When you’re ready to crack your windows letting in that spring air, avoid uninvited guests with these natural tricks. (We’re talking about houseflies, these tricks won’t work on your in-laws.)

Figuring out how to get rid of house flies 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 illnesses 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, there are many non-toxic alternatives, from natural fly repellent to plants that repel flies. With good sanitation habits and some non-toxic fly repellants, you can get your fly problem under control safely and naturally.

Plants That Repel Flies Naturally

Whether for cooking or aromatherapy, there are many aromatic plants that whet our appetites and soothe our worries. Some of these same plants repel flies for a healthier, less annoying summer. Read on to find out how to get rid of house flies with remedies 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 so many forms. Growing lavender plants outside, putting a bouquet of fresh lavender in a vase, and burning lavender oil near entryways and windows helps 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 bug deterrent. 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. Dab a few drops on a cheesecloth and place it where you see flies and 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 and 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 with Natural 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 get your fly problem solved 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 and traps them. Be careful using them inside, because they tend to stick to everything.

Get Rid of Flies by Minimizing Your Home’s “Fly Appeal”

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.

The best way to make your home less attractive to flies is to limit access to the areas they prefer.

  • Make sure your screens, windows, doors, and house vents are sealed and free from holes, gaps, or tears.
  • Use a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid and take the bag out as soon as it’s full.
  • Store food in airtight containers, especially outside.
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes or glasses out on the counter or exterior areas.
  • Don’t leave grass clippings or leaves piled up near your house.
  • Turn off outdoor lights at night when they’re not necessary.
  • Avoid using poison to kill rodents, because the carcasses can attract flies.
  • Clean up animal feces, such as in a cat’s litter box, right away.

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

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.

If you’ve been battling house flies, you probably want to give your home a nice deep scrub. If you’d like a break from cleaning and a fresh start, you need a professional cleaning service. Give The Maids a call at 1-800-THE-MAIDS and we’ll get your home in tip-top shape in no time — get an estimate today!

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