Does Febreze Kill Ants? [With Active Ingredient Research]

Febreze is a household name for a reason – it gets rid of odors like no other product can. But does Febreze kill ants? Some people swear by it, saying that it will instantly kill them. However, other people say that it doesn’t work at all. So, what’s the truth?

Febreze immediately kills ants upon contact; all you need to do is spray it directly on the ants, and eventually, the ants will die. However, it is important to note that Febreze is not known for being an ant killer and should be used as a stopgap for killing ants.

The amount of Febreze you will need to use to kill the ants will change depending on the concentration of the active ingredients.

Be sure to check the label to see what percentage of the active ingredients are in the product you purchased before using it.

But what are those ingredients, and how much?

febreze bottle

What Are The Ingredients That Make Febreze Lethal to Ants?

Febreze contains chemicals that are toxic to ants.

Each ingredient has a specific purpose in creating Febreze but that doesn’t change the fact that it helps to kill ants and aid in pest control.

These chemicals work together to create a deadly concoction for ants.

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Here are those five main ingredients in Febreze:


This active ingredient in Febreze makes it very effective at killing ants.

Ants are very sensitive to alcohol; even a tiny amount can kill them.


This is another alcohol-based ingredient that helps to kill ants.

It works by disrupting their nervous systems, causing them to become paralyzed and die.

PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil

This thickening agent helps keep the other ingredients in Febreze “fresh.”

It’s also an ant killer, which can coat their exoskeleton and suffocate them.


Linalool is a group of essential oils that give Febreze its signature fresh scent.

It’s also toxic to ants and can immediately kill them if they come into contact with it.


Limonene, another essential oil, works with Linalool to create that lovely Febreze Smell.

women smelling a good smell

It’s also an ant killer, which can dissolve their exoskeletons and kill them.

There are a ton more ingredients that could probably scare you and the ants off within Febreze.

Check out a complete list here from the consumer product information database.

What ingredients of Febreze are on the Chemical of Concern List?

From our research, we did find some chemicals that were listed in the consumer products information database, labeled as a Chemical of Concern

This list includes

  • Ethanol
  • SD Alcohol 38B
  • Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde
  • d-Limonene
  • Linalool
  • Propylene glycol
  • Triethanolamine
  • Acetophenone
  • Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

Being labeled on the chemical of concern list doesn’t immediately mean that the ingredient is “bad.”

What it means is that the compound is petroleum based.

Petroleum-based substances go through a risk-related assessment before being allowed to be used in commercial products.

This means that while there is a risk associated with these compounds, the gain from using them is seen as higher.

risk vs reward
Man monitoring risk and benefits in investment or medicine by sliding a controller. Composite image between a 3d illustration and photography.

How Does Febreze Air Freshener Kill Ants?

Febreze is an air freshener that is not short of uses.

Not only does it make your home smell nice, but it can also be used for killing insects.

Here are the six ways Febreze kills ants:

Causing them to suffocate

The chemicals in Febreze are absorbed by the ant’s outer skeleton, eventually leading to their death by suffocation.

We know it seems weird that ants suffocate through their body, but it does happen.

Drying them out

The alcohol in Febreze dries out the ant’s exoskeleton, causing the fragile creatures to dehydrate and die.

Clogging their breathing holes

The chemicals in Febreze clog the ant’s spiracles (breathing holes), again causing them, you guessed it, to suffocate.

Poisoning them

The chemicals in Febreze are poisonous to ants and can kill them.

Remember, some of the sweeter-smelling ones will attract some tastes.

Confusing them

The smell of Febreze confuses ants and makes it difficult for them to find their way back to their nest.

Ants will travel far from the nest in search of food, but without their pheromone trail to guide them to and from, they’re pretty useless.

Febreze ruins that trail!

ants on a trail

Attracting them

Ants despise citrus but love sweets.

The Non-citrus sweet smell of Febreze actually can attract ants, which can lead them into a trap.

However, once ants are dead in an area, they will release oleic acid, which tells other ants to stay away.


Will Febreze Air Freshener Kill Ants?

Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is an active ingredient in Febreze air freshener, a poison that kills ants. If you have an ant problem, you can kill them by directly spraying Febreze air freshener on the ants. The spray will also leave a fresh, clean scent in the room.

The likelihood of Febreze air freshener killing insects and ants depends on how long the ants are exposed to the spray.

The longer you spray them, the higher your chances of killing them.

Febreze air freshener will kill ants that come in contact with the spray, but it may take longer to kill pests that are further away from the insect spray.

This is because the air will dilute the active ingredients.

Here are reasons why Febreze will kill ants:

Febreze contains chemicals that are ant poisons.

The active ingredient in Febreze is sometimes also used in insecticides that can kill ants.

Some of these ingredients may be toxic to ants (and humans), which include ethanol, propylene glycol, Triethanolamine, and many more.

See that list here.

When applied to an ant colony, Febreze will kill the ants that come into contact with it.

Febreze will not kill all of the ants in a colony.

If Febreze is used repeatedly on an ant colony, it will eventually kill all the worker ants.

Sadly, since the queen is usually hidden, Febreze will probably not kill the queen ant.

queen ant

Febreze air fresheners dry out ants’ bodies.

Ants rely on their bodies to collect moisture, hydrate and protect themselves.

