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How to Get Rid of
Flies Safely and Naturally

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November 2, 2023

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Figuring out how to get rid of house flies naturally can be challenging. These pesky insects can carry viruses and bacteria, lay eggs, and defecate on surfaces — and that’s just the beginning. Flies can also spread food poisoning, E. coli, dysentery, cholera, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, and a host of other allergens by contaminating your water and food.

You could use a pesticide spray or other chemical formula to get rid of flies. But typical pesticide ingredients can be harmful to your home and family, just like the pathogens flies spread. Fortunately, many non-toxic alternatives, so you can learn how to repel flies without using harsh commercial products. With good sanitation habits and some non-toxic fly repellants, learning how to get rid of outdoor flies and house flies is easy.

Are Those Actually House Flies?

Before learning how to get rid of house flies naturally, knowing your foe is essential. Are you sure you have house flies? Many flying pests in our homes aren’t typical house flies. You could have fruit flies, gnats, drain flies, or other annoying airborne enemies, each of which calls for a specific type of pest control.

Fruit flies and drain flies can look like baby house flies, but knowing the difference is critical. Getting rid of fruit flies or gnats requires a different approach than you’d take for house flies. While you can use some of the same techniques and DIY pest control solutions for house flies, it’s best to follow these tips for eliminating fruit and drain flies and gnats.

How to Get Rid of Flies Inside Your Home

House flies are attracted to places where they can lay their eggs. That usually means areas with lots of wood waste, garbage, animal feces, and decaying or rotting material.

Limiting access to food, shelter, and water is the best way to make your home less attractive to flies. Begin by examining the plumbing beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. Even the smallest leak can cause damage and create the ideal breeding ground for house flies, mold, and mildew. If you find any leaks, repair them right away or call a plumber.

Learning how to get rid of house flies naturally starts with a clean and organized kitchen. Cleanliness in the kitchen is especially necessary because of the food debris, moisture, and produce. Use these tips to keep your kitchen off-limits to pesky flies.

Sweeping and Mopping

A kitchen floor can be an irresistible temptation to flies and other pests when it’s dirty with food crumbs and other morsels. To keep your kitchen floor from attracting flies, sweep it daily, including beside appliances and beneath cabinets. Mop your floor every few days with a fresh, clean mop and hot water to remove buildup, dirt, and germs.

Clean the Dishes

Dirty dishes with food remnants, sauces, and other fly-enticing goodies in the sink will attract flies fast. That sink full of dirty dishes provides plenty of food and water for flies and their offspring. Get in the habit of putting the dishes in the dishwasher or washing them right after a meal. Rinse out the sink with hot water and dry it to remove any food debris and moisture.

Take Out the Trash

A garbage can full of food scraps creates an unpleasant odor that flies adore—decaying organic matter. Your kitchen trashcan may be even more attractive to house flies than a sink full of dishes because it’s usually in a dark, warm place under the sink. Take out your trash daily and whenever you put food scraps in it to remove the temptation. Also, ensure your outdoor garbage can has a lid that seals well to prevent an infestation outdoors.

Don’t Feed the Flies!

Leftovers and partially-full food containers can attract flies quickly. Prepared food should be stored in an air-tight container, even in your refrigerator. Opened cereal boxes and chip bags can be kept in sealed containers in the cabinet or on the counter. If you have pets, only leave out enough food that they will eat and keep their food supply in a resealable container to avoid flies and other pests.

If you have large garbage bins in your home, it might be time to downgrade to smaller ones — at least during fly season. Smaller garbage cans will ensure you take out the trash more frequently and minimize the attraction of flies. If you have a heavy fly infestation in your kitchen or laundry room, you can move the garbage bins outside during fly season.

Home Remedies For Flies

Whether for cooking or aromatherapy, there are many aromatic plants that whet our appetites and soothe our worries. Some aromatic plants repel house flies, fruit flies, and other pests for a healthier, less annoying summer. Read on to find out a natural way to kill house flies that are effective and safe for your home and family.


Poke about 20 whole cloves into a ripe apple or a piece of citrus fruit, place it on a plate, and watch the flies disappear. In your home, these fragrant pomanders keep the flies at bay and can create sweet aromas for weeks.


Lavender is one of the easiest ways to get rid of houseflies because it is widely available in many forms. Growing lavender plants outside, putting a bouquet of fresh lavender in a vase, and burning lavender oil near entryways and windows help keep flies out of your house.


Many commercial fly repellents contain orange or lemon extracts, not just for the scent but because citrus oil is a natural fly repellent. Place citrus peels in an area where the flies are buzzing. Place the peels in a small cloth on a dish to keep them moist, and rub the peels every once in a while to keep the scent fresh.


Basil is a versatile herb that can be grown in gardens, flowerbeds, and indoor pots. Plant basil near the window or entryway to keep flies out of your house or in outside gardens to keep the flies away when you’re outside.


