Ants in Carpet: How to Get Rid Them?

Although we usually don’t consider ants nasty bugs like cockroaches or, say carpet worms (carpet beetles’ larvae), they are still a big nuisance when they get into your house whatever the reason is. If you find carpenter ants, it can even be a sign of serious structural damage!

In this detailed guide, I will tell you how to get rid of ants in carpet and figure out where they come from and why. Read on attentively so as not to miss anything important and get rid of those pesky insects and walk on your carpet barefooted without disgust again.

Fortunately, most ant infestations are quite easy to stop.

Why Are There Ants on My Carpet?

Ant in sugar

Before you learn how to get rid of ants in your room with carpet, let’s figure out what attracts them to such an inedible part of your home interior!

This part is probably the easiest as the main two things that attract these insects to your carpet are:

Food leftovers

Ants are omnivorous, which means that they can feed on anything. However, the most delicious meals for them are sugary substances, because sugar is a key ingredient of ant survival as a whole kind.

So, yeah, several breadcrumbs are unlikely to bring a colony to your carpet, but several drops of coke or a tiny piece of candy is a super-efficient bait.

Floor rot beneath the carpet

Sometimes water leaks and excessive dampness in the floor sills may go unnoticed for months or even years. Unsurprisingly, moisture will eventually trigger wood decay.

Once the floor sills start rotting, they become a cozy dwelling for carpenter ants as they prefer moist and rotting wood to normal dry wood. As a result, they may occasionally find a way to your carpet or smell something tasty and try to find it in the mat fibers.

Can they live on the carpet?

Although carpet ants seem to stay on your carpet forever when they come, that’s not what will happen. Ants aren’t dumb and won’t stay on your rug longer than they need to eat and carry away all the available food. There’s just no way to build a nest in a carpet.

Big black ant on the sand

Most probably, they will inhabit a convenient nearby spot in a wall, behind appliances, or under the floorboards, if they have crevices, holes, or rotten parts.

In the case of carpenter ant infestation, the problem might be much worse than a few ants on the carpet as these pests dig tunnels and damage wooden structures. Call an exterminator if you see these ants have your house inspected.

Can they live under the carpet?

It’s as untypical for ants to live under your carpets as on their surface. However, if the floor under the carpet aggregates moisture, starts to rot, or makes it easy for ants to visit the carpet for feeding due to any structural damage, ants may consider settling down there.

If you find a colony under the carpet, inspect the floors for signs of damage or moisture accumulation. Usually, the issue is hidden somewhere in the basement.

Do they like or eat carpets?

Ants have strong self-preservation instincts, so they actually don’t like being exposed on your carpets as “predators” where you may easily notice them.

They don’t eat carpets either. It means that any holes in the carpet are most probably the signs that you have other common fabric pests. Try to identify clothes moths or carpet beetles. In some cases, ants may infest your carpet at the same time as other pests.

Can You Spray Ant Killer Sprays on the Carpet?

Direct use of liquid ant insecticides – even the sprayed ones – is highly unrecommended because of the lasting toxic residue and terrible smell.

Kids and pets are especially sensitive, which makes pesticides very dangerous for them. If you apply a liquid insecticide, there’s also a risk of staining the entire carpet.

Even if you find a non-staining option, it will still leave toxins all around. This being said, the best ant killer for carpet should be dry so that you can vacuum it when the problem is solved.

Step by Step Guide on How to Get the Ants Out of Your Carpet

Vacuuming dirty carpet

Now, let’s get straight to the action and learn how to get rid of ants on carpet! There are not so many methods to do that, so I included the most effective ones to ensure that you succeed.

Follow this guide and the ants will most probably disappear completely. If not, consider calling a professional.

Method 1: Install Ant Baits

Given that ants are inborn collectors and carry everything they find into their nests, you can make them bring the poison inside. Once they deliver the bait to their queen, it will die and the entire colony will eventually follow it to a better world.

Fortunately for you, ant colonies can’t exist without a queen, so there’s no need to catch every other ant to eliminate the infestation.

Modern ant bait stations lure all household ant types similarly fast and ensure full colony elimination. I recommend placing the bait next to the carpet to attract ants before they reach the carpet.

Method 2: Apply Ant Carpet Powder

It will certainly be annoying to wait until the entire colony dies out, so you can sprinkle some ant insecticide powder to kill the bugs that wander around the carpet. If you find a large congregation, simply cover it with powder for a quick kill.

Method 3: Apply Diatomaceous Earth

If you fell victim to the rarest infestation scenario and the nest is somewhere under the carpet, get ready to work a bit more. Ants nest under carpets only if there are suitable conditions down there, such as decaying floor sills, cracked boards, or cracked concrete underlying flooring. Such spots are hidden from the eyes and work as perfect shelters for all kinds of ants.

I hear you saying that method 1 will work perfectly well in this case, and you are nothing but right, but there’s also a remedy that combines the deadliness and speed of the first two methods. It’s called diatomaceous earth and it’s also a non-toxic natural ant killer.

If you choose it, buy the product in powder form and blow the powder into the floor cracks under the carpet using the applicator. The finely dispersed powder will fill the hollow and kill all the ants that contact it almost instantly.

There’s a drawback of this method you should know about too, though. It’s hard to reach nests that are located far away from the entry. That’s why I recommend feeding ants the poisonous bait first and then blocking their way out with diatomaceous earth in a few hours.

Natural Ant Repellents

You already know that those insecticide ant sprays are dangerous, so I covered a couple of extra natural remedies in addition to diatomaceous earth – borax and vinegar. Both products can be found in almost every home as they have a wide range of domestic uses.

You can apply borax similar to diatomaceous earth and blow it into the cracks or sprinkle it over the carpet. It would take much longer for this product to work, though.

Be ready to wait for a day or even more until it kills the ants. Don’t forget to vacuum the carpet and the room once the job is done.

Balsamic vinegar

As for vinegar, it kills ants quite quickly, but it’s not recommended to apply it directly to the carpet as it can damage the fibers and ruin your beautiful carpet.

Vinegar is too acidic and damages natural fibers and even some artificial ones, so it’s too risky to experiment. Pour it down the cracks and that’s all.

How to Prevent Infestations in Future

The most effective way to prevent re-infestations is to keep your house clean all the time and regularly inspect the house for damp spots and signs of wood rot. Besides, you should mend all the cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors to make your house harder to access and nest in.

It’s also a good idea to look for signs of carpenter ants in wooden structures. These destroyers usually leave holes and horizontal grooves in the wood. If you find these signs, call an exterminator until the damage gets too costly to repair.

FAQ on Ants in Carpet

Leafcutter Ants working together

Here are several more helpful tips in a brief Q&A format.

Will vacuuming help to get rid of ants?

Life will be much simpler if vacuuming solved the problem once and for all. Unfortunately, this way you will only get rid of those ants that are within reach, while the queen will still make new ants.

Furthermore, some ants may stay in the dust bag and get back to work if you don’t empty it thoroughly enough. You should vacuum the infested area only after successful treatment to remove the powder and dead ants.

Can I get rid of ants in my carpet naturally?

Yep! You can kill ants in carpet using borax or diatomaceous earth. Both products are natural, but require precautions when used. Don’t let kids and pets play around to prevent inhaling and digesting as it may lead to serious health problems.

Take your kids and pets to the hospital immediately if they get injured by any of the products.

Why are there ants in my room even though there is no food?

Moisture is the answer! Ants can’t survive without it and always seek water sources. If the weather is hot and dry, ants will migrate to the nearest source, which can be right in your household.

Inspect the whole house for signs of leaks, condensation, dampness, etc. Make sure to eliminate it ASAP. Otherwise, ants or many other pests may come to quench their thirst.

No More Carpet Wildlife!

Now you know how to get ants out of carpet and prevent re-infestations. Start treating the problem as soon as possible so as not to let it grow, keep your house clean, and ensure structural integrity at least a few times in the year.

Finally, always remember to follow the safety rules and avoid doing any extermination procedures when kids and pets are around! You are also welcome to ask me any questions related to the topic unless they are already answered above.

Do you know of any other effective methods to fight ants in the carpet? I will be grateful if you share them below too.

Also read


  • Diatomaceous Earth(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles: Identifying and Controlling Fabric Pests(NC A&T State University)
  • Sugar is key ingredient to evolutionary success of ants, researchers find(Tropical Research Institute)


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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