Top 8 Essential Oils for Ants | Kids and Pets Safe

Written by Thomas Matthews

Ant infestations can be a nuisance, but commercial pest control solutions often contain harmful chemicals that can put your family’s health at risk. Fortunately, there are natural ways to deal with ant infestations, such as using plant-based essential oils.

Essential oils are popular natural solutions due to their ant-repellent properties. Cedarwood and patchouli essential oils are among the best organic and non-toxic options for deterring or eradicating ant infestations.

In the following section, we have provided a comprehensive guide on how to use essential oils for ant control. If you are looking for a natural way to deal with your ant infestation, this guide will undoubtedly be of interest to you.

Essential Oils to Repel Ants | Information

If you’re searching for a natural way to repel ants, essential oils could be the solution you need. This eco-friendly and affordable method involves using oils extracted from certain plants, which contain chemicals that release strong scents that repel ants. By disrupting the ants’ pheromone trails and distracting them, essential oils can effectively control ant invasions both indoors and outdoors.

Since ants use pheromones to coordinate and track the location of other ants, the powerful smell of essential oils can be particularly effective at disrupting their trail. Additionally, you can even create a barrier to deter ants from entering your home or yard by using plants that contain essential oils. This natural approach to pest control can help keep your home ant-free without the need for harsh chemicals or expensive treatments.

Can Essential Oils Kill Ants?

Can Essential Oils Kill Ants

Essential oils offer several advantages when it comes to ant control, as they possess potent ant repellent and insecticidal properties that can be more effective than other conventional ant control solutions. For instance, cedarwood oil, citrus oil, clove oil, and patchouli oil are all excellent choices if you want to use essential oils to kill ants.

These oils contain specific chemicals that not only eliminate ants but also prevent future re-infestations. By treating the infested area with these oils, you can eradicate ants while also enjoying the benefits of a natural and eco-friendly approach to pest control. Essential oils are an excellent option for those looking for a safe and effective way to control ants without using harmful chemicals.

Does Peppermint Essential Oil Repel Ants?

Peppermint oil acts as a natural ant repellent. The main active components of peppermint essential oil are menthol, pulegone, menthone, and others. Out of them all, menthol is a primary active compound that contains excellent biocidal properties. It is effective against ants as well as mosquitoes, bugs, mites, and other pests.

Put a peppermint oil-soaked cotton ball near the entry points of ants to keep them away. Or prepare peppermint oil spray and treat the potential nesting sites of ants to control them. You can also create a barrier of peppermint plants around your house for effective ant control.

What Essential Oil Is Good for Ant Bites?

What Essential Oil Is Good for Ant Bites

Essential oils can also help to relieve itching or pain caused by an ant bite. A number of essential oils contain antimicrobial, anti-itching, and anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent infections.

Essential oils that are good for ant bites are mint oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, chamomile oil, basil oil, etc. You can apply essential oil-diluted sprays or ointments to treat the ant bites. This way you will relieve the pain or alleviate itching.

What Essential Oils Are Good for Fire Ant Bites?

Fire ants are aggressive and can attack in groups when they feel threatened. Their bite leaves a painful and burning sensation. After a fire ant bite, you may notice redness or lesion on the affected area. Essential oils that can help with the fire ant bite treatment are lavender oil, chamomile oil, wintergreen oil, basil oil, etc. These oils contain anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, and anti-microbial properties.

Their ointments or diluted sprays can relieve pain, irritation, itching, and redness of the bitten area.  In case you are allergic to the fire ant sting, immediately look for medical advice to avoid any serious health risks.

Are Ants Attracted to Essential Oils?

Essential oils are effective for repelling ants because of the strong odor they release, which interferes with the pheromone trails that ants use for social signaling. However, it is important to note that essential oils do not necessarily attract insects. Instead, they are used to distract ants and keep them away from your home and yard.

