How to Get Rid of Ants in Laundry & Washing Machine?

Do you have ants in the laundry? I understand how frustrating it gets to see these tiny creatures crawling inside the washing machine.

Ants are generally attracted to laundry and washing machines. For a quick solution, wash your clothes to get rid of ants and use a mixture of baking soda and sugar near ant trails. You can also use ant baits to lure the ants out of the dirty laundry.

Ants can be a real nuisance. Even if the ants are only in open areas such as corners and the like, they can still cause a mess.

That is why it’s very important to take care of any ant infestation! It won’t hurt to know more about ant baits for washers and washing machines.

In this article, I will talk about the different ant bait products available for washing machines.

With the help of some online research, I was able to find out the best laundry ant bait product which worked in my washing machine and saved me from any further assaults on ants!

Let’s go!

Why Are Ants Attracted By Dirty Laundry?

Here are the different reasons why ants get into your laundry zone:

1. Sweat in Clothing

Ants are attracted to sweat. It’s the reason why ant trails can be found in the bedrooms, washing machines, and other areas of your house.

Ants will check if there’s sweat in your clothes. If it’s there, ants will start foraging for food and water.

Ants are also attracted to salt and sugar as they provide nutrients for them — Human sweat contains both. They like the sweet-sour taste of the sweat attached to your T-shirts, trousers, and other clothing.

If you exercise much, there might be a lot of sweaty clothing for ant colonies to enjoy. (If you’re an athlete, please be extra vigilant about ants getting into your laundry.)

2. Ant Food Sources

Are there any snacks in your laundry? Have you had some chocolate or cheese snack that was left out in your clothes? Bad news for you because now it will be a perfect meal for the ants, especially at night.

No matter how well you take care of food crumbs not getting on your clothes, there will still be some crumbs left. The ant colony will come and feast happily.

It really won’t take long for the ant colonies to be there as they release pheromones to call their mates.

3. Baby Clothing

Do you have a baby in your house? Then its clothing will also contain feeding traces of baby formula. When those clothes end up in the laundry basket, foraging ants will ultimately get to the food source.

This further encourages more ant visits in your kitchen area.

Baby clothing might also contain urine smell which significantly increases the chances of ant’s infestation.

4. Moisture or Wet Clothing

Of course, there will be wet clothes in your laundry. But often, this can be an invitation for the ants. It might not seem too inviting, but it gives the ants a reason to feed on your laundry.

The ant colony’s instinct is to seek out food, so if there are some damp clothes in your washing machine or dryer drum – there will be plenty of clues for them to come happily searching for food.

Many ant species have a high requirement for moisture and will feed on the laundry machine’s condensation mist. Think of ants as scavengers who often nest beneath one or more surfaces in your home, including walls, floors, and ceilings.

5. Darkness in the Laundry

Did you know that ants do not need light to reproduce their colonies? — Well, now you know!

Once they find that your laundry is oftentimes dark, they will make it their priority nesting area. Isolated environments are perfect for any pests. Carpenter ants are more likely to infest dark regions inside your house.

6. Laundry Detergent Smell

Ants are also attracted by laundry detergent. The sweet smell of detergent will attract the ant colonies to come closer. However, the detergents and other soaps act as a poison for ants.

Make sure that you wash the clothes well and no detergent is left unwashed.

Why Are Ants Attracted to My Towel?

Generally, ants are attracted to damp or dirty materials, which may explain why they are commonly seen near your towel. In some cases, ants may be attracted to the scent of soap scenting out of the towel.

Wet towels are an ideal source of moisture for ants. Ants will typically travel to places that frequently have a lot of water. Moreover, ant colonies often nest in moist areas such as under bathrooms and laundry basins.

Do Ants Survive in the Washing Machine?

Ants don’t usually survive in the washing machines because of the surfactants used in the laundry soap. The washing machine pumps ants away with the water. However, if the washing machine is nonfunctioning for a long time, ants may infest the washer and dryer.

In worst cases, ants may also cause damage to the washing machine’s body as ants can chew through certain plastics.

Moreover, laundry detergent and soap are poisonous to most pests and it makes washing machines inhabitable for ants.

Although most ants get drowned inside the washing machine when it’s turned on, there are some species that have evolved to fight against flooding.

Here’s a video for more information:

How Do I Get Rid of Ants in My Laundry?

Here are some useful steps that can help you get rid of ants in the laundry for sure:

1. Wash Off the Dirty Clothes

The first step to fight against ant invasion in the laundry is to clean your dirty clothes. If there are many unwashed clothes in your laundry area, chances are that ants might be able to survive in the washing machine.

To minimize the chances of ant infestation, make sure there is nothing present in the laundry that attracts ants. Otherwise, it will become an ant breeding zone again as soon as you stop taking preventive measures.

2. Spray the Detergent With Boiling Water On Anthills

If you see anthills or ant nests near the laundry area, flood it with boiling water. Make use of laundry detergent by mixing it with hot water and spraying it on ant nests to eradicate them.

Some laundry detergent manufacturers provide ant bait powder. This type of bait acts as food for ants because they can’t eat anything other than the poison in it.

Do you know that you can also Use Windex to Kill Ants?

3. Sprinkle Baking Soda & Powdered Sugar Near Ant Trails

Once you have demolished ant apartments, now it’s time to disrupt their roads, i.e., ant trails. Make a mixture of baking soda and sugar (ant bait) and sprinkle it on ant trails.

It’s necessary action to do because once ant trails are established, more and more ants will keep coming from the same path. Boric acid or Borax can also be used as an alternative to baking soda.

You can also use Febreze to kill ants near the washing machine instantly.

4. Mop Your Laundry Floor With Vinegar

Remember cleanliness is the solution to every pest problem. To get rid of ant infestation in the laundry area, it’s necessary that you keep your washing machine free from any kind of dirt or grease on flooring.

To do this, regularly mop your floors with vinegar and water mix because ants hate vinegar’s smell.

5. Use Pesticides Near Washing Machine

Ant baits are very important for getting rid of ant infestation in the laundry but if you have a general ant problem, such as carpenter ants, then insecticides can help.

Raid and Terro ant sprays are perfect ant killers that give immediate results.

Raid Ant and Roach Killer, Aerosol Spray with Essential Oils 11 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • Kills ants, roaches and over 20 household pests
  • Great for use around kids and pets, when used as direct
  • Kills insects quickly
  • Effective roach and ant killer (22,200) to use indoors, including sensitive areas such as kitchens
  • Made with lemongrass extract and geraniol synthesized from pine trees

You can’t use ant sprays on certain electronic items such as laptops, keyboards, laptops and scanners, etc. But you’re free to use them on your washing machine — Just make sure you’re not spraying too close to the wiring and the circuits.

However, it’s very important to remember that most ant repellent products are poisonous and as a result can pose secondary home contact poison dangers.


To sum up the entire information we can see the ant is attracted to the washing machine because of odor, moisture, or food. Also laundry detergent attracts ants by its sweet smell or by way of its pheromones (for insects).

Ants are also attracted to dark and damp places in the laundry and appliances.

Faizan Khan

Hey! This is Faizan. I love to explore different ways to control pests. PestCircle is where I share my knowledge by writing articles on different pest control techniques. I always enjoy giving out my knowledge and experience with people to help people deal with pests effectively.

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