Does Bleach Kill Ants? 7 Actually Effective Home Remedies

by John Griffith

In the domestic sphere, few uninvited guests are as universally unwelcome as the humble ant. These industrious intruders, while admirable in the wild, become a source of relentless annoyance once they cross our thresholds. Among the myriad of methods purported to send them packing, bleach stands out as a particularly contentious contender. But does bleach kill ants? And more importantly, are there safer, more natural remedies at our disposal? Choosing the right remedy requires a blend of wisdom and caution. Identifying the specific ant species invading your home can guide you to the most effective solution. Moreover, ensuring the safety of your household, particularly if young children or pets are present, is paramount when selecting and applying any remedy. So, let’s delve into the heart of ant control, separating fact from folklore and unveiling some genuinely effective home remedies.

Few uninvited guests are as universally unwelcome as the humble ant

small ants on leaves

Does Bleach Kill Ants?

Bleach, the stalwart of household cleaning, is often touted for its ant-killing prowess. Indeed, its potent formula can kill ants on contact by disrupting their nervous system and causing dehydration. However, its indiscriminate strength poses risks to humans and pets, not to mention the potential damage to surfaces within your home. Thus, while bleach can be a quick fix, its drawbacks make it a less-than-ideal solution for ant control.

Bleach is the stalwart of household cleaning

bleach products on shelves

Best Way To Get Rid of Ants

Ants make their way into our homes, driven by an unyielding search for food and shelter. While their tenacity is commendable, cohabitation with these critters is less than desirable. The key to effective ant elimination lies not just in eradication, but in understanding their behavior and biology. Certain substances, when introduced into their environment, can act as deterrents or lethal obstacles. Thus, disrupting their foraging patterns and, in some cases, eliminating the colony at its source.

You need to understand ants to properly repel them 

ants on the ground


Vinegar, with its potent acidity, serves as more than just a culinary staple. It’s a formidable adversary against ant invasions. When ants encounter vinegar, their pheromone trails (which are crucial for communication and navigation) are effectively erased. This leaves them disoriented. To harness this power, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Target the ants’ known entry points and the trails they frequent, liberally applying the solution to disrupt their pathways. This method not only confuses the ants, preventing them from finding their way back but also acts as a deterrent, keeping future invaders at bay. For enhanced effectiveness, consider adding a few drops of essential oil, such as peppermint or lemon, which are also known to repel ants.

Mix white vinegar and water in a spray bottle

white vinegar on counter

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a natural, mineral-based dust that has a deceptively gentle appearance given its lethal effect on ants. Derived from the fossilized remains of microscopic algae called diatoms, DE’s abrasive particles are sharp enough to penetrate the waxy exoskeletons of ants. Once their protective layer is compromised, ants rapidly lose moisture and dehydrate. For optimal protection, strategically sprinkle a fine layer of food-grade DE around your home’s perimeter. Do this near ant entry points, and in any areas where ant activity has been observed. It’s crucial to maintain the powder dry, as moisture diminishes its effectiveness. Regular reapplication, especially after rainfall or cleaning, ensures continued defense against these persistent pests. Also keep in mind that while food-grade diatomaceous earth is considered safe for humans and pets, inhaling the dust can irritate the lungs.

Sprinkle a layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth around your home

does bleach kill ants diatomaceous earth

Borax and sugar

The combination of borax and sugar creates a lethal, yet irresistible, bait for ants. This method cleverly exploits ants’ insatiable appetite for sweets. This combo draws them to the sugar, while the borax serves as a toxic agent that they unknowingly transport back to their colony. To prepare this bait, mix one part borax with three parts powdered sugar and lightly moisten with water to form a paste. Place small amounts of this mixture on cardboard pieces or in shallow containers near areas of ant activity. As ants collect and share the bait within their colony, the borax disrupts their digestive system, leading to the colony’s eventual collapse. Patience is key, as this method targets the colony as a whole, including the queen, ensuring a comprehensive solution to the ant problem. Keep in mind that borax is also toxic if ingested by humans or animals. It can cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation upon contact.

Mix borax with powdered sugar

white borax powder

Citrus peel extract

Citrus peels are rich in limonene. These peels are not just kitchen waste but a powerful tool in the fight against ants. Limonene, a natural compound found abundantly in the peels of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, acts as a potent ant repellent. To harness this, create an extract by soaking the peels in water for 24 to 48 hours, allowing the limonene to infuse into the liquid. Strain this solution into a spray bottle and apply it generously around the home’s perimeter, near windowsills, doorways, and other ant entry points. This citrus-scented barrier not only repels ants but also leaves your home smelling fresh and clean. For added efficacy, consider placing dried citrus peels directly in garden beds or along outdoor areas where ant presence is noted.

Wondering does bleach kill ants? Use citrus peels instead

orange peels

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil has an intense and refreshing scent. It is also a natural nemesis for ants. Its strong aroma is capable of masking ants’ scent trails, effectively disorienting them and preventing them from navigating through your home. To create a peppermint barrier, mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Apply this mixture around potential entry points, along window frames, and in corners where ants are likely to travel. Regular application not only deters new ants from entering but also disrupts any existing trails, keeping your home ant-free. Additionally, peppermint oil’s natural fragrance serves as a pleasant bonus, refreshing your living space.

Peppermint oil has refreshing scent that ants dislike

peppermint plant

Coffee grounds

Spent coffee grounds emerge as an unexpected ally in ant control. The residual caffeine and diterpenes in coffee grounds have a repulsive effect on ants, making them an excellent barrier when sprinkled around the home’s perimeter, garden areas, and near known entry points. The texture of the grounds also acts as a physical deterrent. Deploying this method is as simple as scattering the grounds in strategic locations where ants are observed or likely to enter. This not only utilizes waste but also provides a natural, chemical-free method of keeping ants at bay.

Coffee grounds are great at keeping ants away

does bleach kill ants coffee grounds

Cucumber peels

Cucumber peels are often discarded without a second thought. However, they possess properties that naturally repel ants. The cucurbitacins, aka the bitter compounds found in cucumber peels, are particularly offensive to ants. This makes the peels an effective deterrent when placed around the home. Lay thin slices or peels of cucumber in areas prone to ant activity, such as kitchen counters, near doorways, or at other entry points. Refresh these peels periodically to maintain their repellent effect. This method offers a safe, eco-friendly way to deter ants, ensuring your home remains a no-go zone for these unwelcome guests.

Cucumber peels have natural ant repellent properties

cucumber growing in garden

While bleach may offer a brute-force approach to ant control, the realm of natural and safe remedies provides a veritable arsenal against these unwelcome guests. From the acidity of vinegar to the repellent properties of peppermint oil, the solutions at our disposal are as varied as they are effective. So before reaching for the bleach bottle, consider these gentler alternatives to keep your home ant-free and your conscience clear.

Now you know the answer to the question: does bleach kill ants?

does bleach kill ants ants eating somethin

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John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.