How to Get Rid of Ants with Three Ingredients

The following is a post from Angie.

When ants show up in your home, often your first reaction may be to grab the phone and call the exterminator.  (Or, perhaps that is your second reaction, as your first reaction may be to want to squish them all.)  Before calling the exterminator, save yourself money and chemicals in your home by trying a simple, three ingredient solution for getting rid of ants in your home.

After adding a screened-in porch, we started getting ants in our home from time to time.  We tried ant solutions that we could buy at the store, as well as numerous exterminator visits (spending almost $300 one winter because of multiple visits).  This three ingredient solution was the cheapest method, using only items that I happened to have at home.

Supplies Needed


1. Mix the Borax and sugar together until well combined.

2. Add the mixture to your warm water and mix constantly until the powder has been completely dissolved.

3. Seal the mixture in a jar or container for future use, and use only what you need in the next steps (and save the rest).  It is important that you clearly label the jar, as it will just look like water.  Do not leave this where children can get to it.  (Because this is such an easy solution to make, however, I only kept what I made until after the ants had been gone for a week or more.)

4. Fill some jar lids, milk caps, or other shallow containers with cotton balls or a wad of paper towel.

5. Add the sugar-Borax solution to the prepared lids making sure to soak the cotton balls (or paper towel).

6. Wait.  It may take the ants a while to find the solution.  But, once they do, let them feast (and take the solution back to their home).  At our house, to speed up the finding process, I placed a couple of the soaked cotton balls directly on the ledge in my kitchen where most of the ants were.

Be prepared – more ants will probably show up once they find the solution.  However, within a day, you’ll probably see much fewer ants.  Over the course of just a few days, all of the ants should likely be gone.  Because we had watched the ants quite a bit, we noticed where they were coming from and made sure to use a sealant to seal the area to stop them from coming back in the future.

What other solutions have you taken to solve an insect problem in your home?

You could also try this method for how to get rid of black ants.

More posts from Angie

photo credit

About Angie Kauffman

Angie, a domestically-challenged artist and writer, is a homeschooling mom to three children. She writes about everything that happens in their lives between all the loads of laundry at Many Little Blessings. She is also the founder of The Homeschool Classroom, Catholic Printables Online, and Catholic Mothers Online.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. This is what we use all the time. Works like a charm! :-)

    • Joanne says:

      I’m told by the experts at the county extension agent’s office that borax & sugar only work for ants who like sugar. For those ants that like fats, I guess you can try mixing the borax with an oil. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has tried that.

  2. Cindy A. says:

    Cinnamon does not kill ants but it will prevent them from coming in and will make them go away. Ants don’t like cinnamon.

    • Colleen says:

      This is so true! We get small ants in my library office. I put a perimeter in doorways and around the edges of my desk. They will not cross. Reminds MIT the weather is getting warm and rainy…time to take the cinnamon to achool

  3. Mary H says:

    When I lived in Japan we did this with the sugar & borax– but dry along the back of counters & on widow sills. Worked like a charm

  4. Crystal says:

    I wonder if this would work on roaches. With the rainy weather we’ve been having a problem. I’ll try it and let you know.

    • Toni says:

      Was told by a little old man in a 100 year old hardware store to pour a line of borax across all doorways and then sweep up (don’t vacuum) and it leaves a residue which they walk across and it kills them, too. Who knew?

  5. Julie says:

    Does this work for roaches too???

    • Missy says:

      Yes, yes! Roaches, palmetto bugs, whatever they are that we have in our military housing…will this kill them too? It’s awful to get up in the middle of the night to take a potty break and have these nasty creatures scuttle across the floor under your feet! Some of them are a long as my thumb! Eeek!

    • Angie says:

      I’m so sorry – I don’t have experience with roaches. (Well, that’s not true. We lived for four days in a rental house that ended up being invested with roaches. Blech!)

      However, I just Googled it, and I saw several people suggesting the sugar-borax mix for roaches. I guess it’s worth a try. Good luck!

  6. Barbara says:

    Any ideas on getting rid of the fleas that are so prevalent here in Fl?

    • Jackie says:

      Borax! we rented a house a while back that had them bad.. sprinkle borax everywhere and let it sit (can’t remember how long.. just Google natural ways to get rid of fleas) then vacuum you will have to do it a few times.. good luck!

