Does Vinegar Kill Ants?

Although there are chemicals available to kill ants, they can be incredibly strong causing damage to more than just the ants. But is there something sitting in your kitchen cupboard you could use instead? Does vinegar kill ants, for example?

Unfortunately, vinegar does not kill ants, but it does help in keeping them away. 

White vinegar cannot kill ants, but the strong smell can make ants steer clear of your garden.

You’ll notice that ants walk in a trail. These ants leave their scent behind so other ants of the colony can follow one another and reach their food sources. By using vinegar, you are disrupting the trails, and the ants get lost and leave the area when they smell it.

How Does Vinegar Get Rid of Ants?

Vinegar repels ants because of its powerful smell. Simply put, ants dislike the smell of vinegar. The strong scent is the same reason why ants do not like other common garden scents such as garlic or lavender. 

When you apply vinegar, the smell can initially be strong, perhaps even too strong for you to bear. Fortunately, even if it dries, ants can still smell it as they have incredibly powerful scent receptors.

You can make a spray using vinegar and water and spray it on areas where you most often find ants. You can also wipe down garden furniture, pots, walls and surfaces with a cloth soaked in a vinegar solution.  

Does Normal Vinegar Kill Ants?

As you know, there are different types of vinegar available in the shops. Some vinegar solutions are stronger than others. It is best to use some trial-and-error with a few of these mixtures to learn which is effective and works for you. 

But the result of this trial-and-error is highly unlikely to be death. As already mentioned, vinegar is unlikely to kill ants but will work well to deter them from your garden. Whether it’s apple cider, distilled, white wine or balsamic vinegar, none will be lethal.

How to Use Vinegar to Get Rid of Ants 

The great thing about using vinegar to deter ants is that it is economical, and there are no issues with its availability. To throw ants, you need to get rid of their scent trail, which vinegar is quite effective at doing.

Apart from creating a spray using vinegar, you can use it in various other ways. Here are a few options you can try around the garden:

Vinegar and Dish Soap

Dish soap is known to be quite effective when dealing with ants. You can mix vinegar with dish soap to create a spray. However, there is only one downside to this remedy: The mix can get quite sticky. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar 

Another natural way to get rid of ants and other insects is to use baking soda. You can sprinkle the baking soda near the ant trails. You can also add sugar to the baking soda to attract ants. The ants will consume the baking soda and die.

The baking soda’s power of killing ants and the vinegar’s power of repelling them make one strong duo. 

Boric Acid and Vinegar

Boric acid not only works against ants but also other kinds of insects. You can mix boric acid with some sugar as bait to attract ants. You can follow up with a vinegar spray to disrupt the trails to ensure that the ants do not come back. 

Can Borax Kill Ants

Vinegar and Lemon Juice

To make vinegar more effective, you can add further powerful ingredients. Lemon juice, like vinegar, is acidic, and you can use it to mask the scent trail left by ants. When you create your vinegar spray, you can add a few drops of lemon juice to strengthen the solution. 

Vinegar and Orange Peels 

You can soak some orange peels in vinegar and leave them around your garden or in places where you spot many ants. Next, you can take your vinegar solution and spray it on the trails.

Boiling Water and Vinegar

If you follow the ant trail in your garden carefully, you will find that it will lead to an ant nest. Obviously, this nest is where most ants reside, including the queen ant.

For as long as you do not kill the queen ants, the ants in your garden will continue to reproduce. You can boil water and vinegar together and pour this onto the ant mound.

This way, you will kill most ants and even get to the ant queen. 


One of the trickiest things as a gardener is dealing with an ant infestation. Unfortunately, vinegar does not kill ants, but it will repel them. Vinegar has a strong smell which ants do not like, and you can use it to disrupt the scent trails left behind by ants. 

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