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How to Get Rid of Gnats

Is there any insect more annoying than gnats? Though they are essentially harmless, these tiny flying bugs often show up in groups and prove difficult to evict once they’ve taken up residence in your home or garden. In actuality, there are three different types of insects commonly referred to as gnats—fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats—but even though only one bears the actual name, they’re all a nuisance.

If you’re an unfortunate and unwilling host to these irritating house guests, take heart. Our cleaning professionals at Merry Maids® have a few methods for getting rid of gnats, as well as some tips to prevent them from returning.

5 Methods for Getting Rid of Gnats

Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

Fill a glass or a bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a half cup of warm water, and about 5 drops of liquid dish soap and stir well. Gnats will be attracted to the sweet sugar and pungent vinegar, but the sticky dish soap will disable them from escaping.

This trick also works with wine! If you have an unfinished bottle of red wine that has oxidized and turned sour, use the wine to replace the water, sugar, and vinegar in the method above. Just add the liquid dish soap, set it out in the open, and wait for the gnats to dive in.

Bananas in a Bowl

Mash an overripe banana or two in a bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Secure the plastic wrap with a rubber band, then poke a couple small holes in the plastic with a toothpick or wooden skewer for the gnats. The pests will be attracted to the smell of the fermented fruit and find their way in through the holes. However, they won’t be able to escape the way they came and they’ll be trapped.

Diluted Bleach Solution

If the gnats in your home swarm around the sink, they’re most likely not gnats but drain flies. Eliminate these pests by mixing a half cup of bleach with a gallon of water and carefully pouring it down the drain. (Always use caution when handling bleach by wearing gloves and a mask.) Depending on how long the drain flies have had to settle in, you may need to repeat this method a couple times before they’re truly gone.

Gnat Spray for Use On the Fly

If you just have a couple scouts checking out the accommodations—as in, the gnats aren’t swarming yet—fill a spray bottle with a cup of water, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a few drops of liquid dish soap and give it a good shake. Spritz gnats in flight to put an end to the infestation before it begins.

How to Prevent Gnats (or Try To, Anyway)

While it’s not always possible to keep gnats from moving in, it’s important to be aware of a few simple ways to make your home less hospitable to them—namely, eliminating the main food sources for each of the three pests.

True to their name, fruit flies like to feast on produce. Wash fruits and vegetables as soon as you bring them home, then store them in the fridge or, if they must stay out, sealed or covered. Fruit flies also love sugar, so be sure to clean up any spills or crumbs right away.

Drain flies eat the bacteria and other gunk inside drains, so it’s a good idea to keep those pipes clean. Flush drains with boiling water from time to time, or try this baking soda and vinegar method. If the drain flies are persistent, you may want to have a plumber professionally clean your drains.

Moisture and humidity attract fungus gnats, namely that which accompanies wet soil. To help prevent these pests from breeding, avoid overwatering houseplants and allow soil to dry completely before watering again.

A clean home is the best defense against gnats. Our Merry Maids® cleaning professionals can help you win the fight against dirt with our regular house cleaning services. Reach out today for a free estimate.