Toggle menu
1-844-TRASHCAN (844-872-7422)
How to Get Rid of Ants In Trash Can

How to Get Rid of Ants In Trash Can

Posted by Trashcans Unlimited Team on 15th Mar 2023


Are you tired of ants crawling in and around your trash can, making it unpleasant to use and causing a potential health hazard? It can be frustrating to keep the trash can clean and free of ants, especially when you're not sure where they're coming from or how to get rid of them.

54% of pest professionals actually claim that ant infestations are on the rise. Among them, 57% have seen more infestations of odorous house ants than others. No other species was mentioned nearly as often, suggesting that these insects are the primary cause of what many consider a growing problem.

So, how can you get in front of this plague and prevent ants from making your trash can their new home?

In this article, we'll provide you with some effective tips and tricks to help you get rid of ants in your trash can and keep them from coming back. But, how do they get in your trash can in the first place?

Let’s get into it!

Why are Ants so Attracted to Trash Cans?

Ants are attracted to trash cans because they are looking for food, especially sweet and sticky substances. Once one ant discovers the trash can, they leave a trail of pheromones for other ants to follow, creating a pathway to the food.

As a core part of their natural survival ants are programmed to look for easy food sources, and unfortunately our trash makes an excellent target. But don’t worry about it! We are here to tell you what you can do if you find a new family of ants in your trash. 

Ant Infestations

Ant Infestations | Andre Moura

How Can You Prevent Ants from Infesting Your Trash Can?

Well there are three key prevention techniques you can use to reduce the annoyances caused by ants. You can keep the trash can clean, store the trash in sealed bags, and use a lid-sealed trash can.

In the survey done by Pestworld that we mentioned earlier on, 67% of pest professionals believe that ant infestations and cleanliness are directly correlated. So, if you want those pesky problems to go away, follow these techniques and prevention methods.

The 3 Key Prevention Techniques for Ants

Prevention is key when it comes to having an ant-free trash can. By taking some simple steps, you can make your trash can less attractive to ants and prevent them from infesting it. Here are the 3 main prevention techniques you can apply to your trash can, so the ants never find it!

1. Keep the Trash Can Clean

The first step in preventing ants from infesting your trash can is to keep it clean. This means regularly emptying and cleaning the can, as well as wiping down any spills or residue on the outside.

Aim to clean it at least once a week. If you notice any spills or residue on the outside, it will also be necessary to clean that up immediately.

2. Store Trash in Sealed Bags

Ants are attracted to the smell of food, so it's important to store your trash in sealed bags to prevent odors from escaping. This will also make it harder for ants to access the food inside the bag.

3. Use a Trash Can with a Lid

Using a trash can with a lid is another effective way to prevent ants from accessing your trash. Make sure the lid fits tightly and is always closed when not in use.

And if you find that the ants have already made your trash can their new home, we have got your back on that as well! Let’s get into how you can get rid of ants that are already in your trash.

4 Methods for Getting Rid of Ants in Your Trash Can

There are 4 very effective methods to get rid of ants and prevent them from coming back:

1. Use Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural ant repellent and can be used to clean your trash can to keep ants away. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and spray the inside and outside of the can after cleaning it.

2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth In and Around Your Trash Can

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural powder made from fossilized algae that can be sprinkled in and around your trash can to repel ants.

How does it repel ants?

The powder works by drying out the ants' exoskeletons, causing them to die. Which will get rid of your problem in a matter of days.

3. Use Ant Baits

Ant baits are a great way to get rid of ants in your trash can. The bait attracts the ants, and once they consume it, they take it back to the colony, where it will spread and kill the other ants. This will get rid of the problem within a week tops.

4. Use Borax

Borax is another effective ant repellent. Mix equal parts borax and sugar and sprinkle it in and around your trash can. The ants will be attracted to the sugar, but the borax will kill them.

Curious if you can use other pesticides to get rid of ants in your trash can?

While pesticides may be effective at killing ants, they can also be harmful to humans and pets. It's best to use natural repellents and baits to get rid of ants in your trash can.

For some infestations this is your best option. But in most cases we would recommend the options above so you can limit exposure to chemicals in your home. 

Ant Prevention

Ant Prevention | Manuel Bartsch

3 Ways of Keeping Ants from Coming Back

Now that you've gotten rid of the ants in your trash can, it's important to take some steps to keep them from coming back. Again, prevention is king!

1. Keep the Trash Can Clean

As we mentioned earlier, keeping the trash can clean is essential in preventing ants from coming back. Make sure to empty and clean the can regularly, as well as wipe down any spills or residue on the outside.

Take the extra step of storing your trash in sealed bags. This will prevent odors from escaping and make it harder for ants to access the food inside. Another great way to keep ants from getting in your food is using a trash can with a lid.

In taking these steps, you can ensure that your trash can is always clean, making it difficult for ants to find it!

2. Apply a Barrier

Another way to prevent ants from coming back is to apply a barrier around the trash can. This can be done by applying a line of chalk or baby powder around the base of the can, which will repel the ants.

3. Fix Any Leaks

Ants are also attracted to moisture, so it's important to fix any leaks or drips around the trash can or in the surrounding area. This will help prevent ants from being attracted to the area. 

Trash Can Disposal

Trash Can Disposal | Vlad Vasnetsov


Ants in your trash can is a frustrating and unsanitary problem, but with the right techniques, you can get rid of them and prevent them from coming back. By keeping your trash can clean, using a lid, and applying barriers and repellents, you can keep ants away and maintain a clean and hygienic environment.