While essential oils can repel ants, some oils may attract other pests. For example, lemon oil can repel ants but may attract mealybugs, thrips, and Japanese beetles. Similarly, cinnamon oil can deter ants but may attract thrips and some other bugs. In contrast, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, sage oil, and thyme oil are effective at repelling all types of common pests. It is important to research the effects of essential oils on specific pests before using them for pest control.

List of Essential Oils That Repel Ants

In the following section, we have constructed a list of essential oils that can repel an ant invasion.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Brooklyn Botany Peppermint Essential Oil - Huge 4 Fl Oz - 100% Pure and Natural - Premium Grade with Dropper - for Aromatherapy and Diffuser
  • 100% PURE AND NATURAL PEPPERMINT OIL – Brooklyn Botany...
  • PREMIUM GRADE ESSENTIAL OIL – All of our essential oils are...
  • ESSENTIAL OIL FOR DIFFUSER – Our Peppermint Oil is a versatile...
  • BOTTLED IN THE USA – We at Brooklyn Botany want to serve you...

The essential oil of peppermint contains menthol that acts as an ant repellent. It also relieves pain and itching caused by an ant bite. The strong aroma of the peppermint oil keeps the ants away. For indoor protection against ants, apply peppermint oil at access points that ants. Additionally, place peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls inside cabinets that ants like to visit in search of food or water.

Clove Essential Oil

Handcraft Blends Clove Essential Oil - Huge 4 Fl Oz - 100% Pure and Natural - Premium Grade with Glass Dropper
  • 100% PURE & NATURAL CLOVE LEAF OIL - Handcraft Blends oils are...
  • PREMIUM GRADE & QUALITY – All Handcraft Blends Essential Oils...
  • HIGH QUALITY GLASS BOTTLE AND DROPPER – Our essential oil comes...
  • CLOVE OIL BLENDS WELL WITH – Cedarwood, Cassia, Ginger,...
  • BOTTLED IN THE USA – Our oils are sourced from the best regions...

Clove bud essential oil is a natural ant repellent. It contains the active component Eugenol which not only repels ants but also helps to get rid of them. The clove bud oil is also effective against fleas, wasps, bugs, flies, cockroaches, and other insects. This oil has a powerful smell, you can use a diluted solution of this essential oil to an effective spray for ant control.

Cinnamon Essential Oil

Sale 1
Essentially KateS Premium Cinnamon Oil 4 Fl Oz with Huge Dropper and Sprayer - 100% Pure, Natural & Therapeutic - Cleaning, DIY Soap, Diffuser, Aromatherapy, Garden and Kitchen - Indoor and Outdoor
  • 100% Pure and natural, no dilution, no additions, no...
  • Botanical Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum
  • Plant Part: Leaves
  • Scent: Cinnamon leaf essential oil has a lighter and muskier...
  • Consistency: A brownish yellow to dark liquid with a medium...

The essential oil of cinnamon comprised of an active ingredient called cinnamaldehyde helps to control ants. You can prepare cinnamon oil ant repellent spray or directly apply cinnamon oil at the entry points to keep the ants away.

Patchouli Essential Oil

EVOKE OCCU Patchouli Essential Oil 4 Oz, Pure Patchouli Oil for Diffuser Skin Fragrance DIY Candle Soap Making- 4 FL Oz
  • Patchouli Essential Oil-Pogostemon cablin, Earthy & Grounding
  • 100% Pure patchouli oil, undiluted, no additives, no fillers.
  • The fragrance of Patchouli Essential Oil is rich, earthy and...
  • Amber Glass Bottle with Premium Glass Dropper- Amber glass bottle...
  • For external use only.A skin patch test is recommended prior to...

