Living in an apartment comes with an assortment of challenges including obnoxious neighbors, limited resources for customizing your space, and worst of all - dealing with an ant problem or other pest control issues.
If you're looking for proven ways to take care of your apartment's ant infestation on your own without turning to harsh chemicals or expensive professionals, we've got lots of natural techniques and tips to help you rid your apartment of these and other pests.
You might need to run out to a local grocery store or local hardware store to pick up some of these products but it won't require an intensive search for ingredients.
Here's how to get rid of ants in your apartment.
Get Rid of Ants Without Harsh Chemicals
Whether an entire colony has invaded your home, or you've just seen a few ants wandering here and there, it is absolutely necessary that you treat your apartment's pest problem as soon as possible so that you don't face an even bigger issue later on.
Option 1: Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has long been used as an effective way to get invasive ants out of a house or apartments. Lemon juice works as an ant deterrent because the smell and the acid disrupt the scent trail that ants follow, essentially cutting off their map through your apartment.
Start by cutting a few lemons in half and squeezing the juice into a spray bottle. If your aim is poor, or your lemons are large, consider using a funnel to keep your counters from getting sticky.
Here's a nifty little product we found on Amazon that lets you squeeze your lemon juice directly into a bottle, which you can pour directly into your spray bottle.
Add an equal amount of water to your bottle, then shake, and you're ready to start treating your space.
If you don't have access to a spray bottle but you're desperate to solve your ant problem and get your apartment back to yourself, you can squeeze out a few drops of lemon juice instead of using the spraying method, but we would recommend finding a spray bottle if possible.
Spray the entry points where the ants seem to be getting inside from, regardless of if they are doors, windows, holes, cracks, or drains.
You will also want to be sure to spray along the ant scent trail itself, which is likely to run along your window sills, door frames, or floor so be thorough.
Tips for Using Lemon Juice to Deter Ants in Your Apartment
Remember that the acidic nature of lemon juice could cause discoloration, damage, or deterioration to certain textiles. So if your apartment is carpeted or you need to treat your curtains, take the time to spray a small inconspicuous area first so that you can test the effects on your fabrics.
Option 2: Essential Oils In a Spray Bottle
Certain essential oils can be used in a similar fashion to lemon juice. All you need to do is mix half a cup of water with about 15-25 drops of the essential oils of your choice, and then add the solution to a spray bottle and shake it up.
Some essential oils that work particularly well for getting ants out of your apartment include:
Tea tree oil
Using peppermint essential oil, or a high concentrated cinnamon oil, would be the more common and traditional option - but tea tree oil has become pretty popular over recent years.
All of these oils are sold in highly concentrated forms so we wouldn't recommend applying them directly to entry points or ant trails.
However, you can spray oils along these same areas, including doors and window sills, to keep ants from finding their way back across your apartment floor or walls.
If you feel the need to apply cinnamon essential oil or peppermint oil, for example, directly to a small, hidden area, consider using a Q tip for better reach and more accurate aim.
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Pointers for Using Oils to Combat Ants in Your Apartment
Be careful, however, because some oils can be harmful to pets like dogs and cats if they are consumed or even just absorbed through the skin.
That's why we suggest diluting your oils with water before you begin treating your apartment's ants patterns. You will also want to be careful using these products around your food, and be sure to wash your hands well with water after touching any oils.
Here's a variety pack of essential oils that includes tea tree, peppermint and six other oils.
Option 3: Spices
Different household spices can also be used as a deterrent to help get rid of ants and keep them from following their trails back to their water or food source in your home.
Using cayenne pepper, black pepper, or cinnamon, you can create a spice barrier around potential entry points to keep these little pests from getting deeper into your apartment.
If you have seen holes or cracks in your foundation, walls, or floors - these could be points of entry for ants, and you can place a small circle of cayenne or whichever spice around the gap to prevent future entry of more ants as well.
Recommendations for Using Spices to Rid Ants from Your Apartment
These spices work so well thanks to their overpowering smell, but it's important to keep in mind that you should be careful to avoid touching your eyes and face after using spices to get rid of ants, or at least until you've washed your hands.
How to Keep Ants Out of Dog and Cat Food
Many home remedy experts recommend this method for keeping ants from crawling around pet food dishes; just sprinkle some spices around the bowl that your dog or cat eats from to discourage ants which are already in your apartment from making their way into your pet's dinner.
This would be considered a very temporary solution by most because you will need to reapply the spices on a regular basis, and this solution may force you to do some extra cleaning if you're unable to keep from walking through the spices on your own.
Suggestions for Using Spices to Keep Ants Away from Dog and Cat Food
Although this is one of the proven ways for deterring ants, keep in mind that dogs and cats can be extremely sensitive to these spices, and some are even considered toxic for them to consume.
One alternative to this method is to spread a little petroleum jelly around the base of the food dish, which will prevent pests from being able to scale the outer walls and make it inside to your pet's food. You can use this same solution for keeping ants out of your dog food or cat food storage bin as well.
Option 5: Vinegar
Another pet-friendly way that you can block ants from finding the scent of their trails and patterns is to just fill up your trusty sprayer with a 1:1 mix of vinegar and water and spray the zones where you typically see ants, including points of entry as well as countertops and cabinets.
Reminders for Using Vinegar As Ant Repellant
Be careful about not contaminating your animals' dishes with the spray as the smell might be a turn off when it comes time for them to eat or drink.
All the same, the vinegar will not harm your fur babies, and may actually contribute to a healthy coat.
Option 6: Chalk
Some people recommend making chalk lines around the perimeter of your apartment or house to prevent ants from crossing inside.
Although chalk lines have been shown to be effective, it's not long before ants are coming back in through windows and other entries.
Alternatives to Using Chalk for Your Ant Problem
Chalk paint is an alternative option for people who would rather not deal with cleaning up chalk or watching it blow away, although other people swear by baking soda for indoor use.
Regardless, none of these three options are likely to help you keep ants out in the long-term.
Option 7: Ant Traps
If you're looking for a longer-term solution, ant traps are likely your only way to go without having to contact an exterminator; ant traps have bait inside which attracts the insects.
How to Use Ant Traps
There's not much to it. Simply place them in common areas like sources of water and food, and an ant, or 20, will be lured inside. These products are normally good for a few weeks before they require replacing.
We did some research, and this is one of the top-rated ant traps we found on Amazon.com that you can use indoors.
Preventing Ants in Your Apartment
No matter if you're worried about a single stubborn ant or an entire nest, there are steps to take.
The key is to make sure your foodstuffs are stored in airtight containers so that ants' search for sugar will not prove successful. Wipe down your counters and table tops after eating or cooking to keep them from being attracted to old sugars as well.
Before you search for local exterminators to deal with a nest of ants in your apartment - or start looking through apartment listings for a new place to live - consider trying out some of these popular natural home remedies for removing ants from apartments.