you have ground sage and ground white pepper, mix them together and shake the mixture all around the outside of your house. Ants won’t cross the barrier to come inside. (ref. 1)
Mint and Other Savory Herbs
Take crushed, dried mint leaves, cloves or the ingredients in a mint tea bag and spread them in problem areas.
Other Spices and Home Remedies
Spread chili powder on the nests and hives around your house, bay leaves along the tracks the ants take, or put crushed garlic between the boards of your deck. Other household items you can use to repel ants are cucumbers, grits, soap or soapy water and vinegar. Spread any of these in doorways, counter top corners, windowsills and other places you have ants.