Why Don’t Ants Like Salt? Don’t be Discouraged by Ants in Your Home!

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Have you heard that ants do not like salt? But why don’t ants like salt? Is there supporting evidence to prove this? Let’s talk more about this in the article.

Ants are fascinating creatures. However, I wouldn’t want ants crawling around my house and kitchen any more than the next person would. When discussing ways to get rid of ants, a common question that I hear is, why don’t ants like salt? Does this often neglected and underestimated condiment hold the power to repel or kill ants?

In this article, I dive deep to understand why ants don’t like salt and what their relationship with it is. Keep reading to understand this simply DIY for the next time you see a line of ants exiting your kitchen window!

Why Don’t Ants Like Salt?

Right off the bat, I can tell you that the question “why don’t ants like salt? ” would be nearly impossible to answer because there is no evidence to suggest the case. In fact, all the available research points to the fact that ants do, in fact, like and need salt in their diets.

why dont ants like salt

Salt actually plays a vital role in keeping them alive by helping their bodies function optimally. Of course, it is true that ants might prefer some other foods depending on what they find to be available. However, it simply isn’t true that ants don’t like salt. Not as a generality anyway.

Are Ants Attracted to Sodium?

Yes, ants are attracted to salt. Because salt is a necessary component for most organisms’ survival, ants are attracted to sodium-containing foods. In fact, salt is vital for an ant’s cell membrane health and functionality.


Therefore, ants have an evolutionary tendency to look for and feast on salt and salty foods. But, whether an ant wants to eat something sweet compared to something salty is not something that I or anybody can predict. Ultimately, it depends on the preference and requirements of the ant.

Is Salt Healthy for Ants?

Like I mentioned, salt is actually vital for an ant’s cell membrane health. Having said that, too much of anything, even for ants, can be extremely harmful. If an ant consumes excessive amounts of salt, it can trigger issues like acute and severe dehydration for it.

One thing research does tell us about an ant’s relationship with salt is that compared to other insects like slugs, leeches, and other insects, ants have been known to be able to withstand higher quantities of salt.

This quality of an ant is typically attributed to its strong exoskeleton that prevents extreme dehydration from its body.

Do Ants like Epsom Salt?

Well, nobody can tell for sure whether or not Epsom salt is something that ants like. However, magnesium chloride (Epsom salt) won’t deter most ant species. Scientists have observed that black ants are not particularly fond of Epsom salt because this compound causes dehydration and irritation for them.

Bath Salt, Spa, Bath, Beauty, Body

Whether or not ants like Epsom salt is not something we know for sure, but they might have some ant repellant advantages.

Can Salt Kill Ants? Don’t be Discouraged by Ants in Your Home

Black Ants Lining Up

Even though salt is, in some quantities, healthy for ants, if used properly, salt can be used to kill ants. Salt has been used as a naturally available pesticide for centuries. Therefore, it certainly has some pesticidal properties.

I have included two home remedies that you can use to kill ants in your house!

Sprinkling Salt Crystals Along Ant Paths

Table salt is applied directly to ants or along their pathways in this approach. These salt crystals irritate ants when they are exposed to large quantities of it. So they will stay away from regions where they are used. To get a wider range of protection, sprinkle salt around your house and right up to the bugs’ front door.

If you can find ant nests, spreading salt crystals around them is a good idea. We must emphasize, however, that this is not a long-term solution. It simply gives a short-term solution. Additional tactics can be used to either kill them or entirely repel them.

Spraying a Salt Solution

To use salt as an effective killing method, you will need to create a salt solution. Salt is added to boiling water, which dissolves it quickly. You’ll have to wait for the water to cool down before proceeding. After that, pour the contents into a spray bottle and go after the pests wherever they are.

While you will see ants typically when they are looking for food, you can spray your salt solution down their path until they’re completely covered in the solution. These ants are now able to breathe through their exoskeletons. As a result, soaking them in your salt solution halts this natural process.

Salt is a good dehydrator, and it kills ants by drying them out or dehydrating them. The fact that salt has a variety of purposes and is found in almost every home makes it a popular choice for ant control.

Can Table Salt Be Used in a Full-Blown Infestation in Your House?

While salt can be helpful in repelling ants, its ability to kill these pests is still quite limited. Therefore, no, you cannot use table salt in a full-blown infestation by colonies of ants.

Salt, Salt Shaker, Table Salt

Salt is simply not powerful enough to be able to kill large numbers of ants, especially if they have infested your house. Hypothetically, you might be able to see mild results, but even for that, you’d have to spray copious amounts of salt solution in the corners of your home.

If you do notice any signs of ant infestation, it is probably time to give a call to your exterminator or pest control professional. In such cases, chemical pest control treatment is best advisable to tackle the infestation properly!

Do Other Types of Salt Kill or Repel Ants?

Aside from table salts, such as Epsom salt, salts can be useful but only as repellants. You are unlikely to find any results in terms of wiping out ants entirely by using salt.

Wood Ant Queens, Ants, Wood Ants

The principle that makes these salts work is similar to how table salts work in repelling or killing ants. They tend to dehydrate an ant, causing extreme irritation, and in some rare cases, in their death.

What Other Kitchen Ingredients Can Be Used to Repel or Kill Ants?

Before you start running out of salt for your food, here are some other ingredients from your kitchen that you can use to repel ants!


Cinnamon can act as a good ant repellant because of how strong it smells. Ants can’t bear strong smells much. Therefore, to make it a potent ant deterrent, you can create a paste using the cinnamon essential oil and actual cloves of cinnamon and then apply that in the corners of your house.

White Vinegar

Like cinnamon, even the pungent odor of white vinegar is too strong for most ants to handle or want to be around. Therefore, even white vinegar might work as an ant repellant to some extent. You can simply spray it in the parts of your house where you have noticed ants moving about!


Now, cornstarch does not work like cinnamon, and white vinegar and salt do. Rather, using cornstarch as bait for ants is an effective way of killing, or at least, getting ants out of your house.

All you need to do to get rid of ants is pour a little dry cornstarch powder over a group of ants and then add water to that pile. By doing so, you will effectively trap the ants. You can then simply vacuum up the ants along with the cornstarch.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper also works well as a repellant for ants. They simply can’t bear the smell and heat that this pepper emits, and therefore, most ants will simply shy away from coming anywhere near it.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.