Does Bleach Kill Ants? | All You Need to Know

Ants can be a nuisance, and you need to eliminate them. To lessen the burden, you’d like to find an effective solution. Since bleach eradicates bacteria and other organisms, you can consider this option.

Based on the National Pesticide Information Center, antimicrobials containing bleach and sanitizers are considered pesticides.

Does bleach kill ants? Bleach can kill ants that can be seen on kitchen counter and other surfaces. It works similar to a mixture of vinegar and water. The application needs to be repeated a few times to impede ants from swarming around. However, it’s not the ultimate solution to end the infestation inside your house.

In a Stanford study conducted among the households of Silicon Valley, California, cleansers with bleach are one of the ineffective products that can’t stop ant invasion in a house. The reason behind this is mostly because of the weather. 

As observed in the study, a high chance of infestation usually happens when there’s a drought and after a rainstorm.

Ants get inside the house due to the weather, and they also leave because of the same reason. Can bleach interfere when this happens? Read on to learn more.

What Smell Do Ants Hate?

What Smell Do Ants Hate

Baby Powder

Apart from the texture of the talc, the main ingredient of baby powder, the scent is not appealing to ants.

Herbs and Spices

Just like other bugs, ants hate some smells from nature like cayenne pepper, cinnamon, eucalyptus, garlic, lavender, and peppermint. So you can make a repellent spray from the essential oil of these herbs and spices.

Ten to twenty drops of oil are adequate for a few cups of water. Then, you can spray it on the areas where ants will likely pass or hang out.

If you don’t like this process, you can just soak a cotton ball with the essential oil and place it in an entryway. As for garlic, you can just scatter the cloves in ant-prone sections like doorways and windowsills

Can You Use Bleach to Kill Ants?

Can You Use Bleach to Kill Ants

Bleach can kill ants that are exposed to it. Those that are within the safety of their nest or colony will not be affected. Therefore, it doesn’t give assurance that it can end the infestation. You must be careful when using this substance as it can be hazardous.

Don’t make a mistake by combining bleach with vinegar, which is a substance used to make homemade ant repellent. Be wary of mixing it with other substances as you won’t know that you created the bleach gas that was used in World War 1.

Don’t just apply bleach everywhere as it can discolor painted surfaces and stain or dissolve cloth.

How Long Does It Take for Bleach to Kill Ants?

Based on a study conducted at Purdue University, bleach can kill ants in a matter of 30 minutes.

Does Bleach Get Rid of Ant Trails?

Does Bleach Get Rid of Ant Trails

Deborah Gordon, the author of Ants at Work: How Insect Society Is Organized, said that you can use Windex cleaner to eliminate the ant trail. You may replace the cleaner with bleach as they have similar effects.

Ants follow the trail pheromone, an invisible substance that ants secrete when gathering food. This trail leads to the food source and way back to the nest. When they collected all the food, the trail pheromone vanishes.

Ants will just follow trail pheromones. If you wipe a part of it with bleach, they will no longer detect pheromone. They won’t proceed to the area with bleach. In this way, you can block them from getting into your house as you were able to get rid of the ant trail.

Can Bleach Destroy an Ant Bed in a Yard?

Can Bleach Destroy an Ant Bed in a Yard

As mentioned, bleach can only kill ants that are exposed to it. Therefore, it can’t destroy an ant bed just like other insecticides. When you opt for this solution, you can kill a few, but many will be born soon after you do it.

How Do You Stop an Ant Infestation?

Although you can kill ants with bleach or fast-acting spray, their number multiplies as reproduction continues in their nest. Using substances is not a wise measure in stopping an ant infestation.

You will not only need to integrate proper sanitation and maintenance. In this part, you’ll learn the two effective methods to stop an ant infestation.


Why do baits work on eliminating ants? The food gathered by the workers is shared with the entire colony, so your bait won’t fail to reach all of the ants including the queen. Once the queen dies, the colony shrinks, and development will no longer happen.