Patchouli essential oil can be used to eliminate ant infestations in your house or yard. Its strong scent prevents the entry or re-infestation of ants. You can apply patchouli essential oil at the doors, windows, and other access points.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

NaturoBliss 100% Pure Cedarwood Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade Premium Quality (4 fl. oz) with Glass Dropper, Perfect for Aromatherapy
  • 100% PURE & NATURAL CEDARWOOD OIL - NaturoBliss oils are exactly...
  • HIGH QUALITY GLASS BOTTLE AND DROPPER – Our essential oil comes...
  • CEDARWOOD OIL BLENDS WELL WITH - Eucalyptus, Frankincense,...
  • BOTTLED IN USA – NaturoBliss Blends sources their oils from...

Few drops of cedarwood oil can do wonders when it comes to pest control. To prevent the entry of ants in your house apply cedarwood oil-soaked cotton balls at the entry points of your house. You can also diffuse cedarwood essential oil (with help of a diffuser) to treat the infested area.

Citrus Essential Oil

Handcraft Blends Orange Essential Oil - Huge 4 Fl Oz - 100% Pure and Natural - Premium Grade with Glass Dropper
  • 100% PURE & NATURAL ORANGE OIL - Handcraft Blends oils are...
  • PREMIUM GRADE & QUALITY – All Handcraft Blends Essential Oils...
  • HIGH QUALITY GLASS BOTTLE AND DROPPER – Our essential oil comes...
  • ORANGE OIL BLENDS WELL WITH - Cedarwood, Clary Sage,...
  • BOTTLED IN THE USA – Our oils are sourced from the best regions...

Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons contain the active compound d-limonene, which is toxic to ants. The strong smell of citrus oil keeps the ants away. Apply citrus oil on the access points that ants use to prevent them from invading.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Handcraft Blends Tea Tree Essential Oil - Huge 4 Fl Oz - 100% Pure and Natural - Premium Grade with Glass Dropper
  • 100% PURE & NATURAL TEA TREE OIL - Handcraft Blends oils are...
  • PREMIUM GRADE & QUALITY – All Handcraft Blends Essential Oils...
  • HIGH QUALITY GLASS BOTTLE AND DROPPER – Our essential oil comes...
  • TEA TREE OIL BLENDS WELL WITH - Bergamot, Cedarwood, Clove, Clary...
  • BOTTLED IN THE USA – Our oils are sourced from the best regions...

Tea tree essential oil is an eco-friendly and non-toxic way to prevent ants. This oil is effective against ants, fleas, ticks, and several other pests. You can use tea tree oil diffusion or directly apply it at the entry points to create a barrier against common pests such as ants.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Handcraft Blends Lemongrass Essential Oil - Huge 4 Fl Oz - 100% Pure and Natural - Premium Grade with Glass Dropper
  • 100% PURE & NATURAL LEMONGRASS OIL - Handcraft Blends oils are...
  • PREMIUM GRADE & QUALITY – All Handcraft Blends Essential Oils...
  • HIGH QUALITY GLASS BOTTLE AND DROPPER – Our essential oil comes...
  • LEMONGRASS OIL BLENDS WELL WITH - Bergamot, Cedarwood, Clove,...
  • BOTTLED IN THE USA – Our oils are sourced from the best regions...

Lemongrass essential oil has unique ant-repellent properties. It contains a high quantity of citronella, which masks their pheromone trails and keeps them away from your house. Apply lemongrass oil on the kitchen counters, cabinets, and access points of ants to prevent them from coming inside your home.

Essential Oils for Ants Safe for Dogs, Cats, and Pets in General

Although essential oils are natural plant-based products not all of them are safe for cats, dogs, and other pets.

Essential oils that are safe for humans may not be safe for cats and dogs because animals compared to humans usually have heightened and more sensitive smell organs. The scent of essential oils can affect their respiratory tract or even lead to skin reactions or allergies if the pet comes into direct contact with the substance.

