Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

Does Dish Soap Kill Ants? – Killing Ants With Dawn Dish Soap?

Dish soap is a widely-used household product that has many applications, such as washing dishes, laundering, and even eliminating pests. Ants are one of the pests that dish soap is claimed to be effective against. Numerous individuals have reported success in using dish soap to eradicate ants, but is there any evidence to support this? In this article, we conducted an experiment to determine if dish soap is indeed capable of killing ants. See our findings below!

While dish soap can be an effective way to kill ants, it is important to note that it may not work in all situations. For example, if you are dealing with a large infestation, you may need to use other methods in addition to dish soap. Additionally, it is important to use the soap properly and in the correct concentration, as using too much can be harmful to plants and other animals. Overall, dish soap can be a useful tool in the fight against ants, but it is important to use it responsibly and in conjunction with other methods as needed.

Does Dish Soap Kill Ants?

Yes, dish soap will kill ants! Typical dish soap such as dawn can and will kill ants if applied directly onto the ants!

When dish soap is mixed with water, it creates a soapy solution that can be deadly to ants. The soap works by breaking down the ant’s exoskeleton, which is primarily made up of a thin layer of oil. When this layer is damaged, the ant dehydrates and dies. Furthermore, the soap creates a slippery surface that can trap ants, making it hard for them to escape.

does dish soap kill ants

It is important to note that dish soap is not a long-term solution for getting rid of ants. While it can be effective in killing ants on contact, it does not address the root cause of the ant infestation. Ants are attracted to sources of food and water, so it is important to eliminate these sources to prevent future infestations. If you are looking for more effective solutions then look at our guides on getting rid of ants:

How Does Dish Soap Kill Ants

Dish soap can break down the ant’s exoskeleton when coating the ant, which is primarily made up of a thin layer of oil. This exoskeleton layer is essential to the ant’s survival, and when it is damaged, the ant dehydrates and dies. The soap also creates a slippery surface that can trap ants, making it hard for them to escape.

ants and dish soap

Along with this, dish soap can suffocate ants by clogging their breathing tubes, called spiracles. The soap bubbles can fill the spiracles, preventing oxygen from reaching the ant’s body and causing it to suffocate.

Furthermore, dish soap can reduce the surface tension of water, which allows ants to submerge into the water. As a result, the soapy water can drown ants as the surfactants in soap work to reduce surface tension.

Overall, dish soap can be a useful tool in controlling ants in and around the home. However, it is important to note that dish soap may not be effective in eliminating an entire ant colony. If the infestation is severe, it may be necessary to seek professional pest control services.

Understanding Ant Infestations

Ants are social insects that live in colonies and are known for their ability to work together to achieve common goals. An ant colony typically consists of a queen, worker ants, and male ants. The queen is responsible for laying eggs, while the worker ants are responsible for foraging, caring for the young, and defending the colony.

ant infestation indoors

Ants can become a nuisance when they invade homes and buildings in search of food and shelter. An ant infestation can occur when a colony sends out worker ants to explore new areas and they discover a source of food or water. The worker ants then leave a trail of pheromones to guide the other ants back to the food source.

Ants can enter homes through small cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and foundations. They can also enter through doors and windows that are not properly sealed. Once inside, ants can build their nest in wall voids, under floors, and in other hidden areas.

Ants are attracted to a wide range of foods, including sweets, meats, and fats. They can also be attracted to water sources, such as leaky pipes and faucets. To prevent ant infestations, it is important to keep food and water sources clean and properly stored, and to seal any cracks or openings in the home that ants can use to enter.

If an ant infestation is suspected, it is important to identify the type of ant and locate the nest. Ants can build their nests in a variety of locations, including in the ground, in trees, and in walls. Once the nest is located, it can be treated with an appropriate insecticide to eliminate the colony.

Overall, understanding the behavior and habits of ants can help homeowners prevent and control ant infestations in their homes.

How To Use Dish Soap For An Ant Infestation

To apply a dish soap solution to kill ants, one should mix 6 ounces of Dawn dish soap with 3 ounces of hot water in a spray bottle. The solution should be mixed well until the soap is completely dissolved in the water. Once the solution is ready, the user can spray it on the ants generously.

Apart from spraying the solution directly on the ants, it can also be poured into an anthill to kill ants and their eggs. The dish soap solution can also repel ants because it weakens their pheromones, making it difficult for them to communicate with each other.

dish soap in spray bottle for ants

When applying the dish soap solution, it is essential to spray it on the areas where ants are most active. This includes cracks, holes, gaps, and entry points where ants are entering the house. The solution should be applied to the soil around plants, but not directly on the plants as it may harm them.

If there are any entry points where ants are entering the house, such as gaps between the window frames or doors, it is recommended to seal them with caulk or other sealants. This will prevent ants from entering the house and reduce the need for repeated application of the dish soap solution.

Overall, the dish soap solution is an effective and cheap way of eliminating ants in the house and yard without leaving harmful residue.

That being said, as mentioned above, if you have a serious ant infestation, you’ll need to focus on treatments that will kill the entire colony rather than just the ants you can see.

