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Ant Problem in the Kitchen: 4 Steps to Get Rid of Them

By: EarthKind

Ants tend to migrate toward the kitchen because that’s where they find all of the food! When they find an entry into a kitchen space and come across a food source, they are most likely going to stay. It can be very unsettling when you sit down to dinner and see a line of these pests filing into your home. 

Learn more information about the best way to get rid of an ant problem in the kitchen, what attracts them in the first place, and what will drive them away.  

How To Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

Whether it’s a change in the weather pattern (like a lot of rain) or the need to find food, these pests come into homes for many different reasons. 

 You don’t have to resort to harmful pesticides, ant traps, or expensive exterminators to get rid of these pests for good. Sealing entry points, consistently deep cleaning floors and countertops, organizing food storage areas, and using a botanical repellent all help with getting rid of an infestation in the kitchen. We dive deeper into each of these steps below.  

Step 1: Seal Cracks and Crevices

Look for tiny cracks ants could use as an entry point such as gaps under laminate flooring, cracks around windows, or small openings around doors. Seal the openings with silicone caulk or use something like steel wool to block the entry. This step is often overlooked by homeowners but is very helpful for general pest control, and for getting rid of ants specifically.

Step 2: Clean Kitchen Surfaces & Behind the Stove

Thoroughly clean the kitchen by steam mopping the floors and wiping down the kitchen counters with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water plus a few drops of dish soap mixed in a spray bottle. This gets rid of every crumb, jelly smear, and drip-drop of juice spilled, along with every pheromone trail the pests may have left behind.

Clean behind and under the stove because this could be the source of your pest problem. Also, be sure to clean anything that may attract ants like pet bowls and garbage cans.

Step 3: Inspect and Clean the Pantry

Take every single item out of your pantry or food storage area and inspect it carefully. Anything that is already open and not contaminated, like sugar, flour, instant mashed potato flakes, etc., should be placed inside a Ziploc bag or airtight container. 

Once everything is removed, clean the walls, shelves, baseboards, and floor of the storage area with the vinegar treatment. Once dried, add the food items back to the pantry shelves in an orderly manner so it’s easy to see any other pest problems that may occur.

Step 4: Prevent Future Ant Infestations

And then, for the coup de grace to this ant infestation, add a pouch of EarthKind’s Stay Away® Ants & Cockroaches to the problem areas around your kitchen. This is a fast-acting, plant-based deterrent that emits a scent that’s pleasant to people, but offensive to ants. It’s made with a mix of peppermint, lemongrass, and other essential oils and can be stored in cabinets and pantries to help keep the pests away. 

To extend the life of your repellent, place the pouch inside of our 100% bio-based Pouch Pod and hang it from the top pantry shelf. 

More Information on Kitchen Ants (Same as Regular Ants) 

From an ant’s perspective, there really couldn’t be a cozier place to call home than your kitchen. They will give you space by keeping their nest outdoors, but they are looking for a good place to bring their crew of fellow workers in to clean up crumbs and any other messes they may find. If you leave any leftovers lying around, or some sweets sitting out, they will help themselves. If you missed a spot when you were sweeping, they’ll take care of it!

If you’ve tried getting rid of them before and it didn’t work, persistence always pays off. They can’t stand it when they have to keep foraging for food and the areas keep getting cleaner and more organized. 

We’ve profiled these types of ants even further so you can understand their point of view and keep them out of your own home.

What They Like

  • Junk food — These pests work out so much that they can eat whatever they want. Leftover take-out, sticky sweet soda on the floor, cake crumbs, and crushed potato chips. They like it all! You’ll often find ants in kitchen areas where food falls and isn’t likely to be seen, like under the stove, in the pantry, and in air vents.Cat eating cat food spilled from dish. Ants are attracted to pet food.
  • Moisture — Carpenter ants like damp areas, which is why you’ll often find them beneath the sink or even under laminate flooring.
  • Pets — Pet food is like a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet for these pests.
  • Girl power — Males are only good for one thing if you know what I mean, but female ants run the world! The females supply the ant colony with food, maintain the nest, defend the queen, and take care of other needs.

What They Dislike

Lawnmower cutting grass

  • Landscaping — Well-manicured lawns and grounds make it harder for ants to get inside buildings. Overgrown shrubs help them climb inside. Look around your house for any easy entry points and figure out ways to block them.
  • Barriers — They are strong, but sensitive, and don’t like walking across certain substances, like chalk lines or diatomaceous earth.
  • Strong smells — Their sense of smell is very acute, and while it comes in handy to help find food, perfumes or fresh-cut herbs can give them a real headache. That’s why scented repellents work!
  • The Vacuum — Suck them up and let them back out into the wild where they should be.

Ant Hobbies

  • Cleaning up — Whether it’s the crumbs on your kitchen floor or a deceased housefly on the windowsill, these pests are like a non-stop cleaning crew.
  • Sidewalk wars — Pavement ants are territorial. They usually nest outside and must defend their turf against other colonies — and they always win!
  • Tending to the queen — Worker ants are sterile — only the queen can have babies, so she’s really important.


Now that you know more about these pests and why they tend to reside in your kitchen space, hopefully you understand what to do to keep them out. Cleanliness and proper storage are two DIY solutions that are key to ant control. Shop online for Stay Away® or find the retailer nearest you that carries EarthKind products. 


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