Pine oil is a strong natural fly repellent and sanitizer. Dab a few drops on a cheesecloth, place it where you see flies, and then watch them scatter. You can also soak cotton balls in pine oil and place them in a bowl wherever you see flies.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is an excellent natural fly repellent that also deters many other insects. Mix one cup of water and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a misting bottle and spray it near entryways and wherever you see flies.

Other natural fly repellents include lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor, and cinnamon. Whether you use these scents in essential oil formulas, potpourris, or other forms, these natural remedies for pest control do an excellent job and leave your home smelling wonderful.

How to Get Rid of Flies in the House Naturally With DIY Traps

Sometimes, you need something more than a natural fly repellent — you need to attract them and trap them. Here’s a list of field-tested fly traps that will resolve your fly problem quickly.

Vinegar and Dish Soap

A mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap can help you trap flies and kill them. Mix about an inch of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a tall glass. Cover the glass with plastic wrap, secure it with a rubber band, and poke small holes in the top. Flies will be attracted to the vinegar in the glass and will fly through the holes. The film of dish soap causes the flies to sink instead of being able to land on the vinegar.

Venus Flytrap

Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants that attract, trap, and eat insects. If you plant them outside, they’ll naturally get rid of flies, but they aren’t as effective inside. When a fly lands and sets off triggers, the plant closes around the fly. It then secretes digestive fluid to dissolve the fly and, about 10 to 12 days later, opens up and discards the exoskeleton.

Light Trap

Light traps are boxes with a light in the back that continuously attracts flies. When the flies try to get to the light, they’ll either be killed with an electric zap or trapped, depending on the light trap you use. Mount light traps about five feet from the ground and away from entrances and windows where flies may get inside your home.

Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are strips of sticky paper that can be hung or laid down throughout your house. They are covered with a very sticky substance that attracts flies, gnats, and most other pests and traps them. Be careful using them inside because they tend to stick to everything.

How to Get Rid of Flies Outside Your Home

Once you know how to get rid of house flies naturally inside, it’s time to learn how to get rid of flies naturally outside. Just like you minimize your home’s appeal to flies, you can learn how to get rid of outdoor flies by making your backyard less attractive to them. Whether you want to create a defensive barrier to keep flies from entering your home or fly control to enjoy outdoor spaces more, here is what keeps flies away outside.

Outdoor Fan

Flies may be quick, but they’re not very strong. Set up oscillating fans to blow air away from your deck or patio. When flies fly into your “air space,” they will naturally fly away to avoid fighting the strong breeze. Use the fans near your grill, picnic table, and anywhere else you want to be pest-free.

Patio Flytrap

Mix a quarter cup of sugar and one cup of water in a mason jar. Roll a stiff piece of paper into a cone, cut off the point, and position it in the jar where the tapered end is just above the sugar water. Tape the larger end to the jar’s mouth so there are no openings between the paper and the jar. The flies won’t be able to resist the sweet nectar and won’t be able to get out of the jar.

Citronella Candle

Citronella smells lovely to most of us, but it stinks to flies. These popular pest deterrents come in different sizes, so it’s easy to find the best candles for your needs. Light several and place them around your patio or use a large Citronella candle on your patio table. You get the ambiance of firelight and citrus aromas while the annoying flies get a “no-fly zone!”

Homemade Fly Strips

These natural fly repellants using the essential oils that flies can’t stand are easy to make. Cut a piece of cloth into strips about a foot long and an inch wide. Apply ten drops of clove, lavender, lemon, or mint essential oil to each strip and hang them in strategic areas. Hang one near entryways and windows, tie one to your patio umbrella, and staple several to the ends of your picnic table.

Yard Maintenance

Flies love stagnant water for laying their eggs, so anything you can do to minimize standing water should be your goal. Refresh birdbaths frequently, remove anything that could collect rainwater, and fill in sunken areas in your yard that pool with water. If you have an outdoor pool and aren’t running a pump frequently, either cover the pool or drain it.
Just like you minimize your home’s appeal to flies, you can also make your backyard less attractive to them. Flies love stagnant water for laying their eggs. Refresh any bird baths frequently, remove anything that could collect rainwater, and fill in sunken areas in your yard that pool with water.

When to Call a Professional

If you’ve tried natural ways to get rid of house flies and still have a problem, it may be time to call a professional pest control company. When you can’t find the breeding sites or minimize the flies in your home, a professional pest technician can treat the inside and outside of your house. Sometimes, there’s no substitute for the experience and commercial-grade products a pro uses to fix the problem for good. And when you need help getting your home clean and uninviting to flies, The Maids has your back.

Now that you know how to get rid of house flies naturally, you probably want to give your home a nice deep scrub. You could always do it yourself and use our housekeeping guides to make things easy — or you could let The Maids do it. Find the right cleaning solution for your home when you check out our diverse and affordable cleaning services. Get your free estimate today and see how easy it is to enjoy a cleaner home without the work.

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