No matter where you may find them, most people hate to find ants near them. With this, they can be numerous, cause damage, and be hard to keep away. Luckily, there’s one great ant repellent that you may already have in you spice cabinet!
Ants have a very strong sense of smell which they use to find food and shelter. You can use cinnamon to overwhelm an ants sense of smell and repel them from desired areas. Place a few drops of cinnamon bark essential oil on cotton balls and place them in areas where you need to keep ants away.
There’s MANY ways to use cinnamon to repel ants – lucky for us! Keep on reading if you want to learn more about the different ways in which you can use cinnamon as an ant repellent.
Why Cinnamon Is An Effective Ant Repellent
As with most pests, cinnamon is a proven effective ant repellent. There are a few main reasons cinnamon is a great repellent, some of which include its irritant qualities, pungent smell as a scent that ants hate.
Cinnamon works as a great repellent because of its irritant qualities. To most animals and insects (including ants), cinnamon is incredibly irritating, especially to sensory organs such as the eyes or nose.
Due to this, cinnamon effectively irritates the ant’s sensory organs and causes them to leave the area.
Additionally, cinnamon has a pungent smell that many people think most animals simply don’t like. More pungent forms of cinnamon often work better against ants, most likely because the scent compounds are stronger.
11 Ways To Use Cinnamon As An Ant Repellent
Before we get into it, just note that there are sooo many variables on using cinnamon as an ant repellent. Just make sure that the scent is pungent and reapplied often and you should be in good shape!
Let’s get to ant repelling.
Cinnamon Sticks Can Repel Ants
Although this is not the cheapest or most effective option, it is important to mention the use of cinnamon sticks for repelling pests such as ants.
For this method, you can simply buy cinnamon sticks, such as these Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks, and place them out in areas where you don’t want ants!
Additionally, if you already have cinnamon sticks, you could also freshly grind them and sprinkle them around the area you want to repel ants from.
Ground Cinnamon Drives Ants Away
As mentioned, ground cinnamon is another great option for a natural ant repellent. Although you can grind your own, most people will simply opt to purchase pre-ground cinnamon straight from the supermarket.
To use this ground cinnamon, you can simply sprinkle it in the areas you want to keep ants away from. This works especially well near places like windows and doors, where ants would come in direct contact with the cinnamon.
If you don’t want cinnamon getting everywhere, you could also try to pour ground cinnamon on a cotton ball, which will be tidier.
Cinnamon Scent Irritates Ants
Although this may not be the most natural option, it can often be one of the most effective. For this, you can purchase an artificial cinnamon scent, similar to the ones used in soap and bath products.
One great example is gel beads, such as these Smells Begone Odor Eliminator Gel Beads. To use this, you can spread the beads around your problem areas, or simply leave the open jar lying around.
Although this may be effective, many people rarely choose this option, as it isn’t natural. Artificial cinnamon scent can be very overpowering, or even stain areas depending on what type you use.
Cinnamon cleaners send ants running
One option you may not have thought of already is the use of cinnamon cleaning products. There are currently many widely accessible products, such as this Rid’s Odor Cinnamon Cleaner, or this Five Guards Oil Blend.
Many of these cleaners come in concentrate forms, which is a great bonus because they are often cheaper, and you can make them in whatever specific concentrations you want.
Since a lot of cleaners also use artificial scents, most people find similar issues around their strength and cleanliness when using them as a repellent.
Cinnamon Essential Oils Make Ants Scram
Probably one of the most common forms of cinnamon repellent, many people opt for using cinnamon essential oil as an ant repellent.
One of the major benefits of essential oil is it is a natural form of repellent that comes in a very concentrated form, so it is usually very effective.
One great cinnamon oil option is this Sun Essential Cinnamon Bark Oil – which dervies its cinnamon scent from cinnamon BARK instead of cinnamon LEAF.
Why is this important? Well, cinnamon bark oil is more pungent that cinnamon leaf oil!
To use cinnamon bark oil to repel ants can put a few drops on a cotton ball and leave it where you want to keep the ants from. Since the oil is concentrated, you should probably refrain from putting it directly on the place you want to repel them from.
Oils like this have been known to damage and degrade materials such as wood and plastic.
You can also try to use cinnamon oil in a diffuser near the affected area, however this most likely won’t have the same effect as using it in its pure and unaltered form.
Store-Bought Cinnamon Ant Repellent Sprays
If you don’t want to experiment with using raw products such as sticks or oil, you can also look into buying a pre-made ant repellent spray. Most store-bought sprays have strong-smelling ingredients like citronella and cinnamon, making them fairly effective.
Using something like Grandpa Gus’s Spider And Ant Spray can also be nice because they are effectively diluted/safer, and they are less likely to create damage to you or your home.
Homemade Cinnamon Repellent Sprays
If you want to use a more natural alternative, homemade sprays may be the best option for you. In many cases, you can simply buy a concentration cinnamon spray formula. However, you may want to make your own from oil or powder.
Here is a quick and easy recipe for homemade cinnamon ant repellent:
- Mix a splash of vinegar into a spray bottle of water
- Mix in 5-20 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil
- Add a bit of black ground or cayenne pepper to spice it up!
- Spray frequently in areas you wish to repel ants
Creating your homemade sprays allows you to control the strength of your spray and know exactly what you are using in your home.
