How to get rid of fruit flies naturally

get rid of fruite flies naturallyWe had some visitors the other day that just would not leave. They were unwelcome house guests and at first, I thought they followed me when I came inside from grilling. But even after my hubby swatted one to smithereens, I kept seeing more….everywhere. I had a few nectarines, bananas, and lemons on the kitchen counter but didn’t see any around them so I didn’t think they were fruit flies. Don’t fruit flies hang around fruit, ergo, the name, “fruit flies”?

But I was wrong. There they were – my worst nightmare – tiny fruit flies, making kamikaze runs with evasive maneuvers around me, dodging my {slow} flailing arms. Where is Mr. Unagi when you need him?

I love animals and all things living but these, these, annoying pestilent beings are nuisance and their mere presence only means, there is rotting thing somewhere that I didn’t clean up properly. It only reflects my inadequate house keeping and inedible food hiding to be cleaned up somewhere. And not only that, they’ll be multiplying faster than I can annihilate them. UGH!

What are these pestilent beings do anyway?

Fruit Flies – a.k.a. Drosophila Melanogaster – are those pesky-tiny-little-impossible-to-get-rid-of-flies that appear out of no where. Sometimes, when you realize your peaches or bananas are finally perfectly ripe to eat, these winged pests come out of thin air, as if they received the same memo. Or your benign little houseplant, all of a sudden, is sending out X-Wing fighters to fight you, thinking,  you are a Tie Fighter  (What? You never watched Star Wars? Get. Out.)

Anyway, I hate fruit flies. When I studied genetics in Biology, I loathed seeing them, even in the closed lab jars, dead or alive. Did you know that Thomas Hunt Morgan, a scientist in the 1900’s discovered chromosomes – those microscopic wiggly things that you inherit from your parents? You know, the key to the map of fundamental make up of who you are? Like your good (or not so good) looks, charming (or grouchy) personality and even down to your allergies to foods and animals? And do  you know that Morgan learned about chromosomes by studying fruit flies? Yup. He found out that fruit flies are easy to work with when studying genetics because they are easily bred in labs, life span is a short 2 weeks, prolific, their chromosomes are fairly simple which makes it easier to study them, and their sex characteristics are easy to determine. In other words, they are easy to raise to use as lab subjects and easy to see the results.

But because they are “prolific”, they multiply like crazy. And they have wings which makes it impossible to catch them. I once lost, like, a few dozen of them in the lab because I didn’t use enough Ether to kill them and many of them escaped. They probably had a wicked hangover the day after and yeah, I got a “C” for clumsy in “Methods” section on that lab report. I wonder if that’s why I hate them so much. Hmmmm….

Anyway, this is not about how to do a lab experiment with fruit flies but how to get rid of them from your house naturally, once. and. for. all. But then again, maybe this post is about experimenting with them…. Mwha ha ha ha….revenge is saweeeeet! 

Ahem. Sorry. I digress.

There are many methods to this mad science experiment getting rid of fruit flies but the end game is, lure them to somewhere or some thing, and kill them in one fell swoop. Naturally, of course.

get rid of fruite flies naturally

What you need to get rid of fruit flies naturally

  • 1/2 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar (White vinegar will NOT do. It must be an apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp of Liquid Dish Washing Soap


A friend of mine uses beer to trap fruit flies and I tried using leftover white wine one night. They both worked but a green blogger – forget whom suggested this on facebook – said to add liquid dishwashing soap to trap them. Since I think beer or white wine is better drunk by me than being wasted on pesky flies, I got the idea to use fruity apple cider vinegar instead. And adding dishwashing liquid soap to trap them. Some people add a little bit of water to create bubbles to trap the flies but I didn’t. I just added these two ingredients and didn’t even mix them together. I left the bowl near the fruit basket on the counter, undisturbed. At the end of the day, in less than 24 hours, already a few were submerged in the bowl. (see above?) Then, day by day, more fruit flies were scuba diving in the bowl.

Fruit Flies

I don’t know how a Buddhist or PETA would get rid of Fruit Flies. Or if they would live with them in harmony. I thought about this as I watched them floating in the bowl for a moment.

But the moment passed and I was happy to have my fruit flies-free house back. And to have ripen fruits all to myself again. I hate cold refrigerated nectarines. And in order to avoid fruit flies as visitors again, I thought of a few ways to keep them away for good. I hope they will help you too.

