9 Tips for Preventing Ants in Your Home

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated March 25, 2022
Wiping down table top in the kitchen.
Photo: Ekaterina Goncharova / Getty Images

Don't make this pest into a houseguest

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Creating a welcoming home is a priority for many of us, but ants are one houseguest you don't want to invite over. Unfortunately, many things we do every day create welcome invitations for ants, like leaving crumbs on the counter from our midnight snack or storing cookies in unsealed containers. The good news is that you can take several simple measures to prevent ants from making your home their new favorite vacation destination. 

1. Seal Cracks and Crevices

Cracks and crevices around your home's exterior serve as access points for ants to make their way inside. In order to prevent this, take some time to examine the area around your home, looking for any cracks or gaps around the foundation. 

Pay extra close attention to any area where pipes or wires enter your home, as you can often find gaps here. If you notice any cracks or crevices, seal them with a silicone-based caulk. While you’re inspecting, this is also a good time to inspect your weatherstripping and update it if needed. 

2. Wipe Down Counters, Jars, and Floors

Ants love to munch on any crumbs you leave behind, so make sure to eliminate these food sources wherever possible. That means cleaning up spills and crumbs as they fall, as well as sweeping and vacuuming your floors regularly. Also, don't forget to wipe down any sticky substances on jars, especially jars containing sweets, like maple syrup, honey, and jam. 

3. Put Away Pet Bowls

Your food isn't the only food ants are after; your pet's food bowls can also serve as attractive food sources for ants. For that reason, make sure to wipe down your pet's food bowls after they eat and put them away—washing them after every meal is even better. You should also store your pet's food in a sealed container to prevent ants from munching on it.

4. Store Food in Sealed Containers

Food in food storage containers
Photo: Edwin Tan / Getty Images

Speaking of sealed containers, use them for your food whenever possible. Transfer any pantry items, like flour, pasta, and sugar, into sealed storage containers to keep ants out. Not only will this help prevent ants from infesting your home, but it will also make your pantry look neat and organized. It's also helpful to store fruits and veggies in the refrigerator rather than on the counter or in a fruit bowl. 

5. Eliminate Water Sources

In addition to food, ants are also on the hunt for water. And it only takes a few drops of stagnant water to serve as a water source, so you'll want to be diligent about wiping up any liquid spills as they happen. 

Additionally, don't leave out any dishes with liquid in them overnight and routinely check for and fix leaking pipes, especially in areas prone to moisture, such as under your sink. If you have a damp basement, consider investing in a dehumidifier to keep it dry. 

6. Check Your Gutters 

If your gutters aren't flowing properly, they can collect gunk and pools of water that make them breeding grounds for ants. Every few months, take some time to check your gutters and ensure they're flowing as they should. You should also clear out any twigs, leaves, or other debris that can block water flow. 

If you’re not sure what to look for, this is also a great time to call in a local gutter cleaning company. It’s a good idea to get your gutters cleaned professionally at least once a year.

7. Use Vinegar to Clean

Ants are not fans of vinegar, so using vinegar to clean your home works as a natural ant deterrent. Simply mix a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water, then spray it over kitchen and bathroom surfaces, as well as any other areas that ants might find attractive. If you don't love the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the solution. 

8. Take Out the Garbage Often

Kitchen person grabbing garbage bag
Photo: Grace Cary / Getty Images

Your garbage can is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet for ants, so it's best to take out the garbage every night, if possible. Investing in a garbage can with a tight seal can also help keep ants at bay. And if you save food scraps to compost, consider storing them in the freezer to eliminate odors and prevent ants from reaching them. 

9. Create a Landscape Buffer

Shrubs and trees near your home can function as bridges for ants to make their way inside. That's why it's a good idea to trim back greenery around your house so that there are at least 3 feet between your home and any vegetation.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.