DIY Guides Does Baking Soda Kill Ants? Yes! And Here is How to Use it

Does Baking Soda Kill Ants? Yes! And Here is How to Use it

Baking soda is often touted as a good, natural insecticide…but does it really kill ants? The short answer is yes! Learn how it works, how to make your own natural ant killer, and how to use it in our guide.

Ask us the question, does baking soda kill ants? And we’ll tell you yes, it does.

Here in this guide, we will run you through everything you need to know about removing these little critters from your life using this natural ant killer.

It is one of the simplest and most effective ways that we know works. And being a kitchen pantry staple, you can get a box of baking soda for under $1.

So, whether you have an infestation in the kitchen, or they are taking over your shed, we’ll show you how to get rid of them once and for all.

What did Pink Panther say when he stepped on an ant? Dead ant, dead ant … dead ant, dead ant, dead ant …

Dad jokes aside, this is precisely what you’ll be singing once you’ve read our simple guide. So, let’s get started!

What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a chemical base compound, which also goes by the name bicarbonate of soda.

It is a naturally occurring salt that comprises of sodium cation and a bicarbonate anion, and its scientific formula is NaHCO3.

Baking Soda is a staple found in most of our kitchen pantries, as it is commonly used in day-to-day baking and other home recipes. It looks like a fine white powder, and it has an alkaline taste to it.

Many people think that it is the same as baking powder, but make no mistake, it is very different, and it won’t be effective in killing ants. To put it into perspective, baking soda is 4x stronger than baking powder.

Baking soda has a few other uses too. Such as making old books smell less musty, being the main component of the ‘black snake’ firework, as well as being used in whitening toothpaste.

Does Baking Soda Kill Ants?

Jar of baking soda, yellow label and a blue spoon full of it

Yes, baking soda does kill ants, and it is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of getting rid of them once and for all. It is a good, safe alternative to chemical based, commercial ant killers.

But, leaving a trail of baking soda on its own is unlikely to be effective. Simply because ants aren’t attracted to it. It’s almost as if they know what you’re up to, and they’ll run right around it, leaving you more frustrated.

With this in mind, you need to trick them. Just mix it with something that ants love, and just like most of us humans, they love sugar.

It has to be powdered sugar, though, or confectioners sugar, because it has a similar consistency to baking soda.

Ants are known to be clever little critters, and they’ll sift through your mix and only eat the sugar if it’s a different size.

Thankfully, powdered sugar is another home staple that you will most likely have to hand already. So mix sugar and baking soda to make an effective bait.

How Does Baking Soda Kill Ants?

Well, let me explain this by taking you back to your school science lessons.

Do you remember when you mixed baking soda (base compound) with vinegar (acid) and created an eruption of bubbles? Well, the bubbles are a chemical reaction, and it is this reaction that releases carbon dioxide.

So, when ants digest the baking soda, it reacts with the acid in their digestive system, and they die.

Some say that it makes them explode, but this dramatic claim doesn’t convince us. What we do know is that it dries out their body and they die – a bit like when you put salt on a slug – and is a similar solution to ants as using diatomaceous as an ant killer.

The ants that you see marching around are called worker ants, and thankfully for you, they are natural scavengers. Their job is to collect food from outside of the colony and bring it back into the nest to feed the others.

So, unknowingly they will collect your baking soda and sugar mixture and march it straight back into the nest to kill all the other ants too.

Hopefully, the queen ant will tuck in too. If she eats it, you will not have another infestation problem from this particular gang as there will be no more baby ants. Hoorah!

How Long Does It Take Baking Soda to Kill Ants?

A gardener applying baking soda mix bait to an ant hill

Once eaten, it can take a few minutes for the solution to hit their stomach. This means that they have a few minutes to get it back to their colony.

That’s why you should, if you can, locate the nest and sprinkle the solution around that too. It massively increases the chance of the ants carrying plenty back to the rest of them rather than dying on the return journey.

So to get rid of ants entirely with baking soda, make sure to locate the nest and surround it closely with your homemade bait.

How Effective is it?

Baking soda and sugar are very effective. As long as you put enough down for them to eat and take back, it should resolve your issue the first time you do it.

If you find that it hasn’t worked, the likelihood is you didn’t put enough mixture down, or that you have a second ant colony somewhere.

Simply do it again, with more of the mixture, and try a few extra potential high-traffic areas.

