11 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Gnats in Your House

Dark-winged fungus gnat on a green leaf.
© iStock.com/Tomas Klejdsz

Written by Kaleigh Moore

Updated: November 29, 2023

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Nobody likes to have pests in their homes. Gnats, tiny flying insects that breed and live indoors, are particularly annoying. If you leave your windows or doors open, they can sneak into your house easily and breed rapidly in humid areas. Neglecting to eliminate them will result in continuous breeding, leading to an excessive population of these creatures in your house.

This article outlines 11 effective ways to eliminate gnats from your home using natural methods that are affordable and safe without relying on harsh chemicals or professional pest control services. Additionally, it answers commonly asked questions about gnats to enhance your understanding of these insects. Let’s begin!

Infographic of 11 Ways to Get Rid of Gnats in Your House
Peppermint oil, red wine, and bleach are items that can help to get rid of gnats.

What Are Gnats?

Gnats are tiny insects with dark bodies and long, thin wings. They can be found living and breeding in indoor and outdoor environments. You can identify them as fruit flies, midges, fungus gnats, or eye gnats.

Depending on the species, some gnats are beneficial in plant pollination, while others are simply pests that cause serious crop damage. While gnats may transmit diseases and bite, they’re generally considered more bothersome than anything else.

Black-winged fungus gnat, commonly found in moist, dark areas.

Dark-winged fungus gnats are usually found in damp, dark places.

©iStock.com/Tomasz Klejdysz

Get Rid of Gnats in Your House

In this section, we will outline 11 effective methods to prevent gnat infestations in your humble aboard. While they may not seem like a big issue initially, they can quickly become a serious problem if left unattended.

1. Try a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are effective at catching gnats

Bug zappers are an effective solution for getting rid of pesky gnats.

©iStock.com/D. Homer

When dealing with gnats, it’s not just about convenience. It’s about survival. These tiny creatures can be a real nuisance and a downright infestation at worst. Luckily, science has provided a convenient way to fight back: the bug zapper.

Apart from being an excellent way to get rid of gnats, they are also super satisfying to watch in action. One study found that although bug zappers are good at catching gnats, only 0.25% of insects caught in bug zappers were mosquitoes. Not an impressive rate for mosquito catching, but for pesky gnats, bug zappers are an effective solution.

Because modern bug zappers are safe for indoor use, place one near plants or on counters to trap the gnats at their most vulnerable moments. Sure, there are alternatives like dehydrating devices that use fans to trap bugs, but let’s face it, nothing beats the satisfying zapping sound of a bug zapper.

Before trapping away, remember that these devices will catch every flying critter that lands on them, including beneficial insects like honeybees and pollinators. Well, you can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs.

2. Use Peppermint Oil

A bottle of peppermint essential oil can help keep gnats away naturally and effectively.

Mix peppermint oil with water and liquid dish soap to form a spray to repel gnats.

©iStock.com/Rawf8

Peppermint oil is one of the most popular natural remedies for getting rid of gnats in your house. This essential oil has bug-repelling abilities that make your home a no-fly zone for these little pests. It’s simple: all you need to do is mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and liquid dish soap to spray around your home.

This peppermint oil bug spray will have your home smelling fresh and free of gnats. Spraying the oil around windows and doors should keep those pesky insects from entering your home.

We recommend that you use peppermint oil with other eradication methods to ensure you’ve eliminated the pest problem. Don’t forget to reapply the spray often, especially after periods of rain. This ensures it remains effective, especially for outdoor areas like your garden or patio.

3. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural, effective way to rid your home of gnats

Gnats are attracted to the sweet smell of apple cider vinegar and tend to fly toward it.

©iStock.com/alicjane

It’s amazing how vinegar can solve many household problems, from cleaning surfaces to removing pests. It’s time to add this versatile ingredient to your toolkit of home solutions. Here’s how to use apple cider vinegar to get rid of gnats:

  • Combine half a cup of apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water.
  • Add a few drops of dish soap to the mixture.
  • Pour the solution into a bowl or cup, and place it on common gnat hotspots.

From there, watch as the gnats swarm toward the sweet scent and try to take a sip of the solution. The dish soap will trap the gnats inside the bowl, where they will eventually drown.

