How to Get Rid of Gnats and Flies
Even the best efforts are sometimes foiled by a hole in the screen or a rotting apple. If gnats or flies do make it inside, try these tactics to get rid of them.
Remove rotten food.
“If you discover a gnat or fly infestation in your home, dispose of the infested item,” Campbell says. Place it in a sealed trash or compost container outside and then clean the area where flies and gnats were gathering.
Clean out the drain.
“Bleach is usually the best and most effective method of removal for gnats that tend to crowd around drains,” Marbut says. You can pour a half cup of bleach diluted with a gallon of water down the drain. For a more eco-friendly option, swap the bleach for vinegar.
Set a trap.
Common pantry items can help you catch lingering pests:
- Apple cider vinegar trap. Mix together a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, and some sugar in a bowl, Marbut says. Then, place it in a spot where the gnats are gathered. “This apple cider vinegar blend will attract gnats, and the dish soap traps them,” he says.
- Fruit trap. “Fill a jar with rotting fruit and cover with plastic wrap poked with holes,” Marbut says—the gnats will be attracted to the fruit, then become trapped within the jar.
If there are pests around plants, try repotting them in fresh soil, Green says. You can also use yellow sticky paper—available at hardware stores and nurseries—to trap insects, she says. Gnats will fly into the paper and stick to it (just be cautious with this approach if you have pets).
When to Call in the Pros
DIY strategies are often enough to vanquish flies and gnats, but “when the infestation gets to the point where these basic remedies won’t work, it’s time to call a professional to get to the root of the problem and clear your home of these unwanted pests,” Marbut says.
Pros can also help find the areas that are attracting pests, Campbell notes. For instance, professional cleaning may be required to remove breeding grounds for flies or a plumber may need to identify if it’s a broken pipe attracting gnats below your home.