Does Baking Soda Kill Ants?

Bill Swank
First Published: | Updated: February 27, 2024

Ants are prevalent pests that often cause homeowners a lot of grief. From ruining your picnic to causing a full-scale invasion into your kitchen, these unwelcome guests are persistent and can be quite difficult to get rid of. You’ve likely heard on the rumor mill about using baking soda as a home remedy. But, are these claims accurate? Does baking soda truly exterminate ants?

  • Baking soda is an effective, safe, and non-toxic home remedy to control and kill ants. When consumed, it reacts with an ant’s digestive system, producing excess carbon dioxide that makes the ant’s body burst from inside.
  • It’s most productive to use baking soda as ant bait by combining it with powdered sugar. The sugar acts as an attractant to lure the ants in, while the baking soda kills them.
  • Baking soda needs to be applied in locations of ant activity. Common spots include along the edges of walls, near food storage areas, or near waste disposal units both inside and outdoors. It’s key to monitor and routinely reapply the bait until no signs of an ant infestation remain.
  • Practical recommendations for using baking soda include always keeping it dry and using fresh, fine-grain baking soda. Water can render baking soda ineffective, and a finer grain is easier for the ants to carry, thus more effective.
  • While baking soda can be a successful tool against ant invasions, its effectiveness depends on each situation and a homeowner’s patience and diligence. For larger infestations, professional pest control may be necessary, but for minor problems, baking soda is an economical, low-risk alternative.

Table of Contents

What is the Relationship between Baking Soda and Ants?

To understand if baking soda, a common kitchen ingredient, can kill ants, let’s first delve into ant anatomy and the effects of baking soda on it.

How is baking soda typically used in relation to ants?

Baking soda is a common household ingredient that many homeowners resort to when dealing with an ant infestation. While it’s not the sole substance used, it often plays a significant role in DIY ant control recipes. The most standard practice involves blending baking soda with a sweet attractant, like powdered sugar, to lure ants. The mixture is then scattered around areas frequented by ants, serving as bait that they take back to their nest, inadvertently leading to their colony’s destruction.

Does baking soda kill ants?

Dead ants

Yes, definitely! The effect of baking soda on ants is destructive. It works by reacting with the acid in their digestive system to produce carbon dioxide gas – so much so that their bodies cannot contain. This unusual bloating eventually leads to their demise.

How does baking soda affect ants?

When ants come across the baking soda, they’re tricked into considering it as food. This is especially true if the baking soda is mixed with other attractive substances like sugar. Once ingested, as mentioned earlier, the baking soda reacts violently with their stomach acid, resulting in internal gassing.

What does baking soda do to ants when consumed?

Upon consumption, the baking soda provokes a chemical reaction inside the ants. The reaction leads to the release of carbon dioxide gas, which causes their bodies to burst from the inside.

Does baking soda alone attract ants?

Sadly, no. Baking soda on its own will not draw ants. That’s why most effective DIY baking soda ant killer recipes suggest mixing baking soda with something ants are more attracted to, like powdered sugar. This notably sweet ingredient lures the ants into consuming the deadly baking soda, leading them to an untimely end.

How Can Baking Soda Be Used to Kill Ants?

Now that we’ve answered the question – yes, baking soda can definitely kill ants, let’s delve into how you can use it effectively. Below are some steps and suggestions for using baking soda to wipe out these pesky invaders.

How can you use baking soda to kill ants?

To use baking soda as an ant bait, you need to blend it with an attractant. One of the most common practices is to mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar. You then scatter this mixture in areas where you spot ants most often – like kitchen countertops, near the garbage can, or along the baseboards.

An ant hill

Remember, for this tactic to succeed, you need patience. The ants won’t die on contact. They’re supposed to carry the baking soda-sugar mix back to their nest where more ants ingest it and eventually meet their doom.

How to make a homemade ant killer using baking soda and powdered sugar?

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating your own ant killer bait with baking soda:

  1. Mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar.
  2. Stir the mixture thoroughly to ensure a consistent blend.
  3. Sprinkle this concoction in areas where ants are active.
  4. Wait and watch as ants are lured to the bait, consuming it.

This bait mixture functions on two levels – the sugar draws the ants, and the baking soda kills them.

What are the various ways to apply baking soda for killing ants?

When it comes to using baking soda for ant control, there are several application methods you can choose from, each suited to different situations and preferences. Below is a table outlining the most common methods, including their advantages and disadvantages, to help you decide which approach might work best for you:

Direct ApplicationSprinkle the baking soda-sugar mixture directly in areas where ants are active.Simple, no special tools required.Visible residue, needs regular reapplication.
Bait StationsCreate confined areas using items like straw halves or small containers to hold the mixture.Less messy, easy to monitor usage.Requires setup and maintenance.
Outdoor BatingApply the mixture directly to outdoor ant hills or trails.Targets the source directly.May affect non-target species or plants.

