The last couple of months have seen an invasion of ants in my office building. They are mostly a minor nuisance except that they keep getting into my opened bottled water where they collect on the surface of the water and either drown or invite their buddies in for a swim.

I've tried putting the bottle (1/2 gal) in all sorts of hard-to-reach places, but given a couple of days, the ants always find it. Once opened, there is no way to close it up air tight again. It has a plastic spout that fits over the opening and they seem to be looking for the moisture. I've begun filtering my water through a cloth when I want a drink, but this is really getting annoying.

My question is there some non-toxic, non-smelly substance I could apply around the base of my water bottle that would repel the ants once and for all? This is inside my office so chalk and insecticide are not an option. Any other ideas are more than welcome!

4 Answers 4


You could always keep your bottle on a small brick inside a bowl with water in it. Think of it like a moat for a castle. The would drown in the bowl's water before they get to your bottle.

This isn't meant for this purpose, but is kind of similar to what I envisioned. This is not a product endorsement.

Dog bowl

  • Best idea I've seen so far. I'll accept it unless I see something better come by soon.
    – PJNoes
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 16:27

Try smearing a line of Vaseline all the way around your water bottle, an inch from the bottom. I have heard that ants don't know what to do about the sticky, goopy, petroleum jelly. (It's inexpensive, too!)

You'll need to avoid touching it yourself, of course. It's kind of hard to wipe off.


Ants seek out water because just like us, they need it to live. But unlike us, they can "smell" it, so unless you find a way to seal it up, they will find it every time.

Put a (new) condom over the top of your bottle. Find some that don't include lube...


Wipe some white vinegar. Ants do not like white vinegar.

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