Car clinic: How do I get rid of ants from my car?

Your motoring problems solved

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Q. I recently noticed a couple of ants in my car, and now they appear to be multiplying. How can I get rid of them without damaging the carpets and seats? 

JA, Yeovil, Somerset


A. Ants are attracted by all things sweet and sugary, so the first thing to do is to remove any food, juices or fizzy drinks left in the car, and clean up any crumbs or spillages — even small residues of cola can prove irresistible to ants.

Use a household vacuum cleaner to get the carpets totally clean (a portable car vacuum is not powerful enough for deep cleaning), and don’t forget to do the boot as well.

Next, clean the interior trim. Ants don’t like certain smells, so use a cleaner with a lemon fragrance, or apply a few drops of peppermint oil (£4.99 for 10ml at Holland & Barrett) to a damp cloth and wipe it over the seats. Black pepper on the floormats would be another repellent, but you must be careful not to apply so much that you end up sneezing at the wheel.

The ants are obviously coming in from outside, so try parking elsewhere — both at home and at work. As they are most likely getting into the cabin via the tyres, consider spraying these with Ant Killer Spray (£4.49 for one litre at

As a last resort, place bait stations on the floor of the car, but be careful not to drive with them in situ — and never leave them around when children are present. Antstop! Bait Station costs £4.99 for two (, while Rentokil Ant Killer Gel is £2.95 for two ( ). Wandering ants pick up the poison and pass it on to other ants before succumbing to it.

You could also spread ant powder around the car tyres and on your driveway, although here again it’s best not to if you have small children or pets. 

Sunday Times Driving car clinic expert: Dave Pollard

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory

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