Remember, whichever application method you choose, persistence is key. It takes time for the baking soda to circulate among their population and cause them to die off.

How Can You Effectively Use Baking Soda Against Ants in Different Locations?

While using baking soda to tackle ant invasions can be a handy tool, there are good and bad practices on where and how it can be administered effectively. Here are some tips on how to use baking soda for ant issues in different locations.

Where should the baking soda mixture be placed for maximum effect?

Using baking soda effectively against ants involves strategic placement to maximize its impact on the ant population. Below is a table that provides guidance on how to apply the baking soda mixture in different locations, enhancing its effectiveness in combating these persistent pests.

LocationDescriptionTips for Maximum Effectiveness
KitchenCommon site for ant infestations due to food.Apply near food storage areas, sinks, and doorways; clean spills immediately.
OutdoorsAreas around the home and garden.Identify and treat ant hills and trails; use generously to cover more ground.
Garbage AreasNear bins and waste disposal units.Place bait around edges and on pathways leading to garbage areas.
Entry PointsDoors, windows, and other entryways.Apply along the thresholds and window sills to intercept incoming ants.

How to address ant infestations in the kitchen with baking soda?

The kitchen, being a prime source of food and water, is usually the epicenter of an ant infestation. Here’s how to use baking soda in the kitchen:

  1. Clean up any food spills immediately and thoroughly. Ants are attracted to leftovers.
  2. Apply the baking soda bait in areas where you have seen ants. Popular spots include near the sink, along doorways, or near food storage areas.
  3. Be patient. It may take up to a few days for you to start seeing a reduction in the ant population.

How to get rid of ants with baking soda in outdoor locations?

Getting rid of ants outdoors is as crucial as indoor control. Outdoor colonies can easily migrate indoors in search of food and shelter. Here’s a strategy for outdoor baking soda use:

  1. Identify outdoor ant nests or ant trails.
  2. Sprinkle generously the baking soda-sugar mix around the ant hill, along their trails, or places where you often see ants.
  3. Monitor over the next few days. You should see a reduction in ant activity.

Remember, persistence is key when dealing with ant infestations. It might take a while before you start seeing any tangible results, but don’t give up. Keep applying the bait until all signs of the ants are gone.

What Are the Best Practices When Using Baking Soda as an Ant Killer?

Like any other pest control method, it’s important to follow certain best practices when using baking soda to ensure its effectiveness and safety. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

Why is it important to keep baking soda dry?

Baking soda should be kept dry for it to work effectively against ants. Moisture can make the baking soda clump together, making it difficult for ants to carry it back to their nests. Excess moisture can also cause the baking soda to react prematurely, reducing its potency.

What is the importance of using fresh and fine-grain baking soda?

Fresh, fine-grain baking soda is recommended for effective ant control. Fresh baking soda ensures that the baking soda is at its optimum reactivity, which is pivotal to exterminating ants internally. Fine-grain baking soda is easier for the ants to carry back to their nests, increasing the probability of it reaching and affecting more ants.

How often should the baking soda mixture be reapplied?

You should reapply the baking soda mixture every two to three days, or when you notice it has cleared up and the ants are still present. Remember, it may take up to a week or even longer to completely eliminate all ants, depending on the size and location of the colony. Be patient throughout the process.

Are There Alternative Mixtures or Methods to Use Baking Soda as an Ant Killer?

While the most common combination involves baking soda and powdered sugar, there are alternative ways to upgrade your DIY baking soda ant killer. These methods can amplify the lure and effectiveness.

How to create a DIY baking soda ant trap or bait?

Creating a baking soda ant trap can help contain the bait and the ants in a specific area, making it easier to monitor and clean. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Cut a plastic straw into half.
  2. Fill the straw halves with the mixture of baking soda and powdered sugar.
  3. Place the filled straw halves in ant-ridden areas or along their trails.

The straw acts as a bait station, keeping the mixture contained and less messy. An added advantage is that the ants are more likely to carry the bait back to their colony, further spreading the baking soda among the population.

Does baking powder work similarly to baking soda against ants?

Baking soda (left) | Baking powder (right)

Yes! Baking powder can also kill ants because it contains baking soda. However, it also carries other ingredients that may not be toxic to ants, making it slightly less effective. So, stick with baking soda if you can.

What other home remedies complement the use of baking soda for ant infestations?

