How To Get Rid Of Gnats Instantly: 7 Safe And Effective Methods You Can Try Today

How To Get Rid Of Gnats Instantly: 7 Safe And Effective Methods You Can Try Today

Tired of swatting swarms of tiny flying bugs? Bothered by high-pitched buzzing? Maybe your home has gnats. If so, read on to learn how to get rid of gnats from your home.


Common household gnats­ (fungus gnats, Sciaridae) aren’t harmful to humans. According to the University of California, adult fungus gnats don’t bite or carry human pathogens.

They do, however, drive people crazy!

The fun begins when adult females lay eggs in moist, organic-rich potting soil. Eggs develop into larvae that eat mulch, leaf mold, fungi, compost, etc. Larvae then feed on and can damage roots and stunt plant growth. Not cool.

And if that weren’t enough…The larvae grow into adults that emerge from houseplants and become some seriously annoying pests.

What to do next?

Before reaching for insecticide (which may be harmful to pets and children) or calling pest control, try these safe, effective, and economical ways to exterminate gnats rid your house of gnats instead. Besides, you might already have everything you need lying around the house!

How We Decided


Multiple Materials and Methods to Murder Gnats

Method #1: The Vinegar Trap

Gnats are attracted to the smell of apple cider vinegar. For this popular home method, you’ll need:

  1. Pour 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the container.
  2. Mix in 3 drops of dish soap.
  3. Place the container wherever you see many gnats (e.g., around plants). You may even want to place several containers around the house.
  4. Optional ingredients: a pinch of sugar, water (some people add water for more volume, but make sure not to dilute the apple cider vinegar too much)
  5. Optional steps:
    • cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid
    • punch holes in the wrap or lid

The vinegar trap works by luring gnats to the container. The dish soap breaks the liquid’s surface tension, so gnats can’t stand on the surface but sink in and drown. If your trap has a cover, any gnats that managed to float and try to fly will be trapped.

We find the above formula works best to get rid of gnats, but there are different variations you can try to tailor your results. For a demonstration of the vinegar trap method, see the variation used in this video.

Method #2: The Red Wine Trap

While relaxing and sipping red wine, you can either put out an extra glass for your gnat guests (and add a couple of drops of dish soap–just don’t forget in which glass so no one accidentally drinks out of it!) OR create a red wine trap like the vinegar trap above (with or without a cover).

How does that work?

Gnats love naturally sugary and fermented red wine. The dish soap breaks the wine’s surface tension. The gnats sink into and are trapped in the alcohol.

Remember, they aren’t picky, so stick with cheap red wine.

More DIY Sprays for Gnat Around Plants

Dish soap and water: Mix a few drops of dish soap with water in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture all over the plant–on leaves, the stem, and the soil. Leave the spray on the plant for an hour or two to kill off the gnats. Then “rinse off” the soap by spraying the plant with plain water. Rubbing alcohol and water: Mix one cup of rubbing alcohol with one liter of water (or more if you think the mixture will be hard on your plants). Put the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the plants and soil every three days for two weeks.

Method #3: On Oily Trap

Another neat trick is the oil trap. Put a little vegetable oil around your kitchen sink drain. Gnats hanging out there will become coated with the oil and unable to breed.

Method #4: The Rotten Banana (or Fruit) Trap

Overripe bananas and fruit attract gnats, but use rotting fruit to your advantage!
You’ll need:

  • an overripe or rotting banana or any fruit (e.g., watermelons, peaches)
  • a medium container
  • a smaller container that fits inside the medium container
  • water
  • dish soap
  • a rubber band
  • plastic wrap
  • a knife or sharpened pencil
  1. Put the banana (or other fruits) mashed or whole in the smaller container.
  2. Place the smaller container and fruit in the medium container.
  3. Pour water into the medium container until the water line is about halfway up the side of the small container.
  4. Add and mix in 2 drops of dish soap to the water in the medium container.
  5. Put the plastic wrap over the top of the container, fastening the wrap with a rubber band.
  6. Poke a few small holes in the plastic.

The fragrance of overripe or rotting bananas (or other fruits) lure gnats into the trap. They climb through the cover’s holes into the container to reach the fruit, but then can’t fly back out. Instead, they fall back into the soapy water and drown.

Here’s a simpler way:

If you have only one container, don’t worry. A more streamlined variation is placing the overripe fruit in a single container, placing plastic wrap over the opening, and punching small holes in the wrap. Gnats will still be drawn to the fruit’s vapors, enter the container, but not be able to leave.

To see this method in action, watch this demonstration.

Method #5: Potato Trap for Larvae

To set this natural, handy trap, cut a few potato slices (about 1” long, 1” wide and ½” thick) and bury them in the soil under the infected plant. Larvae already present in the soil gravitate to the potato for feeding. When you remove the potato slices 48 to 72 hours later, voilà (and slightly gross)–you’ll pull out many wriggling larvae with the slices.

  • Putting away food leftovers (i.e., not leaving them out on the counter).
  • Storing food in air-tight containers and in either the refrigerator (if needed) or a sealed cabinet.
  • Cleaning used dishes (or putting them in the dishwasher) promptly after use. Dirty dishes in the sink combine gnats’ two loves: food and moisture.
  • Eating, cooking, or storing in the refrigerator ripe fruit.
  • Keeping the kitchen and bathroom areas clean and dry.
  • Covering trash cans.
  • Checking doors and windows for holes where gnats can enter.
  • Drying unnecessarily damp areas. Gnats are attracted to drains in the bathroom and kitchen.

