Adventures in Wonderlab

Adventures in Wonderlab

Fun science adventures for all ages!

How to Get Rid of Ants Without Using Nasty Chemicals

All the Little Ants are Marching

The weather has warmed up outside, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the teeny-tiny ants are making their way into my kitchen! We don’t necessarily have an “ant problem”, but we do have an occasional ant visit our home.

Ant on the kitchen floor

One little ant on the kitchen floor

We have children and a cat, so I have no interest in spraying poison on our floors. My MIL swears by the Avon product “Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil” as a bug deterrent. She gave me a bottle to try it out for myself, and we all know I love to experiment… So, let’s see what happened!

What is in it?

There are only 7 ingredients, so a quick Google search was all it took for me to find out exactly what is in Skin So Soft Bath Oil.

ISOPROPYL PALMITATE – Isopropyl palmitate is a palm oil-based emollient, derived from coconut oil.
DICAPRYL ADIPATE – Dicapryl adipate has been shown to have insect repellent properties and is therefore useful in insect repellent formulations. (A-ha!) It is also a general purpose emollient.
TOCOPHERYL ACETATE – Tocopheryl acetate is a chemical compound that consists of acetic acid and tocopherol (vitamin E).
DIETHYLHEXYL SODIUM SULFOSUCCINATE – Diethylhexyl sodium sulfosuccinate is a waxy solid, and is used as a food additive, emulsifier, dispersant, and wetting agent.

Overall, this appears to be a safe bet – obviously it is made for people to bathe in, but it is always good to check the ingredients!

The Application

I put the “Skin So Soft Bath Oil” into a spray bottle and added in some water, so it would be easier to apply. I sprayed the baseboards and surrounding floors in the most common ant areas in the kitchen. As an added bonus, the oils in the Skin So Soft gave the baseboards a nice shine. After spraying the areas, I wiped them down with an old towel (oil + wood floors = very slippery!).

Ant spray

Skin So Soft plus water in a reusable spray bottle

Did it Work?

Before we left on a 7-day vacation, we had a few ants appearing here and there in our kitchen. This was a perfect opportunity for me to test out the Skin So Soft Bath Oil as an ant deterrent. As described above, I sprayed and wiped down all of the baseboards and surrounding floor areas in our kitchen.

Baseboards treated with ant spray

Baseboards (and surrounding floor) treated with Skin So Soft ant spray

We left for 7 days, and when we returned, not a single (living) ant! When I wiped the floors with a wet cloth near the baseboards, I did find evidence of some dead ants. A success!

Dead ants

Sorry, little guys!

I will say that Skin So Soft is not necessarily a permanent ant deterrent. Occasionally, we have an ant or two make its way back into our kitchen, and I spray the baseboards again.

But, if you are trying to avoid nasty chemicals in your home, I do think that Skin So Soft Bath Oil is an excellent non-toxic solution for getting rid of ants.

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