If you have a colossal nest, try placing a good inch of the mixture into an empty pop can. The abundance of sugar will be enough to attract them, but also keep it from your pooches and little ones. Place the can next to the nest and let it do its thing.

Of course, the more areas you target and the more cans or jar lids you expose them too, the more successful it is going to be. We’ll explain the jar lids thing in a minute.

If you find the baking soda solution really isn’t working (even though it should!), then perhaps it’s time to use something a little stronger in a store-bought ant trap and bait. I know it’s not natural and not idea, but sometimes you’ve got to bring out the big guns. And there are plenty of child and pet safe ant killers too.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda to Kill Ants

There are many reasons why we advocate using baking soda to kill ants. Let’s take a look at the three biggest reasons why:

Cheap products – being able to get baking soda and confectioners sugar from the grocery store for under a dollar each is super cheap. Especially when comparing it to the commercial ant pesticides.

Readily available – suddenly got an ant infestation? Whip it out of your pantry and mix it up. Within minutes you could have a solution to your problem without having to ride out to the nearest hardware store.

Safest method – you don’t have to purchase any harsh chemicals or pesticides and store them around the home or shed. Not only that, but when placing harsh chemicals onto the ground, there is a risk that kids and pets can touch and ingest it, and they are toxic. So this is the safest method used.

Related: Vinegar can be used to repel ants naturally

Is Baking Soda Pet Safe and Kid Safe?

dog and child on grass in summer

Despite your baking soda concoction being able to kill thousands of ants, it is not harmful to children or pets in the quantities that you’ll be making it. It just won’t taste very nice, but thankfully it’s non-toxic.

Just be sure not to leave the cup out, or pile mounds of the mixture onto the nest, because it can cause an upset tummy if several large spoonfuls are consumed.

Unlike commercial pesticides, baking soda is non-irritating, so even if your pet or kids touches it, it will not cause any skin issues.

If you can put baking soda and sugar into cakes, or toothpaste, you can be sure that it is safe to be digested in small amounts.

Is Baking Soda Biologically Friendly?

Baking soda is an eco-friendly compound that is known to be safe for the environment. Much safer than the commercial products made from harsh chemicals.

It is used in various eco-friendly home cleaning products that all make their way into the environment.

It is made from naturally occurring ingredients, mined from salt beds. The only negative angle you could raise about it is the process of mining it, as well as transporting it in trucks to grocery stores near you. This all has an impact on our carbon footprint.

Thankfully, from the main salt bed in Wyoming alone, there is enough of the natural salt to last us over 2,300 years. So don’t worry about salt reserves drying up anytime soon.

How to Use Baking Soda to Kill Ants

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Mix equal parts of baking soda and confectioners sugar in a cup. How much mixture you make is dependent on the scale of your ant infestation. But one cup is more than plenty to spread around for your average ant incomers.
  2. Find where your high-traffic areas are. If it’s through a crack into your kitchen, place the mixture into the crack and around the entrance. If you have ants in your cupboards and you’re not sure where they’re coming from, place the mixture into a shallow container (a jar lid will do) and leave one in each cupboard.
  • If you know where the nest is, sprinkle the mixture on top of it and around it. Again, if you see any entrances to the nest, put a teaspoon’s worth of mix there too.
  • If it has worked and you haven’t seen any ants for a few hours, block the gaps that they have used to get into your home so that they cannot get in again. If it hasn’t worked, just repeat with a more liberal application of the mix.
  • If you have any leftover mixture, put it into a jar and save it for next time. Just be sure to label the jar clearly so you can find it easily when the next colony decides to invade.


There you have it, another reason that baking soda is a miraculous ingredient that helps us around the home in so many ways.

And now you know how effective it can be to kill ants quickly, inexpensively, and effectively. But most important of all, it is safe for the environment and those around you.

Now that you no longer need to research the best product for getting rid of those annoying little critters, you can spend more time perfecting the Pink Panther tune to sing when they are gone!

Have you tried this mixture? Was it a success? We’d love to hear, so let us know in the comments below.

Managing Editor & CEO Jack has been writing as a contractor and for businesses for over 10 years. He owns his own home, and has been doing his own pest control since he bought his first house.

2 thoughts on “Does Baking Soda Kill Ants? Yes! And Here is How to Use it”

  1. Great to know this eco-friendly ant killing treatment. I have problems with fire ants on our window and kitchen area.

  2. Did it!!!! Around and in the crevice of my olive tree where they had their home… now vacated, empty and my mind is at rest.


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