How to Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally

How To Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally

If there’s anything stopping a lawn from being picture-perfect it is ant mounds. Ants play an important role in our ecosystem. They aerate the soil, pollinate seeds, and prey on pests like termites and ticks. But ants can quickly take over sections of your grass, and if you have pets or kids, you’ll want to know how to get rid of ants in grass naturally.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Certified Horticulturist Nicole Forsyth, M.S.

There are natural alternatives to getting rid of ants without posing a risk to pets and children. In fact, you may have some ingredients lying around in your home.

In this article I’ll share some natural solutions for removing ants from your lawn. Let’s get started! is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Soapy Water

Soap and water is a classic, natural method to get rid of ants. There are several recipes to make soapy water. Some recipes call for apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and peppermint oil. You’re more than welcome to explore the benefits of these ingredients. But eco-friendly soap and tap water do the job fine.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Lawn

To create 2% insecticide spray, mix 1 heaping tablespoon of soap to 1 quart of water. After you combine the mixture, funnel the liquid into a spray bottle. Liberally spray the soapy water on any visible ant trails, plants, or around the ant colony. The mixture breaks down ants’ natural resistance to water. As a result, the liquid gets rid of ants. Soapy water also eliminates their chemical trail used to communicate with other ants.

If you want to eliminate ant hills, pour the soapy water inside the ant mound to kill ants.

Use caution, though – too much dish soap kills grass.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a food-grade material which is the ground fossilized skeletons of diatoms, or microscopic algae. It’s sharp enough to kill ants when they walk across it, but won’t harm people (some people actually eat it!).

Besides eliminating ants, plants benefit from DE’s nutrients. Since DE is mineral-based, it contains potassium, magnesium, calcium … all nutrients which will nourish your lawn.

Ant Hill in Lawn

If you’re wondering how to get rid of ants in grass naturally, Diatomaceous Earth is a great, low-cost solution that’s safe for your kids and pets.

Sprinkle food-grade DE on ant trails and around anthills. You can also pour DE inside the ant mound. DE particles penetrate through an ant’s waxy layer and absorb their moisture. It may take a few days, but the DE dehydrates ants. DE can also remove unwanted pests like cockroaches, bedbugs, and fleas.

There are two kinds of DE food-grade and industrial-grade. Food-grade DE is for human consumption so it is safe to use around children and pets. Industrial-grade DE is applied to pool filters and should not be used in place of food-grade DE. This one on Amazon comes with a duster, which makes applying it to anthills fool-proof.

White Vinegar

Mix equal parts white vinegar to water and spray on ant-infested areas. Ants’ bodies cannot withstand the acidity. As a result, the acidic in vinegar gets rid of ants. Another method is to pour the mixture inside the anthill.

Vinegar is a safe alternative to getting rid of ants but it may kill vegetation along the way. The acidity can damage your plant’s topsoil so if you use this method, do so cautiously.

Chili or Cayenne Pepper

To exterminate ants, surround the ant mound with chili or cayenne pepper.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Grass Without Using Insecticides - Natural Ant Removal

Some homeowners mix chili or cayenne pepper with coffee grounds to make the repellent more efficient. But, the coffee ground’s effectiveness in getting rid of ants is yet to be proven. While this is a natural alternative to repelling ants, avoid pets from digesting the pepper.

Chili or Cayenne pepper mixed with water repel ants. The mixture masks ants’ trail and can be poured inside the ant mound.

Cinnamon Oil

This pantry item eliminates ants but excessive amounts of cinnamon can kill plants. To create a natural pest repellent, mix a few drops of cinnamon oil in water. If you don’t have cinnamon oil, ground cinnamon or cloves should do the trick. It may not be as effective as cinnamon oil, but it should do the trick.

Baby Powder

Ants breathe through pores in their exoskeleton called spiracles. The fine particles in baby powder clog ants spiracles. Once clogged by small powder, it deprives ants of oxygen.

Homeowners can get rid of ants in their lawn by sprinkling baby powder where ants are present to eliminate them.

If you do not have baby powder, baking soda can work as well. You can pick up either option the next time you go grocery shopping.


A common pantry item, salt is used to eliminate ants. Since salt is a desiccant, it dehydrates ants’ exoskeleton. As a result, the ants die from dehydration. Homeowners can spray a strong mixture of salt and water on ant trails or poured in ant holes.

Avoid spraying large amounts of your homemade saltwater solution. An excess of salt water can kill vegetation and plants.

Lawn Ants


This method deprives ants of food sources. If you see ant trails leading to your compost pile, trash bins, or organic waste then consider moving them away from your lawn.

If this is not possible, then deter the ants away from these areas with a natural remedy like soapy water or salt. This will strip ants from their food source, eventually killing them.

Now You Know How to Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally

While ants play an important role in your lawn’s ecosystem, they can be a nuisance. Especially if your yard experiences recurring ant mounds or the little pests eat your vegetation.

Now that you know how to get rid of ants in grass naturally, you can rest easy knowing that the ants will be gone without applying a harmful insecticide that could put children, pests, and pollinators at risk.

And if the solutions above have not worked, check out my article about the best lawn ant killers (with tips for safe use and application).


Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

18 thoughts on “How To Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally

  1. Kate Wagner

    Thanks for all the tips! I tried the Dawn soap, baking soda and water solution to my newly seeded lawn after I saw all the ant mounds. I poured directly in and around mound. How much and how often should I use/ do this?

    • Hey, Kate!

