Seeing ants in the kitchen sink is something that no homeowner wants to experience, but it happens all the time. These tiny little insects regularly seek out the area around the sink (or the sink itself) because of all the little water droplets and morsels that inevitably get left there.
So what can you do about it?
This guide will teach you how to get rid of ants in the kitchen sink, and prevent them from coming back. It’s not as hard as it seems!
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Why Do Ants Like Kitchen Sinks?
Ants are cunning little pests that can get into some of the most inconvenient spaces. In their eternal quest for food and water, they’ll invade homes and gravitate to areas that meet their needs.
But the kitchen sink? Believe it or not, sinks are the perfect place for these little insects!
Your sink is, obviously, a prime source of water. When not in use, there’s a good chance that they still have access to droplets around the bottom of the basin. These insects will even crawl into the drain to collect drops of hydration.
However, food remnants are even more appealing to ants than the access to water. Your kitchen sink collects food particles and residue daily! It’s a place to wash fresh foods, clean dishes, and everything in between.
The sink is usually a place where you can get rid of all that, but tiny scraps can stay behind and draw ants in. It doesn’t take much to attract scout ants.
Quick Tip: The scouts can discover food particles in the drain, between blades of the garbage disposal, and in other places you could never find yourself. Once they locate the food, these ants set up a pheromone trail to guide worker ants to your sink. Before you know it, you’ll have a long procession of insects going in and out of your sink!
Beyond food and water sources, ants can also be attracted to the things around your sink. Many ants find their way into the kitchen after picking up the scent of food you left out. In those cases, the sink is just a fortunate find they happen to stumble upon.
Nearby structures can attract ants as well. Wooden cabinets around the sink are often bombarded with water, resulting in some slight rot. If you have a leaky faucet or faulty plumbing, you might be dealing with some severe water rot!
No matter the extent of the water damage, rotting wood is like striking gold for ants. Many species excavate soft wood to establish colonies and build nests.
Whatever the reason ants appear, it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible. Not only are they a nuisance, but ants in the sink can trigger allergies and even carry foodborne pathogens.
How To Get Rid Of Ants In The Kitchen Sink
Ready to get rid of ants in the kitchen sink once and for all? Whether this is your first time spotting ants in the sink or your hundredth, removing these pests is actually easier than you think.
Kitchen sinks usually can’t support ants long-term. As a result, you can take several steps to get rid of existing invaders and prevent future ones from showing up.
1. Set Up Some Ant Bait
Ant traps are a fantastic tool to have in your pest-killing arsenal. And we’re not talking about traditional chemical-based insecticides here.
The go-to for many is to grab the nearest bottle of bug spray and start going to town on the kitchen sink drain. Sure, that can kill bugs pretty quickly, but it comes with a risk.
Quick Tip: Most experts agree that using chemical killers in the sink is a bad idea! Those toxins are extremely hard to filter out. They can end up polluting the water and wreaking havoc on your health.
To err on the side of caution, opt for bait-style traps instead.
Ant traps work by releasing a slow-acting poison. The traps utilize some kind of bait substance that the insects will eat. Once they ingest it, the poison takes anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to kill the ant.
By that point, the scouts have called in reinforcements to bring the supply back to the colony.
The beauty of ant traps is that they can systematically kill the entire colony. From the measly worker ants to the queen herself, the poison can work its way throughout the ant population. While bait traps work slowly, the benefits speak for themselves!
You can find many commercial ant traps on the market today. Premade traps are mess-free, disposable, and super easy to use. They’re pretty affordable, too.
If you want to go the homemade route, you can always use borax as a base. The reason why you should use borax to kill ants is because it wrecks their digestive system and slows metabolism levels. Try a few different handmade bait recipes and set them up around the sink.
2. Keep Your Sink Dry
This might seem impossible, but hear us out! Ants love water, but they don’t have the ability to lap up water from a high-volume source. They primarily drink from stray droplets around the environment.
That’s why it’s no surprise that ants end up in the kitchen sink. Some water inevitably sticks around after you’re done cleaning. Instead of letting those droplets air dry, be proactive to ensure that ants have no reason to visit.
Leave a dry towel near your sink. After using it, give the basin a good wipe. It only takes a few seconds, but it has the potential to reduce your pest problem significantly.
Quick Tip: While you’re at it, take a peek under the sink cabinet and around the faucet. Inspect for leaks and tighten up any loose fittings that could provide a constant source of water for pests.
3. Clean The Kitchen Sink Often
Your kitchen sink might look sparkly clean at face value. But have you considered how filthy the drain is?
Drains and disposal systems are not infallible. Food residue sticks around often. If you want to get rid of ants in your kitchen sink, you need to ensure that the drain is free of all food remnants.
Take some time to clean the drain every few days. Don’t worry, you don’t have to dismantle the entire plumbing system to wash away the gunk.
You can use some household products to dislodge messes that cake onto the sides of the drain pipe. One popular method is to use baking soda and vinegar.
Pour about half a cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow up with the same amount of white vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can dissolve the grime. Best of all, the foaming action makes sure that the vinegar spreads throughout the pipe trap!
