How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies and Gnats In The House?

Fruit flies or gnats are common in the house. Though fruit flies are seen year-round, they are most commonly seen during summer or fall. They are attracted to fermenting or ripened fruits as well as vegetables; thus, the name “fruit flies.” These small nuisances rapidly multiply and can be hard to get rid. However, there are remedies that can help.

Fruit flies can easily detect the scent of ripe fruits & vegetables even from a far distance. These insects are so small that they can easily get inside in the house. Once inside, fruit flies quickly reproduce. Soon, there is a fully-grown infestation.

Note: Fruit flies can shorten the lifespan of fruits & vegetables. You can employ toxic insecticides, but such things can be highly harmful to health. Switch to non-toxic products and learn how to get rid of fruit flies naturally.

How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies Fast & Naturally?

There are two ways to get rid of fruit flies:

  • Make homemade fruit fly traps
  • Repel the flies using herbs
Quick Tip: Vinegar Rinse To Keep Fruits Like Melons, Apples & Bananas Fresh

The below home remedy will help keep the fruits fresh, clean, and most importantly prevent fruit flies from wandering on them.

  • Take enough amounts of water in a big bowl for uncut or unpeeled melons or bananas to submerge.
  • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pure white vinegar to it. Alternatively, you can mix water & vinegar in the ratio 50:50.
  • Keep the fruit in the bowl and rub it gently with your hands.
  • Wash the fruit once again but this time with plain water.
  • Let the fruit dry. Keep it on a clean towel before slicing or consuming it.
  • Once you cut the fruits, keep them in airtight containers and refrigerate for 3 – 5 days.

 Method 1: Easy Fruit Fly Traps

So, let us get started. Unveil the natural ways to get rid of fruit flies from the house.

1. The Ultimate Vinegar Trap

how to get rid of fruit flies fast


  • Fill a container or a bowl with water.
  • Add a few drops of liquid soap, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to it.
  • Mix the ingredients properly and place the bowl in the region where fruit flies gather.
  • Leave it overnight. You will see all the fruit flies dead in the water.
  • Dispose the water. Repeat the remedy whenever you want to get rid of fruit flies.
  • Keep multiple small containers like this in the house.

How Does This Work?

Vinegar & Sugar: The aroma of vinegar and sugar helps in attracting the fruit flies. Vinegar’s acetic acid draws the insects. However, once the flies encounter the solution, they succumb to death. This is because you have added some drops of liquid soap, whose compounds choke and kill them.

Liquid Soap: Dish soap or liquid soap has surfactants – compounds that lower the surface tension. Fruit flies or gnats first get attracted to the vinegar’s aroma and then are drowned due to the tension produced by the liquid soap. However, the main compound in liquid soap that works the best on fruit flies is borax. Almost all dish soaps have tiny amounts of borax in them, which is a well-known insect repellent.

2. The Plastic Wrap Trap

how to get rid of fruit flies naturally


  • Take a few pieces of ripened fruit and place them in a glass jar or a glass bowl.
  • Cover the glass jar or bowl using a saran wrap and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Take a toothpick and poke a few holes in the polythene.
  • Keep the jar at a space where fruit flies assemble the most.
  • The fruit flies will easily enter but will instantly be trapped.
  • Once the jar is full, submerge it in a bucket of soapy, warm water and leave it for 10 minutes.
  • Clean the jar and repeat the process whenever there are fruit flies in the house.

How Does This Work?

Ripened Fruits: The process of ripening is where the fruits turn palatable, turn softer, sweeter, and less green. It is also the stage where the acidity levels of a fruit increase, enough for the flies to get attracted to the smell.

Saran Wrap: Saran is the brand/trade name for different kinds of polymers that are manufactured from a chemical called vinylidene chloride. However, the food wraps that are used today are made from polyvinylidene chloride, which is also a kind of glue or adhesive for the flies to be stuck.

3. Fruit Fly Trap Using Milk, Sugar, & Pepper


  • Mix 2 cups of milk in 1 ½ cup of sugar and 2 ounces of pepper (finely ground).
  • Boil the mixture for about 10 minutes. Allow it to be
  • Add a few drops of liquid soap. Pour them in a few shallow dishes.
  • Keep them in regions where fruit flies flock the most.

How Does This Work?

Milk, Sugar, and Pepper: The sweet fragrance of milk and sugar are one of the best ways to attract fruit flies. The primary components of milk include lactose (also known as milk sugar), water, proteins, fats, and minerals. The natural lactose essence attracts the flies. However, what knocks them down is the pepper. Black pepper contains a principal compound called piperine, which acts as a repellent. It chokes and drowns them to death.

4. The Honey Trap


  • Take a plastic bottle (of 1 or 2-liter capacity) and cut them into half. Keep the bottom half a bit bigger than the upper half. Take the bottom part, fill half of it with water, and add a few drops of liquid soap.
  • Take the upper half and discard the cap. Coat the in-and-around regions of the hole with honey. Keep the upper half in an inverted position. Meaning, that the cap hole part should be touching the water, you have filled.
  • Keep this mixture in a place where fruit flies or gnats gather the most. Honey will attract the fruit flies. Once inside, the soap water solution will kill them.

How Does This Work?

