how to get rid of ants in car

How to Get Rid of Ants in Car? A Foolproof Guide

Ants show up in the most unexpected places like the car. And, like other pests, ants can be quite persistent and annoying. But that’s not the only problem drivers face.

Having ants in the car can be very dangerous. Ants can make your ride uncomfortable because they can bite and distract you while driving, increasing the risk of accidents or traffic violations. So, it’s essential to start getting rid of these tiny monsters as soon as you discover them in your vehicle.

Many methods can help you get rid of ants in your car quite efficiently. Besides different ant sprays for cars, you can also benefit from various at-home techniques that deliver exceptional and long-term results.

If you’re struggling with ants in your car, it’s time to eliminate them and make your rides fresh and safe. We have created a foolproof guide to lead you through the best methods for successfully removing ants from your vehicle.

Let’s begin!

Why Do I Have Ants in My Car?

The most common reason ants have chosen your car is that they have nests in trees or underground. And they tend to wander around to find food.

If you find ants in your vehicle, it means that you’ve parked it near an ant nest. If one of the ants locates food, it leaves a trail of pheromones, a chemical that helps its fellas find their way there and carry the food back to the nest.

So, it’s vital to clean and vacuum your car if you’ve eaten inside. Even a tiny crumb of cake or sandwich can attract ants that will infest your vehicle pretty quickly.

What Types of Ants Infest My Vehicle?

Different outdoor ants can infest your car depending on where you live and where you usually park your vehicle. However, they won’t find you interesting unless you have food in your car. Whether it’s crumbs, animal-, or plant-based food, ants will find it and love it for sure.

The most common types of ants that infest cars are:

  • Red imported fire ants: Stay away from fire ant hills when looking for a parking space so as not to disturb the ants. Once inside your car, red imported fire ants sting, creating welts on the person’s skin.
  • Sugar ants: Sugar ants in cars can create a mess. They are attracted to sugary foods and drinks, and the entire colony will infest your vehicle if you’ve left any sugar residue inside.
  • Pavement ants: Black ants with nests under yard debris, also called pavement ants, love greasy foods. Therefore, it’s critical to remove any pizza, hamburger, and fast food leftovers from your car as soon as you finish eating. Pavement ants can infest your vehicle promptly, leaving you with a mess.
  • Argentine ants: Like sugar ants, Argentine ants also have a sweet tooth. They are native to South America, but their numbers grow tremendously in the United States.

Can Ants Damage My Car?

Most ant species are harmless to drivers and their cars. After all, they are only searching for food or shelter your vehicle provides.

However, it doesn’t mean you should neglect them. An ant never comes alone, but it invites the entire colony to join it on the quest. As a result, they make nests that could severely damage internal insulation foam in your car.

If some hardier species infest your car, you might be in serious trouble. Red ants or fire ants bite people and chew through wood and wires, causing severe damages to your car if left untreated. In some cases, larger ants can chew the wires, causing shorts in electrical circuits and other essential components. And such issues may be tricky to locate and very expensive to fix.

ants in car

Besides, drivers often feel distracted knowing that insects are crawling around and biting them, which affects the safety of the ride.

Luckily, ants infestation in cars can be resolved pretty quickly and easily. Still, don’t wait until the last minute. Apply some of the following techniques as soon as you notice insects in your car, and rest assured that the problem will go away promptly.

How to Get Ants Out of a Car?

The following section explains the best ways to get ants out of a car and establish a clean and safe environment for you and your passengers.

Since this issue requires immediate action, let’s not waste our time!

Clean Your Car Thoroughly

The easiest and the most efficient way to resolve the ant infestation problem is to clean the car’s interior. It’s essential to take out the trash, vacuum the crumbs, and clean away sugar residue from drinks. That way, you’re eliminating any source of food the ants have found. Without trash and food leftovers, the ants won’t need you anymore.

Use a car vacuum to address all the nooks and crannies and eliminate ants and food sources left. Don’t forget to vacuum under the seats and hard-to-reach areas because some crumbs might be there, too.

Once you’ve finished vacuuming, you can move on to wiping down the seats, carpeting, and door cards. We highly recommend using a strongly scented citrus spray cleaner. First, ants hate citrus. Second, you’ll enjoy the fresh scent in your car. Third, a pleasant smell removes the pheromones.

Use Sprays and Ants Traps for Car

If cleaning your car doesn’t help you get rid of pests, you can try products specifically designed for eliminating ants – ant trap and ant spray for cars. Ant traps or ant baits provide long-term solutions, while an ant spray for a car helps you kill the pests you notice right now.

The idea around ant traps is to trick the ants into collecting poisoned food and taking it back to the nest. By killing the entire nest, you’re preventing ants from coming back. On the other hand, the spray is suitable for dealing with a couple of insects that are passing through.

