How to use peppermint oil to get rid of ants

Written by chyrene pendleton
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How to use peppermint oil to get rid of ants
Repel ants with a solution of peppermint essential oil and water. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Desserts, candy, tea, and even liqueurs may come to mind when you think of peppermint. Mentha piperita, or peppermint, originated in Europe and has a refreshing, strong, menthol taste and smell. People began using peppermint centuries ago, and we continue to use peppermint medicinally, to season food, and for other applications. Peppermint essential oils are distilled from the peppermint leaf, and certain insects cannot stand its odour. Ants will stay away from peppermint oil, but only as long as the scent lasts. Peppermint will not be a permanent solution to deter ants, but it will be an effective short-term solution.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton balls
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • 473ml spray bottle
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Saturate cotton balls with peppermint essential oil, and place them around the house where you see ants.

  2. 2

    Fill a 473ml spray bottle half full with water, and add 2 teaspoons of peppermint essential oil. Shake the bottle well, and spray the solution wherever you see ants enter your house, as well as on windowsills, behind appliances, on baseboards, and in corners. Environmentalist Karen Logan, author of "Clean Planet: Clean Your House for Pennies a Day, the Safe, Nontoxic Way" (1997), suggests you spray these areas several times for several days, so the peppermint odour remains potent.

  3. 3

    Spread a film of peppermint oil directly on the ant trails to repel ants. Trace the ant trail to the entrance area of your house if you can.

Tips and warnings

  • Grow peppermint indoors in pots, and put the houseplants around the house to help keep ants away. Peppermint thrives indoors or outdoors as long as it gets plenty of sunlight and water.
  • Purchase peppermint essential oil at health food stores or online.

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