Some of the essential oils that are considered to be safe to use near pets are:

  • Chamomile
  • Sage
  • Ginger
  • Cedarwood

Whereas the list of unsafe essential oils includes:

  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Garlic
  • Citrus
  • Lavender
  • Clove bud
  • Tea tree
  • Rosemary
  • Wintergreen
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus

Avoid diffusing essential oils that have a hot, cooling, and spicy scent such as peppermint and cinnamon. Keep the room well-ventilated to ensure the safety of pets while using light essential oils.

Essential Oils for Flying Ants: Which Ones Are the Best?

Flying ants appear during the mating season of ants. Several types of essential oils can be used to treat flying ants, some of them are peppermint oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and citrus oil.

Apply these essential oils at the windows and other access points of ants. They will deter ants from entering your house. You can also use an essential oil diffuser.

How to Get Rid of Ants with Essential Oils | Instructions

Direct application of essential oils or sprays is one of the most effective natural methods to get rid of ant invasions. Essential oils are an inexpensive and non-toxic solution for controlling ant infestations.

To effectively treat ant infestations in your home or yard, it is crucial to monitor the infested area and create a plan for applying essential oils. To eliminate ant infestations and prevent re-infestation, you can use cedarwood oil, clove bud oil, or patchouli oil. These essential oils are highly effective in eradicating ant colonies and providing long-term protection against re-infestation.

In the following section, we have given a step by step guide on how to get rid of ants using essential oils.

Step 1: Inspection of Access Points

The first step in controlling ant infestations is to inspect and identify the access points that ants use to enter your home. This includes monitoring all entry points such as doors, windows, and other openings that may allow ants to enter your house. Follow the ant trails and look for potential nesting sites where ants may be congregating.

Step 2: Application of Essential Oil

Once you have identified the entry points and nesting sites, the next step is to apply ant repellent essential oils. To do this, put a few drops of the essential oil of your choice onto cotton balls and place them in areas such as baseboards, kitchen counters, and potential nesting sites. Be sure to replace the cotton balls and reapply the essential oil several times throughout the day to ensure its effectiveness.

It is important to note that the cotton balls should not be allowed to dry out, as this will reduce their effectiveness in repelling ants. By consistently applying essential oils in this manner, you can effectively control ant infestations and prevent further re-entry into your home.

Essential Oil Ant Spray, Diffusion Mixture and Plant Based Killers

Essential Oil Ant Spray

In addition to using cotton balls, you can also create an insecticide spray using essential oils to effectively get rid of ant infestations. Some of the most effective ant repellent sprays include peppermint spray, citrus oil spray, tea tree spray, cinnamon oil spray, and patchouli oil spray. To make these sprays, mix the ant repellent solution with water in a spray bottle and treat all the entry points, ant trails, and potential nesting sites of ants.

For a diffusion mixture, you can create a blend of 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 2 drops of lavender oil, 1 drop of patchouli oil, and 1 drop of orange oil. Diffuse this mixture of essential oils in the infested room to get rid of ants. If this mixture is too intense, try diffusing tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil around the room to eliminate ant colonies.

If you prefer a ready-made solution, you can also purchase all-natural plant-based ant killer sprays that are safe and effective for eliminating ant infestations. By using essential oils or all-natural ant killer sprays, you can effectively control and prevent ant infestations in a safe and natural way.

Related: Best Natural Ant Sprays | Kids and Pet-Friendly Sprays

Step 3: Prevent Re-infestation

Prevent re-infestation of ants by sealing all the openings and access points of ants. Take care of cleanliness and regularly dispose of trash. Tightly seal all food items that can lure ants in your house.

Apply ant-repellent essential oils at all the entry points of ants or apply ant-repellent plants (peppermint, lavender, thyme, etc) around your house to prevent ant invasions.

Essential Oil Recipes for Ants

Peppermint Essential Oil Spray  

Mix about 20 drops of peppermint essential oil in a quarter cup of water to make peppermint essential oil spray. Put the solution in a spray bottle and treat all access points, trails, and potential nesting sites of ants to prevent ant infestation. To increase the effectiveness of the spray, add about ten drops of tea tree oil or clove bud essential oil to the solution.

