How To Get Rid of Ants in Dishwashers

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Discovering ants in your dishwasher can be an unwelcome surprise, especially when you’re expecting to open the door to sparkling clean dishes. Unfortunately, dishwashers can become a tantalizing feast for these tiny invaders all too easily.

The good news is that there’s no need to panic or resort to harmful pesticides when faced with an ant infestation in your dishwasher. In this comprehensive DIY guide, we’ll walk you through understanding why ants are attracted to your dishwasher, how they find their way inside, and most importantly – how to get rid of them using safe and effective methods.

We’ll cover everything from deep cleaning techniques such as vinegar rinses and boric acid applications, employing ant traps strategically placed around your device, to preventive measures that will help ensure an ant-free kitchen throughout the year. In this article, learn how to eliminate ant infestations in your dishwasher with our comprehensive DIY guide.

Key Takeaways

Deep clean your dishwasher including the filter by using hot soapy water.
Wipe down all surfaces using vinegar.
Seal off any entry points where ants may be entering.
Use ant traps placed on each side of the dishwasher and on the countertop above the dishwasher.
If the infestation persists, contact a professional pest control company

Why Are Ants in Your Dishwasher?

Ants are attracted to the warmth and food residue left behind in dishwashers, making it an ideal environment for them to thrive.

A dishwasher may seem like an unlikely location for ants to set up camp, but these tiny invaders are always on the lookout for an unexpected banquet. One primary reason ants find themselves inside your dishwasher is the presence of food particles left behind on dishes during a wash cycle.

Aside from being drawn in by lingering food residue, ants might be enticed by leaks or moisture inside your appliance. Take sewer ants, for example, they are specifically attracted to damp conditions and thrive in moist environments.

Dirty Dishwasher Can Lead to Ants

If your dishwasher has leaks or standing water within its interior compartments, it could quickly turn into a popular spot for sewer ants and other moisture-seeking species.

How Do Ants Get in the Dishwasher?

Ants can make their way into your dishwasher through cracks or gaps in the door, plumbing connections, and vents.

Ants are skilled infiltrators that are capable of entering your dishwasher through the tiniest cracks and crevices. One common entry point is where the dishwasher connects to the water supply or drain lines.

If these connections are not sealed tightly, ants can easily find their way inside. Similarly, gaps around the door seal can provide easy access for these persistent pests.

A helpful tip to identify ant trails leading into your dishwasher is by observing the ants’ behavior outside of it. Often, they follow a specific path from their nest directly to their food source within your appliance.

This trail could guide you toward discovering any hidden entry points in need of sealing (e.g., with caulk).

How To Get Rid of Ants In Your Dishwasher

To eliminate ants in your dishwasher, identify their entry points, seal them off, and use natural solutions such as vinegar or boric acid; this section will provide you with all the necessary steps to ensure a pest-free experience.

Initiating operation ant-removal requires a systematic approach to effectively free your dishwasher from these pesky intruders. Begin by emptying the appliance and wiping away any visible food residue, ensuring that no leftovers remain for ants to feast on.

Then, create a powerful cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of water and white vinegar, adding boric acid for additional potency against ants if desired.

After you’ve meticulously cleaned the interior of your dishwasher, it’s time to tackle those hidden ant nests lurking nearby. Start by tracking down their trails using a flashlight or blacklight if needed.

Once located, apply vinegar and baking soda directly onto the nest – this will not only kill existing ants but deter future infestations as well! Running an empty cycle on your dishwasher’s hottest setting will also help eliminate any remaining pests inside while simultaneously sanitizing the entire area further.

Start With a Deep Clean

A comprehensive clean-up is necessary to rid your dishwasher of ants, starting with a deep clean of the interior and exterior surfaces.

To rid your dishwasher of ants, an initial cleaning has to be done to get the ball rolling. Start by removing all dishes from the machine and giving it a thorough inspection. Check the filter or strainer for any leftover food residue that may have attracted the ants in the first place.

Next, use hot soapy water to thoroughly scrub down the interior of the dishwasher to remove any remaining dirt or food particles.

Vinegar can be used as a natural sanitizer to eliminate bacteria and fungi but will not kill ants outright. For ant-specific cleaning solutions, using boric acid mixed with sugar can be an effective solution to killing off ant trails and nests.

You might also consider Borax. Borax is a commonly used household product that can be effective in controlling ants, including those around the dishwasher. It contains a naturally occurring mineral called boron, which has insecticidal properties. Here’s why borax is useful for dealing with ants:

  1. Toxicity to ants: Borax acts as a stomach poison for ants. When ants consume borax, it interferes with their digestive system, leading to their demise. Worker ants carry the borax-laden bait back to the colony, where it can kill other ants, including the queen.
  2. Baiting effectiveness: Borax can be combined with other attractive substances to create ant baits. Ants are drawn to the bait because of its appealing scent or food source, and when they consume it, they also ingest the borax—this helps in targeting the entire ant colony rather than just individual ants.
  3. Low toxicity to humans and pets: Borax is considered relatively low in toxicity to humans and pets when used properly. However, it’s important to use it with caution and keep it away from children and animals. It should be used in controlled quantities and areas inaccessible to pets or children.

Don’t forget to clean around the outside of the dishwasher also. Wipe down the counters, sweep the floors, vacuum any nearby carpet or rugs, and look for leaks in the ceiling that could be holding moisture.

Employ Ant Traps

Using ant traps in your dishwasher can help eliminate the pests by luring them away from the machine’s internal components and towards a bait station.

Ant traps are a great way to get rid of ants in your dishwasher. These traps work by attracting the ants with bait, which they then take back to their colony, ultimately killing off the entire population.

To use ant traps, place them strategically within your dishwasher where you have seen the most ant activity.