    • Donna says:

      For fleas, we put out a few low lying pans (like pie pans) filled with water with a little bit of dish soap in the water. Soap in the water is essential! Above each pan, set a lamp beside it. At night, the fleas will jump towards the light and land in the soap-water. They can’t jump back out and are suffocated. Do this for a couple of nights and you’ll be rid of them in no time.

    • For fleas, I suggest Diotamacious Earth. There are 2 kinds, so be sure you buy FOOD GRADE. The other can hurt you and your pets. The food grade is made from the shells of sea creatures, that are ground to a fine powder. You can sprininkle it all over your yard, and it will kill the fleas, by drying them out. You can also mix this with wet food for your pet. Dogs or cats. If a flea bites, it gets the Diotamacious Earth, along with blood. Of course, you still have to do your Frontline plus, or Advantix. But this helps, too. It can be bought at any store that sells animal supplies, like for farm animals. Not sure if pet stores are selling it, but it’s probably cheaper at the farm type stores. We bought a 50 pound bag for 26 dollars and tax. Reapply to your yard after it rains. Google to find dosing amounts for your particular pet, by weight.

  7. JD says:

    Wow! Wish I had known about this last year. We endured months of ant “killing” only to have them return with a vengeance. It was terrible and I hope to never go through it again.

  8. Leigh says:

    diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle it on the ant hills if you can find them and wherever they will cross its path. It is ground up fossilized sea creatures, so totally safe for little people (just don’t breath in the dust). For bugs of all sorts, it cuts them up in ways they can not recover from, or become resistant too.

    We had major ant problems in our back yard, and then our house last year and this worked like a charm. $10 for a 5 or 10 lb bag at our local hardware store. The bag will last a decade

  9. Joni Beale says:

    I have always used Ant Block from lowes and it works for a good 8 weeks. I have used it for years and it always work. I will try this though.

  10. Whitney says:

    I hate killing animals, including bugs, without reason (I do eat meat). Plus, ants are a very important part of the ecosystem. If they aren’t harming anyone, you could try my method. We had ants coming in our kitchen through our windowsill (it was an old apartment). We put a small plate of honey right by where they were coming in, and they ate the honey and immediately left. It was a win win. The ants got to eat, and they stayed out of the rest of our house :-)

  11. JOYCE BURGOS says:


  12. Mary says:

    I always love solutions that don’t require me to go spend more money! I just set this out and look forward to watching it get rid of these annoying ants!

  13. Bernie Henrich says:

    I suggest Corn Meal. Ants love it so put it out doors. It’s harmless to people and pets. It’s death to ants because they… ummm… have no way to expell the gas like people and animals. Replace if it rains.
    It’s cheep, non toxic, and it definitely works! I also use it on those huge ant hills that show up in the lawn or garden. Today you see them, tomorrow you won’t.

  14. Lisa says:

    I have to admit I was skeptical but did not want to use chemicals since we are trying to be chemical free here (and honestly the ant traps we tried last year did not work at all). It worked perfectly! At first we got more ants and now it has been a week since I have seen any ants! I am so happy to have found such a simple solution. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • ELISE says:

      Which solution worked for you, Lisa? Thank you

      • Linda says:

        I used a equal mixture of dry sugar and Borax yesterday at the place where the ants were entering. This morning only a few were there eating the mixture, and this afternoon none are there. I am very hopeful! However, in the future I plan to try the cinnamon since it repels, but does not kill them.

    • okwhatever says:

      You, and everything you see, touch, smell, or eat is made of nothing but chemicals. Just saying. “Synthetic free” or “store-bought pesticide free” maybe but “chemical free” just doesn’t make sense.

  15. Lindsey O says:

    Trying this out! We didn’t need to deal with ants until we moved to our house. It doesn’t seem that they are interested in the cotton balls or the water bottle caps filled with the yummy solution… I’ll keep it out there and see if they take to it. Praying this works. I’ll try the corn meal next… Thank you!!

  16. Chris says:

    Tried this yesterday – lots of ants were attracted to it – day 2 I have only seen 1 ant and that one has been eating all day – keep thinking he is dead but see him move every so often – other than that one ant, they seem gone – THAT WAS EASY!!!

