Home Remedies for Fruit Flies

home remedies for fruit flies


Pesky and annoying, fruit flies have a reputation of appearing at the kitchen table fruit bowl and produce section of the local grocery store – especially during the summertime. Attracted to much more than the sweet smell of fresh peaches and browning bananas, fruit flies show no mercy and will attack food processing plants, warehouses, wineries, and restaurants. To rid your home of this uninvited guest, consider using home remedies for fruit flies to solve your problem.


What are Fruit Flies?

During the late summer and early fall season, fruit flies are most active, looking for fruits and other nourishment to feast upon during the harvest season. Measuring a mere 1/8-inch in length (including the wings), the fruit fly is characterized by bright red eyes with a light yellow to tan body color. Preferring a diet of yeast, fruit flies ignore unripe fruit and go straight for rotting and overly ripe selections [1]. They will also frequent drains, garbage, and damp organic materials.

Fruit Flies Home Remedies

People often blame the grocery store where they bought their fruits and vegetables from for their fruit fly problem, but most times, the fly has entered your home from the great outdoors. In order to gain back control of your living spaces, consider the following home remedies for fruit flies:

a) Remove Overripe Fruit:

One of the easiest ways to deter fruit flies is to avoid leaving overripe or damaged fruit in the open. If you have a habit of using a bowl of fruit as a decorative centerpiece or kitchen table staple, don’t forget to periodically inspect the condition of your fruit.fruit_flies_malaysian_fruit

b) Rubbing Alcohol:

To rid your kitchen of annoying fruit flies, fill a fine-misting spray bottle with rubbing alcohol [2]. Using just a little mist of the alcohol puts them out of their misery. They fall to the floor, where you can easily sweep them up. Parents tend to favor this method because it provides a much safer alternative to insecticides.

c) Apple Cider:

Set a trap that a fruit fly cannot refuse by filling an old jar to the halfway point with apple cider. After punching a few holes into the lid, screw on and place in any room within your house. The fruit flies are allowed to enter the jar, but will not be able to escape.

d) Basil:

Placing a pot of basil on a windowsill or table where fruit flies frequent will help lessen the number of fruit flies.

e) Soap:

Did you know that dry soap can act as a repellent for fruit flies? Simply sprinkle a little bit in garbage cans and anywhere else the pests like to hover about.

f) Lavender

Use lavender to deter fruit flies. A couple of suggestions include scattering the herb about your home, distributing oils in a burner, or hanging bunches of lavender close to open doors and windows. You may also repel the pests by soaking a sponge in a saucer filled with lavender oil and setting in a room where fruit flies frequent.

g) Chili And Vinegar:

Do you have fruit trees in your backyard that place you at a disadvantage during the summertime? Mix 2 ounces of beer, 1 ½ quarts of water, 4 chopped jalapenos, and 2 cloves of garlic in a pot to create a decent outdoor home remedy for fruit flies. Add all the ingredients to a pot, cover, and boil for five minutes. Allow the mixture to sit in the pot for 24 hours. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the mix. Strain well. Transport the liquid to a sprayer and apply to the leaves of your fruit trees, making sure to avoid any blossoms.

h) Fly Strips:

For high populations of fruit flies, cut down numbers by hanging fly strips that offer a sticky solution on both sides.

i) Mind Your Mess:

Fruit flies are also attracted to soiled sponges; old, damp dish rags; as well as food and drink spills so mind your messes and don’t let your garbage overflow if you wish to control your fruit fly problem.

j) Wine Trap:

Fill a saucer with white wine and add a bit of detergent to it. Leave the saucer in a room where fruit flies frequent. They will sip on the wine and expire due to the wine causing ‘gut rot’ in pests.

k) Clean Your Kitchen:

Since fruit flies are attracted to mold and moisture, keeping your kitchen clean is a must. Even the slightest sign of old fruit pieces, peels, and open fruit act like a beacon for these pests.

l) Open Your Window:

Fruit flies dislike the cold and wind, therefore open your windows to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the room.


  • ryan

    I’ve placed a small rotating fan in my kitchen to keep fruit flies away that linger after I’ve thrown away old bananas and apples out of my fruit bowl.

  • Lori

    a fool proof method I use is……In a small glass or jar put 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey and a few drops of dish detergent. This draws the fruit flies in. You can put this on your countertop or sink….works great

  • sarah

    Only had two pesky fruit flies in my kitchen – driving me crazy. I placed an old measuring cup filled halfway with apple cider vinegar on the top of my stove. The flies were instantly attracted to it, but weren’t going in to drown like I thought. I sprayed them with disinfectant spray and they actually swam out of the container. So the next time they came to the cider, I placed a drop of dish detergent on top of them and the weight of of it made them sink to the bottom and drown.

  • Mojur wildes

    I vacuum the flies with my water vacuum n they don’t come back

  • melissa grant

    I am going crazy trying to get rid of flies. I HAVE COOKOUTS FOR MY TEENS AND THERE FRIENDS !!! These flies are making me crazy! Embarressed to say the least! I am about to stop al the entertainment because of pesty flies! Please HELP!You can also email me at [email protected] if you have a remedy that works!