Ant Trap on Top of Countertop

It is important to note that while ant traps may be effective in eliminating an ant infestation in your dishwasher, they should not be used as a long-term solution for preventing future infestations.

Regular deep cleaning and sealing off entry points will help keep ants out of your dishwasher.

Take Preventative Measures To Keep Ants Out of Your Dishwasher

Prevent future ant infestations in your dishwasher by wiping down counters and surfaces around the appliance, regularly cleaning out food scraps from inside the dishwasher, and sealing any cracks or gaps where ants can enter.

One of the best ways to prevent ants from entering your dishwasher in the first place is by keeping a clean kitchen. Make sure that any food residue and crumbs are cleaned up after meal prep, especially around your dishwasher.

Additionally, sealing any potential entry points on your dishwasher can help keep ants out.

Another effective preventative measure is using vinegar as a rinse aid in your dishwasher. Not only does it leave dishes sparkling clean, but its acidic nature also repels ants and other pests from coming into contact with the dishes and inside the machine.

What To Do About Ants Around Your Dishwasher?

If you notice ants around your dishwasher, it’s important to address the infestation beyond just inside the machine.

Ant infestations can extend beyond your dishwasher and into the surrounding areas, making it crucial to identify and address any issues beyond just cleaning out the appliance.

Ants can enter your home through tiny cracks or gaps in windows, doors, or walls, so it is essential to seal off entry points wherever possible.

You may also want to consider using ant baits or sprays specifically designed for indoor use around the affected areas outside the dishwasher. Additionally, keeping a clean and tidy kitchen by wiping up spills and crumbs immediately after use can help prevent future ant invasions.

Concise Breakdown: What to Do About Dishwasher Ants

If you are dealing with ants around your dishwasher, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Clean the area: Thoroughly clean the areas around your dishwasher, including the floor, countertop, and any spills or food debris. Ants are attracted to food sources, so removing any potential food temptations can discourage them.
  2. Seal entry points: Inspect the area around the dishwasher for any openings or gaps where ants might be entering. Seal these entry points with caulk or other appropriate sealants to prevent their access.
  3. Wipe down surfaces: Use a solution of vinegar and water to wipe down the surfaces around the dishwasher. The strong smell of vinegar can deter ants and disrupt their scent trails.
  4. Use ant baits or traps: Place ant baits or traps near the dishwasher or in areas where you have noticed ant activity. These baits contain insecticides that the ants carry back to their colony, eventually eradicating the entire ant population.
  5. Consult a professional: If the ant infestation persists or becomes severe, it may be necessary to seek assistance from a professional pest control service. They can provide effective treatment options and help eliminate the ant problem.

Remember, prevention is critical in keeping ants away from your dishwasher and home. Make sure to store food properly, promptly clean up spills, and maintain a clean kitchen environment to minimize ant attractants.

When To Contact a Professional

If your ant infestation persists or you’re not comfortable dealing with it on your own, it may be necessary to contact a professional pest control company for assistance.

Ant infestations are a common problem that homeowners often try to handle on their own. However, there are times when DIY methods may not be enough, and professional intervention is needed.

If you have tried multiple DIY ant control methods with no success or noticed signs of severe damage caused by ants, such as structural damage or electrical issues, it’s time to call in the experts.

It’s important to note that while DIY options for ant control may save money in the short term, leaving an infestation untreated can lead to more significant problems down the line, such as food contamination, property damage, and potential threats to human health.

Additionally, some species of ants, like carpenter ants, cannot be controlled using over-the-counter products alone because they nest inside wood structures, making them difficult to reach without specialized equipment.


Why are there ants in my dishwasher?

Finding ants in your dishwasher is a actually a very common occurrence. Ants are attracted to food particles and standing water, both of which can be found in your dishwasher. Whether they are black ants, carpenter ants, or sewer ants, all types are attracted to the food residue left on dishes, and the moisture provides a perfect environment for them to thrive.

Does dishwasher detergent kill ants?

Dishwasher detergent can be effective in killing ants, but it is not a recommended method for ant control. While dishwasher detergent may have ingredients that are toxic to ants, its effectiveness as an ant killer can vary. Dishwasher detergent is designed to remove grease and food particles from dishes, and while it may kill some ants upon contact, it is not a long-term solution for ant infestations.

Can ants come up through the drain?

Yes, ants can indeed come up through drains. Some species of ants are small enough to fit through the small openings and gaps in drain pipes and plumbing systems. Typically, ants enter by coming up from behind the dishwasher. From there, they navigate their way through small gaps to make their way into your dishwasher.

Do vinegar and dish detergent kill ants?

Vinegar and dish detergent can be used as a homemade remedy to repel and kill ants to some extent. The potent odor of vinegar can disrupt ant trails and deter them from entering certain areas. Dish detergent, when combined with vinegar, can help suffocate and kill ants upon contact. Not only does vinegar kill the ants, but it also acts as a deterrent for future infestations.

How do I keep ants from coming back into my dishwasher?

Preventing ants from coming back into your dishwasher requires consistent cleanliness. Always rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher to avoid leaving food that attracts ants. Additionally, try to run the dishwasher promptly and don’t leave standing water around which might attract ants. Regular usage of vinegar can also repel ants in the long run.

Should I call a pest control company to help with ants in a dishwasher?

Contacting a pest control company can be very effective if you are not able to get rid of the ants in the dishwasher by yourself. They have the expertise to identify the type of ant infestation and will use appropriate treatment to eliminate ants. We typically recommend trying a home solution first. Often times DIY solutions are much cheaper and can be very effective. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, getting rid of ants in your dishwasher can be a daunting task, but with these DIY solutions and preventative measures, you can have an ant-free experience.

Don’t let pesky intruders ruin your dishwashing routine – follow these steps to achieve a clean and efficient kitchen.

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Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.