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Does Salt Kill Ants? (How it works)

Salt does not kill ants, but it does help to repel them and keep them out of your home. 

Ants are attracted to the salt in their environment when it comes to food, but if there’s too much salt and they will be repelled by it. This means that if you put salt outside the entrance of your house, they will be less likely to come inside. 

In this article, we’ll go into detail about how salt affects ants, and how you can use it to keep the little bugs out of your house.

How salt affects ants

Salt does not kill ants, but it does affect them [1].

Salt is a type of alkaline poison that affects the exoskeleton of certain insect pests. Ants have an exoskeleton so they are very susceptible to this kind of poisoning and salt can be used as a treatment to repel these types of insects.

Does Salt kill ants? (Epsom & Table Salt)

Unfortunately, you need a lot of it to actually kill an ant. So much that it isn’t worth the effort. However, a high concentration of salt does cause water loss within the ant’s body which eventually kills it by dehydration. 

The best way to use salt is by creating a barrier around your home. Ants will avoid crossing over this due to its potency. 

rock salt against ants

You should usually reapply after rainfalls if there was any moisture in order for the treatment not to wash away.

Does salt spray kill ants?

Using a salt spray can be a more effective way to get rid of ants. While the use of salt does not always kill most types of ants, it does usually deter them and provide you with some relief from their presence in your home or garden.

Though it varies by species, many kinds of ants will avoid crossing over areas treated with a high concentration (about 50%) of salt; they typically try to walk around these zones instead. 

spray bottle to kill ants

If there is no other route available, the ant colony may abandon any plans for invading this part of your property altogether. 

This method works especially well if you are able to apply large quantities – about two inches deep – but even small amounts can help to repel the insects.

How long does it take to kill ants with salt?

The type of salt does play a role in how quickly the ants die. Some salts have chemicals in them that can be damaging to an ant’s exoskeleton. This means it will dry out the ants and may not take very long for the ant to die at all. 

Other types of salts don’t have these same properties, so they won’t work as well on insects. The more salt you use, combined with its ability to cause harm to their outer shells, does mean that your chances are increased greatly if you use large amounts. 

It could still take up to several days before death occurs due to dehydration though. And it may not even kill the ants at all.

How does salt kill ants?

In order to understand how salt kills ants, it is important to know a little bit about the biology of ants. 

Ants are not like humans in that they do not have lungs and cannot breathe air directly from the atmosphere. Instead, they inhale oxygen through holes in their bodies called spiracles. 

Salt does its damage by attacking these spiracles and causing them to close up so that the ant can no longer breathe properly (this will kill an ant). The salt will also cause some degree of dehydration, which can ultimately cause serious damage.

Does salt get rid of ants (repelling them)

Using salt to kill ants doesn’t always work. Salt’s main role is as a repellent for them, but there are certain types of ants that can be killed by it if high quantities are used. 

Salt on wooden background

In order to repel an ant from your home, you should create a barrier around the entrance points of your house. This will stop different kinds of ants from crossing into your property because they do not like walking or nesting on salty surfaces. 

You can also use salt in smaller amounts inside your home if needed. Just remember to clean it up afterward, especially if you have pets or small children.

Also read: How to get rid of ants in your home and garden

How does salt get rid of ants?


Salt does not kill ants. Salt will repel them, but this does mean they’ll only go away for a little while.

It is important to use large quantities of salt when trying to get rid of an ant infestation and even then it does work slowly. You can also create your own salt repellent by using boiling water mixed with table or rock salt.

Salt Treatment For Ants

There are several ways to go about making a salt treatment against ants. Depending on your problem, you might want to use different ones.

First of all, if you want to prevent ants from entering your home, you should place salt as a barrier at the entrances to your house (or wherever the ants enter – check for cracks or holes). This method requires a lot of salt, enough to make the barrier 1 to 2 inches tall.

Second, if you want to kill ants using salt, you’ll require even more. This method works best if you pour it straight into the ant nest. If you just kill off any foraging/scouting ants, you won’t progress on the overall problem. Depending on the size of the ant colony, you’ll need different amounts of salt.

Salt in a Wooden Spoon

Third, if you’re dealing with a current ant infestation, using salt will only make a mess in your house. For this, we recommend checking out some other options on how to get rid of ants.


No! Salt does not usually work to kill the ant. However, it does seem to be able to repel them and prevent more from coming into your home. 

This is because of their tiny size and sensitivity to water loss as well as a few other factors. 

How long does this take though? It depends on how much time you put into creating a treatment, as well as how much salt you use. 

It’s important to remember that when you repel ants, there’s a chance that they’ll come back after a while. If you want to get rid of ants permanently, you’ll have to use different methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Epsom salt kill ants?

The answer is no, it does not – at least not by itself. Sure, you can sprinkle a bunch of Epsom salt around your home and be lucky enough to kill some ants along the way, but to truly get rid of ant infestations quickly requires something much more than just Epsom Salt alone (although it does have its benefits).

Does table salt kill ants?

Table salt does not kill ants, but it can affect their ability to forage for food, as well as make sure that they won’t enter your house. Salt is an irritant and when consumed by ants, they will seek out other sources of food that don’t include salt as a main ingredient. They’ll also avoid walking over the salt.

Does saltwater kill ants?

Saltwater can kill ants but does not always work. If you pour a huge quantity of saltwater into your problem area and all the little insects drink from it, they will die within hours or days depending on how much salt they drank. However, if only some of them do this then it is unlikely that an entire colony would be killed by drinking salty water. It will be difficult to get them to drink it though.

Does salt kill fire ants?

No, salt won’t kill fire ants, unless used in extreme quantities. Salt is an effective treatment for fire ants if you want to keep them out of your home.

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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