Found Ants in Dishwasher? Here’s How to Solve It!

Ants in dishwasher can be surprising and annoying. This guide will help you understand why they’re there, how they can be a problem, and what you can do to remove them.

Let’s dive in and tackle this pesky issue together!

Why Are There Ants in the Dishwasher?

Ants are often attracted to your dishwasher for two main reasons: food and water. Even a tiny bit of food debris or residue can draw them in.

After all, your dishwasher is a treasure trove of leftover particles from your last meal.

Water, on the other hand, is vital for ant survival.

Since dishwashers are a reliable water source, ants can easily flock there, especially in dry seasons when water is hard to come by. 

How Can Ants Get Inside the Dishwasher? 

You might be surprised to learn that ants are crafty creatures.

They can squeeze through tiny openings, cracks, and gaps that are barely visible to the human eye.

This includes the small spaces around your dishwasher door, the drain, or even the water supply line.

An unnoticed spill or food crumb outside the dishwasher can also create an inviting trail for these little pests. 

ants in dishwasher

Can Ants Damage Dishwashers? 

Yes, they can. Ants might seem harmless due to their tiny size, but they can cause significant problems if they infest your dishwasher.

They can nest and breed inside, making them hard to get rid of. The wiring and electronic components of your dishwasher are particularly vulnerable.

Ants can chew through insulation and cause electrical short circuits. This can result in expensive repairs or even a complete replacement of your appliance. 

4 Ways to Repel Ants in the Dishwasher 

While ants in your dishwasher can be a distressing sight, there are effective methods to combat this problem.

Regular cleaning, combined with targeted tactics like ant traps and natural remedies, can help you regain control over your kitchen.

It’s all about making your dishwasher—and the wider kitchen area—less inviting to these unwelcome guests. 

Set Up Ant Traps  

Ant traps are an effective way to curb ant infestation. Place them near the dishwasher and any observed ant trails.

The bait inside attracts ants, who carry it back to their colony. This bait is toxic to ants, killing them off and helping to eliminate the colony. 

ants in dishwasher
Ant traps can eliminate ants’ colony

Pour Baking Soda And Vinegar Down The Drain  

The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a bubbling reaction that can kill ants and disturb their trails.

Pour a half cup of baking soda followed by a half cup of vinegar down your dishwasher drain.

Wait 15 minutes, then rinse with boiling water.

This not only addresses the ants but also helps keep your drain clean. 

ants in dishwasher
This also keeps your drain clean

Run an Empty Rinse Cycle  

Running your dishwasher on the hottest setting can eliminate any lingering ants.

The high temperature is deadly to ants and disrupts their scent trails.

For added impact, you can use a dishwasher cleaner or a cup of white vinegar placed on the top rack during this cycle. 

Clean Your Entire Kitchen

Remember, a clean kitchen is your best defense against an ant invasion.

Regularly clean your countertops, cabinets, floors, and appliances, making sure no food crumbs or spills are left behind.

Pay special attention to the area around your dishwasher. Regular cleaning disrupts ant trails and eliminates the food sources that attract them. 

ants in dishwasher
A clean kitchen is your best defense

How To Get Rid of Ants Naturally? 

While commercial ant traps and insecticides can be effective, you may prefer to use natural remedies, particularly in an area that frequently contacts your dishes.

The good news is there are numerous natural methods you can use to deter ants. 


Ants don’t like the strong smell of peppermint, which interferes with their ability to smell food.

You can make a simple peppermint spray by mixing 10-20 drops of peppermint essential oil with a cup of water.

Spray this around the dishwasher and any other areas where you’ve noticed ants.

Lemon Juice  

Lemon juice is another scent that ants find disagreeable.

Plus, it can disrupt their trails.

Squeeze a lemon into a cup of water and spray the solution around the dishwasher. You can also place lemon peels around known ant entry points. 


This aromatic spice can work as an excellent deterrent. Sprinkle ground cinnamon or place cinnamon sticks near the dishwasher.

Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of cinnamon essential oil with water and spray it as a barrier.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a non-toxic powder made from fossilized aquatic organisms. It’s harmless to humans but deadly to ants.

Sprinkle DE around your dishwasher and any other areas where ants might enter or congregate. 


Ants dislike the strong scent and taste of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle it around your dishwasher or mix it with water and spray as a barrier. 

Identifying the Type of Ants Present in the Dishwasher 

Recognizing the type of ants can help you choose the most effective extermination strategy. 

Black Ant

Black ants are small and, as their name suggests, dark in color. They’re usually drawn to sweet or greasy foods. 

ants in dishwasher

Pharaoh Ant  

Pharaoh ants are tiny—only about 2 mm long—and are yellow or light brown. They prefer warm, humid areas and are known for their love of fatty and sugary foods. 

ants in dishwasher

Odorous House Ant  

These ants give off a rotten coconut-like smell when crushed. They’re dark brown or black and are often attracted to sweet foods. 

ants in dishwasher

Argentine Ant 

Argentine ants are a light to dark brown and are known for their large colonies. They eat a variety of foods but are especially attracted to sweets. 

ants in dishwasher


Should I spray pesticides in my dishwasher to kill ants? 

Using pesticides in your dishwasher is not recommended. These chemicals can be harmful if ingested, and residue might remain on your dishes.

Opt for natural remedies, dishwasher-safe ant baits, or professional pest control services instead. 

How to Get rid of sugar ants in dishwasher? 

Sugar ants are attracted to sweet residues. Ensure to thoroughly clean your dishwasher and run it empty on a hot setting.

You can also use natural deterrents like lemon juice, vinegar, or peppermint. 

What To Do If the Ants Are Behind the Dishwasher? 

If ants are behind your dishwasher, consider hiring a professional pest control service. It might be necessary to move the appliance to treat the infestation effectively. 

Can I Use an Insecticide Spray Inside My Dishwasher? 

Similar to pesticides, it’s best not to use insecticide sprays inside your dishwasher. Residues could remain on dishes, posing a potential health risk.

Instead, opt for natural remedies, bait traps, or a professional exterminator. 

In conclusion, dealing with ants in your dishwasher can be a frustrating problem, but with Pestweek‘s caring and effective methods, you can resolve it.

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