Lemongrass Essential Oil Spray

Mix together 15 drops each of lemongrass essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil, half a cup of white vinegar, and half a cup of water to create a DIY lemongrass essential oil spray. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on the infested areas three times a day. Repeat the process for several days to get rid of ants.

Cinnamon Essential Oil Spray

Add 15 drops each of cinnamon bark essential oil and sage essential oil to a solution of water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio to make DIY cinnamon essential oil spray. Mix well and put the solution in a spray bottle. Treat the infested area and reapply the spray three times a day.

Clove Bud Essential Oil Spray

To make a homemade clove bud essential oil spray, add 30 drops each of clove essential oil and peppermint oil to half a cup of water. Mix well and put the solution in a spray bottle to spray all entry points and nesting sites of ants.

Essential Oil Diffuser to Get Rid of Ants

Portable SpaRoom Diffuser for Essential Oil

A portable SpaRoom Diffuser for Essential oil is best for personal use or when you are traveling. The wireless diffuser is operated by batteries or USB. You can add essential oil to the diffuser and repel ants.

Seeker Screen 90600 Patio Egg Diffuser

Skeeter Screen SCENT-181801
  • Comes With One Patio Egg One 4 Oz; Bottle Of Scents Of Nature Oil...
  • Deet-Free/Safe For The Entire Family
  • Effective In Semi-Enclosed Areas Such As Patios, Garages,...
  • No Assembly Required

Seeker Screen Patio Egg Diffuser comes with one 4 oz patio egg, one plant fiber netting, and essential oil. It is ready to use, and works effectively (up to 200 sq ft.) in semi-closed spaces such as greenhouses, garages, workshops, patios, etc.

BAIESHIJI Essential Oil Diffuser

BAIESHIJI Essential Oil Diffuser, Metal Vintage Essential Oil Diffusers 100ML, Aromatherapy Diffuser with Waterless Auto Shut-Off Protection, Cool Mist Humidifier for Bedroom Home, Office
  • Unique Design and Ultrasonic Diffuser : A perfect addition to any...
  • Whisper-Quiet Design with waterless auto shut off system:...
  • ALSO AN ESSENTIAL OIL HUMIDIFIERS: Essential Oil Compatible, you...
  • Made To Serve Your Needs- 3 in 1 essential oil diffuser that...
  • 100 ML Capacity and Customer Support: With such a large capacity,...

BAIESHIJI Essential Oil Diffuser is one of the best essential oil diffusers. The adopted ultrasonic advanced technology of diffuser plus humidifier helps the essential oils to diffuse more effectively. Directly add some drops of essential oil in the water tank to make it work. You can customize the running time according to your desire.

Weljoy Grain Portable Diffuser For Essential Oil

Weljoy Wood Grain Portable Diffuser for Essential Oils – Car or Travel, Mini Size, Quiet, Waterless, Re-Chargeable Battery or USB (Wood Grain)
  • WATERLESS - Convenient operation! No need to add the water,...
  • OPERATED BY RE-CHARGABLE BATTERY OR USB - Runs using an included...
  • QUIET – Operation at the standard Level 1 diffuser runs...
  • DIFFUSER – Diffuses essential oils very effectively. Only a few...
  • QUALITY - Made of high-quality material including medical grade...

Weljoy Grain Portable Diffuser For Essential Oil is the best diffuser to carry during traveling. It is a wireless, quiet, and small rechargeable device. The diffuser does not require water, simply remove the cover and put some drops of essential oil in it. It comes with a 3-speed option, and it is made out of high-quality essential oil-friendly material.