10 Ways to prevent fruit flies in your home

  1. Get rid of rotting fruits and vegetables – especially bananas, peaches and nectarines. Better yet, don’t leave ripening fruits out on the counter during warmer months.
  2. Check onion and potato bins too. The old ones that are in the bottom of the bins might be rotting and softening and you won’t even know it. I had a few of these last week so this could have been the culprit.
  3. Clean any clogged drains that may have food debris stuck in the pipes, especially in the kitchen sink. If your garbage disposal is not working properly and the pipe is collecting kitchen garbage, it might attract fruit flies. Cover the sink drain with plastic and see if fruit flies get stuck underside of it. If they do, then, you have a drain problem. My garbage disposal is broken right now and I have a sink strainer in the drain. Although water drains, there might be debris stuck in the garbage disposal gears, creating a breeding ground for fruit flies. Note to self: get the garbage disposal fixed!
  4. Empty and clean recycling cans and bottles. You know you’re supposed to clean out the recyclable cans and bottles somewhat, but sometimes you may not do a thorough job and leave some sweet food residue. Make sure to clean out any sweet smelling foods out and take them outside often.
  5. Take any compost scraps outside as soon as you can. Don’t listen to those who say, ‘Oh, I never get flies from my compost’. They are lying. But if they really don’t get flies, find out how they do it because from my experience, it attract flies. (or creates them)
  6. Do your dishes immediately, especially wine and beer glasses. Need I say more?
  7. Keep your kitchen clean. Enough said.
  8. If you do canning, make sure the lids are tightly closed and none of them are leaking or giving off sweet smell.
  9. Replace old mops and sponges. I microwave sponges at least every other day. I wet them and put them in the microwave oven to disinfect and  to get rid of the musty old dish rag smell. If I don’t, my husband throws them away so I have to be diligent and disinfect them so he doesn’t toss them just because they smell bad.
  10. If you are prone to getting flies, keep a small bowl of apple cider vinegar in a discreet place so you don’t knock it over but flies can find it.

Speaking of bugs, did you know that coffee grounds prevent ant invasion? Read about the many uses of used coffee grounds, including repelling ants here.

Have you had fruit flies visit you this summer? What method did you use to get rid of them?


  1. Beebee says

    In addition to a vinegar trap, I also get rid of fruit flies by vacuuming them with the wand of my vacuum cleaner. They’re not strong fliers and if you sneak up on them from below, they’ll get sucked right in.

  2. ilse says

    Lovely article, Karen!

    As a side learning experience, what got me was the bit about microwaving the sponge? So just stick it damp in the microwave for a few seconds et voila?? I hate throwing them away so soon bc of the musty smell!!

    Thanks for any tips regarding such. (I did try to search your site for it, to no avail, however).


  3. carol mack says

    We just installed window screens. This cut out about 80 percent of the ones that were coming in. The other 20 percent just get swatted or drowned.

    We have a huge apple tree in the front yard that does not produce good fruit, but, the flies LOVE it. which is probably why it’s not good fruit! Everytime we go to slice an apple, the insides of it are covered with rot and worms. So, we just go through the fun hassle of improving our pitching arm by chucking them right into the trash can.. Such a shame.

  4. says

    Thank god for this! I was taking deposit cans back yesterday, and as soon as I started lifting the bag out, a CLOUD of these little gnats poufed right up in my face. Yuck. I closed the bag quickly and took it outside, but probably two-dozen escaped into the house before then. Now I just went on a grocery trip and I’m paranoid about our fruit. This will help immensely! (I hope) Now, will it also work on those pesky house flies that seem to infinitely replicate in my house?! LOL

    • karen says

      I’m thinking, I should put a fruit flies bottle contraption, like the one Suzanne mentioned in the comment in my recycling bin, for this reason. What do you think???

      • says

        Ha! That’s a great idea! I may just have to implement that… prevention is always better than damage control LOL

  5. Bonnie Lee says

    Thanks for sharing this trick. I hate fruit flies. we had a problem at the beginning of the Summer with them. I did some research in my Aromatherapy book and found out that they hate the scent of peppermint. I mixed up some essential oil of peppermint in a spray bottle with water and have used it around the kitchen. It works great. I even sprinkled a couple of drops full strength on the filter for the compost bucket to keep them away.
    We use ground cinnamon to repel ants.
    The kitchen smells good even when we aren’t cooking.

    • karen says

      Wooo….peppermint and cinnamon would certainly make better aromatics than vinegar! ‘

      Thanks for sharing!

    • karen says

      That’s a great contraption to make! I also heard that you can wrap a saran wrap around a bowl and poke holes in it. But I like this bottle idea! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lynne says

    Thank you so much for the “fruit fly” article. Wish I had known about this 20 yrs. ago. You see that’s when my husband started making wine in our basement. At first he only used the 5 gal. juice buckets, which was bad enough. Then he experimented with crates of grapes, tomatoes, honey, strawberry’s, etc. He is a chemistry geek, & has a homemade lab to prove it. So while he has perfected his wine making skills, I was constantly bombarded with these tiny PESTS. After many years of complaining on my part, He built, [literally built] “The Wine Room”. He presses the grapes outside with a 5 ft. tall wine press, & the rest of the steps with regards to the “aging” of it, are done in that closed off location. I do see f. flies once in a while these days, but now it’s only from my aging bananas. I can still remember, & will probably never forget, the hundreds of thousands that would fly out from the piles of left over grape stems, that my wonderful left in the basement or back porch for me to clean up. Did I forget to mention that he used my laundry room the first 4 yrs? That would be for another blog about how to remove wine stains from freshly laundered clothes.

  7. McKenna says

    This really works great! I use a quarter-pint quilted jelly jar, simply because it looks nice. I found I have to change it out every other week, but it’s absolutely amazing how well it works! Even nicer is that the fruit flies sink to the bottom of the quilted jar, so there’s no ugly floating mass. (Just typing that last bit is gross, isn’t it!)

    Thank you, Karen!

    • karen says

      LOL…I know what you mean. I love the quilted jelly jar idea! Better than the bowl I used for this post. :)

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