Why does this work? Gnats are attracted to the sweet smell of apple cider vinegar and tend to fly toward it. The dish soap acts as a trap, making it difficult for them to fly away once they reach for a drink. The gnats ultimately drown in the mixture, making vinegar a simple and effective solution for eliminating those irritating pests.

4. Use the Red Wine Trap

Wine Pouring into Glass

Using red wine as a trap works particularly well with a wine past its prime and with a vinegary taste.

©debyaho/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Red wine can be your best friend when it comes to getting rid of gnats. However, before you start panicking about giving up that delightful Merlot bottle, take a deep breath. Remember that you’re doing it for the sake of a cleaner, gnat-free home. 

Using red wine as a trap works particularly well with a wine past its prime and with a vinegary taste. Trust us; you won’t be missing out on your favorite tipple. Just as gnats are drawn to the smell of apple cider vinegar and rotting fruit, they are inexplicably attracted to red wine.

Simply mix half a cup of red wine with a few drops of dish soap in a cup or bowl. Alternatively, add the dish soap to the dregs of an old bottle of wine and place it where gnats are most prevalent. The gnats will sneak into the wine mix but rest assured they won’t be sneaking back out.

5. Entice Them With Rotting Fruit

Rotten fruit with several gnats flying around it.

To lure gnats away from your living space is to give them exactly what they want: rotten fruit.

©iStock.com/Cavan Images

One of the best ways to lure gnats away from your living space is to give them exactly what they want: rotten fruit. Yep, you heard that right! This seemingly counterintuitive strategy can be surprisingly effective.

Here’s how you do it in just a few simple steps:

  • Find a large bowl and add a few pieces of overripe fruit you may have lying around in your kitchen.
  • Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, leaving no open gaps.
  • Use a rubber band to secure the edges of the plastic wrap to the bowl.
  • Finally, grab a toothpick or a fork and poke a few small holes through the plastic wrap. The tiny openings will be enough for the gnats to fly in, but they won’t be able to fly out — they’ll be trapped.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to give up your counter space to a bowl of rotting produce. Remove the bowl and dispose of the contents when the gnats are trapped. This trick traps gnats and stops them from multiplying and re-infesting your house.

6. Use Boiling Water on Your Kitchen Drain

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

Boiling water then pouring it down your drain can help eradicate gnat larvae and eggs.

©VladK213/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

If you’ve noticed these little critters swarming around your sink, then chances are they’re hiding out in your drain. Gnats love warm and moist environments complete with stagnant water where they can lay their eggs and feast on any leftover food scraps. Luckily, boiling water is a simple and proven way to eliminate them.

Pouring boiling water down your drain eradicates any gnat larvae and eggs lurking in the damp recesses of your pipes. It’s surprisingly effective and a completely natural solution to your gnat problem.

7. Use Sticky Traps

A close-up of yellow sticky traps used to  get rid of gnats.

Sticky traps are an efficient and easy to use solution for getting rid of gnats safely and quietly.

©iStock.com/iStock

These traps are like flypaper for gnats. They’re efficient and require minimal effort on your part. Place them where you’ve seen the gnats buzzing, and let the traps do the rest. Sticky traps take advantage of gnats’ instinctive attraction to light and warmth, making them one of the perfect solutions to get rid of gnats safely and quietly. 

Once they latch on, best believe they’re not going anywhere. There’s something deeply satisfying about seeing those little buggers stuck to the traps. 

8. Buy a Chemical Spray

Close-up of the hand of a man holding a mosquito spray tube

Insecticides contain potent chemicals that work effectively to kill the gnats upon contact.

©Stockah/Shutterstock.com

Chemical sprays, also known as insecticides, effectively get rid of gnats in your house. They contain potent chemicals that work effectively to kill the gnats upon contact. Using insecticides saves you the trouble of swatting them with your bare hands. 

The spray is easy to use and is fully applicable to almost any surface or crevice where gnats are most likely to be found. However, you must be careful when using insecticides, particularly if you have small children at home. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before applying the spray.

9. Through Good Housekeeping

baking soda

Use baking soda with vinegar and water for household cleaning to keep kitchens and bathrooms hygienic.

