Fruit fly crawling on a piece of pineapple in homemade trap

Get Rid of Fruit Flies for Good: Traps, Tricks and Tips

Have you ever been scrolling your phone and had a tiny nuisance buzz at your face? Or found the bowl of healthy fruit you’d set out has turned into a hotel for a swarm of fruit flies? These pesky insects have a habit of turning up uninvited, turning our kitchens and bathrooms into their personal party zones.

In this article, I’m going to teach you how to crash their party. From understanding where they come from to making DIY fruit fly traps and cleaning their favorite hangouts, you’ll discover how to get rid of fruit flies and prevent their return, too.

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

Does it seem like fruit flies appear out of nowhere? One minute, your home is fine and the next it’s overrun with an infestation of the things. These tiny invaders hitch a ride into your home on fresh fruits and vegetables, but that’s not all. Once they detect a plume of odor from a preferred food source, they’ll track it down first by scent, then by sight until they’ve located the source.

Now, these little things aren’t just annoying, they’re super breeders. A female fruit fly can lay up to 100 eggs in a day! So, once a couple makes its way into your home, it takes only a few days until you’ve got a problem. Since they can live 40-50 days in optimal temperatures, and breed most of that time, that amorous couple can turn into an uncontrolled swarm if you don’t get rid of them fast.

Are You Sure They’re Fruit Flies?

Not every small insect flying around your kitchen or bathroom is a fruit fly. Some might be gnats or drain flies. Fruit flies are small, brown, and have red eyes. Gnats are black and love hanging around your houseplants. Drain flies? They’re bigger, look like tiny moths, and love to chill near your sink drains.

The difference is important, because not all these methods work on gnats or drain flies. So, the next time you’re swatting at a flying insect, take a closer look. If beady red eyes are staring back at you, these steps will help.

Fruit Flies in the Kitchen

Like party guests, these pesky insects seem to love hanging out in the kitchen even when you’d rather they did not. Why wouldn’t they? It has everything they love: food sources, hiding spots, and a play to lay their eggs.

  • Fruit bowls where they can feed and breed.
  • Spills on the counter where they can grab a snack.
  • Garbage cans full of food.
  • Recycling bins with sticky soda cans and wine bottles.
  • Dirty dishes sitting in the sink.
  • Gunk in the garbage disposal that hasn’t been ground up.
  • Food and grease residue in your kitchen drain.

So, how do you get rid of fruit flies in your kitchen? First, set out fruit fly traps, then clean, clean, clean. Once you’ve gone through all that effort, you’ll appreciate the tips about preventing them even more.

Kitchen Fruit Fly Traps

Like hungry teenagers, fruit flies will go to the nearest food source. It’s not enough to set out one trap and hope for the best—you need more than one to get your fruit fly infestation under control. So, place one near your sink and also on your counter. If your kitchen is larger, you may need others on your kitchen island and near the kitchen garbage can, too.

Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

This one’s a classic which lures fruit flies into the jar and, thanks to the plastic wrap, traps them there.

  1. Warm 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in the microwave or on the stove to increase its fragrance.
  2. Pour the heated vinegar into a bowl or jar, cover it with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band.
  3. Poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick.
  4. Sit back and watch as the fruit flies dive in and get trapped.

Replace the trap daily, flushing the old vinegar down the toilet. Combined with the cleaning and prevention steps, you should get your fruit fly problem under control within the week.

Red Wine or Beer Trap

Fruit flies love to party. Who knew, right? Here’s how to set the trap:

  1. Leave a little red wine or beer at the bottom of a long-necked bottle. (Optional: add a piece of fruit like banana or apple that’s just big enough to stick up out of the liquid.)
  2. Roll a piece of paper into a funnel and stick it in the bottle’s opening.
  3. Wait. The fruit flies will go down the funnel to get to the good stuff, but they can’t find their way out of such a small hole, so they’ll drown.

Remember, the key to using DIY fruit fly traps is changing the liquid daily, so it remains fragrant enough to act as bait.

Soapy Water Fruit Fly Trap

This DIY fruit fly trap can eliminate an infestation overnight. You will need a deep bowl and a light positioned directly above it, such as the light above a stove. Here’s what you do:

  1. Put slices of apple or banana at the bottom of a deep bowl.
  2. Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover the fruit by one-half inch.
  3. Add 2 drops of liquid dish soap to the vinegar.
  4. Position the bowl beneath a bright light. Turn the light on and turn off all other kitchen lights.

The smell and the reflection of the light lures fruit flies along with and other flying pests like gnats and mosquitoes. When they try to land, the dish soap creates a surface tension that traps them and they’ll drown. Dump out the contents of the bowl in the morning and replace the trap nightly until the infestation is under control.

Clean, Clean, Clean

Traps eliminate adult fruit flies, but you still need to clean their breeding grounds to get rid of any eggs. Combine the two, you’re well on your way to getting on top of your fruit fly problem.

  • Rotting produce: Put overripe produce in a plastic bag, knot it twice to keep any fruit flies from escaping, and throw it out.
  • Countertops: Wipe down all surfaces, including the backsplash, to remove any food residue or spills.
  • Trash can and recycling bin: Empty and wash to remove any food waste.
  • Kitchen drain: Use baking soda and vinegar to clean your drains and scour away food residue.
  • Sink: Clean with hot, soapy water, including the plugs or stoppers.
  • Under appliances: Clean under the fridge, oven, and other appliances where food particles might accumulate.
  • Cupboards and pantry: Check for any spilled or spoiled food and clean the shelves.