If you’d like to just use vinegar outright, take a look at our article on how to use vinegar to repel ants!
Cinnamon Tea Bags Cleanly Repel Ants
This is probably one of the most accessible options, as you may have some laying in your cabinet as we speak. In general, the amount of cinnamon put into many teas (such as sweet and spice tea or Christmas tea) is enough to repel ants from the area.
To use, you can cut and spread the contents of the bags around your house, or you can simply leave whole bags around.
If this solution does not work, you might add more bags or use a stronger source of cinnamon, such as powder or essential oil.
Cinnamon Sachets Deter Ants
Cinnamon sachets are another great option, especially if you like the smell of cinnamon and want something more permanent you can keep in your home.
Many options such as this Feel Fragrance Scented Sachet pack a punch of scent, while still being palatable to our noses. In addition, most of them are fairly clean and tidy, and rarely leave residue or droppings where they are placed.
Many people choose this option not only because of its permanence and cleanliness but also because a lot of times you can find sachets with multiple scents, such as cedar and cinnamon!
In mixing these multiple scents, you can have more repellent power helping you against the ants! Just make sure to check how strong the scent is every few days or so.
Mixing Cinnamon With Other Scents
As mentioned, some store-bought options give you the choice to have cinnamon mixed with other scents, such as cedarwood or peppermint. Multiple powerful scents like these can have a stronger repelling effect against pests, such as ants.
With this, look for products with multiple repelling scents in mind. Some other scents that work to repel ants in tandem with cinnamon include:
This effect of multiple scents isn’t strictly for store-bought repellents, however, as you can easily mix in multiple scents in your homemade solutions as well. To do this, you can simply add equal parts essential oil of whatever scents you choose!
If you’d like to learn more, take a look at our full list of the scents that ants hate here!
Mixing Multiple Cinnamon Repellents
Similar to the idea of mixing multiple scents to repel ants, mixing multiple forms of repellent can also work to strengthen the effect.
Usually, this works best if you use different types of repellent.
For example, using a scented oil in tandem with sachets or powder would most likely have the strongest repellent effect, as the cinnamon scent/sensory effect is occurring in multiple different chemical pathways.
How Are Ants Getting Into Your House?
Although this article is purely meant to display the many ways you can use cinnamon as an ant repellent, it is also important to know how ants are getting where you don’t want them to be. In knowing this information, you can effectively repel them and prevent them from coming back in the future.
Piles And Debris Lure Ants In
Ants are usually strongly attracted to piles of debris and clutter. In these piles, they can normally find lots of food and shelter to form new colonies.
If you remove most of the piles near your house (especially in dirtier areas such as garages or sheds), you can effectively prevent ants from easily getting in and making shelter.
To help you with cleaning up dust and clutter, consider getting something like this Minibrush and Dustpan Set.
If you don’t really have debris, then there’s a few other reasons why ants could be in your rooms.
Windows And Doors Are Entrances For Ants Too
Lots of ants and other pests can come into your house through windows or doors. In most cases, there just needs to be a small crack or unsealed edge for ants to make their way through.
With these entrances, most people recommend using something like Gorilla Silicone Sealant Caulk to fill in the gaps and prevent them from getting in!
Although it may sound odd, many ants can often make their way into your house when you accidentally bring them with you. Often when we bring in our shoes from the outside, or when kids bring in outside toys, ants can hitch a ride.
Usually, if one or two small ants find their way into your home, there is no issue. However, if you track many of them, in some instances, they may start a colony inside your house.
To combat this issue, you may want to clean things you are bringing into your home thoroughly, or even refrain from bringing in outside gear in general.
Learn more about how ants can actually ruin your lawn here!
Using Other Repellents Against Ants
In the worst-case scenario, you may find most of these cinnamon repellents simply aren’t working against your ant problem. This most likely means you aren’t using enough, or the ants you are dealing with simply don’t mind a little cinnamon!
In the end, ants can pose many problems to people such as yourself. They can cause home damage, promote the growth of bad bacteria/mold, and even attract other pests into your home. Don’t worry though, as many scents can repel ants, like cinnamon.
Some common forms of cinnamon ant repellent include cinnamon sachets, oil, sprays, and much more. Although these all use the same scent as a repellent, their different forms give different benefits to repellent insects.
In general, cinnamon can be somewhat irritating, so it is important to use it in moderation, and to be careful when applying/using your cinnamon repellents! In the end, if you simply can’t seem to get rid of your ant issue, find a pest professional.
Carpenter ants. (n.d.). UMN Extension. https://extension.umn.edu/insects-infest-homes/carpenter-ants
Currie, C. R., Scott, J. A., Summerbell, R. C., & Malloch, D. (1999). Fungus-growing ants use antibiotic-producing bacteria to control garden parasites. Nature, 398(6729), 701-704.
Kasim, N. N., Ismail, S. N. A. S., Masdar, N. D., Hamid, F. A., & Nawawi, W. I. (2014). Extraction and potential of cinnamon essential oil towards repellency and insecticidal activity. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 4(7), 2250-3153.
Abd Mutalib, N., Azis, T. M. F., Mohamad, S., Azizan, N. I., Sidek, H. J., Roziana, M. H., & Razali, Z. (2006). The repellent and lethal effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum), chili pepper (Capsicum annuum), and cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) extract towards the odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile).
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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