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Natural Scents & Quick Tricks to Repel Ants

Spring has officially sprung and with it comes lots of things we love — like sunshine and flowers and lots of picnics. But let’s be honest — even Spring has a downside, ant season. And for many of you, that means ants in your yard, at your outdoor events, and even in your homes.

Here at EarthKind, we’re all about naturally smarter solutions — so much so, we even created a product that’s made with essential oils — guaranteed to send ants marching in a different direction. In this article, we’re covering natural scents that ants simply can’t stand so you can avoid a potential ant infestation. 

Note: We won’t be covering pest control methods used to harm ants such as ant traps, boric acid, or pouring boiling water!

6 Household Scents That Ants Hate

  • Spices: Cinnamon, Cayenne, and Black Pepper

Cinnamon adds a sweet kick to just about everything. From breakfast rolls to apple pie. It’ll even nudge the ants out of your kitchen. Sprinkle cinnamon on surfaces where you’ve seen ants congregate in your home. Spices such as cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper act as a dermal irritant to the tiny insects and they’ll be working their way towards sweeter surroundings.

  • Citrus Peels Lemons and limes with cloves to help keep away ants

Lemons, limes, and oranges may add zip to your favorite drinks. But ants see them as the enemy. Fresh citrus peels are toxic to the fungi that ants feed on. Spread them around the areas where you see these pests meeting up and they’ll be looking for a new place to congregate. The citrus peels will block the pheromone trail ants use to communicate with each other so others won’t wander into your home looking for food.  

  • Vinegar 

There are few things an ant dislikes more than the strong smell of white vinegar. If you’ve spotted ants in your kitchen, spray down your countertops, window sills, and flat surfaces with vinegar. This natural ant-repellent spray will clear the scent trail they use to get around and convince them to find a sweeter-smelling home.

  • Coffee 

You may love your morning coffee, but ants could do without it. Another natural way to deter ants, sprinkle coffee grounds outside and around your garden. The smell repels them and they’ll be looking for a less caffeinated place to hang out. 

  • Laundry Detergent 

Want to keep your home clean and clear of ants? Put a thin line of dry laundry soap around baseboards, windows, and other areas where you see ants beginning to gather. The scent of detergent will turn them away. It’s too much for their tiny bodies. You can also make a mix of equal parts laundry detergent and water inside a spray bottle. Spray any entry points you notice the ants are using to enter your home.

  • Lemon Juice 

The scent of lemon makes your house smell fresh and clean, but there’s an added bonus you may not be aware of. The strong scent of citrus will throw ants off course. Wipe your countertops down with a mixture of water and lemon juice and their scent trail will be compromised. They’ll be on their way to greener pastures.

Bonus: Additional Ant Deterrents

Beyond just scents, there are a few other tricks that could help keep these pests away.


Use a dehumidifier in your home as moisture increases this Spring. Ants are always looking for a water source, which is why we tend to find them in bathrooms. Reducing the moisture in your home makes it less appealing to them. Next to food, moisture is an ant’s best friend.

Seal Tiny Cracks

You may think your house is safe and secure, but from an ant’s perspective, the tiniest crack is like a neon welcome sign. Be sure to seal up any cracks that these pests can crawl through with caulking from your local hardware store. Extra bonus: better temperature control and lower energy bills!

Properly Store Your Food woman looking at stored food on shelf

Seal your pet food in airtight containers along with all other food sources in your pantry that might attract ants looking for their next meal.  

Long Term Solution

For a long-term solution that also doesn’t kill ants, be sure to check out Stay Away® Ants & Cockroaches — EarthKind’s guaranteed effective, botanical ant deterrent. Stay Away® Ants uses plant-based active ingredients such as lemongrass, thyme, and peppermint essential oils to create an effective insect repellent that’s safe for pets and children (when used as directed. Shop online or in a store near you

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