Method #6: Spray and Zap!

If you see only a few gnats and want a little target practice, gather:

  • one cup of water
  • one tablespoon of vinegar
  • a few drops of dish soap
  • a spray bottle

Mix together the first three ingredients and pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Then spray at a flying gnat and zap! You’ve killed the gnat and gotten some exercise without harming any indoor plants (unless you stepped on a plant in the process).

Method #7: Sticky Yellow Paper Insect Traps

Many users swear by these low-maintenance, no-sweat sticky paper traps. Drawn to the color yellow, gnats fly into and then find themselves stuck to these traps, which are easy to find at your local garden store. Here is an example.

You should always:

Place the paper traps where you see many gnats. Hang them on or around plants. Hopefully, after a couple of days, the yellow paper trap will be filled up with dead gnats. Just switch it out for a new, fresh trap.

Expert tip for gnats around drains:

When you see gnats hovering around the drain, try this method:

  1. Dilute some bleachwith water (about 1/2 cup of bleach to one gallon of water).
  2. Pour the mixture down the drain.
  3. Wear protective gloves as well as eye and mouth protection. Don’t inhale the fumes.
  4. Some people prefer using baking soda with vinegar OR ammonia to kill off drain gnats. ** Warning: do not mix bleach with ammonia. Mixing these bleach and ammonia creates toxic fumes. **
  5. If possible, don’t run any water down the drain for one to two hours.

How To Get Rid Of Gnats The Easy Way

If mixing household items and making traps sounds like too much effort…

Good news!

There’s an even easier way.

The next level of DIY gnat extermination without chemicals is an electric insect trap. Bestazy’s article, 12 Notable Mosquito Trap Reviews –  Selecting An Effective Insect Trap In 2018, describes several different safe models for indoor use.

Wall Sconce Sticky Mosquito Trap

For a decorative touch, try the stylish Wall Sconce Flying Insect Fly Light Trap.

SANIA Electronic Mosquito Zapper

For sound slumber, use the very quiet, plug-in Sleep Better with SANIA Electronic Mosquito Zapper.

GLOUE Bug Zapper Electronic Mosquito Killer

For easy, plug-in use, try the compact GLOUE Bug Zapper.

For larger grid models, choose from among:

VENSMILE Electric Fly Traps & Mosquito Killer

For a lantern-shaped model, use the VENSMILE Electric Fly Traps Bug Zapper.

Redeo Solar Bug Zapper Fly Trap and Garden Lamp Night Light

Although designed mostly for outdoor use, we wanted to mention the Redeo Solar Bug Zapper Fly Trap and Garden Lamp Night Lightbecause it is solar powered and convenient to use.

Identifying and Spotting Gnats

Whichever trap you choose, before you venture forth to capture the gnats, you’ll want to

1) make sure the bugs are actually gnats and

2) figure out where they are coming from

Let’s break it down:

Smaller than fruit flies, these tiny black insects are often mistaken for mosquitos. Only about 1/16” long, adult fungus gnats have dark thin bodies and very long legs. A fungus gnat larva is very small, pale white (almost translucent) with a black head, and resembles a worm.

Larvae live in very damp conditions where they feed on decaying plant material, moist organic matter, and fungi.

Where do you look?

Attracted to light, adult gnats may appear flying near windows. As weak fliers, though, gnats may also be found resting on plants, soil, windows, window sills, or walls. Larvae thrive in moist plant pots.

No wonder fungus gnats love being around overwatered houseplants. They lay their eggs in the potting soil, where larvae hatch, feed, and grow. So the first source to check is any houseplant.

Preventing Gnat Infestations

Of course, ideally, you wouldn’t even need to employ any of the above-listed methods for getting rid of gnats. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Try this to In order to prevent gnat infestations in the first place.:

  • Not overwatering plants. Keep the soil damp, not wet. Let the upper layers of the soil dry in between watering and make sure the plant has adequate drainage.
  • Changing potting soil. High-quality soil is not likely to include unwanted pests, like gnat larvae, ants, etc.


Have you been plagued by gnats? Reluctant to call in the big guns (chemicals or pest control)? Investigate these DIY methods and/or the suggested electric insect traps to learn how to get rid of gnats in and around your home. If your house is overwhelmingly infested with gnats, however, you may need to call in the professionals.

What Do You Think?

Have you ever tried any of the listed DIY methods or electric insect traps? Have they worked for you? We’d love to hear what worked and what didn’t. If you have any comments or additional tips, please let us know.


Frequently asked questions


Why do gnats fly around my face, in my mouth, and up my nose?

As we’ve discussed, gnats are drawn to moisture. Unfortunately, they also are attracted to your body heat and the carbon dioxide from your mouth and nose when you exhale.


Does pet food attract gnats?

Yes, especially wet pet food. Don’t forget to clean and dry your pet’s food bowl after meals.


How can you tell fruit flies and gnats apart?

Fruit flies are larger than gnats and have yellow-to-tan bodies with red eyes. Gnats have very dark bodies and long, thin legs.

The team
The team

We made this review

Kate Kalanchuk
Content Manager Kate Kalanchuk
Tiffany Mueller
Editorial Director Tiffany Mueller
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