Eventually, an ant bomb for a car is the last resort. Also known as ant fogger, this chemical can reach every area in the car and kill all ants inside them. However, it is a pretty unhealthy choice for humans, so make sure to follow the instructions before and after using it.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Car Naturally?

Natural and at-home remedies for ants in the car are less harsh than commercial chemicals but can solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Let’s see some of the best homemade solutions to eliminate ants from the car and enjoy fresh and clean rides again.

Dish Soap

Dish soap is something we all have at home and something we can use to eliminate ants from our cars. The degreasing agents in dish soap help break down the ants’ exoskeleton and promote moisture evaporation. Eventually, it leads to dehydration.

Follow the next steps to make an at-home product for ant infestation:


  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp. of dish soap
  • 3 tbsp. of table salt

Mix all the ingredients gently and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Next, spray it directly to the ants and clean the car interior after.

how to get rid of ants in car naturally

Orange Oil

Orange oil is rich in d-limonene, a constituent known for its efficiency in killing different insect types, including ants. Besides resolving the existing ant infestation, it keeps repelling ants with its strong smell.

We have already pointed out the efficiency of citrus-based oils, whose strong smell keeps your vehicle protected from ants. Although you can purchase a readymade orange oil, you can fix your own mixture at home and save some money on the way!


  • ½ ounces of concentrated orange oil
  • 3 ounces of dish soap
  • A gallon of water

Mix all the ingredients and use the liquid to contact spray the ants. It also works as a repellant to keep the ants from your car – all you need to do is spray it on surfaces and let it dry completely.

Essential Oils

Essential oil is another efficient home remedy for ants in the car. It is an excellent repellant for insects and ants due to its strong, aromatic scent. These intensive aromas often interfere with the ants’ scent receptors, preventing them from following the pheromone trails left by other workers.

Different essential oils are available on the market, but lemon oil, orange oil, peppermint oil, and clove oil are considered the most efficient against ant infestations.

Essential oils can be used in two ways – you can either pour a few drops of oil on cotton wool balls and put them inside your car or make a solution you can spray around the vehicle and keep insects away. Or you can create a DIY essential oil!


  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • ½ tsp. of liquid dish detergent
  • 3-5 drops of lemon oil (or any other)

First, mix boiling water with a liquid dish detergent. Next, add 3-5 drops of oil of your choice and spray the ants directly. Ensure to spray the area around your car to keep ants from coming back.

Household Products

The easiest and cheapest way to kill ants lies in the most commonly used household products like vinegar, cinnamon, chalk, and mint.

Let’s see how each of them helps us remove ants from our cars:

  • Cinnamon: Ants hate the smell of cinnamon. At the same time, this spice can kill them. You can sprinkle cinnamon inside your vehicle, especially on entry points, and wait to see whether it works as expected. Placing mint leaves can also be a convenient option because of their strong smell.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar works as an excellent deterrent that repels ants and covers up the pheromone trails. Make a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar and spray it on the vehicle’s surface, including hard-to-reach areas. However, it’s not recommended to apply the vinegar mixture to the exterior paint.
  • Chalk: Ants avoid chalks for some reason, and you can try drawing the lines where your car is parked. It may keep pests away from you and your vehicle.
ants traps for car

How to Prevent Ant Infestations in Your Car?

Prevention has always been the best remedy for every situation. Now that you know how to get ants out of a car, it’s time to learn how to prevent severe infestations that could cost you money, nerves, and health.

Keep Your Vehicle Clean

Ants are attracted to food or whatever that’s left from it. If you leave half-eaten hamburgers and spilled Coke inside the car, you’ve already created a small heaven for ants and other insects. In a couple of days, you’ll have the entire nest inside!

It’s important to clean and vacuum your car’s interior regularly to reduce the risk of infestations. Citrus-based oils offer an extra layer of protection against these little monsters, and you can use them to brush off and scrub stubborn sugar residue or food traces that might attract ants.

Clean Your Tires

Tires are a possible entry point for ants, and they require your utmost attention. We highly recommend you clean the tires regularly and use an ant repellent or citrus spray to wash away the pheromone trails.

Destroy Nearby Nests

If you have ants in your car, it’s possible that there’s a nest close to your usual parking spot. In that case, you can try to destroy a nearby ant colony with products like ant powders. If you cannot see them immediately, you can use ant bait.

Change Your Parking Spots

If you feel bad about poisoning the entire ant colony or your efforts don’t seem good enough, changing your parking spot should help. However, don’t forget to wash and clean your car even after you’ve moved it to another place – you don’t know what might wait for you there!