Prevention Tips

  • Clean regularly: Wipe countertops as part of a nightly routine to remove food residue and spills that can attract pests.
  • Store fruit properly: If possible, store fruit in the refrigerator. If you must keep it on the counter, cover the fruit bowl with a lid or fine net. Discard overripe fruit immediately, since the smell of it attracts fruit flies.
  • Dry your dish rack: Ensure your dish drainer and the countertop beneath it are clean and dry, since standing water can attract them.
  • Keep a clean compost bin: If you have an indoor compost bin, make sure it’s sealed properly and clean it regularly.
  • Rinse recyclables: Before adding cans, bottles, or containers to the recycling bin, rinse when to remove any food or drink residue.
  • Check your groceries: Fruit flies hitch a ride into your home on produce, so always inspect it well and wash it to remove potential eggs. Don’t buy from fruit stands or grocery stores with obvious infestations.
  • Empty trash regularly: Take out the trash before it stinks up your kitchen. In the warmer months, this means taking it out every night.

Fruit Flies in the Bathroom

You might not find the humidity, soap scum, and other organic matter in your bathroom appealing, but fruit flies love it. If they can’t find a snack in your kitchen, they’ve got plenty to feast on in the bathroom, from the gunk in your drains to the water in your open toilet bowl.

In fact, many people fight these pests in their kitchen only to scare them into the bathroom. As soon as they stop setting out traps, the fruit flies expand their territory and claim both rooms. Don’t let them win.

Clean the Drains

First, let’s tackle those drains. You might not see them, but fruit flies could be having a party down there. To crash it, add ½ cup of baking soda followed by a mixture of hot water and vinegar to your bathroom sink, shower, and tub drains. This scours away the gunk they love and also gets rid of any eggs they’ve laid. Do this every day for a week, and you’ll put an end to their party.

Keep it Dry

Remember, fruit flies love damp areas, so don’t give them a place to hang out.

  • Run exhaust fans for 15-30 minutes after baths and showers.
  • Hang up bath mats so they dry.
  • Keep towels off the floor.
  • Shake shower curtains after use to dislodge excess moisture.
  • Squeegee or dry off your shower walls and tub after use.
  • Leave the shower door or curtain partially open to promote air circulation.
  • Empty and clean your bathroom trash can often.
  • Keep the toilet lid closed.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Instantly

A severe infestation of fruit flies can push anyone to the brink. If you just can’t stand one more of these pests buzzing at your computer or phone screen while you’re waiting for the traps to work, try these quick ways to eliminate them.

Fly swatter: The old-fashioned way still works! Grab a rolled magazine or fly swatter and smack them. It may take some time, but it’s so satisfying.

Vacuum cleaner: Use the hose attachment and suction them right out of the air. Just be sure to dump your vacuum’s dust bin into a plastic bag and knot it tightly, just in case.

Flypaper: The bright color of fly paper attracts these pests, but the sticky surface keeps them from flying away. For added effectiveness, press a very thin slice of apple to the surface of the flypaper and its scent will attract fruit flies by the dozens. Replace daily.

Electronic bug zapper: These devices attract flying insects with light, then zap them with electricity. The zapping sound may arouse the curiosity of kids and pets, though, so be sure to place it out of their reach.

Hairspray: A simple way to take out fruit flies too quick for you to swat is by blasting them with a spritz of hairspray. The sticky spray weighs down their wings so they can’t fly, leaving you plenty of time to smash them.

Frequently Asked Questions

This blog exists to help you. So, I encourage readers to ask questions in the comment section. When many people have the same question, I update the post to include the answer and increase the article’s helpfulness. If you have a question not answered in the article or FAQs below, please leave it in the comments.

Why isn’t my Fruit Fly vinegar trap working?

When making a fruit fly trap using apple cider vinegar, make sure you do not also add too many drops of dish soap. Using too much creates a film that masks the smell of the vinegar and reduces the trap’s effectiveness.

Why do fruit flies keep coming back?

To eliminate fruit fly infestations, you need to tackle them on multiple fronts. First, set out traps in your kitchen and bathrooms to get rid of the adults. Then, clean the areas where they may have laid eggs. Finally, maintain a clean environment so you do not attract new ones. By combining methods, you get rid of existing fruit flies and prevent new infestations.

Does bleach kill fruit flies?

You can use bleach to kill fruit fly eggs on surfaces, but there are more environmentally safe methods that are equally effective, including simple hot, soapy water. Pouring bleach down drains to kill fruit flies is ineffective, because the bleach doesn’t remain in contact with them long enough to deal any damage. Baking soda and hot vinegar is a more effective way to get rid of fruit flies in drains.

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21 Comments

  1. Fill a plastic container (3”x2”x1”) with:
    – 1 oz apple cider vinegar
    – 2 drops of balsamic vinegar
    – 1 drop of dish soap
    Mix to blend and set out on counter. No need for plastic wrap. I’ve watched the fruit flies make their way into the solution and quickly drown. I counted 13 dead fruit flies in my last batch.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks for sharing that! Sounds like a great one.

  2. 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. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ?

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

  13. 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

  14. 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. ?

  15. 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).

  16. 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!!

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

  18. 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 🙂

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