Discover 5 Easy Home Remedies to Get Rid of Flies

Written by Patrick Sather
Updated: September 8, 2023
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Few things are more aggravating than a fly infestation in your home. Not only are these little pests annoying, but they also contaminate food and can carry disease. Over the years, people have come up with all sorts of ways to repel and kill flies. Many of these methods involve buying high-tech commercial traps, sprays, or repellants. However, you can also find plenty of homemade remedies for getting rid of flies.

These are 5 great ways of taking care of flies yourself.

These solutions use natural, widely-available ingredients and supplies, many of which you probably currently keep in your home. Keep reading to discover 5 easy home remedies to get rid of flies

5. Build a Red Wine Trap

wine and cask with glass
Red wine can drown flies with its sedating and acidic properties.


What You’ll Need:

  • Empty glass, jar, or bottle
  • Red wine
  • Plastic wrap
  • Funnel
  • Scissors

Flies love sweet foods and drinks, which explains their attraction to fruits, desserts, and sugary beverages. They also enjoy alcohol, such as wine, due to the high sugar content in alcohol. This home remedy exploits that weakness by building a trap that draws flies to their boozy doom. 

Red wine serves as the bait in this trap, as the wine contains just enough sugar to attract flies. However, the alcohol in wine works on flies just as it does on humans. Upon drinking the wine, the flies will become sedated, making them much easier to drown. Wine also contains a high level of acidity, which can damage flies’ bodies after just a few minutes. Those pesky houseflies won’t know what hit them when they fall into this red wine trap.

You can make this trap in one of two ways. The first way uses a bottle and a funnel. Pour wine into the bottle, but leave enough space for the tip of the funnel and for the flies to enter. Insert the funnel into the bottle and leave the solution out on the counter. The trap works by drawing the flies into the funnel. Once inside the bottle, the flies can’t escape, and they drown in the red wine. 

The second way of making this trap involves using an empty glass or jar. Fill the jar or glass around halfway with red wine, then cover the opening with plastic wrap. Poke several holes in the plastic wrap with a pair of scissors. Make sure the holes measure large enough to let the flies enter the container, but not too large that they can easily escape. Like the previous version, this trap prevents the flies from escaping and drowns them in the red wine mixture. 

4. Create Your Own Fly Repellent Spray

A spray bottle filled with white vinegar, soap, and water can repel or kill flies
A spray bottle filled with white vinegar, soap, and water can repel or kill flies.

©Sergio Rojo/

What You’ll Need:

  • Spray bottle
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Bay leaves (optional)

Fly infestations often occur in isolated areas, such as around trash cans, fruit bowls, sinks, or picnic tables. In these situations, isolated traps and other deterrents often work well to repel flies. However, sometimes fly infestations can cover a much wider area. When this occurs, it helps to try more mobile home remedies. 

One such remedy you can try is to create a fly-repellent spray. The spray outlined above uses several ingredients that can either repel or even kill flies. The acid in the white vinegar can kill flies if applied liberally, while its strong odor also acts as a repellent. Meanwhile, including a splash of dish soap also helps when applied directly to flies. Dish soap contains surfactants, which reduce tension between liquids. When applied directly to flies, it impacts their ability to fly, which can lead to death. Finally, the optional inclusion of bay leaves ramps up the odor of the solution, which can help to drive flies away. 

For this home remedy, grab a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle and set the nozzle to mist. Combine one part water with one part distilled white vinegar and add a dash of dish soap (a quarter of a cup or less will do). If you want, you can add a few whole bay leaves to the solution. 

3. Make Your Own Citrus and Clove Repellent 

Lime and lemon with cloves.
Lemon or lime with cloves makes a great fly repellent.

©Jana Kollarova/

What You’ll Need:

  • Lemon (or lime)
  • Cloves

Flies possess a keen sense of smell. Their antennae feature olfactory hairs equipped with nerve cells that enable them to detect odors from greater distances than humans. They rely on their sense of smell to pick up the scent of rotting fruit, garbage, manure, and other substances with strong odors. 

