How to Kill Ants with Bleach?

The weather changes and all of a sudden, and you have ants crawling all over your house, making it obvious that you need an effective pest repellent. In an attempt to save money, you think, “Does bleach kill ants?”

Online research says that it does, but bleach isn’t an insecticide. Plus, pouring bleach anywhere is environmentally hazardous.

When you think about it, are you so cheap that you can’t spend a dollar or two on ant killer? Are you so frugal that you’re willing to damage the environment? Finally, don’t you want to use the best means to eliminate insects from your living quarters? Then, bleach isn’t the answer. Read on to find out what is the best option for killing ants

What is Bleach and Where is it Used?

The active ingredient in bleach is chlorine. Its primary use is to whiten clothes, because of its oxidation properties. Bleach is also an effective disinfectant, since it essentially pops the membrane that protects microbes, which results in their death.

The level of chlorine in the most popular household bleach, Clorox®, is 5.25 percent, according to Oregon State University. For disinfecting surfaces, a mixture of one part bleach into nine parts of tap water is recommended. Bleach is volatile, meaning chlorine gas quickly escapes from it.

Dangers of Chlorine - How to Use it Safely

Soldiers of World War I became guinea pigs in testing chlorine gas. German troops first released 160 tons of chlorine gas into the trenches on April 22, 1915, killing more than 1,000 French troops in a matter of minutes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services explains chlorine gas as yellow-green in color that in high doses causes excess fluid in the lungs, resulting in death. Gas from bleach harmlessly goes into the air. If bleach seeps into groundwater, it is unchanged for several years.

Gas escaping from household bleach is at a much lower level than these World War I levels. However, pouring bleach on the ground indiscriminately has the chance of adversely affecting the environment. According to the University of Arkansas, it can infiltrate groundwater.

What About Killing Ants with Chlorine from Bleach?

Despite environmental concerns, using bleach to kill ants has been tested by scientists. In a California study performed by Stanford University, a variety of potential ant killers were used, including bleach. The study proved that bleach was not effective at stopping ant invasions.

Sure, some bugs die when directly hit with a bleach solution. But, eliminating ants isn’t effective by killing a few worker ants. These insects live in colonies. To eliminate them, you need to get to the source. You need to kill the queen and the whole colony of insects. It cannot be done with bleach.

More Effective Ant Killers Are Inexpensive

A better solution than bleach is an bug killer containing boric acid called Terro® Ant Killer II. Spread on cardboard squares or inside bait stations, insects carry this killer back to the colony, pass it between all ants in the colony, and die. Instead of killing one bug, the whole colony is gone.

As Terro’s YouTube videos explain, insects are killed in a few days with this easy-to-use insecticide. Better yet, this isn’t expensive.

If you’re dealing with trying to kill imported insects, the price gets higher for a good killer. Extinguish® Plus Fire Ant Bait, which is a tad more expensive, is very effective at killing fire ants with two yearly applications and occasional usage with reoccurring trouble fire ant intrusions.

I understand the attraction of finding an inexpensive pest killing solution. Plus, any online search gives you bleach as a way to kill insects. But, if you really want to eliminate ants without harming the environment, spending a few dollars on effective ant killer is better than using bleach. Learn more about it here


Bleach will kill ants. It’s also harmful to groundwater and doesn’t kill the entire bug colony. Instead of starting a chlorine war on a couple of bugs with some drops of bleach, do the following:

  • Identify the ant intruding your home.
  • If your problem is sugar or grease ants, use boric acid bait, such as Terro® Ant Killer II.
  • If you have an imported fire ant problem, use Extinguish® Plus Fire Ant Bait.
  • Ant bait pesticides take time to work, so persistence over time is the best way to eliminate your ant problem.
  • Keep the bleach bottle in your laundry room.

Continue learning about how to remove ants, and other household pests from your home with the Attic Pest Authority: