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How to Get Rid of Tiny Ants in the Kitchen

How to Get Rid of Tiny Ants in the Kitchen

Tiny ants are the common ants that you’ll find indoors, they are also referred to as nuisance ants or odorous house ants. Fortunately, nuisance ants don’t cause structural damage to your home or bore through wood. Unfortunately, their colonies tend to grow quickly and you should try to eliminate them quickly before they multiple.

Keep reading to learn how to get rid of ants permanently.

Why am I Getting Tiny Ants in My Kitchen

Tiny ants in your kitchen are primarily interested in food and beverages. They usually create colonies around your property, sending what are called scout ants to find water and food to take back to the colony.

Below are some main reasons tiny ants are invading your kitchen;

Food scraps on the floor

Tiny ants are attracted to resources such as food and water to keep the colony alive and growing. Inevitably. When your family drops small crumbs after snacks and meals on your floors, they are pretty much creating ant fodder

Food remnants in your pet’s bowl

Pet food bowls are a perfect way for small ants and other pests to thrive in your kitchen. They will always make a beeline for uneaten pet food or scraps along the rim of the pet bowl and on the bowl’s exterior surface.

Improperly covered pet food

Ants and other pests can easily find pet food in poorly sealed containers such as the large paper bags that they come in. Frequently dumping water from their bowl can deter ants even further. Be sure to also clean the area around the bowls since dogs and cats aren’t always the tidiest when it comes to eating and drinking, and they create crumbs and water droplets that attract ants.

Water on the floor or counters

Water is another element that attracts small house ants. Water on your kitchen counter, in your dishwasher, leaking pipes under your sink, or standing water can bring ants indoors.

Open trashcans with food leftovers

If you do not have a lid on your trashcan, so ants will get access to thrown away scraps and crumbs. Food that’s stored in your cabinets and pantry that are not properly sealed could be another reason why ants are finding your kitchen desirable.

Improperly covered foods

Ants love loose food, uncovered foods, or easily penetrable containers such as cereal boxes alongside other pantry pests like Indian meal moths and saw-toothed grain beetles. They will also target fruit left out on your counter that may be overly ripe. Remember, ants are attracted to sweets.

How To Get Rid of Tiny Ants in The Kitchen

Use these methods below to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen,

Eliminate their food source

Prevention is more effective than cure, so clearing away food remains and spills is the first thing you need to do. Most of the time, ants make a camp in your home to forage for food. So be sure to store food in tightly sealed plastic bags and containers.

They’re usually attracted to starchy and sweet things, such as honey, cornmeal, and sugar. You’ll want to ensure there are no smears, splatters, and spills of such food items anywhere in your kitchen. Also, clean up food crumbs around your appliances and in garbage pails. Generally, the cleaner you keep your kitchen, the less likely it is that you’ll have ants move in.

Block their entry points

You can also keep ants away from your kitchen by blocking their entry points. While it can be impossible to seal every nook and cranny, try as much as possible to seal cracks, crevices, and holes in walls, radiators, and near floorboards.

Follow their trail to find out their entry point. And check around window frames, screens, and doors. If you live in a standalone house (vs. a home in a condo building), you can inspect the exterior of your foundation, where you should be able to eventually find a trail of ants moving in and out.

Use ant deterrent

It’s still possible to spot ants in the kitchen even if you blocked their entry points. In this case, it’s worth applying an ant deterrent, such as pepper, cinnamon, curry powder, salt, or chalk. Remember that some of these items can irritate your child’s or pet’s eyes, nose, mouth, or skin — you should be careful when using them.

Also, soak a few cotton wool balls in citrus or peppermint essential oils and place them in the corners of your cabinets and drawers. Lining your doors and windows with talcum powder and petroleum jelly is also effective in keeping ants at bay.

Check this too: How to Get Rid of Dog Smells in the House

Use an ant trap

The contents within an ant trap won’t contaminate the surfaces in your kitchen the way a spray bottle could, so bait is a better solution if you struggle with ant trails on the kitchen counter specifically. 

Use ant repellent spays

A commercial non-repellent spray is an alternative and effective option that will also kill the ants. Despite involving pesticides, when used safely and correctly, these products can make a huge difference in the number of ants on the kitchen counter.

Sprays of non-repellent products contain potent, long-lasting active ingredients which can remain on surfaces for months, providing long lasting protection against ants.

These products should also not be ingested, so it’s advised you apply them according to product label instructions and that you don’t apply them directly on your kitchen counter.

Use natural anti-ant sprays

If you already have an ant infestation, using natural sprays provides a humane means of ant control. You can easily make the sprays at home using a variety of readily available products and essential oils, such as lemon, peppermint oil, vinegar, and others.

Just fill a spray bottle with equal parts of vinegar or lemon juice and warm water. Be sure to shake the bottle to mix the solution well. Spray your kitchen floors, countertops, corners, and other surfaces. Follow their trail and spray the solution where they have established their colony.

Keep your house clean

There are two ways ants are attracted to your kitchen: Food and pheromones. If the ants on your counter don’t have a noticeable food source, use your regular kitchen cleaner to eliminate any trace amounts of food particles, including fruits and vegetables, and the scent ants release to attract other ants. Follow up by keeping the area especially clean.

Immediately clear plates from the table after eating, sweep away dropped crumbs and thoroughly clean away spills. Even dirty dishes in the sink can attract hungry ants.

Store food in airtight containers

Ripe fruits and vegetables or other foods you leave exposed can attract ants to your kitchen. Store your fruits and veggies in airtight containers or in the fridge.

Clean pet food bowls

Ants aren’t picky. They can just as easily be attracted to your furry friend’s food as your own. Make sure your pet bowls are empty between meal times, and clean the space around the bowls to avoid crumbs and standing water that can attract unwanted pests.

Maintain the outside of your home

Make sure trees and bushes outside do not touch your house, seal gaps and openings around windows and doors, and have cracks in your foundation fixed. Ants usually get into your home through gaps around windows, doors or your home’s foundation. Sealing cracks or gaps before ants get in can help to keep your kitchen free of ants.

Natural and Homemade ant elimination solutions

Use the natural products listed below to get rid of ants in the kitchen naturally;

Diatomaceous Earth

This is the go-to option for killing different pests, and it works effectively for ants, too. Diatomaceous earth is a type of silica comprising fossilized remains of aquatic organisms. Just apply it around the ant colonies and leave it for a few days. It kills ants by absorbing their oils, drying them out.

Diatomaceous earth is a type of powder made from fossilized algae and has proven to be an effective insecticide for certain ant species. It works by sticking to insects’ waxy exoskeletons and absorbing their natural oils, which causes them to dry out and eventually die.

This home remedy essentially works as an ant trap by making certain types of ants think it’s a food source. Once an ant in the kitchen notices the diatomaceous earth, it’ll take some back to the colony where it works its magic and dries out however many ants it comes into contact with.

Boiling Water

Using boiling water is an ideal way to kill ants in the kitchen. Identify ant holes in your kitchen and near your home and pour boiling water into them. While the boiling water won’t kill the entire colony, it will kill as many ants as possible.


Whether it’s red or black, pepper usually irritates ants, making it an excellent ant deterrent. Black and cayenne pepper help keep ants away. You can sprinkle pepper powder around certain areas as well as cracks.

Use gloves and wash your hands well afterwards, as pepper can irritate your skin. Sprinkle pepper behind appliances and around baseboards to get rid of ants in the kitchen. This remedy is completely safe and natural.

Hand Soap

This everyday home product can also be handy in controlling ants in your kitchen. Use the soap to make soapy water, which you can sprinkle around your kitchen. Soapy water clears the scent of ant pheromones, which they use in following trails. Without the scent, they’re unable to communicate with each other, scattering in differing places.

Dish soap

Liquid dish soap is a handy, low-effort solution to an ant in the kitchen that you most likely already have on deck. It is one of the easiest ways to get rid of tiny ants is by preventing their detection of pheromones with other scents.

If you find black ants on your kitchen countertops, fill a spray bottle with dishwashing liquid mixed with glass cleaner. Then use the spray bottle to clean off every surface the ants have access to, not just the kitchen counter, and be sure to wipe it down thoroughly when you’re finished.

Boric Acid

Boric acid kills ants quite effectively. This is also another effective remedy for killing ants, and it’s been proven to kill all ants within three weeks. Boric acid is a type of poison, and it kills ants by eroding their stomachs and outer shells. Since it is a poisonous substance, use caution and keep away from kids and pets.

To prepare the solution, mix a cup of warm water, 6-8 teaspoons of sugar, and ½ 0 teaspoon of boric acid. Stir well, and either directly pour over ant trails or use cotton balls soaked in the solution. Remember to keep it away from kids and pets, wear gloves when handling it, and clean and dispose of dead ants in the kitchen drain.


This remedy can destroy entire ant colonies. However, it is toxic and must be used with caution. Mixed with water and sugar into a syrup of sorts, it is left out near places where ants frequent. The ants ingest it, then take it back to the queen.

To make a borax solution, mix 1 cup of warm water, 6-8 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of borax until it forms a syrupy solution. After a few days, it wipes out the whole colony. Careful though, it’s mildly toxic, so don’t leave it out where kids or pets could reach it.


White vinegar is a great remedy for ants. You can also use vinegar alone, and it works by killings ants and also by repeling them. Unlike humans, ants can smell vinegar even after it dries, making a great remedy. When sprayed directly on the ants, vinegar can kill them, and the smell of it is enough to keep most insects away.

To make a vinegar solution, mix equal parts white distilled vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake well, spray on surfaces where you see ants, and wipe off with a sponge or a damp cloth. You can also spray it on cracks and crevices where ants tend to hide.

Essential Oils

You can try different essential oils, such as tea tree, peppermint, neem, lemon, eucalyptus, and cinnamon leaf oils. All these oils act as ant repellents, and you can mix them with water or use them alone to remove the tiny ants from the kitchen. They contain natural chemicals that irritate ants, forcing them out of your home.

Tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils act as potent insect repellents. Pour 2-3 cups of water in a spray bottle and add 20-30 drops of essential oils. Spray on surfaces and let air dry.

Lemon juice

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice in a spray bottle and mix with an equal amount of water. Shake well and use it to wipe surfaces including your cutting boards.


Cinnamon sticks and powder can help keep ants away, it works as a natural insect repellent.

Baking soda

Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of water to make a thick paste. Put this paste on surfaces with ant trails. Leave for 10-15 minutes, then wipe with a damp cloth or sponge.


Sprinkle cornstarch over ant trails and pour water. This will trap and kill the ants, which can be then wiped away. You can also just sprinkle cornstarch over ants if you wish to use a vacuum cleaner to dispose of the ants.

Bay leaf

Bay leaves have a strong smell that can help keep ants away. You can put a dry bay leaf in canisters containing dry food items such as grains or flour to ward off ants.

Glass cleaner

Wipe surfaces with a glass cleaner regularly. You can also mix it with liquid detergent and dilute it with some water to use as a spray.

Coffee grounds

Sprinkle some coffee grounds on problem areas to repel ants.

Chalk powder

Drawing lines of chalk chalk powder especially around cracks and kitchen counters can help keep ants away.

The Bottomline

Key takeaways to help get rid of tiny brown ants;

Store food properly

Use sealed containers to store food items, including pet foods.

Dispose garbage regularly

Garbage can attract ants and other insects. Throw away kitchen garbage daily and dispose of soda cans properly after use.

Keep fruits covered

Fruits, especially overripe ones, tend to attract ants. Try to keep fruits covered and avoid letting them get too ripe.

Fix leaks

Leaking pipes, faucets, and sinks can attract ants, especially during hot summer months.

Keep pet bowls clean

Clean spilled or leftover pet food and make sure that pet bowls are washed after use.

Avoid build-up of water, dirt, or grease.

Dirt and grease can collect in certain areas of the kitchen, especially around faucets and in corners.

Repair cracks.

Cracks in walls and windows can serve as hiding places for ants and other insects. You can seal them with cement or get them professionally repaired.

Take care of houseplants

Plants often harbor ants and other insects. Make sure you trim outdoor plants and trees so that they are not touching your kitchen windows. Spray essential oil solutions on indoor plants to ward off ants.

Use insect repellents or bait traps

There are many of these available on the market. Make sure to follow the label instructions to avoid any hazardous effects.

Call a professional

If none of these ant elimination solutions work, enlist the help of a pest control professional to get rid of your ant infestation for good.