You can choose from excellent ant baits like TERRO Liquid Ant BaitRaid Ant Killer Bait, and Hot Shot Insect Killer.

There’s no doubt that it’s effective. However, you need weeks and even months to achieve 80% to 90% results. It’s the best method if you want to control a large area. This is usually set up outdoors and with the following steps:

  1. Use unopened bait.
  1. You have to check the weather forecast as no rain mustn’t make your bait wet for 24 to 48 hours. The application should be done on dry ground or grass.
  1. The ideal time of application is from late afternoon until evening as these are the periods that workers look for food. You can do a trial by putting a bit of bait beside the mound. Wait for 30 minutes if there are ants that will take a bite from it.
  1. Apply the bait with the help of a handheld seed spreader. It’s not necessary to mix the bait with seed or fertilizer.
  1. Typically, bait application is done during the warm season. It’s fine to do it in late summer until early fall since the weather pattern is still predictable, and the ants are still active on their food hunt. In winter, bait proves to be effective indoors.

Mound Treatments

There are two kinds of mound treatments. The first one is incorporating chemicals that are in the form of dust, liquid, and granules. Dust works in no time, but it leaves residue on surfaces. The liquid is absorbed by the mounds and the process takes a few hours, but it doesn’t leave a residue.

Among them, granules prove to be the most fast-acting. Place the granules around the mound, then sprinkle them with one to two gallons of water. To make sure that you do the exact thing, read the instructions on the label.

Going organic requires pouring two or three gallons of boiling water onto the mound. This usually kills 60% of the colony’s population. It gives them a chance to transfer to other locations. But bear in mind that hot water can kill surrounding vegetation and plants.

Related: Poison Ants DIY | Information and Control Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Coffee Grounds Keep Ants Away?

Unfortunately, coffee grounds can’t keep ants away based on the experiments done by Wizzie Brown, a pest management specialist of AgriLife Extension located in Travis County. Coffee grounds have not minimized the activity of the ants within the area where they were placed.

What Does Baby Powder Do to Ants?

Baby powder affects the ants’ sense of touch due to the presence of talc. Also, ants don’t like the fragrance added to it. The same effect can also be given by a year-old powder.

How Do I Get Rid of Ants Overnight?

Dip a rag into the soap and water mixture to get rid of ants overnight. Use the soapy rag on surfaces to erase the trace of their chemical markers. If you can see them around the following day, it means you have to set up bait.

Is Vacuuming Ants a Good Idea?

Vacuuming is a good idea if you have to eliminate a lot of ants. After you vacuum them, remove the bag and close it tightly before throwing it in the trash.

Does Salt Kill Ants?

A study has revealed that ants prefer salty snacks over sweet ones. This happens in inland locations with not much salt around. It’s proven and tested that salt can dehydrate insects but not ants since they have a tough waterproof exoskeleton. Therefore, salt can’t kill ants.

How Do You Kill a Queen Ant?

study shows that a queen ant dies because of the temperature and the action made by the colony. The latter happens when there are a lot of queen ants in the colony. It’s done to inhibit queen pheromone and give way to gyne production instead.

While you wait for this to happen, you can set bait so the workers can deliver it to the queen. Although it may take some time, it will surely kill the queen.

What Does Clorox Do to Ants?

Clorox is a brand of bleach that can kill ants. It’s even used in experiments to prove that bleach can kill ants.


It’s given that bleach kills ants since it’s a cleaning agent. However, it’s not the absolute solution as it can’t get through the nest. It remains cleaner if you want to get rid of ants on your counter or some surfaces. The goal to eliminate ants in your place is through mound treatment and bait.

List of Sources


Integrated Pest Management: Ants

DetergANTS: Are They Effective Against Urban Pest Ants?

Factors Triggering Queen Executions in the Argentine Ant

Pesticide Horrors From the CA Deptartment of Pesticide Regulation