Frugal Tips to Help You Deal with Ants, Gophers, and Stains

A couple weeks ago, right here on Lynnae’s blog, I asked for your help with some problems I was having around the house. The response I received was awesome and very much appreciated! As a fun little experiment, I followed several of your recommendations and today I wanted to share my results. Drumroll please…..

Ant Invasion

I had a major ant problem in the kitchen and bathroom area. Thanks to some great tips from all of you, had is the key word in the previous sentence! Here are some of the things I tried and the results that followed:

  • Cinnamon – Several readers suggested cinnamon for getting rid of ants, so I put a row of cinnamon in front of an exterior door that they were coming under. This definitely works, ants approached the cinnamon and quickly turned around and marched the other way. My only concern is that the ants just went and found another tiny hole to get through. More of a deterrent than an eradication.
  • Terro Liquid Ant Bait – My Winner! I like the liquid ant bait because the ants swarm to it and then take it back to their nest and it kills ’em all! Plus, it is made with Borax, a natural mineral mined in the desert of southern California. The product will kill ants but not harm pets or humans. Note: resist the temptation to kill the ants by hand once they find the bait, you have to let the ants take the liquid back to their nest for the eradication to be complete! This really worked well for us, we placed 4 liquid ant baits in strategic spots around the house and we have not had ants since!
  • Baby Powder – Also, on a reader’s suggestion, I tried baby powder and the ants definitely scoffed their noses at it and turned the other way and would not cross it. But I had the same concerns with it as I did the cinnamon, I think it is a band-aid rather than a complete problem solver.
  • Windex – Spraying Windex directly on ants definitely killed them. I also tried just spraying water on them, with a teaspoon of vinegar added, and it also kills them, just not as fast. So I am thinking that this is a good solution for spot treatments when you don’t have a big problem like I had.

Gophers In The Lawn

I also received some great tips on how to get rid of the pesky rodents that invaded my lawn:

  • Get a Cat – This tip sparked some controversy among commenters as the argument was made that feline friends should not be bought solely as exterminators as they would also kill birds and other wanted wildlife. Bottom line: We did not buy or rent a cat for the purpose of this experiment. So let’s move on!
  • Castor Oil – This was suggested as a solution for moles. Apparently, the castor oil solution covers the bugs that the moles eat, which gives them diarrhea and then they head for your neighbor’s lawn! That is a hilarious visual. Since I am sure I have gophers, which eat vegetation, I did not try castor oil.
  • Cat Poop In The Hole! – I would have loved to try this! But since we don’t have a cat it made it hard to find the required ingredient.
  • Critter Repellent – My Winner! Catherine suggested a product called Critter Repellent and it looked really promising so I bought a small amount to try for $15. I liked the fact that it is non-toxic and the odor of it acts as the deterrent, keeping unwanted gophers away from gardens and lawns.The smell of the product actually imitates that of the gophers main enemy, the fox! Apparently it actually smells like fox urine and scares off gophers and other prey. I was a bit skeptical when I first applied the granules to the lawn, but it really did work! It has been over 2 weeks since I applied it and there has been ZERO new gopher activity. The only downside is that the treatment will only last for about a month.

Nasty Stains

Also, with 3 kids, my wife and I needed some advice on how to get rid of some really nasty stains. Here are the results from all the great comments:

  • Dish Soap – I have to say that Dawn dish soap applied to grease and food stains really did a great job! Also, like Rose commented, let it sit for several minutes on the article of clothing before putting it in the washing machine.
  • Oxy Clean – Another excellent suggestion, I picked some up at our local Home Depot and we used it several times on grass stains and food stains with great success!
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Worked great on a blood stain on a pair of pants. I was amazed!
  • Other tips we didn’t try but would like to at some point: Goop soap (in white tube), Simple Green, Stain Devils, vinegar, and club soda.

Thanks to all who left a comment on my original post! Please feel free to comment on my results and add any new home remedies that you have used with success.


By , on Sep 10, 2008
Kyle James Kyle James owns and operate a website called which specializes in coupon codes for over 750 stores, organized in 25 shopping categories. He also has a blog, where he writes about frugal living and personal finance tips as well as other musings about the adventures and mis-adventures of raising 3 active kids.


Popular Articles


  1. Rob in Madrid:

    Any idea how to get rid of underarm stains in white Tees? I read somewhere, but can’t find it anymore, but it said something along the lines of salt vinager and hotwater.

    Any suggustions anyone?

  2. Kim:

    Wow – I ran across this post by accident, but as I happen to be sharing my house with a population of ants, I’m glad I did : D!

    This sounds stupid, but ever since I saw “A Bug’s Life” I have a hard time killing the critters! I like the deterrent methods, myself.

    Time to go get a few pounds of cinnamon from Costco!

  3. Zena:

    I think using ant spray does work, or one can use anti ant powder as well.

  4. I’m so glad the Critter Repellent worked for you! Better than my next suggestion which is Human urine (which has also been known to work, and you really don’t want to know why I know this).

  5. LANA:

    Hey! I have a good link for you which I have posted on my own blog….

    This link lists a bunch of stain removers for virtually anything!

  6. General bug deterrent – mint tea bags. We have them all over the house in the corners, under cabinets, etc – and the ants pretty much stopped.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer and Legal Mumbo Jumbo

I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I state that I have a financial relationship with companies mentioned in this website. This may include receiving access to free products and services for product and service reviews and giveaways.

Any references to third party products, rates, or websites are subject to change without notice. I do my best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers.

For additional information, please review our legal disclaimers and privacy policy.