How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

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The best way to get rid of fruit flies in your home is a combination of these homemade fruit fly traps and cleaning their favorite breeding areas.

Fruit fly crawling on a piece of pineapple in homemade trap

There’s a myth that fruit flies live and die in 24 hours. Their life cycle is much longer, and some species live for several months. A female fruit fly can lay 100 eggs per day during that time. No wonder it’s so difficult to get rid of fruit flies once you’ve got them. Difficult, but not impossible. Though it does take consistency and effort, you can get a fruit fly infestation under control and keep them away for good.

Homemade Fruit Fly Traps

If you want to use a DIY fruit fly trap, you’ll need to clean it daily and keep it in place for a week or two. To make homemade fruit fly traps more powerful, add a chunk of banana, pineapple, or other strongly-scented fruit. Or, for a “set it and forget it” approach, try a commercial fruit fly trap instead.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

A shallow bowl of apple cider vinegar left on the kitchen counter attracts fruit flies with its scent. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap (or a lid) in which you’ve poked a few small holes with a toothpick. This method gets rid of fruit flies by luring them in and then trapping them. Change the vinegar daily.

Red Wine Fruit Fly Trap

A bottle with an inch or so of red wine or beer makes an excellent trap for fruit flies. Stick a kitchen funnel or roll a piece of paper to form one and insert the narrow end into the bottle. Tape it in place if needed. Fruit flies will go down the funnel but won’t be able to get out of it, so they’ll drown. Change daily.

Soapy Water Fruit Fly Trap

Fill a bowl of water halfway, add a drop of liquid dish soap and place it under a light at night. (The light over your stove is perfect for this.) The reflection of the light will lure any fruit flies in your home, as well as gnats and mosquitoes. The dish soap creates a surface tension that gets rid of fruit flies by drowning them. Change the water daily.

Drain Fly Trap

Some fruit flies hide in sink drains, and so do gnats, but it’s not convenient to place a trap in these. Instead, pour a 50-50 mixture of hot water and white vinegar down the drain to kill drain flies and any eggs they’ve laid. Do this daily for two weeks.

How to Keep Fruit Flies Away

Once you’ve done the work to get rid of fruit flies in your home, keep them from coming back with these preventative measures.

1. Keep Your Counters Clean

Fruit flies will feast on spilled wine, cookie crumbs, and juice- just about anything sweet. Clean your counters at least once a day so they don’t turn into a snack bar for the pests. Try this homemade natural all-purpose cleaner. Adding peppermint essential oil to it will help deter other household pests.

2. Wash Fruit Right Away

Fruit flies piggyback their way into our homes on bananas and melons more than any other fruits. Use a fruit and vegetable wash to clean produce if you’re keeping it on your counter or in a fruit bowl.

3. Cover Fruit Bowls

A fruit bowl on the counter is a great way to encourage your family to eat healthy snacks. However, if left uncovered, it turns into a breeding ground for fruit flies. If you plan to keep fruit on the counter, cover it with a cake dome, an overturned bowl, or plastic wrap to keep fruit flies from it. The same goes for onions — they’re full of sugars — so either refrigerate them or keep them in a closed container.

4. Deal with Odors Immediately

If it stinks, it attracts fruit flies. Clean your drains, garbage disposal, litter boxes, and dirty toilets regularly. For help locating potential sources of odors, check out this list of 48 places in your home that can stink.

5. Repeat For Two Weeks

With hundreds or even thousands of new fruit flies hatching every day, you’ll need to be diligent for a couple of weeks about using these homemade fruit fly traps, depriving them of food, and keeping them from favorite breeding places. After you’ve eliminated fruit flies in your home, stay on top of the steps to keep their breeding areas clean, and you’ll be rid of them for good.


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30 Comments

  1. Zadi Ankit says:

    We had a lot of fruit fly problem at home and I use apple cider vinegar…works like a charm.
    Thanks for the tips 🙂

  2. Canna Miss says:

    What if this doesn’t work? We have tried EVERY single remedy we could find and they aren’t falling for any of them. Now we have a full on infestation in our house and there seems to be more every single day. We’re freaking out!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Have you gone through cleaning every one the things mentioned above, including cleaning the drains and been diligent about doing those daily for at least a week?

      Other culprits might include onions if you store them in your kitchen. At the store yesterday, a swarm of the things went flying when I reached for an onion. The potatoes were just as bad. (I wound up going to the green grocery for mine instead.) So check yours.

      Dirty garbage cans also give them great homes. Be sure the trash goes out daily, and give your kitchen can a thorough washing.

      Anyone else have ideas?

