Scents That Repel Ants | Using Essential Oils To Repel Ants

Ants are the most common unwanted guests in everyone’s house, especially during summer. They are so tiny that they can also get into the house through the narrowest opening. And getting rid of these ants’ army is very difficult sometimes.

Though there are certain scents that are normal for human beings, they can repel ants. Some scents found to be mild and gentle by humans can be very strong for ants and, thus, repels ants. Floral scents are considered to be the best ant repellents (1).

Below are some of the scents that ants hate. Also, some natural ways have been suggested that can be used to get rid of ants.

What Smells Do Ants Hate? | Which Scents Repel Ants?

Following are some of the smells ants hate:

1. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil, which humans popularly use, is hated by many insects. This is one of the best essential oils for ant repellent. Lavender oil is used as mosquito and ticks repellents. Lavender oil contains a compound called linalool which acts as an insect repellent; hence this oil is thought to repel ants. It can work on different species of ants like carpenter ants, etc.

2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil has a very strong scent, and thus ants dislike the smell of this oil. And ants try to get rid of them. Thus, it makes eucalyptus oil a perfect oil for repelling ants. Eucalyptus oil contains a compound called cineole which is highly effective in repelling red fire ants (2).

3. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint also has a strong and overpowering scent that deters ants from entering the house. Peppermint essential oil is found to be effective in getting rid of red ant nests. Peppermint oil has mint granules that help to repel ants (3).

4. Garlic Essential Oil

Garlic oil is one of the most effective essential oils. It is found that ants cannot stand the scent of garlic making garlic oil one of the effective ingredients to repel ants (4). Like peppermint oil, the scent of this oil is also strong that keeps ants at bay.

5. Cinnamon Essential Oil

Cinnamon oil is considered to be one of the most effective oils that can be used as ant repellents mainly because of its repellent and insecticidal activities and properties. Using cinnamon oil in your house can help you keep ants away.

6. Cayenne Pepper And Black Pepper

Cayenne pepper has a strong scent that ants cannot tolerate. It has a compound called capsaicin which irritates insects. Black pepper also has a spicy smell that ants hate. Black pepper oil is also toxic to ants and can be used to kill them.

7. Clove Essential Oil

If you want to get rid of ants quickly, this oil is for you. Clove oil has properties that can be used to kill ants if sprayed directly on them. Clove oil has a strong scent that is intolerant to ants.

8. Citrus Essential Oil

Citrus oils contain a D-limonene compound which can kill ants. It includes oils like orange, lemongrass, lemon, and grapefruit. All these oils can be used directly on ants to kill them, or you can use them to repel ants and other pests naturally. Citrus peels also repel ants and other insects (5).

9. Vinegar

Ants hate the smell of vinegar. White vinegar is usually used in homes to get rid of ants. It can also be used to kill ants. You can use vinegar in the form of spray and spray at different places. Its scent will irritate them, and ants will get away. Vinegar is also used to get rid of many different insects. You can use vinegar as an all-purpose spray and use it to solve your insect problems (6).

10. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice also has a very strong scent that repels ants. You can add lemon juice with water in a ratio of 1:1 and spray it on ants or openings from where ants enter your homes. Your homemade ant repellent is ready to use. You can use lemon juice with eucalyptus oil to get rid of ants naturally (7).

11. Coffee Grounds

The scent of coffee also irritates ants and can help repel them. You can place a coffee ground near the opening from where ants enter, and you will see that they will get away from there. You can also use powdered coffee grounds to sprinkle around your house or in your garden area will help in keeping ants away (8).

12. Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil has an overwhelming scent that can confuse ants. This makes it difficult for ants to search for food. Lemongrass is used in many pest control sprays as well. Using this spray at entry points to prevent ants from entering your home (9).

13. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an effective natural repellent for ants. The scent of tea trees is very strong, irritating, and overwhelming for ants, making them get away. One of the ways to repel ants is that you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to cotton balls and keep them near ants or at openings from where ants enter. Tea tree oil helps kill fire ants (10).

14. Thyme

Thyme essential oil is used as an insect repellent. Lemon thyme is the most effective way to get ants out of your home.

15. Rosemary

Rosemary has a strong aroma which helps repel ants. Rosemary oil is liked by humans are hated by ants.

16. Basil

Basil is another commonly used ingredient in making ant repellents. It helps to get rid of ants and other insects. You can use basil oil or grow basil in your garden, and its scent can repel ants from coming into the house (11).

17. Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli oil is used in commercial insecticides. It has properties that repel pests like ants. Patchouli oil can be used to get rid of ants, and it can also be used to kill ants. The potency of patchouli oil lasts longer and is highly effective.

18. Cedarwood Oil

Cedarwood oil’s scent is pleasant to humans, but ants hate the smell of this oil. You can add a few drops of essential oil to a cotton ball and place it near ants, and this will keep the ants away.

19. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

DE is a soft sedimentary rock that can be crumbled to achieve a white colored powder. You can sprinkle this powder on ants to repel them. This powder can also help repel other insects.

What Are The Ways To Use Essential Oils Or Other Ingredients To Repel Ants From Your Home?

In The Form Of An Ant-Repellent Spray

Essential oils repel insects and ants and help to keep them away. This is one of the most effective ways to use essential oils when you see a line of ants. You can make DIY ant-repellent sprays and use them near areas where ants are mostly found. The smell of food usually attracts ants, and essential oils help to distract the scent of the food trail and confuse ants. You can mix essential oils with water or white vinegar and spray on ants to get rid of them.

Washing Away Scent Trails

Essential oils like peppermint oil, clove oil, and other citrus oils contain toxic contents that help erase the chemical trails of ants. To repel ants, you can make a cleaning spray using water, witch hazel, orange essential oil, clove oil, and peppermint oil.

Adding It Over A Cotton Ball

You can add a few drops of essential oils to a cotton ball and keep it near the ants’ infestation. Try to add essential oil with a strong scent, like clove, peppermint, cedarwood, etc.

DIY Homemade Ant-Repellent Spray

# DIY 1


  • 7 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops of clove oil
  • 7 – 8 drops of any citrus essential oil (Orange, lemongrass, lime, grapefruit, etc.)
  • Water
  • 4 ounce glass spray bottle


  • Add all the essential oils to the spray bottle.
  • Fill the remaining space in the bottle with water.
  • Shake the bottle thoroughly to mix all the ingredients properly.
  • Use this spray directly on ants, or you can also use it to spray on door frames, windows, or wherever there are entry points for ants.

Using this spray can help you get rid of ants naturally from your home.

# DIY 2


  • 15 drops of lemon oil
  • 15 drops of tea tree oil
  • 15 drops of cedarwood oil
  • 10 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap
  • 300 ml of white vinegar
  • 300 ml of distilled water


  • Add all the essential oils to a glass spray bottle.
  • Add white vinegar in it and shake well.
  • Add dish soap and distilled water to the bottle and shake the bottle thoroughly to mix all ingredients.
  • Spray this wherever there is the presence of ants or places where ants are commonly scened, like near doors, windows, kitchens, etc.

This spray can be used to kill and repel ants. You can use this spray to kill indoor ants as well as ants outside the house.


You can get rid of ants with essential oils. The floral scents of essential oil repel ants naturally. It helps remove ants in your home and also deals with the issue of ants out of your house. Strong scents like vinegar and cayenne pepper also help to keep ants at bay. Next time you see ants, you know how to get rid of them. 

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