©Geo-grafika/Shutterstock.com

Through good housekeeping and a little caution, you can prevent gnats from taking up residence in the first place. It’s essential to take your hygiene as seriously as possible. Some of the household chores you should never neglect include:

  • Taking out the trash frequently: Gnats thrive in moist areas.
  • Wiping spills and crumbs after eating or drinking: Gnats love sweet things, and they’re attracted to sticky substances.
  • Sealing leftovers properly: Gnats enjoy fruits, vegetables, and any organic matter.
  • Cleaning your drains regularly: This will go a long way in preventing gnat infestations.

Pro tip: Rub the sink or bathtub drains with baking soda and vinegar. Rinse the drainage with hot, boiling water to keep it sparkling clean and gnat-free.

10. Diluted Bleach in Drains

A bottle of bleach is a great option for killing gnats.

Bleach is an excellent option for killing gnats.

©iStock.com/Richard Villalonundefined undefined

The solution to your gnat problem might be sitting in your cleaning cupboard – diluted bleach. Bleach, the exact product you use to whiten your whites and purify your bathroom, can eliminate gnats in your home.

All you need is a cup of bleach and about a gallon of water. Dilute the bleach and slowly pour it down the affected drain. Ensure the bleach has enough time to kill all the gnats and larvae. 

Be mindful that you’re not mixing bleach with other chemicals in the drain, which could create harmful fumes. Once you’re done, the bleach will have cleared out the gnats and other unwanted critters from your drains in no time.

11. Place a Candle Trap

A single burning candle flame or light glowing on a white candle on black or dark background on table in church for Christmas, funeral or memorial service

With a candle trap, gnats will be attracted to light, flock to the candle flame and drown in water.

©nathamag11/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

The candle trap is a proven method that can help you take out gnats in no time. Now, let’s break down how the candle trap works: put a candle in a candlestick holder, light it, place it in a container of water with a few drops of dish soap, and turn off the lights.

Simply put, it’s like a canary in a coal mine. Gnats, being attracted to light, will flock to the candle flame. The dish soap in the water creates a slick surface, so when the gnats try to land near the lit candle, they meet their watery doom in the soapy water. A simple yet very effective solution.

But be warned; this method is not without risks. Leaving the candle unattended can lead to a fire; we all know how that ends. So keep an eye on it, and don’t burn it too long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Gnats Harmful?

Gnats cannot harm humans. However, some species may cause discomfort due to their bites resembling those of mosquitoes. Fungus gnats, in particular, can be harmful to indoor plants as they feed on rotting organic material and can damage the roots and growth of plants if they multiply excessively. Meanwhile, fruit flies can be attracted to rotting fruit and sweet liquids, and drain flies may hover around damp areas of your home.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Gnats?

The fastest way to get rid of gnats is by creating a simple DIY gnat trap using apple cider vinegar or red wine mixed with dish soap. This mixture attracts gnats with its sweet smell and traps them with sticky dish soap. Place the trap in the areas where the gnats are present and dispose of it once it’s filled with unwanted guests. It’s a quick and easy solution to rid your home of gnats.

Will Gnats Go Away on Their Own?

Sadly, no. If they’ve found an excellent place to eat and reproduce, they will stay until they completely exhaust all your resources. You can make them leave by setting traps to distract them and cleaning the areas they are drawn to, such as damp plant soil or trash cans. Once the sources of attraction are out of the way, gnats will have no reason to stay.

Where Do Gnats Lay Eggs?

Gnats prefer to lay their eggs in places with abundant food sources and hiding spots, such as damp and humid areas like garbage disposals and compost bins. They also lay their eggs in rotting fruits and vegetables, which can be found in your pantry or fruit bowl. Keep these areas clean and dry to discourage gnats from laying their eggs there.

Gnats flying around in your house can be annoying. You can promptly eliminate gnats by acquiring the appropriate knowledge and exerting consistent effort. Remember that prevention is better than a cure. 

The good news is, there are numerous strategies to eliminate gnats inside your house, such as using sticky traps and creating DIY gnat traps. By following the 11 effective tactics outlined in this article, you can ensure a spotless and gnat-free home in no time.


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