My boys are very interested in bugs especially my youngest. In fact, he is so interested that he screams ‘BUUUUUUGGGG!!’ when he sees anything that is small and crawls, spiders, ants, potato bugs, etc. and really it makes me pretty proud that he is not scared of them and is so curious about them. However, when he screams ‘bug’ in my kitchen I feel a lot less proud and a lot more annoyed; so after having ants multiple times I have finally figured out how to get rid of ants in the kitchen. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight and it took more then just one magic item, but we have finally been ant-free kitchen for over a month!
The first step and really the most important step is to clean the kitchen and keep it clean. First go through your kitchen and make sure everything is in a sealed container. Also if you have fruit out on the counter then get it off; we bought two hanging baskets that I installed next to the kitchen sink but you could also just keep it in your fridge.
To keep it clean, after each meal put the food away, clean the dishes, the counter, the table and if anything got on the floor then sweep the floor. This seems like a hassle, but if you do it after each meal it usually only takes 10-15 minutes, depending on what the meal was. In fact it only takes about 5 minutes if we use our grill which we do most the summer.
Now doing this alone will get those ants out of you kitchen, however, it may take 3-4 weeks which is a lot longer then most of us want to wait. Cleaning and keeping the kitchen clean is more of a preventative measure and so the other methods to get rid of those ants will work faster and better.
Most people will tell you to find all the cracks and seal them up. The logic being that the ants are coming from somewhere and if you seal it then they can’t get in. My opinion is that this is time consuming, usually difficult and doesn’t really work. If the ants want in…then they will get in. You can try this if you want or you can just move on to the next solution like I did.
My personal favorite and I think easiest thing we did was begin using peppermint oil and vinegar. Ants hate these smells and are naturally repelled by them. So we took two spray bottles and put water with a few drops of peppermint oil in one and vinegar in the other. Because vinegar is a wonderful sanitizer we began cleaning our counters with it. We would spray the vinegar on the counter, then do the dishes, wipe the table and clean the floor, then we would wipe the counter down. Right now that is all we usually do but when we had ants we took the watered-down peppermint oil and sprayed it on the counters. Our kitchen smelled wonderful and after 2 meals our kitchen was free (and has stayed free) of ants.
The peppermint oil works really well around the house as well. We’ve kept the spray bottle and about once a week or so we spray the heck out of our place. We make sure to get all the doors, baseboards and windows, so far this has kept ants out of the entire house!