    Thanks, Deperate

  • TA

    My kitchen was always filled with these suckers, but then my alcoholic wife asked for my gun and vioula, a pint of Jim beam and a 20 guage with target shot took care of these suckers! No more fruit flies. Still miss that dog though, he was a good pup…

  • fruitflies

    Last night, my roommate and I took a plastic cup, filled it with apple sauce and sliced apples as well as teeny bit of pink lemonade. We covered it saran wrap and sealed it with a rubberband around the top. We took a tack to make small holes along the top and left it there overnight. The next morning, there were about 10-13 fruitflies trapped inside. Tossed the sucker out and now we’re doing it again! Worked great.

  • Manish Mahendra

    I have a vaccum cleaner. In the attachments there is a Spraying device for perfume. It has a net which has extremely small holes. I attach it to the vaccum side. Then I suck up these fruit flies, I can get into it about a 100 at one time. Finally before switching off the vaccum cleaner I put my hand on top of the hole so that they cant escape. Then I switch off the vaccum cleaner with my foot, pull out the end with my hand on the hole still, go outside the house and release them, this way I dont have to kill them (No Sins committed) yet I get rid of them all. Finally I wash my hands with soap.

  • Cabe

    RE: b) Rubbing Alcohol:

    Please remember that rubbing alcohol is EXTREMELY flammable… be very careful when spraying it from a mister… burning the house down to get rid of the flies is a bit extreme…

  • Wendy

    I found that warm water , 1tsp. sugar and 1T. yeast in a small bowl, cover with Saran Wrap, punch in small holes and this will also trap those pesky fruit flies.

  • Chrissy

    Hey Melissa, It’s a little while after you posted it. we’ve been dealing with those little flies too and yesterday my husband took all my plants outside and washed out the first inch of dirt, we left them out there to freeze a little. Its not really cold here yet but it got chilly enough to get rid of those damn flies. I dont know if that is the same situation your in but if you have plants their probably hiding in there. Hopefully you get rid of them. If that seems like to much work open everything up and freeze your house out, they’ll move on to a warmer place.

  • Cheryl

    OK they were totally out of control in my house…. my brother said use your vacumn….. I have a hepa filter type and it totally rid me of them. Took about 3 hits with the vacumn.

  • Annette

    In my office, everyone is plagued with fruit flies. One of my co-workers accidently left his container of Vitamin E oil opened. After three days, he noticed that the fruit flies were not only attracted to the oil but got stuck to the top.

  • Resbusha

    Good Old Fly Swatter!

  • Lori

    Hi there..thanks for all the great suggestions!!! My house was over run with these little annoying critters so I hit the web looking for some suggestions! Today I made traps out of 500 ml water bottles. Cut them in half. Put 2 table spoons of apple sauce, an ounce of white wine, a sprinkle of yeast in the bottom half of the bottle. Then I put the top of the water bottle inside the bottom and taped it so it was sealed. When the little critters went in to eat they couldn’t fly up and out of the mouth hole because of the shape..worked like a flippin charm!!!!! woo-hoo..Im on my way to a fruit fly free home, tomorrow I will be placing my house plants outside for a little “fresh air” just to be sure.

  • SugarSnapMama

    A product called “Hot Shot” is the best I’ve ever used. You can find it at your grocery store. It comes in several different types of delivery. The one I use and love best is a plastic unit that looks like an air freshener. You put it on a surface in your kitchen and leave it. The flies all disappear within about 2 days. The product emits no smell or sound. You forget it’s there. It keeps flies away for months. Love it!

  • SugarSnapMama

    Oops! I meant “Hot SPOT”, not hot shot. Hot Shot is a great stain remover. Also a good product, but not the one I meant. LOL
    HOT SPOT for fruit flies.

  • Eco Mama

    I’m looking for an immediate and non-toxic solution to getting rid of the plague of fruit flies in my house. I bought a spray bottle and rubbing alcohol and gave that a try. Honestly, the weight of liquid seemed to be their undoing, rather than the actual alcohol itself and I wonder if I’d get the same effect with water. I didn’t spray whole kitchen because, as the strong smell hit me, I worried about the effect of the rubbing alcohol on my cats. The trash can is outside and fly strips are hung up. I think I’ll dilute what’s in the spray bottle and try again later. Though I’m wondering about the basil and lavender. Does anybody know if 100% natural basil and lavender essential oils mixed with water would be safe and effective to lightly spray directly on fruit and kitchen surfaces?

  • AnymnSalm


  • Kim Williams

    We had an open bottle of wine that was left open while we left town for a few days that was left open in our wet bar area, we came home and had sworms of gnats/fruit flies, not sure which one there were. We got a spray mist bottle and filled it with RUBBING ALCHOL, and sprayed them, they would just fall to the counter from mid air… IT WORKED GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JessE

    That Hot Spot is only supposed to be used in places with 4 hours or less of human or animal contact. Like you can use it in a vacation home, garage, camper etc during the non used times, or in a household room that people are not in frequently.

    I’d rather have a natural repellant instead of aerosolized chemicals from them!

