Whilst the bathroom is perhaps the last place you expected to see these tiny bugs, it’s actually a common occurrence, so don’t panic: you probably aren’t painfully unclean, you just got a little unlucky. And we’re here to help!
Even though they’re gathered in your plughole now, it’s unlikely that their original way in was to crawl through your drainage system originally – they probably just want the dead skin cells, hair and other nastiness that’s in there.
The little blighters can easily sneak into your plumbing in search of food debris or even a patch of moisture they can have for dinner, having crept into your bathroom from another room, through a crack in the walls or around the window.
However they managed to breach your safe showering haven, you want to get rid of them immediately, right? Simply read our guide to locating and removing the source of your problem, then learn how to keep them out for good.
Ant-icipate Their Moves – Locate Potential Entry Points And Seal Them
If you’ve spotted a leak around your shower or bathtub, it’s possible that the wooden studs in your walls have become damp; this moist, inviting environment is a dream house for ants, and you need to seal that up right away.
Scan the rest of your bathroom’s sealed or caulked areas, especially in between any tiles or the bottom of your tub, where it connects to the floor, making sure there are no gaps, cracks or breaches. Anything looks loose? Seal it on up!
Remember you’ll need to wait a good 24 hours before you can then use your bathroom, as the steam generated and any splashes can interrupt the drying process and you’ll be right back where you started.
Soap And Essential Oil Traps
If you can’t quite figure out where they’re coming from, but they’re definitely there, you can set up little ant capture bowls by filling them with dish soap and water, or diluted essential oils like peppermint, citrus or tea tree.
As they’ll be attracted to the powerful scents of both, they’ll crawl over to investigate and become trapped in the thick soapy water, which you can then pour away when full and refill if necessary. Keep repeating this step until they’re gone!
This method is a deterrent as opposed to an eradication method, however, and you’ll likely have to follow it in conjunction with some of our other advice in order to eradicate the ant invasion entirely.
Natural Ant Removal – Middle School Chemistry Style
Go take a look in your kitchen cupboards or pantry. Do you have any baking soda and vinegar? Congratulations: you’re ready to take out that pesky colony in your pipes, for free and all-natural. No chemicals needed.
Simply prepare and pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed immediately by half a cup of (preferably white) vinegar. Watch and be amazed as it fizzes like a science fair volcano, being careful to avoid your eyes!
It’ll probably smell kind of strange, but that won’t linger – wait ten minutes and then flush it all through with boiling hot water. Hopefully that should clear up your problem, but if not, there are still other options to try.
Step It Up A Notch: Borax
Otherwise known as sodium tetraborate, Borax is a fine white mineral, commonly used as a household cleaning product across the world; those with kids who like to make slime might already have some! It’s also very useful for getting rid of ants!
Being sure to thoroughly ventilate your kitchen first (open those windows), on your stove combine a cup of boiling water, two cups of sugar and two or three tablespoons of Borax powder, stirring thoroughly until boiling, then remove from heat.
Coat your drain with the mixture that remains (make sure you have washed first, and keep kids and pets away!) then wait: the ants will come for the sugar, also pick up the poisonous Borax and take it back to the rest of the colony.
Once consumed, this concoction is fatal to ants, so they’ll all be wiped out in one fell swoop and you should have solved your problem – be sure to rinse your drain out thoroughly with hot water before your next bath or shower!
Admit Defeat – Call Pest Control
If you’ve tried all of the above at-home remedies and none of them seem to be working, with your pest problem continuing to persist, it might be time to bring in the big guns and call a professional in to help.
It could be that your drains need a thorough cleaning with a pipe snake or even more hardcore equipment that’s harder to come by, or perhaps there’s a problem in the plumbing that your untrained eyes can’t see.
Before giving in and seeking assistance, you could always pick up and try some ant traps manufactured by extermination companies, that utilize chemicals not commonly available in your home or at the supermarket, to see if that helps.
Problem Solved? Keep Them Out For Good!
Now that your bathroom drain is ant-free, you want to keep it that way. Regularly cleaning and de-clogging your shower drain should be part of your bathroom maintenance routine, being sure to keep the whole room scrubbed up.
Of course, we all slack off from time to time, but keeping on top of your bathroom trash can – especially if you dispose of menstrual products or food waste in there… the latter of which you probably shouldn’t – is a great place to start.
As we’ve already explained, the only reason ants will invade your bathroom is because they can sense something delicious in there – whether that’s leftovers from your dinner, or your body!
Weekly bleaching, wiping, sweeping and spraying every week (we know, it’s hard!) should help you to prevent any ant infestation issues in the future, and you’ll be grateful you can shower or take a bath without company!
Likewise, keeping track of any cracks, leaks or broken seals in your bathroom – basically any potential entrances for unwanted intruders – and getting rid of them as soon as you can will also keep your bathroom bug free. Good luck!