10 Solutions that Kill Gnats Permanently

Written by Alanna Davis
Published: March 12, 2024
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Although there are many things to love about the warmer months, the return of insects can be annoying for many people. In particular, pest insects like mosquitoes, ticks, fruit flies, and gnats can be especially troubling. Even though it might seem like they’re impossible to get rid of, there are several methods that are effective when attempting to eliminate these insects. Let’s explore 10 different solutions that will kill gnats permanently.

1. Set up Fly Paper

Gnats are often confused with fruit flies and drain flies.

©Pixelbender36/Shutterstock.com

Although it might not be aesthetically pleasing, fly paper is an effective solution for killing gnats. Compared to other insects, gnats are very small and weak, and bumping into a piece of sticky fly paper is almost a guaranteed death sentence. Set up these traps near areas of your home with the largest amount of gnat traffic to help stunt their populations.

2. Use Essential Oils in the Home

Peppermint essential oil and fresh twig on wooden background.Tag with text peppermint

Essential oils will help repel a variety of insects.

©rawf8/Shutterstock.com

Similar to other insects, gnats can’t stand the presence of strong fragrances. Essential oils have been used as an effective insect repellent for years. Because of this, incorporating them into a spray can kill them on contact. Add 10 to 20 drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, or tea tree oil in a spray bottle mixed with water and vinegar, and spray the solution over any areas in the home that are popular with gnats.

3. Use a Vacuum

Man cleaning dust from window blind by vacuum cleaner at home

Despite what you may think, flies are typically unable to escape from a vacuum.

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Even though it might sound comical, using a vacuum cleaner to suck insects directly out of the air can be helpful in cutting down their numbers. This is especially true if your house has a large number of them.

4. Construct Liquid Fly Traps

Gnats are attracted sugar and vinegar mixtures.

©Joseph Creamer/Shutterstock.com

Making liquid traps to attract gnats is simple and easy, and it’s likely that you already have the ingredients lying around your household. Using a bowl, combine vinegar, water, sugar and soap and mix well. Leave this bowl on your countertop and watch how the gnats fall in and begin to drown.

5. Sprinkle Cinnamon Around

In addition to being a natural fungucide, cinnamon also has a pleasant smell and it is perfectly safe for use around the household.

©iStock.com/Diana Taliun

Gnats dislike the smell of cinnamon, but that’s not the only reason why using this spice works. Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which acts as a natural fungicide. Since the primary food source of the larvae of fungus gnats is fungus in house plants, sprinkling cinnamon over them can help starve their young and subsequently kill them before they even reach maturity. However, it is important to note that this has not been studied professionally.

6. Buy a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are very affordable and some of the cheapest ones sell for as little as $15.

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Similar to flypaper, bug zappers might be difficult to look at. Despite this, they are incredibly effective in combatting gnat populations both inside and outside of the home. These insects are drawn to the bug zapper, and eventually they wind up flying too close and get shocked. This kills them on impact, and each one that dies is one less that’s able to reproduce.

7. Clean out Your Pantry

If you have a gnat problem in your home, fruit should be stored in closed-off, refrigerated areas.

©Eleonora Grigorjeva/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

According to Terminix, “The majority of gnats and flies are attracted to certain smells, especially fruit and sweet scents.” With this in mind, it might be time to toss the bowl of fruit that’s been sitting on your counter if you find yourself with a gnat infestation. In addition to eating the fruit, gnats will also lay their eggs on it if given an opportunity. In fact, some gnats are able to lay 200 eggs during the span of one week. Cleaning your living space will help starve gnats, and this in turn will stunt their reproduction.

8. Buy an Insecticide

Pest Control Worker Spraying Insecticide In Domestic Kitchen

Insecticide should only be used as a last resort if all other methods of gnat extermination have failed.

©Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

This option is for individuals who are open to using a non-natural method for extermination. Insect sprays can be incredibly potent tools, and many have the ability to kill gnats on contact. However, try not to spray these products in any area of the home where you cook or eat if possible, and open windows after spraying to ensure that your home receives proper air flow.

9. Clean Out Your Drain

Water boils in a stainless steel pan on a gas stove.

Exercise kitchen safety when transporting boiling water from your stove to your sink.

©VladK213/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Drain flies are commonly mistaken for gnats. Because of this, cleaning out your drain just might do the trick when dealing with a nasty infestation. Bring some water to a rolling boil before pouring it down the drain of your kitchen or bathroom sink. If flies have laid eggs down there, this will destroy them on contact.

10. Throw out Your Plants

Transplanting ficus ginseng houseplant. Woman fills flowerpot with potting soil. Houseplants growing, tending plants concept.

Gnats are also attracted to flowers and fruit.

©Meteoritka/Shutterstock.com

If all else fails, it may be time to throw out any house plants that you own that attract gnats. However, this is only to be done as a desperate measure. Before tossing your house plants, try to dry out the soil completely, spray them with natural insecticides, or isolate them for an extended period of time.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Pixelbender36/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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