  • ryan coke

    GF and I went whitewater rafting last weekend, unfortunately we forgot to take out the full bag of garbage in the kitchen can – and it was full of food waste. came home the monday morning and omg, fruit fly mecca.

    We tried the rubbing alc trick, but we’rent impressed. Step one is cleaning up and removing anything they were attracted to. After that it was vacuum cleaner and giant fan. They really do not like the wind. keep air flow moving and they will vamoos.

  • Melanie

    We have had fruit flies from time to time and i by chance came across a way to get rid of them i was going to pour a shot of Sour Puss (alcohol) that i had for some time had a shot pourer on but as i poured it i realized tons of fruit flies coming out! After this discovery i then took a few plastic bottles made paper funnels poured about 2 shots in each bottle and placed them in seperate parts of the house. No signs of them anywhere now but the bottles were full. Turns out they love sweet alcohol.

  • Bebe

    I have somany fruit Flies inmy bathroom. I ahve cleaned and cleaned with no avail. I have placed white wine with some soap suds.Nothing helps.
    I am desperately in need of help. Please.
    I will folow some of the previous suggestions. Why my Bathroom. I am having a dinner party next Saturday this would be quite embarassing. I do have a few in the Kitchen.

    But they are such a big issues they are flyingin my bed I closed the bathroom door tightely. I am just so sick of it. I have no idea what is causing it in my bathroom,. I have cleaned and check and re check every item in my bathroom to see what can be causing it. I cannot come up with anything.

    Please help me .

  • Mario


    The fruit flies also live in drains. Pour bleach or something that kills them in your drains overnight!

  • Irina Blue

    Rubbing alcohol can be extremely toxic if inhaled and it can also burn your corneas if it gets into your eyes, so spraying this at the flies is probably not a good idea. Good article though, thanks for the other information.

  • Helen Nieves

    We found that when we didn’t finish our morning coffee and left the cup on the counter the fruit flies all drowned in it. Guess they’re attracted to it but it does them in.

  • bob

    Bathroom flies may be drain flies.I had em .Somewhat larger than fruit flies with disproportionate wings.Ultimately discovered my toilet had been leaking.No evidence of it in my bathroom.It was leaking down the outside edge of the stack into the basement.When discovered and remedied,No more flies!

  • Ann

    I ocassionally get them and can usually get rid of them in a half hour. Since they like they bathroom mirror, I put a paper towel in my hand and slow move in on them, and then swift smash them on the mirror. Well today was a different story. Yesterday there were about 7, but today I noticed more, when I began to kill them, I noticed more and more. They were not only in the kitchen, they were in the trash, and in the living room all over the mirror. It took about about an hour and a half, but the a swift palm I slowly closed in and got them with the my flat hand with the paper towel and the round of the palm by the thumb or your fingers closed straight and flat, so they don’t escape. Close in on them slow and then go very fast to smash them. I read and read because I felt my house was too clean for this many. In an hour and a half, I killed nearly all of them with a few still around, which was about 100. They are not just attracted to fruit, it is usually aging or rotting fruit, or vegetables, or onions… they love onions. Anything fermenting. Even empty can from vegetables or beans in the trash. They say to throw you trash out everyday. I’m single and that’s overkill for the price of the bag. Make sure there are no crumbs on the floor, under the microwave or under the fridge rotting away, they love rotting fermenting anything. I just put orchad from my living room outside as I noticed a few in the top soil. I also seale my drains in my sinks and bathtub. After I eat a banana. or use a lemon, they love citrus (don’t use citrus cleaners), or anything they like I put it in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge to keep it out of the garbage until I throw the garbage out. I was told drain and fruit flies are the same, but I may be wrong. Next I will go for white vigegar with a little aged banana peel in a big jar (is what I read) or whatever aging fruit you have, and then make a paper funnel at the top. I’ve read again and again they can’t get out. Also, essential pepermint oil or it may just be pepermint oil is something they cant stand the smell of. I read that a lot. Also lavender. If you google or bing, you will read all the options and see some photos of the traps. Also they can come in a/c’s and less than perfect fitting screens, and even fly in under the door through the little crack… just about anywhere.

  • Ann

    Today, they are nearly all gone. Though I am going to go get apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. I noticed a couple on the bathroom mirror and killed them, and every 20 mins there seems to be another 1 to 3 on the bathoom mirror. I looked under the sink and and noticed a couple on the pipes. Thank you whoever posted that they can be attracted to kitchen sink or bathroom drains. These fruit flys are like sesame seed colored or darker. The effort last night made a huge difference. I just need to find the reason/source since they are still here. The last few may just die off.

  • Ann

    I forgot to say when I use the paper towel in my hand I fold it in half and in half again so it fits about the size of my palm. I keep one in the bathroom by the mirror and one in living room by the mirror. You can have the towel very slightly damp if you want. This way the texture of the towel makes sure the fly doesn’t get a way. This was my first time use a towel because I’d never had this many. When I use a bare hand, I usually miss them. With the paper towel, I usually get them. Like many I find their presence annoying and upsetting a bit, so this a way to clear them out fairly quickly, while using another technique in addition to get the last ones.