Get Rid of Flies in the Kitchen

Fruit flies are pesky warm weather pests who invade your kitchen using ripening fruit as their breeding ground. The flies have a lifespan of 8-10 days but are able to lay as many as 500 eggs at a time when they reach maturity. Ripening fruit is not the only place they reproduce. They also grow in moisture-inhabited places like drains, sponges, garbage disposals, and empty bottles. Their accelerated lifespan paired with their rapid multiplication means the cycle of fruit flies will be never ending. Along with fruit flies, drain flies and common house flies can be frustrating and annoying pests. There are ways, however, to stop these insects dead in their tracks.


Preventing Common Flies in the Kitchen

  1. Eliminate the obvious sources of attraction for fruit flies. Place ripened fruit and vegetables out of sight and into the refrigerator to prevent fruit flies from having a breeding source. Throw any rotten produce away.
  2. Empty recycling bins and trash cans regularly to avoid fruit flies and houseflies. Clean the sides and bottom of the garbage can and bin so that they are free of food and juices on their surfaces.[1]
    • Avoid getting potential spills from cans and bottles on your trash cans and recycle bins by cleaning them out before they are thrown away.
    • For spills and regular cleaning, spray trash can and recycling bin surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe it dry with a paper towel.[2]
  3. Rinse dirty dishes immediately to prevent fruit flies and houseflies. Allowing dishes to sit in the skin should be avoided, but if you must leave them there overnight, rinse them thoroughly to prevent flies using them as a breeding ground.
  4. Replace old sponges, dishrags, and mops regularly to reduce fruit flies. Toss your sponges every month and wash dishrags at least once or twice a month because bacteria and flies are attracted to warm, damp areas.[3]
  5. Make sure your drains and garbage disposals are regularly maintained to prevent drain flies. Drains should be clean and clog free and there should be no stagnant water in kitchens or bathrooms.[4]
    • Clean drains and garbage disposals with a mixture of 1/8th ammonia and a gallon of tap water. Allow it to sit and then rinse it down with running water.[5]
    • Spray drains with Insect Growth Regulator to prevent future infestation by halting the growth process of fly eggs living in the drain.[4]

Using Fly Traps

  1. Place a funnel trap in your kitchen to trap fruit flies. Heat half a cup of apple cider vinegar and pour it into a wine bottle or jar. With a sheet of paper, form a cone-shaped funnel with tape and stick it to the jar.[6]
    • Although fruit flies do not tend to be clever enough to leave the funnel jar once they’ve entered, adding a drop or two of dish soap can help prevent flies from being able to fly away once they’ve entered the jar.[7]
    • While apple cider vinegar is commonly used as bait for this DIY trap, a piece of ripe banana can also be used and be just as effective.[6]
  2. Use a jar trap with fruit to get rid of fruit flies. Place several pieces of very ripe, borderline rotting fruit at the bottom of a jar. Cover the opening with plastic wrap, securing it with a rubber band.[7]
    • With a toothpick, poke holes into the plastic wrap. This will be how fruit flies enter your trap.
    • To kill the flies that gather there, submerge the jar underneath soapy water for about 10 minutes. Rinse the jar out, refill it with produce, and repeat the trapping effort.[7]
  3. Use a similar jar trap to get rid of houseflies. Take two cups of water and some sugar and place it into a jar. Take a sheet of paper and fold it into a paper funnel with the wide side up at the top of the jar. Houseflies will be attracted to it and won’t know how to fly back out.[8]
  4. Combine milk, raw sugar, and ground pepper into a pan and bring it to a simmer. After 10 minutes, place the mixture into dishes placed around the house. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to the plates if fruit flies seem to be flying away. Otherwise, landing in the mixture causes them to drown in it.[7]
  5. Leave out a bottle of wine that has some left over wine at the bottom. Fruit flies will be attracted to the red wine for its fruity quality.[7]
    • Dispose of the dead flies by dumping the wine out in the sink.
    • If you feel like the wine hasn’t done the job, fill the bottle with a dash of dish soap and water or place the bottle in the freezer to eliminate the flies and any potential eggs.
  6. Get rid of drain flies by pouring bleach, vinegar, or boiling water down an infested drain. This will kill existing flies, but because it does not remove eggs or organic slime, it is recommended that you follow up with a bacterial drain cleaner.[9]
    • Pour drain gel into the drain to remove organic slime and drain fly infestations. Repeat this action five consecutive nights to get rid of everything that’s down there.[10]
    • After you’re confident that the infestation has been killed, follow up with a natural method of pouring vinegar or bleach down the drain. Keep the drain flies at bay by using a drain gel one night a week.[10]
  7. Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol to kill common flies in the kitchen. Use the spray to instantly kill flies that hover around in the infested areas around the kitchen.

Repelling Kitchen Flies

  1. Use a vodka based repellent to kill houseflies and fruit flies. Mix vodka, aloe vera juice, lemon eucalyptus oil, and an essential oil blend into a spray bottle. It can be applied to your skin or sprayed near infested areas to ward off flies.[11]
  2. Make a lemongrass spray repellent for fruit flies and houseflies. In a spray bottle of a ½ cup of hot water, add 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Shake well.[11]
    • It does not kill flies, but it does repel them. Spray the mixture on windowsills, doorways, and other problem areas you see fit around your kitchen. [7]
    • The mixture can double as a room freshener as well.
  3. Cut a lemon into two halves. Poke the flesh of the lemon with 6-12 solid cloves in each half. Place the cloved lemons on a plate and set it on the counters of your kitchen or use it as a dining table centerpiece to help keep flies away.[11]
  4. Repel fruit flies and houseflies with herbs. Purchase some rue and place some sprigs in between fruit or around fruit bowls sitting out on your counter. Though the aroma is pleasant to us, flies do not like its strong aroma which makes them stay away.[12]
    • Other herbs that can help get rid of flies naturally include Wormwood, basil, bay leaf, lavender, and mint.
    • Herbs can also be planted in a pot and placed near doorways, trash cans, and drains to repel flies in infested areas.


  • Find the source of the fly problem! If you have an old box of Mandarin oranges (any kind of decayed fruit/food) that has been forgotten, that is the first place to look and if so, dispose immediately.
  • Try to keep the fruit and vegetables wrapped up and/or unexposed. Flies are attracted to anything.
  • When using traps and you feel that all the visible flies have been captured, spray them directly, use a soapy water technique, or release them outside.
  • Replace and repeat fly traps as needed.


  • Exercise patience with killing and repelling flies. Some infestations are large and take a while to conquer. Don’t give up prematurely. Keep applying the methods and soon you will have a fly-free home!
  • Flies can carry dangerous diseases on their feet! Houseflies in particular enjoy excrements like feces and garbage. These flies can spread bacteria from feces to your counter, food, and dishes!

Things You’ll Need

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Insect Growth Regulator spray
  • A mason jar or an empty wine bottle
  • Dish soap
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • A paper funnel
  • Plastic wrap
  • Toothpick
  • Ripe or overripe produce
  • Soapy water
  • A bottle of red wine with some leftover wine in it
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 1/4 lb of raw sugar
  • 2 oz of ground pepper
  • Saucepan
  • Bowl
  • Plate
  • Spray bottle
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 tsp aloe vera juice
  • 1 tsp lemon eucalyptus oil
  • 1/2 tsp essential oil blend
  • Hot water
  • Lemongrass essential oil
  • Drain gel
  • Bleach
  • Rubbing alcohol

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Sources and Citations

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