How To Get Rid Of Ants With Scents – Smells That Repel Ants

Ants marching into your home can be more than just a nuisance; they can also be persistent invaders. While many chemical solutions are available, they often come with their own drawbacks, such as harsh odors and potential harm to pets and children. Therefore, I prefer natural solutions to keep these tiny intruders at bay. In this article, I share how I use various scents to repel ants effectively and naturally.

How Can Scents Help to Repel Ants?

Ants rely heavily on scent trails for communication and navigation. Strong, pungent smells can disrupt these scent trails, confusing and deterring ants from entering your home. By strategically using specific scents, you can create a barrier that ants are reluctant to cross.

ants on food

Using scents to repel ants offers several advantages over traditional chemical methods. Natural repellents are generally safer for your family and pets, environmentally friendly, and can leave your home smelling pleasant instead of like a chemical lab.

Most Effective Scents To Repel Ants And How To Use Them

Essential Oils

Peppermint: The strong, minty aroma of peppermint overwhelms the ants’ scent trails, making it difficult for them to navigate. To use peppermint oil, simply place a few drops on cotton balls and put them in areas where ants are commonly seen. Or, mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle and spray it along entry points like windowsills, door frames, and baseboards.

Tea Tree: Known for its potent antiseptic properties, tea tree also boasts a strong, medicinal scent that ants find highly repellent. To use tea tree oil, mix 10 to 20 drops with water in a spray bottle and apply it to ant trails, entry points, and areas where they are active.

group of ants on watermelon

Citrus: Bright, citrusy scents are pleasant to humans and a powerful deterrent for ants. Just mix a few drops of essential oil (lemon, orange, but also lemongrass and citronella work) with water in a spray bottle and apply it to ant-prone areas. Additionally, you can add a few drops of your favorite oil to a cotton ball and place it in cabinets, drawers, and other strategic locations.

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus has a sharp, medicinal scent that is very effective at repelling ants since they find it challenging to navigate in strong-smelling environments. To use eucalyptus oil, mix it with water in a spray bottle and apply it to areas where ants are seen. You can also soak cotton balls in eucalyptus oil and place them near entry points and other ant-prone areas for continuous protection.

Herbs and Spices

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a spice that not only adds flavor to your dishes but also serves as a natural ant-repellent. Plus, it also keeps spiders away! The strong, sweet aroma of cinnamon interferes with ants’ ability to follow their scent trails, effectively disorienting them. To use cinnamon, sprinkle ground cinnamon in areas where ants are present or place cinnamon sticks near entry points.

cinnamon sticks on the floor

Cloves: Cloves have a pungent aroma that ants find intolerable. The best is to place whole cloves in areas where ants are commonly seen, such as countertops, windowsills, and pantry shelves.

Bay Leaves: Another natural ant repellent, thanks to their strong aroma. The scent of bay leaves disrupts the ants’ scent trails, making it difficult for them to find their way. You can place whole leaves in cabinets, drawers, and other areas where ants are likely to enter. You can also crush the leaves to release more of their scent and scatter them around your home.

Citrus Peels: lemon, grapefruit, and orange peels can be used to create a natural barrier that ants will avoid. The strong citrusy scent is offensive to ants and masks their pheromone trails. Simply place fresh peels where ants are seen or near their entry points. Replace them every few days to maintain their effectiveness. Additionally, you can rub peels directly on surfaces to leave a lingering citrus scent that repels ants and makes your home smell fantastic at the same time!

orange and lemon peels


Vinegar is the most versatile household item, in my opinion. It can be used for cleaning, removing odors, and repelling ants. To keep ants away, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to areas where ants are present. Regularly apply the solution to entry points, windowsills, and other ant-prone areas to prevent ant infestation in your home.

Some DIY Ant Repellent Recipes To Try

Creating your own scent-based ant repellents is easy and cost-effective, so I encourage you to skip store-bought, chemical-containing products and try home remedies. Here are a couple of simple recipes that work for me the best:

Peppermint and Vinegar Spray

  • Mix 10 drops of peppermint oil with 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Shake well and spray along ant trails and entry points.

Citrus and Tea Tree Oil Spray

  • Combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with 10 drops of citrus essential oil (lemon, orange, or grapefruit) and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
  • Shake well and spray in areas where ants are active.

Herb and Spice Sachets

  • Make sachets using cinnamon sticks, cloves, or bay leaves.
  • Place them in cabinets, near doorways, and other areas where ants enter. This will repel ants and add a pleasant aroma to your home.

Additional Tips For Keeping Ants At Bay Naturally

  • Consistency is Key: Regularly reapply your chosen scent repellent to maintain its effectiveness, especially after cleaning or if you notice ants returning.
  • Combine Methods: Use a combination of scents for a more potent ant deterrent. For example, mix peppermint oil and vinegar for a double-duty spray.
  • Seal Entry Points: In addition to using scents, seal cracks and crevices where ants may enter your home.
  • Keep Your Home Clean: Ensure your home, especially the kitchen, is clean and free of food crumbs or spills that attract ants.


Using scents to repel ants is a natural, safe, and effective method to keep your home ant-free. Incorporating essential oils, herbs, spices, citrus peels, and vinegar into your ant control routine allows you to create a pleasant-smelling environment that ants want to avoid. Try these natural methods and enjoy a more harmonious home without the unwelcome ant guests. If you find these natural methods insufficient, consider consulting a pest control professional for additional assistance.

how to get rid of ants naturally with scents