    2. Canna Miss says:

      Yeah, we’ve done all that. I discovered this cleaner (Awesome from Dollar Tree) that stops them in their tracks. We spent HOURS spraying them yesterday. We cleaned the entire house, dried everything so there was no standing water, poured bleach down all the drains, removed every piece of food and stuck it in the fridge. They seem a LITTLE better today but I still think it’s going to be quite the journey to get them out. We think there might also be something we’re missing. Our basement leaks when it rains and our landlord refuses to fix it, so that could be the problem, and there’s nothing we can really do about it. :/

    3. I know this is old, but we discovered that flypaper works wonderfully when placed near a small dish of apple cider vinegar. It really helped while we dealt with the culprits (fruit bowl and trash can, for us).

    4. Use a solution of Borax and water put in your drains. When the flies drink it causes premature death and inhibits egg laying.

    5. Sugar water and dish soap. Mix it up and you’ll see close to 100 killed in the cup a day. Every time the suds fizzle out just add more because that what traps them and allows them to drown. I’ve tried the apple cider vinegar in with the sugar water, like 2-3 teaspoons sugar in a 6 oz glass or bowl with a thick dish soap works better alone than adding the vinegar in my experience.

  3. Thank you for the tipes it help me and my family I hope it works for other people

  4. To get fruit flies quick. I use my Kirby vacuum hose attachment. They aren’t very fast. I can get an entire colony in about 15-20 minutes. If u have plenty of light and light colored walls they are easy to see and easy to catch even mid flight.

  5. I’ve tried everything but there in my bedroom and in the kitchen and they won’t leave. Please tell me how I can get rid of them fast

  6. I have a bad fruit fly issue in my bathroom. (Brand new house) ugh!!! I opened my window on a chilly morning yesterday, at my lunch break the bathroom was FULL of them!
    I too am a clean freak, I have read your whole article throughly and have done all of it. And know to continue doing the drain cleaning for a few weeks.
    My problem is WHY aren’t my 2 bowls of apple cider and dish soap loaded with the nasty little things this morning . I don’t get it I’ve used this potion before in past years when you get a few here and there in the kitchen. Now with that said I do not have a cover on my balls or saran wrap but I have never done that. These little suckers in my bathroom seem to just swarm around the bowl and want to go in but they’re not. What can I do about this as I type this I’m watching them , And my mirror!!! I’m getting frustrated I have two bowls of apple cider potion sitting on my bathroom sink I expected them to be loaded and my problem to be under control I don’t know what to do

    1. I have been dealing with a similar issue in my bathroom. I figured out that I was using too much dish soap in the uncovered shallow bowls of apple cider vinegar. I also found an empty water bottle with red wine and a paper funnel caught more than anything else. In the past ACV worked best but these little guys seem very into red wine!! I am putting the water bottle traps in the bathtub and by the sink and I have caught tons. Good luck!!

  7. I tried the vinegar/dish soap trick and it did not work. What I did find by accident is they seem to like soy sauce. I keep soy sauce on the counter in one of those tall square class bottles with a pull out spout designed for salad dressing, olive oil, etc. So, I pour out some soy sauce and a bunch of fruit flies come with it. The bottle is full of fruit flies so I would suggest trying that in one of those store bought traps you can get for a few bucks.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Huh. I wonder if it’s the fermentation that’s attracting them, like the wine trap?

  8. Yep, I have the same fruit flu problem. My freezer is full of them!!
    Do they just fly in when I open the freezer door? If not, how on earth do they get in??

  9. How do i get rid fruit flies in the bathroom toliet bowl i think they are in the tiny holes where the water comes out of when i fluhies the toliet.they seem to be around they r in my face.

  10. I have what feels like a silly question. Once the flies are caught in the trap and seemingly dead. How is it best to dispose of them? I am nervous about dumping them down my drain, but don’t want to dump these substances on my lawn either.

    1. I flushed them down the toilet. Scrub the toilet with bleach & put bleach down the drains & close the drains. Also I used those drop in tablets that go in the toilet tank as well. I cleaned the refrigerator really well taking all the drawers & shelves out, throwing away anything that wasn’t sealed tightly then wiped down all food containers/packages before I put everything back into the fridge. ?

  11. I bought a electric fly pest thing off amazon it stuns them we get from 10 to 15 every day it’s left on day and night they go towards the light they even end up upstairs I’ve had them on me in the night and they like landing on the warm bed even had them on my face and in my hair of a night they are making my skin crawl I’ve tried the apple cider thing it didn’t work I’m going to try some drain blocker but do not think there coming up the sink I feel like it’s never going to stop the house has some mould and they love that we get more when we’re cooking or if the mould in places does not get washed off places but I’m going to try the soy sauce and wine thing next I know they are attracted to cider really badly

  12. Kathi Lee says:

    Hi. I have tried the dawn dish detergent and rotted fruit in a dish, and the only place they really plague me is in front of my computer, doing my job, they try to get up my nose or in my face. The only way I can keep them from going for my face is to wear, like, a respiratory mask. So, are these not the usual fruit flies?

