Can Vinegar Really Get Rid of Ants? The REAL Answer

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Ant infestations is a common problem a lot of us face. Over the years, we’ve come up with some ingenious solutions to get rid of ants. One of them is to use vinegar.

When you first hear this, it may sound absurd to you. Can vinegar really get rid of ants? Yes. Vinegar has a strong scent that ants hate. That’s why spraying vinegar around your house will keep the ants away.

So what do you do? Do you pour vinegar on an ant whenever you see one? That wouldn’t be very effective. Let’s dive in and have a closer look at ants and vinegar.

Does Vinegar Get Rid of Ants?

Ant infestation can be a serious problem. All it takes is a few crumbs and ants will be all over the place. The worst thing about ant infestations is that it can be very painful as well. Ants have stingers that cause pain, itch, and sometimes allergic reactions. That’s why it can be dangerous to have these pests around.

To make matters worse, they are very difficult to get rid of. They’re so tiny, yet they come in thousands. They’re small enough to get in through the smallest cracks in your house. And they’re many enough to take away your food and hurt you. That’s why having ants around is a huge nuisance.

You can always turn to pesticides and chemical killers to deal with ants. But, as you know, these can have some unwanted side-effects. Using these pesticides can be dangerous to you as well.

That’s why finding a good home remedy is the best way to go. There are several of these, but vinegar stands out above the rest. Not only is it a very common household item, but it’s also very effective at keeping ants at bay.

If you’re skeptical about using vinegar, or just don’t like the smell of it, you can probably find another natural remedy you’d rather use in this article: What Ants Don’t Like: Natural Ways to Repel Ants

How to Use Vinegar to Get Rid of Ants

But don’t go pouring vinegar on ants whenever you see one. This isn’t the proper way to do things. There’s a much better and more effective way to deal with the problem.

  • The best way to do it is to mix vinegar with water and use a spray. With 1 part vinegar and 1 part water, you’ll have a solution that ants hate. Spray this around areas where you don’t want ants, and they will stay well away.
  • If you want a stronger solution, you can also go for 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water. Or, if that’s not enough, 100% vinegar also works. The problem with putting too much vinegar though is that it will stink.

Vinegar has a strong odor that isn’t very pleasant. By mixing it with water, you can get rid of ants without worrying about the smell.

It’s also a good idea to spray this solution on entrance points to your house. Ants can come in through your door, windows, and any cracks on your walls. If you spray on these areas, they won’t be able to come in at all anymore.

If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on Using Borax Powder to Kill Ants: A Complete Guide and What Ants Don’t Like: Natural Ways to Repel Ants

How Does Vinegar Get Rid of Ants?

To understand why ants hate vinegar so much, we need to learn more about these little pests. Ants secrete pheromones, a chemical that they use to communicate with one another. Ants use this to find mates, stay away from danger, and to give directions to one another.

Have you ever noticed how ants walk in a line? If you observe them, you’ll see that they never break their line. This is because they are following a pheromone trail to food or home. Without pheromones, these ants will be lost.

That’s why ants hate strong smells. Anything that has a strong smell can interfere with the pheromones they follow. It can also distort these creatures’ behavior as well.

Vinegar, we all know, has quite a strong smell. But for ants, this is so much worse. Ants have sensitive odor receptors on their antennae. They can detect scents that our noses may have a hard time picking up. And the smell of vinegar can make them go crazy. That’s why they stay well away from it.

This is why vinegar gets rid of ants. Spray it in areas you don’t want them, and they won’t bother you. Also, if you spray the entrance points to your house, ants won’t dare to come in anymore.

It’s also important to note that the smell of vinegar is not permanent. After a few days, the smell fades away. That’s why you need to spray your house every once in a while. This way, ants will never get an opportunity to invade your home.

Can Vinegar Kill Ants?

Now that you know that vinegar will get rid of ants, you might be wondering whether it can kill them. Maybe you’re not satisfied with the ants staying away, you want them dead. Will vinegar do the trick?

Yes, vinegar can kill ants. This is because vinegar contains strong acids that can burn ants to death. If you spray vinegar directly on ants, they will die. Increase the vinegar percentage, and it will kill them even quicker.

However, you should note that this isn’t a very effective way of getting rid of ants. There are millions of ants in a colony. Even killing a thousand of ants at a time will do little to solve your ant problem. It can be satisfying to see so many dead ants. But if you don’t cut off their entrance point, they’ll keep coming back.

That’s why it’s much more effective to use vinegar solutions to keep ants away rather than to kill them.

Can Vinegar Destroy Ant Mounds?

But what if you go to the ant mound and pour vinegar? What will the effect be? Will this solve your ant problem?

