How to Get Rid of Ants In Your Car Permanently

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get on how to remove ants from your car is to spray them with insecticides.

But while that can work, they contaminate your entire car with toxic chemicals.

So what’s the alternative?

Here we’ll go over how to get rid of your ants in your car safely and effectively.

Let’s get into it.

1. Remove Trash and Clutter From Your Car

The first step to removing ants in your car is to clean it up.

Remove any trash, containers, food, and papers from your car.

You’ll also want to remove any clutter such as bags, books, clothes, etc.

The less clutter you have, the more quickly you can spot ants.

It also means there’s less food available for them.

Organize your car and remove anything that does not need to be in there.

2. Vacuum Your Car

Vacuum every part of your car, including inside the glove compartment, in your cup holders, center console, and door panels.

To make this easier, remove any car mats and car seats from your car.

I also recommend vacuuming with a crevice and brush attachment.

The crevice will help you access small cracks under and in between your car seats; the brush tool will help you remove any small crumbs or food behind your car’s carpet or chairs.

These compartments often accumulate food and debris over time.

Remember, ants can fit into the smallest crevices, so make sure to be thorough.

3. Wipe Down the interior

Wipe down your car with a rag and a cleaning agent such as bleach or an interior car cleaner to remove any sugar, oil, or fats on surfaces.

If you eat or drink in your car, there is a chance it spilled or dripped.

Wiping is especially essential if you tend to drink or eat sweet food, such as frappuccinos and sodas.

These drinks tend to leave drops of sugar and fat in your cup holder or door panels.

Make sure to wipe thoroughly so that the ants will not have any reason to stay.

4. Wash The Exterior of Your Car

A car wash is a great way to remove anything on your car that might be attracting ants such as tree sap, oil, or dirt.

It also washes away any ants that may be hiding outside your car.

Be thorough and make sure to clean undercarriage, under the hood, the wheel wells.

5. Use Baits Inside Your Car

The safest and most effective way to eliminate ants in your car is by using baits.

Unlike bug sprays or powders, baits are toxic-free and non-invasive.

Since you’ve cleaned your car, the ants won’t have any other food source, so they will have to eat your bait.

The lack of other food sources helps bait work much faster.

You can expect a significant reduction in ants after 48 hours and complete elimination of all ants in your car after around 5-7 days.

There are two different options of bait you can use in your car.

1. Pre-made Bait Stations

For this, I recommend using Terro Multi-Surface bait stations.

This pre-made bait is easy to use and move around.

It’s also great because it won’t spill as you drive.

Other bait stations use liquid, which can get messy if you are driving around.

2. DIY Bait

You can also make DIY baits using boric acid and an attractant.

Here are a few recipes you can try:

  • Egg yolks

1. Boil four eggs and remove the egg yolks.
2. Add ½ cup of boric acid and ½ cup of sugar
3. Mix until you reach playdough like consistency.
4. Add sugar to achieve the desired consistency.

  • Peanut Butter

Mix one teaspoon of peanut butter and one tablespoon of sugar for every two tablespoons of Borax.

Place the DIY baits on wax paper to make it easy to remove the bait later.

Place one bait under each front seat, one under each back seat, and two inside the trunk’s corners.

6. Treat Your Wheel with Pesticides

One way you can prevent ants from coming back is to treat your wheels with pesticides.

Your tires are the only part of your car in direct contact with the ground.

By them with a pesticide, the chances of ants going inside your car are slim to none.

Make sure you spray the inside of your rim.

Insecticides do not last on tires, so spraying on the metal part of your wheels is vital.

Remember to reapply insecticide whenever you wash your car or when it rains.

You can use common household Ant sprays such as Raid. These have a residual effect that will last about 1 month. 

For a stronger, longer-lasting alternative Talstar is a great alternative. This is a professional grade insecticide that kills on contact and repels ants for 3 months. 

7. Park Somewhere Different

There is a chance that the ants are living near the areas where you park your car.

Some ants may stumble in your car if you park close to an ant’s nest. And if they find a food source, they may stay.

If you can, avoid parking under trees or near bushes.

There may be anthill workers nearby making their way into your car.

You may also be getting ants from where you park at home.

To keep ants away, check for ant mounds or ant trails in your yard or driveways.

