A Few Kitchen Ingredients Are All You Need To Banish Ants From Your Home

Seeing a single ant walk across your kitchen counter may instinctively make you react and turn to a chemical-based treatment or ant trap. But if you want to learn how to kill ants naturally, look to your kitchen or, more precisely, your refrigerator. If you have lemons, oranges, or limes in your fridge, their peel is a powerful tool that can not only freshen up the scent in your home but also ward off pest invasions.

Creating a simple DIY citrus-based solution to spray on ants is one of the simplest ways to kill the ones that you see. Using an acidic combination of lemon peels and vinegar alters the invaders' ability to smell and track their way back to their nest, making it hard for them to continue supporting the colony. You can safely avoid using chemicals and toxic ant treatments in your kitchen by using these simple ingredients.

How to use citrus in your home to get rid of ants

There are several ways you can use citrus to get rid of ants in your home — one of the best is creating a mixture that blends white vinegar with D-limonene oil, which can be extracted from lemon peels. To do so, take a few lemon peels and place them in a saucepan. Add a cup of vinegar to the pan or just enough liquid to cover the peels. Cook this solution down until the peels are limp, being careful not to let it boil fully. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the solution to sit until it's fully cooled. At that point, you can strain and place it into a spray bottle.

Use this mixture to clean counters, floors, and other surfaces where you've seen ants present. This DIY ant deterrent minimizes the infestations in your home, especially when you clean with it on a routine basis. You can also spray it directly on ants you see, killing them quickly.

A second trick to create a barrier against ants is to use cotton balls saturated with this solution. Just place the cotton balls in the corner of rooms or near openings where you believe ants are entering and leaving. This option will work well to deter any others from entering this area.

Why citrus works to get rid of ants and other pests

Citrus, such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit, contain the acidic oil D-limonene. This acidic compound is what gives these fruits such a strong tart taste. For ants, that acid is toxic, though it's not toxic to people (especially in low doses). Using this oil stops ants from moving into an area, as it disrupts their pheromone trails, which they follow to move from a food source back to their colonies. In addition, the scent can create a barrier in your home, warding off ants who would otherwise want to move in.

D-limonene oil is also a helpful cleaning tool, working as a solvent and removing surface dirt. It is non-carcinogenic, unlike many other cleaning products and pest treatments that include chlorinated solvents or harmful ingredients like acetone and toluene. For those who need to kill ants but don't want to turn to chemicals, natural products containing D-limonene can work well, whether you make them yourself or purchase a natural product off the shelf — if you're not into making your own at-home concoction, using a citrus-based spray to clean surfaces could be another helpful way to rid your home of ants. These products tend to be biodegradable, making them a good option for the environment, too.