If you do this, you’re going to kill a lot of ants for sure. But again, it’s not the best way to deal with ants. Yes, a lot will die. But unless every single individual ant is killed in this attack, it won’t solve the problem. Instead, the survivors will scatter and build new mounds elsewhere. This may result in you having to deal with two mounds instead of one.

But there is a way you can use vinegar to kill off a colony of ants. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try. Instead of dousing the ant mound with vinegar, spray vinegar on the exits. It’s very important to make sure you get all the exits, otherwise, this won’t work. With no way out, there is no way for the ants to get food. This is why you can starve them to death this way. Again, this doesn’t work all the time. But it’s worth a try since this can eradicate an entire ant colony.

Is Vinegar Dangerous?

One of the reasons why using vinegar is so amazing is because it isn’t dangerous at all. Yes, it may not be very effective at killing ants, but it is perfect for keeping them away. If you turn to pesticides, you should know that there is so much that can go wrong. Even the fumes of these chemical killers put you at great risk.

That said, you should still be a little careful when using vinegar. Remember, vinegar is acidic. If it comes into contact with your skin, it may cause irritation. You might feel like your skin is burning. Although this isn’t something that you should be too concerned about, it can be quite painful.

And that’s just sometimes. Most of the time, nothing will happen if vinegar gets to your skin. So you have nothing to worry about when you use this solution. You can say goodbye to ants without any downsides.

The only problem with using vinegar is the smell. But again, mix it with water and your nose won’t pick up anything.

Also, if you’re someone that doesn’t want to kill animals, vinegar is the right thing to use. This is because vinegar deters ants, it doesn’t kill them. If you don’t spray vinegar directly on the ants, they won’t be harmed at all.

White Vinegar vs Apple Cider Vinegar

There are two common types of vinegar, white vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. You may be wondering what kind of vinegar you should use to get rid of ants.

There are a few differences between these two kinds of vinegar.

  • The most obvious is its color. As you can guess, white vinegar is white, while apple cider vinegar is brown.
  • White vinegar is often used for cleaning, while apple cider vinegar is often used for food.

But when it comes to dealing with ants, there is little to no difference between the two. You may want to check the acid content to know how strong it is. But other than that, it doesn’t matter what you use. They will both do a terrific job of keeping the ants away from your house.

Alternative Ways to Get Rid of Ants

Vinegar is all you need to get rid of ants. But if you don’t want to use vinegar for whatever reason, there are other options as well. Let’s explore some of the other home remedies you can use to deal with pesky ants.

Lemon Juice

One popular alternative to vinegar is lemon juice. In terms of cleaning, these two are used interchangeably. And the same is true when it comes to dealing with ants.

Like vinegar, lemon juice can remove the pheromones that ants use to communicate. The difference is that lemon has a fresh scent, a scent that is very pleasant for us. The only problem with lemons is that they are more expensive than vinegar.

You can also use anything with a strong smell to deter ants from coming in. Things like peppermint will not only keep ants away, but they’ll also make your house smell amazing.


Another way to get rid of ants is to kill them by suffocation. Cinnamon, one of the most common household spices, can do this job for you.

Have you ever inhaled cinnamon? If you have, you know that this can choke you. It’s the same for ants. If you sprinkle cinnamon on their path, they will breathe this in and die.

Cinnamon also has a strong smell. Mix it with water, and you have another solution that ants will avoid at all costs.

Borax, Water, and Sugar

Perhaps the best home remedy for killing ants is this simple mixture. Sugar attracts ants, borax kills ants, and the water binds these two together. With these three things, you can say goodbye to ants.

When making this mixture, make sure it isn’t too wet. It has to be sturdy enough for ants to carry around. If ants can’t carry it around, it won’t work very well. When it is sturdy enough, you’ll find that this is super effective.

The reason why this mixture is so effective is that ants take it back home. When ants find good food, they don’t just eat it on the spot. They also take home a portion of it for the whole colony. This is why you can kill off an entire colony with this mixture.

We have way more tips and tricks on how to use borax to get rid of ants in our article Using Borax Powder to Kill Ants: A Complete Guide


Drawing a line of chalk is like telling ants, “do not go beyond this line.” It’s quite a funny, yet very effective, way to prevent ants from coming inside. Draw chalk lines where you see them enter your house, and they won’t pass that way anymore.

The reason for this is because chalk contains calcium carbonate. This is yet another mineral that can disrupt ant trails. That’s why ants will never go over a chalk line. So draw a chalk circle around your table, or kitchen, or house, and ants will leave you alone.

Final Findings:

These are some of the ways you can use everyday household items to get rid of ants. Most of the time, these will be enough to solve your ant problem. But if they don’t work, if your problem is too large for these, then its best to hire a professional.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on Which Ants Bite Humans? Let’s Find Out and Are Ants Active at Night?

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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