Preventive Measures Against Ants

Preventive measures are an effective way to keep ants away from your home. Here are some tips that can help keep ants at bay:

  • Store food properly: Ants are attracted to food, so it is essential to store food in airtight containers. This will help keep ants from smelling the food and coming to your kitchen. Also, make sure to clean up any spills or crumbs immediately.
  • Clean kitchen surfaces: Ants are attracted to food and grease on kitchen surfaces. Therefore, it is essential to clean kitchen surfaces regularly with soap and water. This will help remove any food or grease residue that may be attracting ants.
  • Clean pet food bowls: Ants are attracted to pet food bowls, so it is essential to clean them regularly. Make sure to remove any leftover food and clean the bowls with soap and water.
  • Get rid of garbage properly: Ants are attracted to garbage, so it is essential to get rid of it properly. Make sure to use a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid and take out the garbage regularly.
  • Seal cracks and holes: Ants can enter your home through small cracks and holes. Therefore, it is essential to seal these openings with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Use natural repellents: There are many natural repellents that can help keep ants away. For example, peppermint oil, cinnamon, and vinegar are all natural ant repellents.
  • Keep your yard clean: Ants can build nests in your yard, so it is essential to keep it clean. Remove any dead wood or debris that may be attracting ants.
  • Be aware of the weather: Ants are more likely to come inside your home during hot, dry weather. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the weather and take preventive measures accordingly.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of ants invading your home.

Eco-Friendly and Pet Safe Alternatives

For those who prefer eco-friendly and pet-safe alternatives to chemical insecticides, there are several options available to eliminate ants from your home.

One natural repellent that can be used is essential oils. Peppermint oil, for example, has been shown to be an effective ant repellent due to its strong scent. Simply mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and spray the solution in areas where ants are present. Other essential oils that can be used as ant repellents include tea tree oil, cinnamon oil, and eucalyptus oil.

Another eco-friendly option is diatomaceous earth, a powder made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. When ants come into contact with diatomaceous earth, it damages their exoskeletons and causes them to dehydrate and die.

Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled around the perimeter of your home or in areas where ants are present. Take a look at our guide where we compared diatomaceous earth vs borax treatments for ants.

Home remedies such as vinegar and baking soda can also be effective in eliminating ants. Mixing equal parts water and vinegar and spraying the solution in areas where ants are present can disrupt their scent trails and deter them from returning. Sprinkling baking soda in areas where ants are present can also be effective, as ants are unable to digest it and will eventually die.

It is important to note that while these alternatives are generally considered safe for pets, it is still important to keep them away from areas where they are being used. For example, essential oils should be diluted before use and never applied directly to pet food bowls or areas where pets frequently spend time. Additionally, diatomaceous earth should be kept out of reach of pets, as inhaling the powder can be harmful to their respiratory systems.

Final Thoughts On Using Dish Soap To Kill Ants

In conclusion, dish soap is an effective and affordable way to eliminate ants in your home and yard. It works by breaking down the ant’s exoskeleton, which is primarily made up of a thin layer of oil, causing the ant to dehydrate and die. Additionally, the soap creates a slippery surface that can trap ants, making it difficult for them to escape.

While dish soap can kill ants, it may not be the best solution for long-term ant control. Ants are social creatures that leave pheromone trails to communicate with one another. These trails act as a roadmap for other ants to follow to food sources. Dish soap does not eliminate these trails, so ants may continue to return to the same location.

To prevent ants from returning, it is important to eliminate the source of the problem. This can be done by keeping your home clean and free of food debris, sealing cracks and crevices where ants can enter, and using ant baits or deterrents. Ant baits work by attracting ants with a sweet or protein-based bait that contains a slow-acting poison. The ants carry the poison back to the colony, where it can eliminate the entire colony.

Dish soap can also be used as an ant deterrent. Its scent can keep ants away as long as it is in the soil. However, it may not be as effective as other natural ant repellents, such as vinegar or cinnamon.

In summary, dish soap can be an effective way to eliminate ants, but it may not be the best long-term solution. To prevent ants from returning, it is important to eliminate the source of the problem and use ant baits or deterrents. With the right approach, you can keep your home free of ants and enjoy a pest-free environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much dawn and water do you need to kill ants?

To kill ants with dish soap, you need to mix it with water in a spray bottle. The ratio of dish soap to water depends on the severity of the ant infestation. A common recipe is to mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap with 1 quart of water. However, some sources suggest using a stronger concentration of dish soap, such as 2 tablespoons of dish soap per quart of water, for better results.

It is important to note that using too much dish soap can harm plants and other beneficial insects in your garden. Therefore, it is recommended to test the mixture on a small area first before applying it to the entire area.

Additionally, it is important to use liquid dish soap instead of dishwashing detergent or other cleaning products. Dishwashing detergent may contain bleach or other harmful chemicals that can harm plants or pets.

Overall, using dish soap to kill ants can be an effective and affordable solution for ant infestations. However, it is important to use it properly and in moderation to avoid harming other living organisms in your environment.



David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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