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Does Cinnamon Kill Ants? (How to Use Cinnamon Against Ants)

Cinnamon oil can kill ants, but powdered cinnamon is more effective at repelling them. The cinnamon creates an unpleasant odor that the ants want to stay away from.

Ants are persistent pests that can be difficult to get rid of. This is because they reproduce quickly, and cinnamon oil only drives ants away temporarily. 

The best way you can use cinnamon to get rid of these pests is with essential cinnamon oil. This is best used diluted as cinnamon oil is quite potent.

In this article, we’ll go more into detail about how cinnamon can be used as a defense against ants.

Will Cinnamon Get Rid of Ants?

Cinnamon is a great way to get rid of ants. Cinnamon oil has been known to be effective against many different types of insects, including ants. A study shows that essential cinnamon oil can both repel and kill (to some extent) ants [1].

Spoon full of powdered cinnamon, with cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon in powder form doesn’t kill the ants that well. But, it does repel them and can keep more from coming back.

It is also a popular remedy as it can be used around pets or children.

When using cinnamon, you should use cinnamon oil extract. It should be diluted at a ratio of 1-20%, depending on the severity of your problem.

Then you can use a spray bottle or mister and apply that solution around your home where ants may enter or gather.

Cinnamon Powder vs. Essential Oils

Cinnamon comes in multiple forms. The best way to use cinnamon as pest control is essential oil extract diluted in water. 

The essential oil is much stronger than the powdered version. This means it has a more potent smell that will get rid of ants faster.

It’s unsure whether the powdered version works against ants. Some claim that it can suffocate the ants as they inhale it.

Do Ants Like Cinnamon?

No, ants don’t like cinnamon because of its strong smell.

Ants rely heavily on their sense of smell, both for foraging and communicating. Very strong smells disturb them, which is why they tend to stay away.

This is one of the factors that make cinnamon great at keeping ants at bay.

Other smells that ants hate are lavender, peppermint, and coffee.

How Does Cinnamon Against Ants Work?

Cinnamon has an organic compound known as cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is what gives cinnamon its smell and taste but also acts as a natural repellent that ants hate. 

cinnamon powder

The cinnamon oil repels the ant colony without killing them, while also being safe for children or pets. Furthermore, cinnamon can help drive away other insects, such as cockroaches, fleas, and moths.

In strong concentrations, cinnamon oil can kill ants, but this is less effective than just using it as a repellent.

Will Cinnamon Kill Ants?

Cinnamon powder likely won’t kill ants, but cinnamon oil will if used in high enough concentrations. It takes cinnamon oil about 90 minutes to kill ants.

While cinnamon oil can kill ants, cinnamon itself typically doesn’t. The cinnamon powder acts as a repellent to keep ants away from an area, rather than killing them.

If you use too much cinnamon in one place and the smell becomes overpowering for the ant colony, they will start looking for another area to set up their home.

Place cinnamon oil on cotton balls and put them in places where ants enter your house. Common places include windowsills or baseboards of rooms near doors that lead outside. You can also mix it with water and spray it around the area.

To kill ants with cinnamon oil, the method is the same except you’d need a higher concentration of the essential oil.

How Long Does It Take for Cinnamon to Kill Ants

It takes about 60-90 minutes to kill ants with cinnamon oil extract. After 30 minutes, cinnamon will start repelling ants. After 90 minutes, all ants exposed to the cinnamon will die.[2]

Why Use Cinnamon Against Ants?

Cinnamon is a good remedy against ants for several reasons:

  • It’s cheap.
  • It’s safe for children and pets.
  • It can be used for repelling and killing ants.


Cinnamon oil is an inexpensive way to rid your home of ants. A single bottle of cinnamon essential oil will last you for years, and won’t set you back a lot of money.

Child Safe (When Diluted)

Cinnamon is a wonderful, natural way to get rid of ants. Not only does it repel them, but cinnamon oil can also kill the little buggers. Though cinnamon isn’t toxic for humans or pets in small amounts, make sure you dilute the cinnamon with at least 90-99% water before applying it to your floors or any surfaces in the house.

Pet Friendly

Cinnamon is a safe and pet-friendly way of controlling ants. It is also a very safe way of controlling ants for children. However, cinnamon oil can be dangerous if ingested by pets or children – so it should not be used on the skin.

How to Use Cinnamon Essential Oil Against Ants

Cinnamon oil can be used in several ways to control ants:

  • One way is by using cinnamon oil on cotton balls, and placing them where you have seen the ants.
  • Another method is to mix cinnamon with water and spray it at along the ants’ path. You should also spray their entry points.

Read our step-by-step guide here.

1. Locate the Source (Where Ants Enter)

The very first step to cinnamon oil against ants is finding out where they are coming in from. People tend to assume that the whole house has ants when it is only one area of their home that is infested with the bugs.

To do this, either follow the ants, when they leave your house or go from entrance to entrance to check for signs of ants.

ant hill

2. Mix Essential Oil With Water

Mix cinnamon oil with water at a ratio of one part cinnamon essential oil to 99 parts water. Dab the mixture on all the areas where you see ants crawling, or dilute it in a spray bottle and spray it around your home. The cinnamon will not kill the ants but can repel them so they do not become pests in your house.

The best place to apply the cinnamon oil is at the ant trails. Ant trails are pathways the ants have marked with pheromones, to let other ants know where to go to find food.

If you can get rid of these ant trails, you’ll have a much higher chance of success.

3. Wipe Down Affected Surfaces and Entry Points

Start by wiping down the affected surfaces and entry points to remove any ants. You can follow this up with cinnamon oil, which will deter them from coming back.

What Else Can You Do?

While cinnamon may help you get rid of ants, there are other natural ways to control the pests. One way is by using borax powder. However, when working with any type of pest-control substance, always follow safety precautions and wear protective gear such as gloves and a mask in order to avoid poisoning or allergic reactions.

Other Natural Remedies

There are many other natural remedies that can help you get rid of ants. One option is to use coffee grounds, which repels the pests.

peppermint closeup in wooden spoon

Another way to kill ants without using chemicals is to put out small bowls filled with peppermint oil.

A lot of people also swear by vinegar as a great remedy against ants.

Or, if you want to kill the ants, boiling water will kill ants instantly. The best way to use this method is by pouring boiled water directly onto the ant colony. This will get rid of the nest, instead of just getting rid of the creatures that have invaded your home.

Use Chemical Solutions

Ants are easily killed by chemical solutions. There are plenty of options to pick from. Just go to your local store and pick up some insecticide.

Call Pest Control

The last way to get rid of ants is to call pest control. They will know what to do and how to fix your problem.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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