ASAKUKI Essential Oil Diffuser

ASAKUKI 500ml Premium, Essential Oil Diffuser with Remote Control, 5 in 1 Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Fragrant Oil Humidifier Vaporizer, Timer and Auto-Off Safety Switch Brown
  • 5-IN-1 AROMATHERAPY DEVICE: This ultrasonic essential oil...
  • ULTRA-QUIET FAN: With the upgraded ultra-quiet fan, the diffuser...
  • CONVENIENT REMOTE CONTROL: Our diffuser comes with an easy to use...
  • PERFECT FOR DIFFERENT OCCASIONS: The mist and light functions of...
  • BPA FREE MATERIAL: The diffuser is made of finest PP material,...

ASAKUKI Essential Oil Diffuser comes with advanced multifunction ultrasonic technology, it works as a diffuser as well as a humidifier. It features a larger 500 ml water tank and several mist diffuser modes. The safety switch prevents the diffuser from overheating. The diffuser is made of safe, high-grade eco-friendly PP material.

URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser

URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser with Adjustable Mist Mode Waterless Auto Shut-Off and 7 Color LED Lights for Home Office, One Size (Pack of 1), White
  • URPOWER New Version: The URPOWER Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil...
  • Please use 100% pure essential oils with no corrosivity,...
  • Outlet shouldn’t be inserted cord that exceeds the maximum...
  • Features include 7 color changing lamps for your choice,...
  • Content: 100ml, Material: PP Hard plastic, Working time: Up to 6...

URPOWER Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is a 2nd generation or upgraded version of the original URPOWER diffuser. It uses 100% pure essential oil with no corrosive compounds in the diffuser. It features 7 color-changing lamps,100 ml tank, PP hard material and works up to 6 hours. You can customize settings for a continuous or intermittent mode.

InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser

InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser, Upgraded Diffusers for Essential Oils Aromatherapy Diffuser Cool Mist Humidifier with 7 Colors LED Lights 2 Mist Mode Waterless Auto Off for Home Office Room, White
  • Trusted Brand with Quality Assurance: At InnoGear, we don't just...
  • Flexible Misting Modes: 2 mist settings allow you to customize...
  • Compact Yet Incredibly Powerful: Thanks to the innovative...
  • Romantic Ambient Light: Our aroma diffusers come equipped with a...
  • Waterless Auto-off: You can enjoy a restful night's sleep or a...

InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser comes in a compact size, and you can easily place it on the kitchen counter or desk. This is a user-friendly version and contains eight soothing colors that are helpful in meditation.


Essential oils are one of the best natural and non-toxic alternatives for repelling ants. They act as ant repellent as well as a natural insecticide. The plant-derived essential oils release a strong scent that disrupts the ant pheromone trails and helps with creating a barrier against ants and several other pests. 

Essential oils can be used directly, in diffusers, or in form of sprays. The most commonly used ant-repellent essential oils are peppermint oil, lavender oil, citrus oil, tea tree oil, cedarwood oil, clove bud oil, patchouli oil, etc. The ointments of peppermint oil, lavender oil, and basil oil can also be used to treat ant bites.

If you are having a severe ant infestation, it might be better to use some of the more traditional methods for ant control or simply contact a professional ant exterminator.

List of Sources

Brian P. Baker, Jennifer A. Grant, and Raksha Malakar-Kuenen. (2019). Peppermint as an Active Ingredient Eligible for Minimum Risk Pesticide Use. Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Drees, B.M. (2002). Medical problems and treatment considerations for the red imported fire ant. Fire Ant Plan Fact Sheet, 23.

Huang, M.Y., Liao, M.H., Wang, Y.K., Huang, Y.S. and Wen, H.C. (2012). Effect of lavender essential oil on LPS-stimulated inflammation. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 40(04), pp.845-859.

Charousaei, F., Dabirian, A. and Mojab, F. (2011). Using chamomile solution or a 1% topical hydrocortisone ointment in the management of peristomal skin lesions in colostomy patients: results of a controlled clinical study. Ostomy-Wound Management, 57(5), p.28.

Thomas Matthews
Follow me