Various vinegar on table

As homeowners, we know that ants can be a nuisance. They march into our homes uninvited and start rummaging through our food, and sometimes even cause damage to our property.

When it comes to getting rid of them, vinegar is a popular home remedy that many people swear by. The question is does vinegar kill ants? Sorry to say but no vinegar is not an effective way to kill ants.

Let’s take a closer look at why it’s not effective and what works to kill ants.

How Vinegar Affects Ants

Most homeowners resort to vinegar to get rid of ants, but how effective is this solution? First thing first, it is important to point out that vinegar can kill ants.

Ants are known for having a strong sense of smell, which they usually use to follow other ants in a straight line or find food. But vinegar overwhelms ants’ sense of smell, which can make it difficult for them to get back to the colony.

Since ants rely on their strong sense of smell for survival, vinegar can cause issues with their ability to find food, therefore reducing their survival chances.

Different Types of Vinegar and their Effectiveness

Of course, not all vinegar is the same. Some are more effective than others depending on the level of acetic acid present. Most vinegar contains between 4 and 6 percent of acetic acid.

Vinegar Concentration Needed to Kill Ants

Basically, any vinegar solution with more than 5 percent acetic acid is efficient enough to repel ants.

White vinegar and apple cider vinegar is strong enough to repel ants, especially when they are mixed with certain essential oils. Of the two, white vinegar is the most efficient since apple cider vinegar does not have the pungent smell of white vinegar.

On the other hand, rice wine vinegar, cider malt vinegar, and distilled white vinegar are less efficient in repelling ants due to their low acidity.

The ideal vinegar concentration needs to repel ants is 5% or more acidity before mixing with water. To kill ants’ vinegar is not very effective and will not work well at all.

Most people use a 50/50 mix to spray on ants or in areas where they have seen ants. This is a 1 to 1 water and vinegar mix.

How to Use Vinegar to Get Rid of Ants

To use vinegar to repel ants, mix vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio, about 16oz each. This solution will be strong enough to repel ants from you’re the area they are in for up to 48 hours.

Just use the solution to clean the surfaces including countertops and floors and any other surface where ants are likely to travel. And if you see ants, simply spray them directly with the solution.

vinegar and spray bottle

Possible Side Effects of Using Vinegar as an Ant Killer

While vinegar is safe for consumption, it is not too kind to the skin. It can be caustic if left on the skin and should not be used to treat open wounds. Moreover, vinegar is not a permanent solution when it comes to ant repellent.

The Effectiveness of Vinegar as an Ant Killer: What Science Says

While there are plenty of anecdotal stories on the effectiveness of vinegar as an ant killer, we need to look at what science says.

Research Studies on the Effectiveness of Vinegar as an Ant Killer

Vinegar can repel ants, bugs, mosquitoes, and other insects. Creating a DIY pest control spray with vinegar is incredibly simple since all you need is vinegar, water, and a spray bottle.

But it is important to point out that vinegar does not directly kill ants and it offers short-term solutions when dealing with an ant infestation. Vinegar will not kill sugar ants, fire ants, ghost ants, carpenter ants, or black ants.

This study at a University was on the effectiveness of vinegar as an ant killer and discovered that vinegar was virtually ineffective when it comes to killing ants.

However, vinegar appeared to be just a nuisance to ants, causing them to stay still or decrease activity and speed.

Moreover, the study also found that vinegar did not entirely stop the ants from crossing over the border made, but it decreased the number of ants that crossed.

Why Vinegar Does Not Work Well as an Ant Killer

Vinegar does not work as an ant killer because it does not have the strong chemical composition needed to kill ants directly.

Vinegar can make them disoriented causing them to not know where their food source is located. This disorientation caused by vinegar can reduce an ant’s survival chances.

Moreover, the ant can die from drowning in vinegar, but then again this is not so special since even water can achieve this.

Factors That Can Influence the Effectiveness of Vinegar

Vinegar is usually used as a contact-dependent insecticide, meaning its effectiveness depends on how much of the solution gets into contact with the ant. You need to directly spray vinegar onto the ant to make it an effective repellent.

Other Natural Remedies that Can Kill Ants

What Works Effectively in Killing Ants Instead of Vinegar?