  17. jackie says:

    we used this last year. Although, we placed the solution outside so that we didn’t have more ants come in. We placed it around the outside of the house. Also instead of using cotton balls and jar lids, I would place it in leaves that looked like it could hold some product. This way animals and children didn’t come up to the areat and wonder what it was. By placing it on leaves though i would go out every other day to replenish their food supply ;D

  18. ELISE says:

    Hi Angie and the rest of the folks.

    Does this work for carpenter ants? Would the sugar/borax solution or the cornmeal work on them? I assume you use cotton balls so they remain moist and the ants suck the liquid out of them or do they bring the cottonballs back to their nests? Thank you so much. I have seen my first carpenter ants of the season. Yuck!

  19. Patrick says:

    I live in the country. I had black garden ants coming in and out of my house siding on to my deck. I sprayed and poisoned with only temporary results. Last Saturday morning, before heading out to play golf, I laid the borax/sugar solution. When I returned I couldn’t believe how many ants were feasting on the cotton balls and draging bits back to their colony. I have not seen one ant since…Thanks SO Much!


  20. Mike Lee says:

    Hi Angie,

    Used your borax ant recipe, saw you homeschool and thought I’d share my movement program for young children. You can download it FREE at

    Thanks, Mike

  21. Sabrina says:

    I tried the solution with cotton balls/lids and not 1 ant came to it and I put it in 3 different spots in my apartment. I still see a few here and a few there. Do you think just putting the dry sugar and borax mix together would work better? I can’t handle the ants any more!

    • You could try it dry, but I found that didn’t seem to work as well for us. What I did was move cotton balls with the mixture to the spots that the ants were at (like right in the way of their paths) when I noticed they were initially avoiding it. That did the trick.

  22. Amanda says:

    This worked great. I used a wide, fairly flat lid with a few bits of folded up paper towel. I put it right in their path and they went to town!
    I did that at about 6 pm last night, and this morning they were gone!
    Thanks for posting this!

  23. Rose says:

    Could someone please tell me where to buy Borax? I have never seen it in a grocery store. Would I go to a hardware store? Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it for the ant problem in my kitchen.

  24. Daniel says:

    Picked some Borax at Walmart. My store had it with the bleach and laundry cleaning booster stuff.

  25. I use a similar recipe, except I also add syrup. A little extra treat for the ants before they die! Also, I make little homemade ant traps with this stuff inside. It works awesome! I place the traps outside around the perimeter of my house. Kill the little buggers before they have a chance to come inside.

  26. Herb says:

    Ants like a sugar diet as well as a protein diet so if they don’t eat the sugar/Borax than mix Borax with peanut butter, I use both at the same time and some ate the sugar others went for the peanut butter. Did this last night so not sure of results yet.

  27. David says:

    Make sure you don’t use Boraxo … that is a product that adds soap flakes to Borax. Will not work to attract/kill ants.

  28. Emily says:

    Does it matter if whether you use powdered sugar or regular sugar?

  29. pistol says:

    Been trying to get rid of ants for 30 yrs .this will bring an alot of ants at first but then all of a sudden they are all gone .I keep a butter lid w cotton balls on it ,in a back corner of my counter top.I replenish the balls when they dry up.I noticed after a month or so the use to come back.but not if u keep this method.

  30. Billy Guess says:

    I’ve had some success with borax this year. We had a bad infestation in our kitchen. My own mix included:

    1 spoonful of sugar
    1 spoonful of borax
    1/2/ spoonful of honey
    5-10 ML of water

    I stirred the mix and poured it into five or six plastic water bottlecaps and left them both inside where the ants were climbing on counters and outside near where they were coming in. In one day, there was a 99% reduction in the ants. They were completely gone for about 2 weeks, but we just had a few pop up again over the weekend.

    I’m now reapplying this to our returning ants to see if I can wipe out the colony this time. Been using more caps outside to get at their source. Replacing the mix daily seems to help since it hardens quickly.

    Had a bit more luck with my neighbor’s house. They had an infestation in a crawlspace under the stove. Using the same mixture and method, the entire colony was wiped out in about three days.

    Overall, I have to praise the borax!

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