Does Cinnamon Repel Ants?

It’s thought that cinnamon may repel ants from a given location for a few days, but it doesn’t kill them. Ants do not like the strong scent of cinnamon as it disrupts the pheromone trails that they use to navigate and communicate.

Does Cinnamon Repel Ants
Image: Cinnamon is often left around the house as a fragrance

Cinnamon contains the compound cinnamaldehyde which is responsible for giving cinnamon its characteristic smell and flavor. This component is sometimes used as a natural pesticide (not just for ants).

Disclaimer: FaunaFacts does not encourage or condone the use of unregulated or home remedy animal repellents. Animal repellents must be used in accordance with the product labels and local regulations. Placing pesticides and chemicals around your property may be dangerous and can contravene local laws. Do not approach wild animals. Consult a pest control professional for advice on what’s best for your situation.

So let’s take a deeper look at this topic…

Why Do Ants Not Like Cinnamon?

Ants do not like cinnamon as it seriously damages their ability to signal and communicate with each other.

Ants have an extremely strong sense of smell which they use to find food and navigate, and this gets overwhelmed by strong-smelling substances like cinnamon.

However, this superior ability can act as a double-edged sword for them. Their strong sense of smell will be affected when they come near or in contact with items that have got a strong aroma. Cinnamon is a spice that is long known for its strong aroma and is often used for cooking for its strong flavor.

The degree of effectiveness of using cinnamon varies from one ant species to another however for most of the household ants, they impart a pretty satisfactory effect and do an excellent job of keeping them away. 

For the ants, it is extremely important to constantly communicate with one another as they heavily depend on each other for carrying out every task of the colony.

The majority of the ants you see swarming around your house or the garden are worker ants that are moving around in search of food.

The use of cinnamon may discourage them from moving around in regions that the cinnamon has been applied.

How To Use Cinnamon To Repel Ants

You can try using cinnamon essential oil to repel ants by spraying it in the affected areas.

Add about 20 to 25 drops of cinnamon essential oil into a spray bottle half-filled with water and you are good to go. Shake it up before you use it. You can also add other kinds of essential oils just to spice it up. Those can include peppermint oil or lavender, which may also be effective in repelling ants.

You can also use the cinnamon powder and sprinkle it out around the edges and cracks of your house. Both methods are found to work the same. 

The strong scent of the cinnamon will prevent the ants from moving around freely in your household. They will avoid moving around anywhere near those places as long as the scent of the cinnamon will last. 

Related Article: How to Get Rid of Ants in Toilet and Bathroom

Where To Apply Cinnamon to Deter Ants

If you use cinnamon oil, spray it in locations that are more susceptible to ant infestations. 

  • Cracks in the walls 
  • Around plumbing pipes
  • Damp areas around the sink, washing machine and dishwasher
  • Around window and door frames
  • In and around kitchen cabinets
  • Anywhere garbage and laundry are stored
  • Damp areas where water drains away

You can also dip cotton balls into cinnamon oil and keep them all around your house. You can also simply use them to rub the places where you see the ants moving around regularly.

If you want to use cinnamon power then you need to use it to set up a border instead of just randomly sprinkling it around. Use it to mark up the places where you commonly find loads of ants lurking around.

You might want to directly add cinnamon powder onto their anthill or in the areas of the garden where they are commonly found, particularly at their entry points in the house.

Tips for Using Cinnamon To Repel Ants

1. Cover All Entrances

Make sure you distribute the cinnamon effectively all-around your house particularly in the entry points. Otherwise, they will simply bypass those regions and enter the house through other openings.

2. Set Up a Routine

The effectiveness of this ant repulsion process will last for only a few days at a time. This is the biggest drawback of all kinds of natural remedies that are used against ants. You need to set up a weekly routine of doing this.

After that, if you are lucky you will find that the ants have changed their target and moved to a different region at least for the time being. At other times they will simply come back as the effect of the scent diminishes.

Hence you need to go through with this process of splashing cinnamon all across your house and garden after every few days.

3. Remove Pull Factors

Ants are attracted to moisture and food. Fix any leaks, don’t leave damp laundry lying around, keep your kitchen waste sealed and don’t leave any food out in the open.

So you need to look at the root cause and try to take suitable measures and only then you will see some great results with the use of these natural insect repellants. Otherwise, they will just keep coming back. 

4. Cinnamon Doesn’t Kill Ants

The use of cinnamon is commonly used to deter ants away and is not effective in killing them. If you want to kill them and have a permanent solution then you should seek the help of a professional.


Cinnamon has been used for decades to keep ants away from the household. It affects the ants’ ability to communicate with each other and to pick up pheromone trails of each other. This sends them in a panicked state hence they always try to keep their distance from strong scents. 

You can try cinnamon powder or cinnamon oil to keep these little pests away from your home, but if you’ve got a serious problem the best option is always to use a qualified pest control company.

If you decide to try the powder then you can use it to set up a boundary for their entry points in your house.

Several experiments have shown that they would generally never cover those boundary trails. However, if you use powder you may need to apply it more regularly than you would if you make a cinnamon oil and water spray. 

If you decide to go with a cinnamon oil, spray it all around your house at least weekly to get the best results. 

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