Why Are Ants Attracted to Shoes? (You Won’t Like the Answer)

Not only dirty houses are a magnet for pesky ants. Without knowing you may be attracting ants into your house. Ants will look for resources in the most unimaginable places, just like your shoes for example.

Ants may be drawn to your shoes for a straightforward reason – they are after the sweat. However, there could be various other factors driving ants to take an interest in your stylish footwear.

If you’re curious about the causes of this ant behavior and seeking solutions to eliminate them, continue reading for some answers.

Reasons Why Are Ants Attracted to Shoes

ants on shoes

Ants have a purpose when they choose to infest shoes, if you are finding ants in your shoes check for the following reasons because one might be yours.

1. Your Shoes Are Dirty and Sweaty

Dirty and sweaty shoes are a paradise to hungry ants, they will invade them and will start collecting those precious resources. Ants will retrieve any resources from sweat they can, sodium and glucose are their favorite ones.

They can also retrieve the water from sweet if needed, a mineral-like sodium and the organic sugar contained in glucose are one of the main energy resources for ants, that’s why they love them so much.

2. Ants Are Looking For Shelter

In certain conditions, your shoes may provide a safe shelter for ants. If ants are too far away from their nest, they can utilize your shoes temporarily to provide them some shelter and at the same time provisions if they are sweaty.

Only in rare conditions, ants will nest permanently in your shoes. If they are abandoned and gain dust somewhere in your home, ants will interpret these signals as “abandonment” and will camp in.

3. You Have Food Crumbs on Them

It may seem impossible but your shoes can collect more than you are willing to admit. Even a piece of smelly chewing gum can be interpreted as food, but bread crumbs and other small pieces of food can enter as well in this list.

Just because they are merely crumbs don’t neglect that thought. Ants love small crumbs as they can be worth a whole day of food. They are opportunity scavengers known for not letting pass any opportunity to gather resources.

4. Your Shoes Are Old and Have Holes

Shoes with holes make ants enter them easily. They are more prone to get infested by ants than newer ones. Shoes can resemble nesting places, this is why ants like shoes that have holes in their soles or somewhere else.

Old shoes can provide a nice shelter for some tired ants, they can also use them to be a temporarily gathering place. They will store supplies and other stuff in them until they are ready to go. This is how they become the perfect ant hideout spot.

Bonus: Ants can be attracted to a lot of stuff, this is what you have to do.

How Do I Get Ants Out of My Shoes?

Now that you know the reasons why ants are getting attracted to your shoes, you need to know the proper method to remove them without ruining your precious shoes.

It is also a good idea to prevent them from coming back. Use the following tips to get rid of ants from your shoes.

Ants infesting a grey shoe
A few ants on a grey shoe.

Wash Them in Hot Water

Washing your shoes with some warm water can be a quick way to dispose of an ant infestation, thus it will remove any stuck residues that ants left behind. You can wash them by hand or in your washing machine.

Make sure to check the manufacturer label before doing any washing on them, some shoe material doesn’t allow the use of water. In these cases, you should use a brush and gently dust ants out of them.

Keep them clean and tidy before applying any product at all. If you squash any ants accidentally, they might ruin the shoe material and we don’t want that.

Start Using Shoe Racks

Having your shoes high from the ground with a shoe rack may be a great way to keep ants out of them. Anything close to the ground is basically screaming ants to pay it a visit.

If your shoes are expensive or you really enjoy them, consider buying a rack for them.

A rack will also be useful to organize your shoes and make you create a have a habit of cleaning them. This will not also keep them higher from any possible ant but also will make sure you are preventing ants from lusting on them.

Rub Some Essential Oils on Them

If there is not much you can do to prevent ants in your shoes (some materials will absorb sweat no matter how you clean them). But the good news is, that you can always use some essential oils in them to keep ants out.

Ants hate certain essential oils and fragrances such as tea tree oil, citrus, and peppermint. These are perfect to repel ants from your shoes, just a few drops will do the trick into keeping them far away.

If they are still coming increase the dosage a bit to the point it is working.

Pro tip: This is the main reason why ants are drinking all of your vape juice. 😱😲😲😲

Clean Them Thoroughly

Another way to eliminate and prevent ants from shoes is to keep them always in prestige condition. You can do this by having always the care to clean your shoes after you’ve used them.

This can be as simple as letting them breathe in a well-ventilated area.

It can be a little tedious to do so every time you use them. If you don’t want to do it so, at least consider doing it one time per week or even monthly. This way at least you are doing some prevention instead of none.

If I Leave Ants in My Shoes Will They Go Away?

Not all ants will go away from your shoes, some of them will persist and stay. Instead of waiting for them to go, it is better to actually take action on the matter.

This will ensure that you are not letting ants ruin your shoes.

Ants may seem inoffensive, but they are able to destroy the fabric of your shoes if they want to use them as a resource. Keeping them there might reveal to be a huge mistake, so don’t take any chances.

If you happen to keep your shoes in your room, you are risking yourself to get an ant infestation inside your house. They will invade all your divisions including your bedroom, if you happen to see ants on your pillow that could be the reason why.


While it may not seem a big deal having ants on your shoes, as you can see from the above reasons it is better to take care of them as soon as you acknowledge their presence.

If you really want to preserve your shoes for a good time, start taking care of them by keeping ants out and far away from them.