  • Diatomaceous Earth:
    This solution does not produce a strong smell like vinegar, but it is a more efficient and natural way to kill ants. Diatomaceous earth consists of fossils of single-celled living organisms known as diatoms and while it is harmless to pets and humans, it is deadly to ants. It kills ants by scratching their exoskeletons, thus dehydrating, and killing them.
  • Sticky Traps:
    Sticky traps are a way to kill ants without using chemicals.

When to Use Vinegar on Ants

Vinegar can be an ideal solution when you are looking for the easiest and most affordable way to try and keep ants away from your home. It also should be used if you do not wish to kill the ants but rather, just to scare them away.

Vinegar is also a perfect option when you are dealing with small amounts of ants, instead of a large infestation.

Situations When Vinegar is Not Effective

Vinegar is contact-type repellent, which means you need to aim directly at the ants for it to be effective.

Simply spraying it on surfaces or using it to clean the surfaces without seeing ants may not work in repelling the insects. This is because vinegar is only strong for 4 to 48 years, after which it is not effective.

Moreover, the smell of vinegar tends to fade quickly, which means the ants will start trailing on surfaces you previously cleaned or sprayed with the solution. In a situation when you need a long-term ant solution, vinegar will not be an effective option.

How to Keep Your Home Clean to Prevent Ants

In a bid to prevent ant infestation in your home, here are some tips you can apply:

  • Clean the dishes immediately to eliminate the food source for ants. In addition to washing the dishes immediately after a meal, promptly put away any leftovers and wipe down countertops, tables, and surfaces used for preparing or cooking food.
  • Seal all your food to prevent attracting ants. Whether it is leftover food, ingredients, or any other food in your kitchen, make sure you carefully seal everything to prevent hosting ants inside the food packaging.
  • Regularly take out trash and eliminate the ants’ playground. Particularly in warmer months, taking out trash regularly will help keep ants away from your home.
  • Vacuum and sweep regularly, especially in rooms where you and your family enjoy snacks, foods, and drinks will ensure there aren’t food residues for ants to find.

Ways to Block Off Entry Points for Ants

Ants can get into your home via openings around the foundation, windows, vents, and doors. Sealing these holes and openings with caulking or screen can prevent ants from entering your home.

There are numerous products on the market for blocking off entry points, such as caulk.

How to Get Rid of Ants Permanently

We use baits and chemical sprays to get rid of ants and keep the away all summer long. Check out the ant kit we use to get rid of ants.

Our Pick

Ant Kit


If you need to get rid of ants then this kit will work for you. It comes with 12 bait place stations, bait from Maxforce, Temprid spray, and gel bait single tube.

Make sure you follow the directions and protect yourself when working with chemicals.

  • Ant bait kit has 2 unique baits to kill ants
  • Temprid knocks them down and it is a residual repellent
  • With ant bait, the ants spread it through the ghost ant nest
  • Chemicals are toxic wear rubber gloves


Can Vinegar Harm Pets or Humans?

Vinegar is very safe for pets and humans. But an undiluted solution can cause upsets when ingested by small pets with sensitive stomachs.

How Long Does It Take for Vinegar to Kill Ants?

Vinegar usually doesn’t kill ants directly, but it can disrupt its pheromones, which subsequently make them forget trails to the food source, thus starving them.

Will Vinegar Kill the Queen Ant and the Entire Colony?

Not really, if you spray a solution of vinegar on ants and their colony, you will only repel them for up to 48 hours. But you will not kill them or even repel them permanently with vinegar.

How Do I Know if Vinegar Is Working to Kill Ants?

If you want to know if your vinegar is working, the ants will become delusional and disoriented. This is because vinegar interferes with ants’ pheromones. It does not kill them so based on our expertise we know vinegar does not work.

How Do You Make a Homemade Ant Killer?

Since vinegar does not directly kill ants, you can use other homemade solutions to instantly kill these insects, including diatomaceous earth and or sticky traps.  

What Are Some DIY Ant Traps That Work?

Some of the most effective homemade ant traps are a mixture of powdered sugar with boric acid. This works because the sugar in the solution attracts ants while the boric acid instantly kills them.

Is It Safe to Use Vinegar to Kill Ants in the Kitchen?

Vinegar is safe to use around your kitchen to repel ants. in addition to keeping ants away, vinegar is also a great cleaning agent in the kitchen.

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