If they are in your driveway, I recommend spraying your driveway, mound, and any visible ants with Talstar.

Spray it along the edge of your driveway where the concrete meets the grass in your home.

Even if you don’t see any ants spraying this along your driveway or where you park will keep ants away from your car.

Talstar P is one of the best barrier treatments against ants. The treatment lasts for three months, so reapply accordingly.

If you don’t want to keep re-applying, I recommend tackling the main source and treating ants in your home.

8. Keep Your Car Clean

The most crucial step in keeping ants away is to maintain a clean car.

Avoid eating or drinking in your car.

When you do, make sure to clean thoroughly, so you don’t leave behind crumbs and traces of sugar on surfaces.

Ants can’t survive in your car without food and water.

By keeping your car clean, they wouldn’t be able to stick around.

9. Use Natural Repellents

For added protection against ants, use a repellent.

To avoid toxic side effects, I recommend using essential oils such as mint or peppermint oils.

Mint oil is highly repellent against ants, even with concentrations as low as 0.01%.

An easy way to apply essential oil inside your car is to place a few drops on a cotton ball then slide them under your car seats.

The fumes from the cotton balls only last 4-5 days, so remember to reapply.

Another way you can apply essential oil is via spray.

To do this, combine five drops of essential oil with one pint of water in a spray bottle. Mix well.

Spray the solution onto a rag and wipe the door seals and trunk seals around your car. Reapply once a week.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where to Inspect for an Ant Inside My Car?

You can typically find ant infestations on your car floors and carpet but can be anywhere there is food.

Common areas where you can find traces of food are cup holders, center console, and door panels, and crevices between seats.

Why are ants attracted to my car?

The main reason there would be ants in your car is if there is a food source. Without food, the ants will not survive and won’t have a reason to stay.

Can Ants Live in a Car?

Yes, as long as there is a source of food and water.

Some ants may stumble in your car if you park close to an ant’s nest. And if they find a food source, they may stay.

Can I Spray Raid In My Car?

You can spray Raid in your car, but it’s not the safest and most effective option when treating ants.

Ants are tiny and can hide in the deepest nooks and crannies in your car. As such, some ants may survive even after you spray Raid.

Using Raid will also require you to expose yourself and car to toxic chemicals. To minimize exposure, make sure to wear face masks and gloves when spraying.

Will a Car Wash Get Rid Of Ants?

Getting your car cleaned is the first step to removing ants in your car.

It’s vital that you get both interior and exterior car wash to eliminate any sources of food for the ants.

This alone should be enough to eliminate the ants. If you do not eat inside your car and all sources of food have been removed, the ants should starve within several weeks.

That said, I recommend using bait along with a car wash.

Using bait will expedite and ensure that you eliminate every ant in your car.

Where Can You Get Ants In Your Car?

Ants can get into your car from where you park.

There is a chance that the ants are living near the areas where you park your car.

Some ants may stumble in your car if you park close to an ant’s nest.

Ants can find their way to your car regardless of whether you park on soil or cement.

Because ants can fit through small holes and voids, they can go through the cracks in cement.

That means it’s possible to get ants anywhere from commercial parking lots to your driveway.

How Do Ants Get Into My Car?

The ants in your car had likely stumbled inside your car when you were parked.

It’s likely that you parked near a nest, and some worker ants end up climbing your tires and entering your vehicle in search of food.

If there is vegetation touching your car, they may have used it as a bridge to access your car.

Ants can enter your car by crawling through small cracks and crevices around doors and windows.

They could also get in through vents.

What Is the Danger of Ants in a Car?

While ants do not carry diseases like mosquitoes and roaches, they can be dangerous in your car.

Some are poisonous, such as harvester ants and the bulldog ant.

Other species, such as red imported fire ants and carpenter ants, of ants, can bite and sting you.

Ants can also distract you from driving if they crawl on your body while you’re on the wheel.

They can also chew on some electrical wires, which can damage your car.

If you see a group of ants in your car, it’s important that you take action immediately.

What Type of Ants Is In My Car?

Any ant can enter your car so that they can be anything from Harvester ants to Odorous ants.

To know for sure, you’ll need to pick one up and examine its appearance.