When their bodies are dried out, they will eventually die.

Febreze will disrupt the ants’ communication.

Ants communicate with each other through pheromones.

When Febreze is applied to an ant colony, the ants’ pheromones are disrupted, and the ants can no longer communicate with each other.

This will eventually lead to the death of the entire colony.

Febreze will interfere with the ants’ ability to feed.

Ants feed on sugar and other sweet substances.

When Febreze is applied to an ant colony, the ants’ food sources are disrupted, and the ants will eventually starve to death.

Febreze will interfere with ants’ reproduction.

Ants reproduce by laying eggs.

When Febreze is applied to an ant colony, the ants’ egg-laying sites are disrupted, and the ants will eventually be unable to reproduce.

In extreme scenarios, this could lead to the death of the entire colony.

If you notice ants creating holes in your home, don’t panic.

You can do many things to eliminate them, including using Febreze.

ant eggs

How to Use Febreze in Your House

Depending on the size of your house, you might need more than one Febreze spray. Febreze works best in small, enclosed spaces, and you can use it in your living room, bedroom, or office. Avoid spraying Febreze directly on food or surfaces that come into contact with food.

While it’s true that Febreze won’t kill every ant in a colony, it is an effective way to get rid of ants.

If you have an ant problem, try using Febreze and see if it works.

You may be surprised by the results.

When to Use Febreze to Kill Cockroaches, Bed Bugs, and Ants?

Febreze air fresheners are unique, unlike most indoor ant killers.

They instantly kill bed bugs and ants on contact, and their strong scent will keep cockroaches away.

Here are seven situations where you should use Febreze to kill bugs and ants and control pests:

stop ants sign with black and white

In the kitchen: Cockroaches are often attracted to food in kitchens. Febreze will keep them away and make your kitchen smell fantastic.

Under the sink: Ants like moisture, so they often build their nests under sinks, and Febreze will kill them and prevent them from returning.

In the bathroom: Bed bugs and other bugs are attracted to warmth, so they often hide in mattresses and couches.

Febreze will kill them and make your bathroom smell nice and fresh.

In the bedroom: Cockroaches are most active at night and in darkness, so they often hide in bedrooms.

Febreze’s long last scent will keep them away and make your bedroom smell great.

In the living room: Ants are attracted to warmth, so they often build their nests in living rooms.

Febreze will kill them and make your living room smell fresh.

In the office: Bed bugs are attracted to dead skin, so they often hide in beds, desks, and chairs.

Febreze removes the human odor from this leftover dead skin while simultaneously killing the bed bugs.

In the car: Cockroaches are attracted to darkness, so they often hide in cars.

Febreze will keep them away and make your car smell great.

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What Precautions Should You Take When Using Febreze?

Wear gloves: The ingredients in Febreze can be harmful if they come into contact with your skin.

Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Avoid contact with your eyes: The ingredients in Febreze can cause severe damage if it comes into contact with your eyes.

If you get Febreze in your eyes, flush them with water for 15 minutes.

Keep Febreze out of reach of children and pets: The ingredients in Febreze can be harmful if ingested.

Keep Febreze out of reach of children and pets to prevent them from accidentally eating it.

It smells THAT good.

Read the label carefully: Be sure to read the label and follow the direction on the label before using Febreze.

The label will contain important information about the ingredients in Febreze and how to use it safely.

If you don’t follow the directions, you may not be using Febreze correctly, which could lead to health risks.

green sign directions

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Febreze

When killing small insects like ants, dust mites, stink bugs, and fruit flies, most people think of Febreze as an air freshener, not a go-to.

However, many don’t know that Febreze can be one of the most effective indoor ant killers.

Here are seven tips on how to get the most out of your Febreze freshener to kill insects:

Use Febreze in combination with other insect sprays: This will amplify the effects of both products and help you kill more insects.

Spray Citrus Flavored Febreze directly on insects: The strong chemicals will kill them quickly, and the citrusy smell will keep them away.

bunch of lemons
Hand-drawn watercolor seamless border with yellow citrus lemons. Bright summer holiday vintage frame, tasty fruit healthy juicy ripe

Leave a spray bottle of Febreze open in rooms where you’ve seen insects:
This will allow you to grab the bottle whenever you see insects around quickly.

Use Febreze on a regular basis: This will help keep your home free of insects and also help to freshen up the air.

Febreze is also effective at killing roaches: Spray it around their hiding places, and they’ll be gone in no time.

If you have a pet, use Febreze to keep fleas awaySpray your pet’s bedding and sleeping area with the freshener, and they’ll stay away.

Don’t spray your pet!

Febreze can also be used to kill flies: Spray it around their breeding areas, and they’ll be gone in no time.

Febreze is also effective at killing moths: Spray the freshener around areas where you’ve seen them, and they’ll quickly disappear.

Final Thoughts, So, Does Febreze Kill Ants?

Yes, Febreze does kill ants.

It can be an effective insecticide when used correctly.

Just be sure to take the necessary precautions and follow the directions on the label.

With a little bit of effort, you can keep your home insect-free and smell great at the same time!

You can walk into an average home supply store and purchase a Febreze fabric freshener for pest control.

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1.) Kim, Byung-Jin. “Why Do We Need to Study Ants.” Proceedings of National Institute of Ecology 3.2 (2022): 73-76.