how to get rid of gnats

Summertime means local fruit in the kitchen and opening up the windows to welcome fresh air, but these pleasures are often accompanied by unwanted pests. These pests, called Gnats or fruit flies, are common all over the world and tend to be more present if you live near any body of water when warmer weather comes around. You might not even notice them until you go to reach for a piece of fruit or see them hovering around your lights at night. Gnats also feed on decaying wood, wet plant materials, and fungi, so if you’re not experiencing them yet make sure to keep your areas clear of plants, fungus, and algae and keep an eye on your seedling plants. To help you combat these little flies, we have put together a guide on how to get rid of gnats in your house so you can enjoy your summer bug-free. 

Method 1: Traps

Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

how to get rid of gnats

Take one mason jar and add a small amount of apple cider vinegar and 5-8 drops of dish soap (gnats are most attracted to lemon scented dish soap). After you stir the vinegar and soap, roll a piece of copy paper to make a funnel (as pictured above) but make sure the bottom of the funnel isn’t submerged in the solution so more gnats can fly in. Gnats will flock to the jar because they love the scent of vinegar. They’ll be able to fly into the jar, but will be unable to leave. The flies will drown in the solution because the addition of dish soap reduces the surface tension of the liquid. Leave the jar in spots that the gnats like to frequent like the kitchen or dining room. Feel free to make multiple jars to leave around your house to fight off gnats in every room.

Wine and Dish Soap Trap

wine and dish soap trap

If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar, but you have some red wine on hand- this method is perfect for you. Grab a small dish or glass and pour the red wine in the container until it's about three quarters full. Now, add a few drops of dish soap and mix the solution. Like the apple cider trap, the dish soap will reduce the surface tension so the gnats should drown as soon as they touch the liquid. You can also put a small piece of cardboard with poked holes on the rim of your container so there will be no chance of any flies escaping.

Over-Ripened Fruit Trap

fruit fly trap

If you don’t have either red wine or apple cider vinegar, grab a piece of over-ripened fruit and cut it into several portions. Place the pieces of fruit at the bottom of a mason jar and cover the jar with plastic wrap. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the plastic wrap and then you should see gnats inside the jar. Once the jar is filled with flies, place it in a bucket or sink full of hot soapy water for 10 minutes to kill the bugs and rinse. You can repeat this method as many times as you need. 

Method 2: Cleaning Your Drains

baking soda to clean a drain

If you don’t want to spend big bucks on expensive drain clearers, you can use ammonia or a baking soda/white vinegar solution to get rid of gnats (and their eggs and larvae) in your drain. Just pour a small amount of ammonia down your drain and wait several hours before using your sink. Instead of ammonia, you can put two tablespoons of baking soda into the drain followed by one cup of white vinegar. After the mixture slightly fizzes, leave the solution to sit for a couple of hours before running water so it can kill off all remnants of the gnats. For both methods, keep the drain stopper closed so the gnats can’t escape.

Method 3: Sprays

spraying plants

Dish Soap and Water 

To get rid of gnats that are constantly hovering around your plants, make a safe spray consisting of lemon scented dish soap and water. Some gnats enjoy the moist soil of plants and tend to lay their eggs there. Before using this spray method, allow your plants soil to dry for a day or two so the eggs and larvae dry up. Then to kill of the bigger flies, mix a couple drops of dish soap with water in a spray bottle and spray liberally over all of your plants including the leaves, stem, and soil. After an hour or two, spray your plants with water to rinse off the solution to avoid damage.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Water

Another homemade spray to kill gnats without killing your plants is to mix three parts water and one part hydrogen solution in a spray bottle or watering can. Fungus gnats are known to die when they come into contact with hydrogen peroxide. Water your plants with this solution as normal. This is will have no effect on the health of your plants unless you increase the concentration of peroxide. The solution might make a fizzing noise on your plants but that is just the release of oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide molecules. 

Of course, you can always invest in a professional cleaning spray to kill the gnats in your house and on your plants. Just be sure to read the label to find out if the spray is harmful to pets and/or if your family will have to stay away from the sprayed area for several hours while the chemicals do their work.

Method 4: Miscellaneous Methods

Citronella Candles

citronella candles

These nice candles will help keep gnats, mosquitos, and other pesky insects away when you’re outdoors.


Break up three to four cigarettes to cover your soil with a thin layer of tobacco. This will repel fungus gnats and will make them choose another location far from your soil to lay their eggs.


Yes, it could be as easy as vacuuming up the gnats. Vacuuming the flies during any stage of their lives (eggs to adults) can have success rates as high as 96% because it removes all of them from the source at once.

Sticky Fly Traps

fly trap

Bright and colorful fly traps attract gnats because they think they could be flying towards a delicious piece of fruit, but when they land on it they get stuck and eventually die.

Whichever method you decide to use, following this guide will have your areas free of annoying gnats in no time! To prevent the return of gnats after you’ve tried out these tips, remember to keep your garbage covered, don’t over-water houseplants, wipe down damp spots in your house with bleach, and try storing your food in air tight containers so gnats won’t come by looking for a snack. By using preventative measures, you won’t have to worry about these flies returning any time soon.



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