Similarly, strong scents can also repel flies. Certain powerful scents can disrupt a fly’s motor sensors, forcing them away from the area with the offending scent. Two such odors include lemon and cloves. These odors repel certain fly species, such as house flies. Bear in mind that rotting or old lemons may attract house flies. With this in mind, we recommend using underripe lemons for this home remedy. 

You can buy commercial citronella candles, but this home remedy costs much less and is easy to make. To make your own citrus and clove repellent, start by cutting a lemon in half. If you don’t have lemons, you can substitute limes. Try to cut the fruit evenly so you are left with two even halves. Next, insert as many cloves as you can into the flesh of the lemon (or lime). 

Place the lemon (or lime) with the cloves near the area with the fly infestation and watch the flies evacuate the area. Just make sure to replace the lemon often, as rotting fruit will only serve to attract more flies

2. Brew an Essential Oil Fly Repellent

Lavender essential oil
Essential oils not only smell great but they also repel flies.


What You’ll Need:

  • Glass jar
  • Water
  • Essential oils
    • Eucalyptus
    • Peppermint
    • Lemongrass
    • Citronella
    • Pine
    • Sandalwood
    • Rosemary
    • Lavender

People have used essential oils for thousands of years. Today, people often incorporate essential oils in hygiene routines or use them for aromatherapy. But did you know that you can also use essential oils to keep away flies?

As previously mentioned, flies possess an acute sense of smell. Essential oils produce powerful odors that make them excellent fly deterrents. The following method leverages the power of essential oils to make a quick and easy fly repellent. 

To make your own essential oil brew, start with a clean glass jar. You’ll want to choose a jar with a lid; mason jars work perfectly for this home remedy. Fill the jar with water until it’s two-thirds of the way full. Then take your favorite essential oil, and drop 10-20 drops into the water. Oils that repel flies include peppermint, lemongrass, pine, citronella, rosemary, sandalwood, or lavender. Choose any oil you like, or mix and match oils to your heart’s content. Screw the jar on and leave the glass out for 24 hours in a cool, dark place. 

Waiting 24 hours gives the water and oils time to blend together fully. Once the brew is ready, open the lid of the jar and place your essential oil water near the spot experiencing a fly infestation. The odor of the essential oils will drive the flies away, and also have the added benefit of making your house smell great! Replace the mixture as often as needed. 

1. Assemble Your Own Sticky Fly Paper

fly paper strips
Make your own fly paper strips with paper bags and honey to catch flies.

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper Bag
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Saucepan

Many stores sell sticky fly traps. These traps work by attracting flies with strong scents to a sticky piece of paper. Once the flies land on the paper, they become stuck and unable to move. Eventually, the trapped flies die from starvation or exhaustion. 

With this home remedy, you can make your own version of a sticky fly trap. To start, grab a pair of scissors and a standard paper bag, such as the kind you can get at a grocery store. Cut the paper bag into strips between 1 and 2 inches wide and 6 to 12 inches long. Next, poke a hole in the paper around one inch from either short edge. Loop your string through the hole and tie a knot in the string, making sure to leave enough string for the trap to hang from. 

Next, you’ll need to create your sticky solution. Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Stir the ingredients over medium-high heat until well-mixed. Once mixed, let your sticky solution cool for around 30 minutes or until the solution reaches room temperature. 

Finally, either dip your paper strips directly into the solution or apply the solution to the paper using a brush, spatula, or spoon. Make sure to coat both sides fully for maximum effectiveness. Then, hang your sticky traps in areas with a fly infestation, such as near your trash can, fruit bowl, or near windows and doors. Watch as the flies stick to the trap and cannot escape. If the traps don’t work, try remaking your solution with less water. Replace the traps frequently as they collect flies. 

Summary of 5 Easy Home Remedies to Get Rid of Flies

1Assemble Your Own Sticky Fly Paper
2Brew an Essential Oil Fly Repellent
3Make Your Own Citrus and Clove Repellent 
4Create Your Own Fly Repellent Spray
5Build a Red Wine Trap

The Featured Image

housefly on window pane
housefly on window pane

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