Let the foam work for about 10 minutes before pouring some boiling water down the drain. The water will wipe the vinegar away and get rid of any food it missed.
If you have a garbage disposal, vinegar comes in handy as well. Drop several ice cubes into the drain. Then, pour half a cup of white vinegar.
Turn the faucet on slowly to run hot water down the drain as you run the disposal for about 10 seconds. The vinegar works magic as it does in dirty pipes. However, the addition of ice helps to dislodge food remnants that are stuck between the blades.
Quick Tip: Commercial products are also an option for cleaning drains and disposal systems as well. All of these methods will do a great job of making sure you don’t get any ants in your kitchen sink.
4. Dispose Of Trash Regularly
It’s not just the sink that’s attracting ants. As we mentioned earlier, ants in the sink are often drawn into the room by other sources of food and water. The trash can is one of the most common!
Your garbage bin is rife with feeding opportunities. The longer you let the trash sit, the more potent the smell becomes.
Consider emptying the trash more often. Doing so will decrease the chances that these insects make their way into the kitchen at all. As a result, you’ll probably notice fewer and fewer tiny ants around your sink.
5. Store Your Food In Sealed Containers
This tip is in a similar vein as the previous one about trash.
Leaving food out is one of the quickest ways to end up with tiny ants in your kitchen and around the sink. But did you know that even stored food can draw them in? Unless you’re using an airtight container, there’s a good chance that the smell is inviting ants into the area near your sink.
It’s ideal to keep all of your food in sealed containers. Whether that’s an airtight box or a plastic bag, make sure that there’s no air coming in or out!
6. Seal Any Nearby Gaps And Openings
Ants are so small that they can fit just about anywhere. They have a knack for crawling through tiny gaps and voids. Most fly under the radar by using openings around the doorframe or window.
Inspect your kitchen from top to bottom! Pay close attention to known entry points (especially ones near the sink). You might find broken frames or rotted wood. Some cracks appear due to your home settling into the foundation.
Whatever the case may be, address the situation. Most voids are easy enough to fill with some clear sealant. Caulking products can cover those entry points and prevent ants from ever entering your kitchen again.
The Best Ways To Prevent Them From Coming Back
Once you get rid of ants in the kitchen sink, you still have some work to do. Ants can quickly gain access to your sink and drains again if you’re not careful.
The best way to prevent future infestations is to adopt more robust kitchen cleaning habits. Do your part to make your kitchen sink as unappealing to pests as possible.
That means cleaning the drain and disposal system regularly, drying the sink basin, and inspecting leaks. More importantly, you should prevent food smells from drawing pests into the area.
Clean up spills, store food away in airtight containers, and take the garbage out more frequently.
Quick Tip: We also recommend adopting a routine cleaning schedule! Find some time to mop the floors and wipe down all surfaces. Not only does cleaning eliminate all traces of food, but it also gets rid of any scent trails.
Keep those ants on their toes! If they don’t have any reason to enter your kitchen, the days of finding them in your sink are long gone.
Types Of Ants You’ll Usually Find In The Sink
Several ant species can choose to invade your kitchen sink. While you can use our tips to get rid of most ants, knowing what kind of pest you’re dealing with can make all the difference. It helps you cater your extermination techniques to the ant, which might lead to more success.
Here are some of the ant species you’re most likely to find in your sink.
Usually around three to five millimeters long, black ants are pretty widespread. Thanks to their tiny footprint, these pests can invade hard-to-reach spots with ease.
They like to explore sinks because of the valuable food resources. However, this species also nests near rotted wood!
Fire ants are regulars outside. However, they occasionally make their way into homes in search of food. Fire ants are red or orange-colored and only about one or two millimeters long.
They usually feast on animals, insects, and vegetables. Most often, water is the main reason they invade sinks.
Pharaoh ants eat simple proteins and anything sweet. The gunk that’s accumulating in your kitchen drains is perfect for this species!
About two millimeters long and covered in light brown, these pests are easy to spot. Fortunately, they have no problem taking most baits.
Odorous ants are appropriately named for the smell they produce when crushed. About the same size as black ants, odorous ants are usually dark brown.
They feed on sweet products, preferring the honeydew that aphids produce. But when that’s not available, they invade homes to find other sweet treats.
Argentine ants are another common household species. They’re brown and about three millimeters long.
This species has a healthy appetite for pretty much anything they find. From sweets to old meat and insects, they’ll eat it all. As a result, these ants will take bait around your sink without much issue.
Finally, we have the carpenter ants. Larger adults can be as big as 12 millimeters. Pair that with the noise they produce when burrowing, and these ants are not challenging to spot.
This species is known for excavating rotting wood. You can often find them near sink leaks. Carpenter ants eat insects, sweets, and greasy foods.
Getting rid of ants in your kitchen sink area isn’t as challenging as it seems. All it takes is an understanding of what draws them to the sink, and the time to use some tried-and-true removal strategies!
If you have a particularly tricky case of tiny ants around your kitchen sink, send us a message! We’ll always do our best to help our readers.