Exploring alternative mixtures and methods for using baking soda can enhance its effectiveness as an ant killer. Here’s a table that highlights some inventive combinations and their advantages, providing more options for your DIY pest control arsenal:

MixtureIngredientsHow It WorksEffectiveness
Basic Baking Soda BaitBaking soda, powdered sugarAttracts ants with sugar; baking soda reacts in their digestive system.High
Baking Soda & Vinegar TrapBaking soda, vinegarCreates a fizzy reaction that can be lethal to ants when contacted directly.Moderate to High
Baking Soda & Diatomaceous EarthBaking soda, diatomaceous earthCombines the internal explosive effect of baking soda with the abrasive action of the earth.Very High

What Are the Benefits of Using Baking Soda to Deal With Ants?

Baking soda offers a range of benefits when used to control ants, making it a popular choice for environmentally conscious and safety-oriented households. The table below outlines these benefits, comparing them to the use of more traditional chemical ant killers:

BenefitDescriptionCompared to Chemical Ant Killers
Non-toxicSafe for humans and pets, posing no serious health risks.Safer than many chemical options.
EconomicalInexpensive and commonly available in households.More cost-effective.
Environmental ImpactMinimal, as it does not contaminate soil or groundwater.Less harmful to the environment.
EffectivenessEffective for small to moderate infestations when applied correctly.Slower but safer solution.

Is baking soda a non-toxic way to kill ants?

Yes, a significant benefit of baking soda is that it is non-toxic to humans and pets. This makes it a safe alternative to chemical ant killers, especially for households with young children or pets where safety is a priority.

Does baking soda keep ants away, or is it primarily used to kill them?

Primarily, baking soda is used to kill ants rather than deterring them. Its lethal effect comes into play when ants ingest the baking soda. However, since it disrupts their digestive system causing them to die, it indirectly deters ants over time, making them less likely to return to treated areas.

How can you ensure the effectiveness of your DIY baking soda ant solutions?

Ensuring the effectiveness of your DIY baking soda ant solutions involves several important steps. By focusing on quality, strategic placement, and consistency, you can maximize the impact of your efforts against ant infestations:

  1. Use Fresh, Fine-Ground Baking Soda: Always opt for fresh, fine-ground baking soda to ensure it remains reactive and easy for ants to carry.
  2. Strategic Placement: Apply the baking soda mixture in areas where ants are most active, such as along trails, near food storage, and entry points.
  3. Regular Reapplication: Be patient and persistent; reapply the bait every few days or whenever you notice it has been consumed or disturbed.
  4. Maintain Cleanliness: Keep your home clean and free of food spills, as this will prevent attracting more ants and help the bait be more effective.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor ant activity and adjust the placement of the bait as needed to target new trails or nests.
  6. Combine with Other Methods: For enhanced results, consider combining baking soda with other non-toxic ant control methods like vinegar or diatomaceous earth.

How does baking soda compare to other commercial ant killers?

While baking soda may not act as fast as commercial ant killers, its key benefit is being a safe, non-toxic option. Its availability and low cost also make it an attractive and economical solution for controlling small to moderate ant infestations.

This isn’t to say that commercial ant killers aren’t useful. They often contain stronger ingredients that may bring quicker results but also carry the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. So the choice between them can be based on:

  • Personal preference
  • Severity of infestation
  • Safety considerations

What Are the Limitations of Using Baking Soda for Ant Extermination?

While baking soda is a popular choice for natural ant control, it does come with certain limitations. The table below outlines these limitations to help you understand the potential drawbacks and challenges of using baking soda for ant extermination.

LimitationDescriptionComparison to Other Methods
Slow ActingBaking soda takes time to kill ants, requiring patience and consistent application.Slower than commercial chemical ant killers.
Labor-IntensiveRequires frequent reapplication and monitoring to be effective.More effort compared to automated traps.
Limited EffectivenessMay not completely eradicate large or deeply rooted infestations.Less effective for severe infestations.
Requires Proper PlacementNeeds to be strategically placed to target ant trails and nests.More precise placement required than sprays.
Environmental ConditionsMoisture can render baking soda ineffective, requiring it to be kept dry.Less reliable in humid environments.
Attractant DependencyMust be mixed with an attractant like sugar to be effective, as baking soda alone doesn’t attract ants.Additional steps compared to ready-to-use baits.

How effective is baking soda for killing ants?

The effectiveness of baking soda as an ant killer largely depends on:

  • Its proper application
  • Patience
  • Size of the ant infestation

Baking soda won’t kill ants immediately on contact and requires the ants to carry it back to their colony for it to be truly effective. It may also require repeated applications, which could be labor-intensive.

