Does Bleach Actually Kill Ants? – Tested By A Pest Technician

In my twenty years of pest control experience, I’ve heard all sorts of DIY tips for getting rid of ants. Recently I’ve been hearing quite a bit about using bleach to kill ants, and I thought it was interesting. Bleach is a rather harsh chemical, and most people have bleach around their homes, so maybe it is a good solution. So… I tested it. I found a home with an active ant infestation, and I used a bottle of bleach to see how effective it actually is in killing ants.

Does Bleach Kill Ants?

Yes, bleach can kill ants. I used Clorox bleach and I poured it directly on some ants and it killed the ants within a few minutes. It was actually pretty effective in killing ants on contact. That being said, the biggest downside of using bleach for ants is that it doesn’t kill the entire colony of ants, it only kills the ants it physically touches.

does bleach kill ants

In my testing that was the biggest downside of using bleach for ants. Traditional ant bait stations have the huge benefit of baiting ants to the trap, and then the ants will bring the poison bait to the rest of the colony, effectively killing the entire colony. While bleach just kills the ants it touches.

Does Bleach Repel or Deter Ants?

Bleach may contain properties that can serve as an ant repellant. However, there are similar household products that can be more effective such as Pine Sol or Comet. Bleach will break up any scent trails left by ants.

These scent trails are used by ants and they heavily rely on them as their main route from their colony to a food source. Getting rid of the trails will mean that the ants will be getting lost.

If you notice a trail, you’ll want to soak a cloth with bleach. Wipe across the trail and mop up the remainder of it. This won’t kill an entire ant colony, it will cut off a major trailway that they would have needed to get food. This is similar to using lysol against ants, it can be helpful to eliminate their pheromone trail.

Is Bleach Effective Against Ants?

Yes. Bleach can be effective against ants. Indeed, bleach can kill ants but with one major caveat.

If you are using it to clean up an area, dried bleach will not kill the ants. What you need to do is pour it directly on the ants themselves. When applied, this can work almost instantly.

As this happens, the bleach will come in contact with the ant’s exoskeleton. This will also affect their breathing. Because of the high ph levels, the bleach will also cause an issue with their body’s water balance.

This may kill ants that you physically see, but in my experience it won’t get rid of your greater ant issue, and I don’t really recommend it as a proper ant control solution.

Why Using Bleach For Ants Might Not Be A Good Idea?

While bleach can kill ants and even repel them to an extent, it shouldn’t be used frequently. On top of that, it’s not the best go-to product. There are plenty of reasons to consider other alternatives:

  • It isn’t effective at killing the entire colony, it only kills the ants it physically touches.
  • Bleach can discolor surfaces including hardwood floors, concrete, and countertops
  • Harmful to plants, to the point where bleach can kill them

Are There Better Ways To Get Rid of Ants?

If bleach isn’t something you want to use, there are better ways to get rid of ants. Let’s take a look at the following products (both natural and synthetic):

Natural Products

  • Essential oils: There are a few essential oils that you can use for the purpose of killing or repelling ants. If you need to ward off fire ants, you can use peppermint oil. This is toxic to those pesky ants that will bite humans. You can also use mint oil or clove powder. Any of these will be effective. You can mix these with water in a spray bottle and apply it in areas where ants are hanging out.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This powder is made from silica shells derived from diatoms. They are so sharp that they can cut through the exoskeleton of most insects. You’ll want to sprinkle this on ant paths or areas where there are colonies. This method can take effect within a few days and kill off the entire colony. Similar, borax for ants is very effective as well!
  • Vinegar and Water: Mix one half of vinegar and the other half with water. This will be an effective mixture because of the scent. Ants will hate it. The smell will remain even after it dries. Since bleach will do nothing when it dries, you’ll want something that can be effective even hours after application. Apply the mixture in various areas of your home including your sink, bathroom, cabinets, basement, and the cracks in your walls.

Synthetic Products

  • Ant bait: You can find plenty of ant bait such as abamectin and spinosad. These are insecticides that can be carried back to the ant colony and eventually kill it off. These come in the form of treats that ants will carry back, assuming it’s food for the colony. For long-term control, ant bait will be the perfect solution. These are known as ant stations. Keep in mind that some of them will be more effective than others. Some of them may be larger in size, which means you can use more bait. The more, the merrier. Check out our guide on the best ant traps for any situation!
  • Ant granules: These are similar to ant bait. You can sprinkle these throughout your lawn. Granules will have the same effect as ant bait stations. You can use these in areas on and around ant hills on your property.
  • Ant sprays: Ant sprays can be effective given its ingredients with certain pesticides. Some will work over a period of time while others will kill the ants instantly. Since there are different ant sprays on the market, you’ll want to choose one based on several factors. These can include how effective they are, how much you are willing to spend, and where you intend to use it.

These are the five best alternatives to consider if you intend on killing ants. You may have concerns regarding the health and safety of your household. If that is your top priority, you’ll want to consider the natural products.

Final Thoughts On Ants And Bleach

Bleach can kill ants. However, the unfortunate part is that it can’t be used all the time. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives. You can use one that will be fitting for your personal needs and preferences.

Of course, it’s important to keep safety at the forefront. Getting rid of ants is one thing. But protecting the health and safety of your pets and family is of greater importance.

We hope this guide has been helpful in your efforts to safely control ants on your property. Please let us know if any of the alternative ant killing methods have helped you out.   

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on does bleach kill ants!