Here are the most common type of ants in the US:

  • Carpenter Ants
  • Odorous House Ants
  • Argentine Ants
  • Crazy Ants
  • Ghost Ants
  • White-footed Ants
  • Field Ants
  • Red imported Ants
  • Pavement Ants
  • Pharaoh Ants
  • Little Black Ants
  • Acrobat Ants
  • Big-Headed Ants
  • Harvester Ants

Keep in mind that the type of ants is not particularly important in removing them from your car.

In most cases, ants are invading your car and not infesting it.

As such, removing food sources is often enough to eliminate the ants regardless of the type.

For faster and better results, use ant traps in your car.

While different species of ants prefer specific types of bait, when there are no other food sources, they will eat any bait to stay alive.

Thus, for as long as you maintain a clean car, it does not matter what type of ant is in it to eliminate them.

Can Ants Damage My Car?

Relays, switches, and wiring insulation are attractive to some ants such Crazy ants. 

Common ant species, such as fire ants, can chew your cars’ electrical wire and damage it.

Unfortunately, repairing damage to these components of your automobile can be quite costly.

How To Get Rid of Ants in The Door Frame?

To get rid of ants in your door frame, apply a line of essential oil around your it to repel and kill any ants that come in contact with it.

To make sure ants don’t come back, clean your car, and eliminate all food sources.

You’ll also want to place ant baits near the door frame and under your car seats to kill all ants in your car.

How To Get Rid of Ants In Door Seal?

To remove ants from your door seal, spray them it insecticide, such as Raid.

You can also spray it with water and mint oil for a more natural approach.

To make sure ants don’t come back, clean, and eliminate all food sources.

You’ll also want to place ant baits near the door frame and under your car seats to kill all ants in your car.

Can I Use A Bug Bomb To Kill Ants In My Car?

You can use a bug bomb in your car, they are not ideal.

While bombs can work in eliminating ants in your car, they contaminate your entire vehicle with toxic chemicals.

When the bomb goes off, the powder disperses into the air and settles on everything.

These toxic chemicals get stuck in fabric, car seats, and even car vents.

These leaves an unpleasant smell inside your car and can be toxic when you breathe them in.

Besides these dangers, they don’t work well.

Bug bombs only reach surface-level areas.

It can’t target essential areas such as small holes, under seats, and carpet where the ants can hide.

As such, you’ll almost always need to use multiple bombs for it to be effective. But even then, there’s a chance that it won’t work ultimately.

A better alternative to bug bombs is cleaning your car and using ant baits.

How To Get Rid of Ants In Car Vents?

If you have ants in your car vents, the ants are likely inside your hood or engine area.

To get rid of them, I recommend checking inside the hood of your car for any ants.

If there are ants inside your hood, I recommend placing gel bait, such as Maxforce ant gel bait.

Maxforce ant gel bait comes with a syringe for easy applications.

You can place baits where you see an ant crawling around.

I also recommend applying at different locations around your hood.

Next, turn on your a/c as high as possible and use a vacuum to suck up any ants hiding deep inside your car vents.

For added protection, you use essential oils as a natural repellent.

Apply a few dabs of essential oil on a cloth and wipe down the vents’ interior to repel any ant from entering your a/c vent.

Not only will your vent be bug-free, but your car will also smell good.

That said, be careful not to use too much essential oil as the smell can be overwhelming in a small confined space.

How To Get Rid Of Ants In Car Engine?

The first step to getting rid of ants in your car engine is to clean it.

Look for any leaves or dirt or debris that may be stuck inside or around your car’s hood.

The organic debris provides ant a perfect shelter in your car

Once you have cleaned it, you can begin using a gel bait and applying to the inside of your hood.

For this, I recommend using Maxforce ant gel bait.

Maxforce will attract the ants and slowly kill them off.

Macforce begins to kill ants just 8 hours after consumption but will take several days to kill all the ants in your car.

If you are looking to eliminate ants much faster, you can spray insecticide such as Raid inside your engine.

Keep in mind that the chemicals and smell may seep into your car through your vents.

You can also spray the exterior, tires, and underneath your car with a repellent insecticide to keep all future ants from climbing into your vehicle.

Talstar is a professional grade that kills ants on contact and repels ants for over 3 months. 

This is a great option for both repelling and killing ants. 

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