Does Tea Tree Oil Repel Ants? | How to Repel Ants with Tea Tree Oil

Ants are insects that will always be around, but that doesn’t mean we want them in our homes. There are tons of remedies that get rid of ants. If your goal is to find a less dangerous and natural way, you have lots of options available to you.

One of those options is tea tree oil, which is an essential oil that you can easily find at a health food store and even some grocery stores. Tea tree oil smells good to humans, but ants and other pests simply do not like it, which is why it is so effective.

Repelling vs. Killing Ants with Tea Tree Oil

When you wish to get rid of any type of pests, you have to decide if you want to kill them or simply repel them, but either way they’ll be away from your home. In the case of pests such as rodents or squirrels, it’s understandable why some people might not want to harm them, but let’s face it, that isn’t the case with ants.

The good news about tea tree oil is that it can both kill and repel ants, depending on how you use it, so go ahead and stock up on this amazing oil if you have an ant problem.

For starters, let’s look at the two main ways you can use tea tree oil to get rid of ants in your home:

  1. Fill up a spray bottle with water and add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. Shake the bottle, then spray the mixture anywhere you’ve noticed ants coming into your home. The smell alone will repel them because ants hate tea tree oil, so they’ll usually head in the opposite direction as soon as they smell it.
  2. Soak cotton balls in tea tree oil and place them in any location where you’ve noticed ants. This includes gaps, cracks, and crevices and in fact, anywhere that makes it possible for ants to make themselves at home in your house. They’ll be much less likely to return because they’ll assume that the smell is there to stay.

The reason the cotton ball method works is because ants will often take the cotton ball back to their nests, where it contaminates their food source. After they eat the food, it poisons the ants and kills them.

In fact, this can often kill them immediately, so it’s a good way to get rid of a lot of ants once and for all, because other ants in the nest will often eat that same food and die. In fact, if you choose the spray bottle method, you can go ahead and spray the ant nests that you see to instantly kill tons of ants at a time.

One important tip to remember when using tea tree oil to get rid of ants is this: keep it away from your pets, especially your cats! Tea tree oil is toxic to animals and therefore, you won’t want to get this oil anywhere near any of your pets.

Be especially careful when you choose the cotton ball method because pets can easily get ahold of them and put them in their mouths. This is an important tip for anyone who has furry friends in the home.

Other essential oils to deter ants

Tea tree isn’t that expensive and you shouldn’t have any problems finding it, but if you’re interested in using other types of essential oils, here are a few others that ants hate:

  1. Peppermint
  2. Citrus oil (lemon, orange, etc.)
  3. Patchouli
  4. Cedarwood
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Citronella

Lemongrass doesn’t repel ants, but it does have a high citronella content, which will mask the ant trails to their food sources. This, in turn, reduces the chances of you finding tons of ants in your kitchen.

Just use any of these essential oils in one of the methods described above and you should be successful at getting rid of ants in your home. Plus, your home will have a very nice smell for you to enjoy!

Useful tips to keep ants away from your home

Ants are most attracted to food sources, so it’s important to keep food crumbs off of your kitchen counters and tables than it is to try to get rid of the ants. You can continue to spray and install cotton balls in various places until you notice the ants no longer visit you.

You can start up again should they ever come back. Remember that as long as the scent is there, it’ll repel the ants, so using tea tree oil or other essential oils regularly is not a bad idea.

Also be careful with your pet’s food. If it is there too long without your pet eating it, the ants could be back again trying to get at it. In other words, ants love pet food just as much as they like human food.

If you put out pet food and it’s not gone in a day or two, it should be replaced with fresh pet food to decrease the odds that your ant and other pest friends will want to come back and pay you a visit.


Ants hate the smell of tea tree oil, as well as many additional essential oils, and they will stay away from your home every time they smell it. When you buy your oil, make sure it is 100% pure essential oil and not a blend, which is diluted and therefore won’t be nearly as effective.

You can make up a mixture of essential oils and water and spray the areas affected by the ants, or you can soak cotton balls in the oil and plug up all of the cracks and crevices in your home.

The truth is, either of these methods works great, but keep in mind that the cotton ball method typically kills the ants and doesn’t just repel them. In fact, even if you spray the mixture directly onto the ants’ nests, it is possible to kill them instantly, which is why so many people choose this way of getting rid of their ant problem.