The Secret Weapon Against Ants: Unleashing the Power of Vinegar

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Besides being a salad condiment, vinegar can help with housework. It sanitizes things, cleans laundry, and cleans or removes stains. However, it is not known to many that you can use vinegar as a pest control solution. So, if you have ants in your home, you may wonder, can vinegar kill ants?

Vinegar does not have the chemical composition to kill ants. It is not an insecticide or pesticide. You can only kill ants with vinegar by just drowning them. Water can do that, too, but ants do not like the smell of vinegar, making the latter helpful for warding off ants.

Are you looking for ways to get rid of annoying ants at your home? Here’s a guide on removing and preventing the proliferation of these crawling insects in your house.

Why Do Ants Come into Your House?

Before you try to remove ants in your house, let’s know first why they invade your home in the first place. Well, ants typically come indoors in search of a nesting habitat or food. Even tiny bits of food or pet food crumbs can attract industrious ants.

So, if the house is dirty and small pieces of food like fruits and sweets are lying around, expect them to find their way to it. Ant colonies usually consist of thousands of ants, making it seem like they are everywhere in your house. 

Do Ants Like Vinegar?

If you are curious whether vinegar is an ant’s food source, the quick answer is no. Ants do not like vinegar at all. Ants can’t stand the potent smell of vinegar. It may be aggravating to our noses, but it downright irritates ants.

Generally, the smell of vinegar affects the behavior of ants. The reason behind this is that when these insects walk around, they leave pheromones behind. These are ants’ communication channels to connect with other ants. 

Vinegar can block the pheromones through its overpowering smell. Since ants hate the smell of vinegar, they will fail to trace the trails, get panicky, and back off.

Does Vinegar Destroy Ant Trails?

Vinegar can destroy ant trails. To clarify, though, when referring to vinegar, we mean white vinegar. While apple cider vinegar can destroy ant trails, its smell may not be as strong as white vinegar. As mentioned, the harsh smell of vinegar eliminates ant trails.

If you find any ant trails in the house, simply spray them with vinegar to disrupt their mission of following the pheromone trails. But if you can’t find the trail but keep seeing ants roaming around the house, spray them directly to kill them.

Is Vinegar an Effective Ant Repellent?

Yes, vinegar is an effective ant-repellent. It can eliminate the chemical trails left by these tiny insects. The pungent smell and acidic properties make them efficient in repelling ants – it confuses and causes them to leave the area.

As said earlier, ants invade your house to look for food. They wander and wander until they run into tiny bits of food that are tasty. Once they find food, they return to their colony, usually outside your house. Hence, the long pheromone trails of ants.

According to a study, vinegar is good at destroying pheromone trails. As a result, they will need help finding food. When ants run out of their food source at their colony, they will eventually leave to find another pheromone trail.

Can You Use Vinegar as a Long-Term Ant Repellent?

Unfortunately, vinegar is not a long-term ant repellent. It may be easy to use and readily available, but it’s only for the short term.

The solution is considered an ant-deterrent and works excellent for in-the-moment remedies only. When you find a trail, use vinegar to drive the ants away from the problem areas.

You can use vinegar as much and as long as you want. However, note that ants will not leave right away, but they will also not become resistant to the smell of vinegar.

If your home continuously provides food sources and even water, ants will come back. No matter how much vinegar you put on the problem areas, they will not disappear. To rid your home of ants, you may need to use other methods or keep your house clean as possible.

How to Use Vinegar to Kill Ants?


Now that you know that vinegar can get rid of ants, it’s time to learn how to use this solution to kill them.

You can pour or spray the ant trails with vinegar for the insects to go away. However, this method will kill ants by drowning them. If you want a more powerful method, follow these steps:

Things you’ll need

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Salt
  • Spray bottle
  • Paper towel


Step 1. Combine all ingredients and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Make sure to shake the bottle before use. 

Step 2. Spray the area where the ants are crawling. Saturate the entire trail and wait thirty seconds.

Step 3. Allow the ants to get panicked and shuffle off this mortal coil. Then, wipe the problem area with a paper towel.

How to Prevent the Proliferation of Ants at Home?


The best way to prevent the proliferation of ants at home is to keep it clean. A clean house is less appealing to ants and reduces potential infestation. Here’s a more specific way to prevent ants from invading your home.

  • Clean up any liquid and food spillage. 
  • Keep the kitchen sink clean and dry.
  • Sweep floors regularly to eliminate dirt and food debris.
  • Use airtight containers to store food.
  • Block off all entry points by sealing crevices and cracks around the house.

To learn if clean houses can still get other bugs, read our articles:

Can Clean Houses Get Fleas?

Can Clean Houses Get Roaches?: The Surprising Truth

What Other Household Items Can You Substitute Vinegar to Kill Ants?

Are you looking for other natural ways to get rid of ants? Here are some products you can use to kill these crawling insects.

Baking Soda

You can get rid of ants by placing baking soda near the nest. Once they ingest the baking soda, it will mix the acid inside the ants’ stomachs, killing them within a few minutes.

Read our article – Does Baking Soda Kill Ants? to learn how to kill ants with baking soda.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can repel ants. However, this is not a long-term solution. Like vinegar, lemon juice has acidic properties that can destroy ant trails. Put it in a spray bottle and spray the problem area.


Chalk is a common home remedy to prevent ants at home. You can use it to draw a border for the ants’ common entry points. The thought is that once ants notice the line, it will make them believe they should not cross the border to preserve their scent trail.


Ants likewise can’t stand the smell of cinnamon. As such, cinnamon is also a common remedy to prevent ant infestation. If ants inhale cinnamon, they can die because of suffocation. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on the pathway of the affected area for them to inhale. 

Conclusion – Can Vinegar Kill Ants?

Ants are a real nuisance at home. While they are not damaging, their mere existence can be annoying and unsightly. Not to mention that their population can increase in a single season.

Luckily, there are many natural ways to kill or drive them from your home, including vinegar. You can also use baking soda, lemon juice, chalk, or cinnamon if you don’t have any vinegar.

Vinegar is only a short-term solution. Ants don’t like vinegar because it blocks the pheromones they leave behind, confusing them and causing them to leave the ant trail.

To use vinegar to kill ants, follow our instructions above.

To prevent ants from invading your home, nothing beats good sanitation practices. Keep your food, water, and pet food sources hidden away.

To learn what other bugs you can use vinegar to kill, read our article – Can Vinegar Kill Bees? or Can Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs?

Question: What do you use to kill ants in your house?