Will Bleach Keep Ants Away?

What do you do when you have a problem with ants? Try a shallow dish of water with bleach in it. Ants are repelled by the scent of the bleach and will stay away from that area. Ants do not like bleach for several reasons. Bleach is a strong chemical, and it is a smell that ants do not want to be around.

Will bleach kill ants on contact?

Bleach also has a melting effect on the ants’ soft body because it is a solution of Sulfuric acid and Sodium hypochlorite. Ants have soft bodies, and bleach will kill ants on contact.  For example, if you spray an ant with bleach, it kills them because the chemical eats away at their body.  However, that’s fine for a couple of ants, but you cannot spray bleach on household items such as soft furnishings as it will damage them.   Therefore we will cover several solutions you can use to get rid of those little tiny critters. 

Does bleach kill ant trails

Another reason to use bleach is it removes the ant trails left by ants so that other ants will not follow them to the bleach smelling area, which results in a break in the trail of ants. A break in the path is enough for most ants to quit and go through a different route or go away altogether.  However, some ants may return after a while because they have other food sources in the area.  Unfortunately, once the smell of bleach has gone, you may see ants return.

Here are some ways that you can keep ants away using bleach:

  • Use a shallow dish of water with a generous amount of bleach added.
  • Place the water-filled bowl by the ant trail.  You can use this method outside of your house to deter ants from coming in.
  • Make sure the bowl is shallow.

Spices Ants Hate

“Ants do not like it if cinnamon is in their way.” Spices such as cinnamon, pepper, and cayenne pepper, mint can deter ants. These spices can act as an excellent ant repellent. The ants can smell the spices wherever they are and will stay away from the area.

When ants following trails run into these areas, they are confused enough to give up and go back home. That is because ant’s dislike the taste of those spices.   They can be placed in crevices and gaps where the ants could be entering.  The spices tend to be longer lasting than bleach and acts as a good repellent. However, just like bleach, the effects are not permanent.  You need to repeat the process frequently as the ants will become immune to the potency of the spices if exposed to them often.

Ants Citrus Oil

Ants can also be repelled by the smell of citrus fruits, such as lemons or oranges, and will avoid them. Lemon, orange, or any citrus fruit essential oil can be placed in areas where you want to keep ants away.  We are not talking about getting some fruit juice from the refrigerator and pouring it on the floor as it’s full of sugar and such.    Unfortunately citrus oils will waft away after a while, just like bleach but not as quickly, so you need to replace the scent often.   Also, using floor cleaners with a citrus scent will help to deter ants.

Citrus fruit is a natural ant repellent.  Did you know? It was found to work by accident in the 1800s when orange trees were planted along railroad tracks. The “trainmen” (railroad workers) noticed that the ant population decreased whenever the fruit trees were planted.

photo of ants on sugar

Using Diatomaceous Earth for Ants

So, we have discussed the use of bleach, spices, and citrus, and we have saved the best till last.

You can use diatomaceous earth inside and outside your house to discourage ants from coming onto your property. By placing it in the following locations, you can cut the ants’ food supply. And stop them from making a trail leading into your home.

Ants do not like the salty taste of diatomaceous earth, so it will deter ants from entering those areas if you place the dust between crevices and cracks. You can buy diatomaceous earth at a garden center or a hardware store. You can sprinkle it on the ground around the perimeter of your home.   Or mix diatomaceous earth with water and apply it as a spray to kill the ants once it is dried out.  But diatomaceous earth will not kill ants; it just dehydrates them, which will die within 24 hours after being exposed to it.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms. A diatom is a hard-shelled, microscopic algae that lived in the sea millions of years ago.  It kills ants by dehydrating them, and they will die within a day after being exposed to it.

So we have covered several solutions to deter ants from coming onto your property.  They are not permanent and require repeated application, but they are the cheapest and easiest ways to deal with ants.  To be successful, you need to deter ants from coming onto your property. 

We have several other solutions to solve the problems you may be experiencing with ants. If you would like to learn about these solutions more, take a look at any of the pages below:

How to Get Rid of Ants with Cream of Tartar

How to Get Rid of Ants with Apple Cider Vinegar

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Written by Alex

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