Reduce the Food Supply
The first thing you need to do is limit the amount of food that is attracting the ants in the first place. If you don’t do this first, the ants will keep coming in no matter how many times you get rid of the ones that are already there.
Keeping the dishwasher and the area around it clean and dry is the first step. Remove as much evidence of leftover food on the dishes before you place them in the dishwasher.
Sometimes dishes remain in the dishwasher for a couple days before they get cleaned. Because of this, it is imperative that you clean them well before putting them in. Another option is to run the dishwasher every time you place anything in it, but this isn’t always practical.
You can use vinegar in your dishwasher to cover up the smell of the food that the ants are attracted to. Peppermint oil also keeps ants away because they hate the smell.
What Type of Ants?
Knowing the type of ants you have can be useful in eliminating them. Different ants are attracted to different kinds of food. Identify the kind of ant to figure out what type of food they are looking for.
If the ants are black, you could be dealing with carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are larger than other black ants, so size is the easiest way to identify them. If they are 1/4th of an inch are bigger, they are likely carpenter ants, but if they are much smaller they may not be.
Carpenter ants love humid environments, so they are often attracted to your dishwasher. If you see any sawdust, then you probably have carpenter ants. Sometimes they harvest the material behind and next to the dishwasher.
Carpenter ants can cause serious damage to your home, so you need to eliminate them as quickly as possible. To get rid of carpenter ants you need to completely destroy their nest with insecticide.
Small Black Ants
Even though these ants eat other insects, they are also attracted to oil and grease. This can be an issue because it is sometimes hard to remove all of the grease from your dishes before running the dishwasher.
Using dishwashing soap on the dishes before putting them in will help some. It is also good to keep the area around the dishwasher clean at all times. Grease and oil should always be removed from the stove and oven. Use a strong degreasing cleaner to ensure you aren’t attracting more.
The term sugar ants usually covers any variety of ants that like to eat sweets. Most of them are very small and brown or even yellow. There are some species that are black, but they are even smaller than little black ants.
Sugar ants are annoying because they make their way into all of your cupboards and invade your sugar, baked goods, and anything else remotely sweet. These ants can be attracted to your dishwasher because of any left over sugars.
Prevention starts with removal of all sugar sources, especially those near your dishwasher. If you have sugar ants, there is a good chance you know what attracted them in the first place. Go ahead and eat that leftover cake!
If you see ants coming up through the dishwasher’s drain, then you could have sewer ants. You can use the same methods to get rid of them, except you should also clean out the drain and pipes.
A simple way to clean out the sewage system is to pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain. Then add a half cup of vinegar. It will start to bubble up, then leave it for ten or so minutes. Use this time to boil some water.
Now, pour a quart of boiling water down the drain. The ants inside will be killed, and any food or grease should be removed.
Where Are Ants Coming From?
You can sometimes locate entry points by following the ant trails. Remember that ants can make their way into the dishwasher through tiny holes or cracks.
Ants often find their way into the dishwasher from behind, so make sure to look at the back of the dishwasher as well.
Ants can find their way into your dishwasher through plumbing or the vents. Once you find their entry point, you can take care of it.
If ants are coming from behind the dishwasher, you may have a nest inside your home. If that is the case, you should eliminate it before the problem worsens.
The nest is sometimes located under the floor or dishwasher. Other times it is behind furniture or in the walls. This can make it hard to find, but if you locate it you can use poison or boric acid to kill it off.
If you have any cracks in the dishwasher then you should seal those off. This may not keep all of the ants out, but it definitely helps limit their access and numbers.
How To Get Rid of Ants
You may not want to use traditional poisons around your dishes, but there is another option. You can use a cup of vinegar combined with borax to eliminate any ants in the dishwasher.
Pour the solution down the drain. Then, use it to wipe down the interior of the dishwasher. Now, you want to run the dishwasher without any dishes to make sure there are no ants inside. This will also help to remove any leftover food residue.
Now that you have eliminated the ants in the dishwasher, you have to get rid of additional ants and the nest. If you haven’t located the nest, you should use bait.
Bait is not a quick solution, so if you have carpenter ants you may want to find the nest and destroy it with insecticide. However, bait works well because the ants will take it back to their nest to poison it.
Bait has two components, food and poison. By now you should have identified the type of ant you have in and around your dishwasher. Use a type of bait that works for your ants.
You can buy some from the store, but it is also possible to make some yourself. Borax is a mild poison that kills ants and can be combined with powdered sugar or peanut butter. Sugar ants will go for sugar by itself and grease ants like peanut butter.
Once you kill off the nest, just be sure to use effective prevention methods and your dishwasher will remain ant free.