Does Baking Soda Kill Ants?

Bill Swank
Last 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?

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.

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?

There’s no right or wrong way to apply baking soda to eliminate ants. However, these guidelines can help maximize its effectiveness:

  1. Direct Application: This is the most common approach.
  • Sprinkle the baking soda-sugar mixture where you’ve sighted ants.
  • The pests are attracted by the sugar, take the fatal bait back to their nest, spreading it among other colony members.
  • Bait Stations: If you want to keep the baking soda confined to a contained area, consider creating simple bait stations.

  • Outdoor Bating: If you’ve noticed ant hills or colonies in your yard, you can apply the mixture directly there.
    • This hands-on approach targets the root of the problem – the outdoor colonies –, helping prevent future infestations.

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?

The baking soda-ant killer mixture should be placed in locations where ants are most active or heavy traffic areas. Common spots include along the edges of walls, around the garbage can, or near food storage areas. Ensuring that the bait is in the right spot increases the likelihood of ants finding and carrying it back to their colony.

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.

Applying these tips and best practices can significantly increase your success in using baking soda to eliminate these persistent pests.

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?

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?

You can complement baking soda with other household items to create a potent ant killer. For example, mixing it with vinegar creates a fizzy reaction that can be deadly to ants. Also, combining it with diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring sedimentary rock that is toxic to many insects, can usher in potent results.

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

Using baking soda to deal with ants comes with several advantages. Let’s delve into some notable benefits of this natural pest control method:

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?

The effectiveness of your baking soda ant solution depends on a few key factors. First is the quality of your baking soda; always use fresh, fine-ground baking soda for maximum effectiveness.

Second, the placement of your ant bait matters. Apply it where ants are most active.

Finally, persistence is crucial. It might take several days before you see noticeable results. Keep applying the bait regularly until there’s no hint of ants left.

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, the severity of infestation, and safety considerations.

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

While baking soda offers a safer, non-toxic way of handling ant invasions, it’s important to understand that it also comes with some limitations:

How effective is baking soda for killing ants?

The effectiveness of baking soda as an ant killer largely depends on its proper application, patience, and the 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?

For effective use of baking soda as an ant killer, always pair baking soda with an attractant like sugar, apply in key areas with high ant traffic, reapply regularly, and be patient. It’s also important to keep your home clean from food spills and clutter, which can attract ants.

Remember, while baking soda can help control ant populations and discourage them from invading your spaces, the key to long-lasting control is prevention. Regular cleaning, sealing entry points, and keeping food items sealed can go a long way in keeping these pests at bay.

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.

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?

Even though baking soda is safe for human and pet health, it’s still essential to ensure that the baking soda mixture is out of reach for children and pets. While not toxic, it can be a choking hazard or cause an upset stomach if ingested in large amounts.

Moreover, while using it outdoors, avoid sprinkling it on plants. Baking soda can alter the PH of the soil, negatively affecting plant health.

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. Still, ant infestations can vary in size and complexity. If you’ve tried these DIY solutions and still having issues, it might be time to call in professional pest control. Remember, effective pest control is not just about extermination, but also about maintaining cleaner, well-sealed living spaces that deter the return of these unwelcome guests. So embark on your ant control mission now, and keep these critters from turning your home into their playground!

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