  13. I was thinking what about putting apple cider vinegar in a bowl in your oven at night time and leaving the oven door open a tad and only the oven light on….the next morning shut the oven door and turning the oven on full blast and burning the mofo fruit flies. Lol ?

  14. I’m very curious if anyone really tries covering their fruit bowl– does the fruit just get over-ripe from the build-up of gases? I would need a pretty big cake dome to cover mine, so I want to think about it before I buy one.

  15. I just came across this article. Most of the fruit flies in my home are coming from the kitchen and bathroom sink drains. I’ve used commercial (non-toxic) traps to catch the ones that have already hatched. To stop the eggs from hatching in the drains, I pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain. I let that sit for a few minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain. Once that it done, I keep the drains closed to stop the ones that aren’t killed from being able to fly out. It seems to work pretty well.

    Also, if none of the solutions in the article are working, you may not have fruit flies. Check your houseplants for gnats or other flying insects of the same size. You don’t have to get rid of the plants. I’ve used some commercial (non-toxic) sticky plant stakes to catch those.

  16. I kill the ones I see with a shot of Windex! If they’re on a surface, I wipe it up. If they’re in flight, they go down (then you gotta find it and wipe it).

    Definitely not classy, but I seem to get random ones. 1 here, 1 there and it’s usually bathroom or kitchen, where I always have bottles of windex multipurpose.

  17. in the summer I keep garden tomato bounty on the counter and, inevitably, some start to rot. This past summer I ended up with a HUGE fruit fly infestation at one point – there were clouds of them. Never seen anything like it. I removed the offending articles, but they were still there. Of course I had company coming in a few days. I put out the vinegar traps and it helped some. I also put out those old-school sticky ribbon traps (made for houseflies mostly) which actually worked like a charm. Between the ribbons and the vinegar, I caught a LOT in a few days to where it was manageable again and eventually all went away. Just wanted to share the tip on the sticky ribbon in case someone needs to get rid of a lot in a short time. It really helped, though they are pretty gross! Caught some houseflies and pantry moths too – bonus!

  18. Well there is one way I always catch gnats and fruit flies, who can refuse anything in a red Dixie cup right? Especially my coke or Dr Pepper! Every single time! Makes me so mad…lol within an hour or so!

  19. My fruit flies love the mirror and I’ve noticed for a few years now that they love the smell of nail polish!
    They always swarm when I am painting my nails.
    Is there a trick to cleaning fruit when they are already in the house? I know they’re going to go nuts as soon as I bring the fruit out and I’m hoping someone knows a way to keep them at bay?

  20. I need help I have tried every single trick I’ve read it every message and reply and problem on this site I cannot get rid of the fruit fly infestation it is in my hallway I have scrubbed my entire hallway top to bottom I have sprayed I have hung the sticky fly traps nothing is working every time I open my door they come in I am constantly killing them all day long I have one neighbor across the hall from me they say that they don’t have them in their house I need help please nothing is working I cannot deal with the fruit flies every time me and my son walk up and down the stairs there’s four 500 of them please does anybody have any answers

  21. A couple years ago, I did try apple cider vinegar with a couple drops of dawn in an uncovered bowl. It did not work.
    I then had about 8 oz of apple cider vinegar left in the original bottle. I out 3 drops of dawn in there and shook it up. Then, put plastic wrap tightly over the top of the bottle and used a toothpick to make about 5 small holes. They disappeared so fast, I have been doing that ever since.

    You must change it out a few times during your infestation though or the dead flies will soak up all the liquid and eventually live flies lay eggs on the the dead and the new flies have a food source (eww) and eventually , being strong, figure a way out of the holes.

    Don’t leave any food out. They will eat onions, potatoes, any remaining food of any kind on dirty dishes. Do the dishes right away. Keep your kitchen can clean. Has to be washed once a week. Can put essential oil in the bottom of it, the ones listed above. Rinse recycling or take it right outside, especially beer or pop cans. Clean pet’s wet food dishes right away.

    Goodd luck!

  22. Hi so a few days ago I bought bananas, a few fruit flies where around it and I thought nothing of it.. because I’ve never had them before. Then more an more came annoying me and my bf in the room the kitchen living room everywhere. So yesterday I doused the house in essential oils / lavender. And put ACV in bowls w dish soap in every room. Cleaned every drain with bleach/ hot water/ and all types of disinfects lol. But still there’s a few I see through out the day. I am mostly vegan and I need fruit . I wanted to go get some today but I’m scared one might hatch more. When is it safe to buy fruit again? And how should I go about it? It’s been a few days. Please help me thank you!