How does baking soda compare to other natural ant killers?

Compared to other natural ant killers such as diatomaceous earth or borax, baking soda might take longer to show results, although it’s equally safe. Each of these natural methods has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice often comes down to personal preference and what you have on hand.

Does baking soda kill ants instantly?

Baking soda does not kill ants instantly. It needs to be consumed and then reacts with the acid in the ants’ bodies, causing them to die over time. This also means ants can carry the baking soda back to their colony, killing more ants.

Can baking soda completely eradicate an ant infestation?

Baking soda can control and optimize an ant invasion, but it’s less likely to completely eradicate a large or deeply entrenched colony. For severe infestations, professional pest control services might be required.

How can I use baking soda to kill ants effectively?

Effectively using baking soda to kill ants involves several key strategies to maximize its impact. The table below provides detailed steps and considerations to ensure your baking soda ant solution works as efficiently as possible:

StepDescriptionTips for Effectiveness
1. Mix with AttractantCombine baking soda with powdered sugar to attract ants.Use equal parts of baking soda and sugar for best results.
2. Strategic PlacementApply the mixture where ants are most active.Focus on entry points, trails, and areas near food sources.
3. Keep It DryEnsure the mixture remains dry to maintain its effectiveness.Avoid placing it in humid areas or near water sources.
4. Regular ReapplicationReapply the mixture every few days or when it’s consumed.Consistent application increases the chance of success.
5. Monitor ActivityContinuously monitor ant activity and adjust the placement of the mixture as needed.Relocate bait if ants change their routes.
6. Maintain CleanlinessKeep your home clean to avoid attracting more ants.Clean up food spills and store food in sealed containers.
7. Be PatientUnderstand that it may take several days to see noticeable results.Persistence is key; don’t expect immediate results.

By following these steps and tips, you can effectively use baking soda to manage and eliminate ant infestations in your home.

Is Baking Soda a Safe and Effective Solution for Ant Control?

With the numerous DIY solutions and commercial ant killers floating around, you may be wondering, is baking soda one of the best options out there? It significantly depends upon the scale and nature of your ant problem and your personal preferences.

How safe is baking soda as a method to kill ants for humans and pets?

One of the main advantages of using baking soda to control ants is its safety profile. Unlike many commercial ant killers that contain harmful chemicals, baking soda is non-toxic to both humans and pets, making it an excellent choice for households with small children and animals.

What are the potential drawbacks of using baking soda for ants?

One potential drawback is that baking soda is not as instantaneous or potent as commercial ant killers. It can take a significantly longer time to see results, from a few days to a week or more, depending on the size of the colony.

Calling professional pest control is more practical than using baking soda for larger ant infestations

The method also requires regular reapplication which may not be practical for all homeowners. Finally, if the infestation is extensive or deeply rooted, professional pest control services might be a better solution.

What are the safety measures to consider when using baking soda to kill ants?

When using baking soda to kill ants, it is crucial to consider certain safety measures to protect your household and environment. Below are important precautions to ensure the safe and effective use of baking soda as an ant killer.

  • Keep Out of Reach: Ensure that the baking soda mixture is placed out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Avoid Plant Contact: When using baking soda outdoors, avoid sprinkling it on plants as it can alter the soil pH, negatively affecting plant health.
  • Use in Dry Areas: Place the mixture in dry locations to prevent moisture from reducing its effectiveness.
  • Store Properly: Store baking soda in a sealed container away from moisture and contaminants to maintain its potency.
  • Clean Application Sites: Ensure the areas where you apply the mixture are clean to prevent contamination and ensure the bait remains attractive to ants.
  • Avoid Water Sources: Do not place the mixture near water sources to prevent potential contamination.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly check the application sites to ensure the mixture remains effective and hasn’t been disturbed by non-target animals or weather conditions.

How can I use baking soda to kill ants safely?

To use baking soda safely, follow these guidelines:

  1. Keep the mixture out of reach of children and pets.
  2. Do not sprinkle it near water sources to prevent contamination.
  3. Avoid contact with your eyes and rinse immediately if baking soda gets into your eyes.
  4. Remember to not sprinkle an excessive amount near plants to keep your garden safe.

Baking soda can undoubtedly be a safe, economical, and natural solution to curb minor to moderate ant infestations. Yet, for all its benefits, it may not always be the perfect fit for every ant invasion, especially large-scale infestations which may need a professional pest control approach.


Baking soda can be an effective, safe, and natural way to deal with minor to moderate ant invasions. When combined correctly with an ant attractant like powdered sugar, meticulously placed in ant-infested areas, and regularly reapplied, it can successfully control and even exterminate ant populations.

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