Honey Trap: You can trap more flies with honey than vinegar. The sweet natural agents in honey are the best way to attract fruit flies and make them get inside the trap. This is due to the presence of nectar in them. Honey gets all its sugariness from glucose, fructose, and monosaccharide. It has all the sweet chemical properties to attract small insects. However, once in the trap, the liquid solution drowns them to death.

5. Flypaper Strips Using Corn Syrup & Sugar


  • Take a few cardboard papers and cut them equally, each of width 2 – 3 inches and height of 4 – 5 inches. Use a punching machine to make a hole at the top of each paper that you have cut. Take a twine, via the hole, make a knot so that it forms a loop for hanging. Keep this aside while we prepare the trap.
  • Mix ¼-cup sugar and ¼-cup corn syrup with 2 tablespoons of water. Heat the mixture slightly so that the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl. Dip the paper strip in the sticky mixture and remove the excess. Make sure that both the sides are well coated.
  • Hang these flypaper strips using clips on areas where fruit flies assemble the most.

How Does This Work?

Corn Syrup & Sugar Mixture: The primary compounds of corn syrup include isoglucose and glucose-fructose, which are sweeteners made of cornstarch. These sweet chemical compounds attract the flies towards them. However, once they sit on the paper, the dissolved sugar acts as an adhesive. It makes them stick to the paper and ensures they don’t fly out. The sticky paper (with flies on it) can be then discarded.

Note: When you apply the mixture on the paper, it is super sticky, but it eventually dries out, especially if you are residing in a place that has dry weathers. In such a case, spritz it with a little sugar water. It will re-stick and attract more flies.

Method 2: Natural Repellents For Fruit Flies

Rather than applying remedies and getting rid of fruit flies, prevent them from entering into the house by using natural repellents. Here are a few to make a note of:

6. Basil Leaves Repel Fruit Flies


  • Take a few basil leaves (dried) and keep them in a muslin or cheesecloth. Tie it properly.
  • Hang this near the doors or windows to prevent flies from entering the house.
  • Whenever the leaves lose their aroma, replace it with new dried leaves.

How Does This Work?

Basil: Any basil plant variety works as a repellent. The best thing about basil leaves is that they don’t have to be crushed to emit the insect-repelling compounds. They emit the aroma without even crushing them.  The essential compound that helps keep the flies at bay is Eugenol.

Also Read: Herbal Plants To Give As Gifts

7. Natural Lemon Grass Spray


  • Take 10 to 12 drops of lemon grass oil and pour it in a clean, spray bottle.
  • Next, add 1/4 cup of hot water (not boiling) and close the lid.
  • Shake the bottle well. Spray this mixture onto the window and door frames.

How Does This Work?

Lemongrass: The essential oil extracted from lemongrass is extensively used for aromatherapy, cooking, teas, cosmetics, and other medicinal preparations. However, it naturally has some insecticidal properties as well. The primary components of lemongrass include geraniol, citral, citronellol, limonene, and myrcene. The compound citral gives the lemongrass essential oil its tangy, lemony fragrance, which works the best for repelling insects.

8. Use Camphor To Repel Flies & Small Insects

Procedure 1:

  • Take a small plate and heat it. Once heated, place two camphor tablets on it.
  • Keep this plate in a region where there are flies.
  • The heat will soon cause the camphor tablets to release smoke, which in turn repels flies.

 Procedure 2:

  • Take a bowl (shallow) and pour some hot water into it.
  • Drop two camphor tablets into the hot water and stir well.
  • Keep the bowl in a fly-infested region to repel.

How Does This Work?

Camphor: A waxy, white, dry substance that is made from the wood of laurel tree. It has a pungent taste and strong odour. It exhibits antispasmodic, stimulant, decongestant, antiseptic, sedative, anaesthetic, disinfectant, insecticidal, and anti-inflammatory properties. The aromatic compounds in camphor – citral & menthol – are well-known insect repellents.

Note: Avoid using camphor if you are pregnant. It can cause some side effects after inhaling.

9. Green Apple Soap


  • Take a jar filled with a ½ cup of water.
  • Add two tablespoons of liquid soap of flavor — “green apple”.
  • Mix the solution well.
  • Keep it in a place where flies gather the most.

How Does This Work?

Green Apple: There is a good reason why a lot of brands manufacture soaps using green apples. Their aromatic compounds Methyl butyrate and Methyl butanoate are well known to repel small insects as well as flies. So, once you keep this solution-filled jar, flies get attracted to it, but once they are in, the liquid soap will drown them to death.

10. Grow Peppermint Plants Around The House

natural remedies for fruit flies

Like basil, peppermint plants are one of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies. It not only keeps the air fresh but also adds a beautiful look to the house. The compound menthol in mint acts as an insect repellent here.

Additional Tips To Note:

  • Always keep your home hygienic and clean.
  • Keep the lid of dustbin closed always.
  • Do not keep cut fruits outside. Refrigerate them instead.
  • Avoid over-watering the plants, as they are one of the primary reasons to welcome flies.
  • Dispose the trash on a daily basis far away, from where you live.


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  1. The vinegar trap works, but it only attracts a few flies. when using natural lemon grass spray there you will get good results. I recommend this

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