Mosquitoes flying around

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Laundry Room

March 19, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Ants are a common household pest that comes in through cracks or unsealed windows and doors in constant search of food. Ants can be expertly stealthy when setting up a new colony near or in your house. Once a scout ant finds a source of food or an ideal space for a new home, it will return to the colony to bring others. By the time you notice a steady stream of ants, removal can be a huge hassle. 

While we’ve all heard of ants in the kitchen or pantry, another common place for them is your laundry room. Laundry rooms often provide the type of conditions ants crave. Read this detailed guide to learn what attracts ants to your home, why you find ants in your laundry hamper, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent future problems.

ants crawling on a wooden floor

What attracts ants inside the home? 

Ants are attracted to any spaces with a reliable food source, water source, and hidden, dark places to build and maintain colonies. They often enter homes because of the smells that lead them to food crumbs or sweet-smelling items. Finding ants in the laundry is a pretty typical household problem. Laundry rooms are often the most humid areas of the home, can have occasional puddles of stagnant water, and include sweet-smelling detergents and treatments ants can mistake for food. 

If piles of dirty laundry include any moisture, perfumes, or food stains, they can become overrun with ants looking to set up shop. Infant and baby clothing, in particular, can attract ants because of the smells of many infant detergents and the number of food particles on these clothes.

Are ants harmful?

Ants can contaminate food but don’t generally pose a health hazard. That said, some ants have bites or stings that can produce welts, allergic reactions, or blisters. Most ant bites and stings heal in about a week, but it’s always a good idea to get a doctor’s opinion if you have concerns about your ant bite. 

There are over 12,000 different species of ants in the world, and although they have many things in common, they can differ widely from species to species. The most common household ants in the U.S. are little black ants, carpenter ants, and argentine ants.

Can ants survive the washing machine? 

The short answer is yes. If you find ants inside your washing machine, they’ve likely created a colony within the unit. Ants can live in the parts of your washing machine outside the area that cycles water. Because they’re small and crafty builders, they can create complex colonies in areas you don’t even have access to. However, if you have ants in your dirty laundry and toss it in the washer, chances are they won’t survive the submersion in water or the washer’s powerful movement.

Laundry in washing machine and basket indoors

How to get rid of ants in the laundry room 

There are a few ways to rid of ants in your laundry hamper, washing machine, or laundry room. First, ensure the room and the dryer vent are sealed, and there are no easy access points to your space. Check your washing machine for cracks or dents. Next, keep an organized laundry space, and don’t leave dirty clothes on the floor or in the machine for long periods without washing them. Keep detergents and scent boosters sealed when not in use. 

To completely handle an ant problem in your washing machine or laundry room, a professional pest control service is your best bet. 

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