      Since you said your lawn is newly seeded I’m assuming it’s still getting water regularly – in that case you may have to do this more frequently to be sure it’s effective day-to-day and doesn’t just wash away. I’d try to do it right after you water your lawn for 3-4 waterings and that should (hopefully) take care of the problem. Good luck!

    • Maria

      How do I get rid of the soil that the ant hills leave – it’s giving me mud patches on nice new lawn (5 months old).

      • Hi, Maria

        Good question – I usually take a leaf rake and just rake that out into the surrounding area to thin it out so that it falls below the grass blades. This prevents unevenness and should solve your mud problem as well. I recommend waiting to do this until after you’ve removed the ants or they’ll just rebuild, and having the anthill intact when you’re treating the lawn is actually good because it allows you to easily treat all of the main entry points. Good luck!

  2. Phyllis McMillan

    Our lawn is infested with anthills no one will help us do you think the baby powder will work we have an acre to treat

    • Sorry to hear that Phyllis!

      I would try applying Diatomaceous earth. It’s natural, will quickly dissolve into the soil after it does its job, and if you buy it in bulk and use a spreader to apply it to your acre it should be effective in knocking down the population quickly. If it rains or if you use sprinklers it may lose effectiveness, so I would suggest a few applications over the course of the week, and apply it on a day that isn’t particularly windy. After a week and at least two applications passes, you can walk the acre and flag any remaining active anthills and spot-treat those. You don’t need a really heavy coating of this for it to be effective, so if you do use a spreader to get it applied evenly across your acre, crank the setting down to the lowest possible one.

      I’m not a pest expert, but that’s what I would do if it was my property. I’ve had great luck with Diatomaceous earth on problem areas in my lawn and garden.

      • Sherry Anaya

        I heard that Diatomaceous isn’t safe if you have. Dog. Can get in there lungs . What do you recommend. I counted 50 ant hills in my front yard tonight it was o my 2 a couple days ago before the rain? It’s crazy.

        • Hi, Sherry! Thanks for the comment and sorry to hear about your ant problem.

          I’ve read that too, but I have a dog and just keep him away from the affected areas for a few days after spreading it. Once it settles onto the ground it seems ok, but I’d certainly think twice about applying it when he was loose on the yard. There are quite a few people who use it as a dietary supplement, so once it’s on the ground if your pup eats a little it’s probably fine.

          I’d try the soapy water solution mentioned above in the article. Spray down the area well, giving a 5-10 foot perimeter around the farthest ant hills, then pour as much as you can into the anthills. If that doesn’t work, I’d try the vinegar next and just recognize that you may get some lawn damage from the application and may have some repair work to do.

          Personally, I’d just keep your pups off the area for a day or two and use Diatomaceous Earth because I’ve found it to be the most effective method, but the other natural options I outlined above should be worth a shot if you’re hesitant to use DE or chemicals.

          Good luck!

          • Krystle DeLeon

            DE can be added to dog food to help with fleas. It is perfectly safe to eat by humans and pups. The only concern is breathing it in. It is so fine and remember what we learned about baby powder that JJ knew for a long time? You dont want fine powders of any kind entering your body or your animals so just keep them indoors until it settles.

        • Some people actually take it as a dietary supplement, Melissa, so I don’t think it will do any harm if your pets eat a little bit of it. It’s an organic product. Some people worry that if pets inhale the DE it could be harmful, but I have a dog and just keep him off that area for a day or so after applying it. If you have a lot of ants it’ll be effective in a day or two and then you can spray it down with your hose and not worry about it any more.

  3. Jennifer

    I was looking for something that would kill weeds up against my neighbor’s house but on my property, and on my unoccupied neighbor’s property (he has grass growing up my house, where ants are accessing the inside of my house and garage). Also, my grass is the kind that can shoot itself three feet through the picket fence and grow in my garden. If I treat the weeds with vinegar and water, killing any ants, snails, slugs, and other weeds as well, will it stay within that part of the soil so I can’t plant there? Also, can I kill just the strands (ropes) of grass shooters by spraying them?

    • Hey, Jennifer!

      If you are dumping a lot of vinegar and allowing it to soak into the soil it can stay there and make it too acidic for your plants for over a month. But as long as you’re applying it to the weed/grass leaves as a contact herbicide and pick up and remove all of those leaves once the plant dies you shouldn’t have a problem. You can always amend the soil with a little lime to balance the pH again after you clear out the weeds if you notice plants in your garden bed struggling post-vinegar. Just be careful not to get vinegar on leaves of plants you want to keep.

      Good luck!

  4. Terri

    I have red ants this year and they are relentless. I have no idea where they are coming from – no visible ant hills. (?) They are on my sidewalk and lawn. I’m afraid my dog will get bitten. On the sidewalk I’ve used white vinegar and hot soapy water but I can’t use that on my lawn without destroying it I just ordered a food grade, pet safe DE but any other suggestions while I wait for it’s delivery would be great. It’s frustrating because I don’t see any hills.

    • Hey, Terri!

      If you can’t locate anthills you could try using the outdoor ant stakes from Terro (here’s the Amazon link – you might be able to find them locally as well).

      It’s not a natural/organic solution, but it would probably work for your use case – ants take it back to their nest and share it and the whole colony will die. If you buy a multi-pack you can spread them around in the area where you’re having ant problems and they’ll find it. If you’re worried about your dog you could cover them with upside down flower pots, propped up slightly on a rock or something (ants will still get in, dog can’t).

      If it were me that’s what I’d try next in combination with the DE.

      Hope this helps – good luck!

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