|Peppermint Essential Oil is the active ingredient in this homemade Ant-Repellent Aromatherapy Surface Spray. The spray is shown resting against a garden of peppermint.|
I was noticing less ants, but was still finding an ant every few hours. I put on my thinking cap for a natural solution, and one quickly came to me:
It occurred to me that usually after doing dishes and working around my kitchen, I usually use an aromatherapy surface spray on my countertops. It's a simply spray that I make and keep on hand, but I haven't been using over the past couple weeks as I haven't been spending as much time in my kitchen lately. Peppermint essential oil is a natural deterrent to ants, and my homemade surface spray contains peppermint.
Aromatherapy to the rescue. After resuming use of my surface spray, I stopped finding any more ants within the day and they aren't showing up anywhere else in my house.
If you are experiencing a similar dilemma, consider trying the following surface spray recipe. It's certainly not going to combat a serious ant problem, but it should help with minor issues like the one I had.
It's that time of the year where warmer weather and sweeter garden produce like tomatoes, watermelon rinds and corn cobs can attract ants into the home.
Ant Fighting Surface Spray:
- 4 oz. clean spray bottle with a fine mist setting (do not use a bottle that previously contained cleaning products or hair products such as hair spray).
- 15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (Avoid if you have cats)
- 5 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil (to soften the aroma a bit). Lavender Essential Oil can be used in place of the Grapefruit, if desired.
- 1.5 ounces of distilled water and 1.5 ounces of high-proof alcohol (vodka is suitable, isopropyl or rubbing alcohol is not). Alternatively, you may omit the alcohol and increase the amount of distilled water to 3 ounces. The alcohol helps kills germs and disperse the essential oils. Alternatively, you can use an alcohol-based homemade peppermint tincture in place of the alcohol. View AromaWeb's Herbal Tincture Recipe to learn how to make your own.
Fill the spray bottle with the choice of either 1.5 ounces of distilled water and 1.5 ounces of alcohol or 3 ounces of distilled water. (Even though a 4 oz. bottle is suggested, leave about 1 oz. unfilled so you can shake the bottle well between uses.) Then, add the essential oil. Peppermint essential oil is especially strong in aroma. You may want to start by using only 7-10 drops of peppermint at first especially if you live in a household with someone who is sensitive to strong aromas. Shake the bottle prior to each use.
Be sure to first test a small, hidden section of each surface you plan to use this spray on to make sure that the spray does not harm the surface. It's unlikely in these dilutions, but alcohol and essential oils can potentially damage some surfaces.
Mist your kitchen counters lightly. Be especially careful not to allow the mist fall onto food or into open beverages. Spray into your sinks as well to ensure that no tiny food particles attract ants. You can also periodically squirt a few sprays into your garbage pails to help combat ants. For garbage pails, however, I recommend adding a couple drops of peppermint oil every so often and keeping rotting garbage out of your kitchen.