How to Get Rid Of Gnats in The House

Gnats. Even the name sounds somewhat annoying, doesn’t it? These small flying insects get into our homes and bug us (pun intended) in the kitchen, the bathroom, and even the dining room.
The good news is gnats and fruit flies don’t usually bite. The bad news is while they don’t carry and transmit diseases like mosquitos, they can spread disease-causing bacteria. Before we talk about how to get rid of gnats in your house, let’s first make sure we understand why they’re there.

So what makes your home such an inviting destination for gnats, drain flies, and fruit flies? Gnats are attracted to the same things as ants, bugs, and other pests—food, water, and somewhere to breed. If you see what looks like baby flies or mosquitos, you likely have one of these three invaders:

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are dark brown with long legs and wings in a Y-shaped pattern. They’re said to resemble tiny mosquitos. Even though they have wings, fungus gnats are weak fliers and tend to hop around more than fly. These pests are most often attracted to houseplants and decaying organic matter like rotting produce.

Fruit Flies

While fruit flies aren’t technically gnats, they are similar in size and just as annoying. Fruit flies can have red or black eyes, are mostly tan, and have a black or gray abdomen. As their name implies, these pests are attracted to fresh or decaying fruit, other organic matter, and moisture.

Drain Flies

Drain flies can be yellow, brown, or black. They have moth-like wings, long antennae, and black eyes. Drain flies are attracted to moisture, and the slimy buildup in drains is the perfect place to lay their eggs. When they’re at rest, they often hold their veiny wings over their bodies like a little roof, and when they’re on the move, they walk in a zig-zag pattern.

Gnats, fruit flies, and drain flies are prolific breeders, so it’s not only important to know how to get rid of gnats—it’s important to understand what attracts them and where they come from.

Where Do Gnats Come From?

Gnats, drain flies, and fruit flies can enter your home through cracks, holes, and other openings around doors, foundations, and windows. Gnats are most active when the weather warms up, and we can bring them into our home along with produce from our garden, in dirty trashcans, and from other sources.

Fungus gnats come from damp, dark areas like piles of compost, rotting wood, and animal feces, while fruit flies seem to come from out of the blue! Fruit flies have a long-range sense of smell and are very efficient at locating the source of fruity aromas, so they easily and quickly move in and set up house.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in the Kitchen

Hanging bananas, bowls of produce, and even condiments can attract fruit flies and gnats, and that dirty drain and garbage disposal is like an invitation for drain flies to move in and start a family. So now that you know what attracts these pests and where they come from, here’s how to kill gnats and drain flies—and keep them from coming back.

One of the best ways to get rid of gnats and fruit flies is a concoction you can mix up with items you probably already have in your kitchen. All you need is apple cider vinegar, sugar, dish soap, water, and a two-quart bowl. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar, one tablespoon of sugar, some dish soap, and one quart of water and put the bowl near the fruit or sink. Fruit flies, gnats, and drain flies will gravitate to the scent and drown when they get stuck in the soap film.

But don’t forget about the gnat and fly larvae. Remember, your uninvited guests aren’t just here for a meal; they’re also laying eggs in your pipe sludge and rotting fruit. Drain flies hang out in slow or partially clogged drains because these areas provide plenty of nutrients for their eggs and larvae.

So your first step is to unclog those drains and get rid of the slimy buildup. Skip the harsh drain cleaner and use a pipe snake, boiling water, and other remedies. Follow up with an enzyme drain cleaner and rinse away your pesky problem.

To keep gnats out of your kitchen, invest in some preventive maintenance to keep those tiny pests from returning:

  • Don’t leave food, dirty plates, or used glasses on your table, counter, or in the sink. This means washing them instead of letting them sit, and refrigerating your fruit!
  • Clean your kitchen, sink, and drain frequently; keep things dry when not in use.
  • Wipe down your kitchen counters and dining table after every meal.
  • Repair any leaky pipes or faucets and seal any openings underneath the sink.
  • Cover your indoor trash cans and take the trash out daily.
  • Remove overripe or rotten fruit or vegetables and seal them in a trash bag for disposal.
  • Clean up any spills from wine, beer, condiments, and other attractants immediately.

Keep your kitchen clean, your pipes flowing, and your produce fresh to take your kitchen off the radar for fruit flies, gnats, and other pesky invaders.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Plants

Fungus gnats aren’t picky, so if you’ve taken away all that deliciously decaying fruit, they’ll be just fine setting up shop on one of your houseplants. Fungus gnats love the decaying leaves, moldy soil, and moisture found in many plant containers. It’s often the perfect breeding ground, and because the gnats are so tiny, you may not notice them until you have a swarm on your hands.

To get rid of fungus gnats in houseplants, you can use the same concoction you would use for fruit flies and drain flies, or you can try one of these home remedies for gnats in plants:

Wine and Soap Trap

Fill a small dish with a little red wine and dish soap. The fungus gnats will be attracted to the aroma of fermentation, land on the soapy film, and drown.

Fruit Trap

Fill a cup about half full of decaying fruit, cover the top tightly with plastic wrap, and punch small holes in the plastic. Fungus flies, fruit flies, and gnats can’t resist the intense aroma and find their way in through the small holes. Unfortunately for these pests, they can’t find their way out and eventually die.

To keep the fungus gnats from returning, switch out the moldy potting soil, keep dead leaves and twigs picked up, and be mindful of overwatering your plants. Because fungus gnats are attracted to moisture and decaying matter, you can also let your plant dry out completely before you water it again. When you remove the moisture, the eggs and larvae can’t survive, and you remove the nutrients that attract adult fungus gnats to the soil.

Another option is to use gravel or sand for the top inch or two in your planters. Fungus gnats only feed and breed in the top inch of soil, so the layer of gravel or sand takes the moisture and nutrients the gnats need out of the equation.

Now that you know how to get rid of gnats in your house, you can remove them and reduce your exposure to bacteria they can spread. But why stop there? Because The Maids is the only residential service to clean for health specifically, we are committed to providing handy housekeeping guides to help keep your home clean and healthy.

And if you need help getting your kitchen, bathroom, or any other room fresh and clean, we’ve got you covered. Choose one of our popular house cleaning services, and we’ll use a proven plan of action to make your home a wonderful environment for you and a bad one for pests like gnats and fruit flies. Learn more about affordable, healthy cleaning for your home when you get your free online estimate today.


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