GNATS - How to get rid of them?


Somehow my house and garden got tiny gnats that killed my fuchsia plant and fly everywhere. I have tried ALL the Web recommendations - soap and oil dishes, sand in the pots, crushed bananas in a covered dish with holes, pest strips, etc, Anyone have a better idea? Both honey and corn syrup on yellow cardboard is not strong enough to catch them... I don't want to use poison spray. THANK YOU.

  51 answers
  • Mona Blake Mona Blake on Jul 01, 2019

    This was the year for them. They were so bad at my house we missed spring completely. They hate vanilla. Real vanilla, not artificial. But real vanilla fades fast.

  • Shirley Proffitt Shirley Proffitt on Jul 01, 2019

    I keep a small bottle with little cap and neck in a corner not easily seen on my kitchen counter. Put in a little soda (put bottle in sink as will foam) and pour a couple of inches vinegar on top of soda. DO NOT PUT LID back on bottle. Put on counter where it won't get knocked over and leave. In a day or so, you will start noticing the gnats in the vinegar and not in the air through out the house. Change about every month or so as needed.

  • Dee Dee on Jul 01, 2019

    If you have gnats in the house, it usually means the presence of one or both of these small flies: FUNGUS GNATS. If the flies are small, black, and flying around windows or potted plants; then they are probably fungus gnats. ... They live in the soil of potted plants.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jul 01, 2019

    In the house, cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap, cover it with saran wrap and poke a few small holes they can get through and not get out, as an attractant. I know they are ugly, but the fly strips that you hang from the ceiling will really help get the numbers way down. So far, we have avoided them in the house this year, but outside they are miserable. I am allergic to them and get huge welts that last almost two weeks, even treating them.

    • Gina Garbo Gina Garbo on Jul 02, 2019

      Thanks.Using vInegar and soap did NOT work, even though other sites say it will. Next I am going to try vinegar and OIL.... ;)

  • Gina Garbo Gina Garbo on Jul 02, 2019

    OK- The vinegar and soap did NOT work... The fly/gnat strips worked a LITTLE, but as they are not yellow in color they worked minimally. I also tried smashed bananas, raw potatoes, and vegetable oil in closed dishes.... Only a few worked at a MINIMAL level. Isn't there ANYTHING to catch these besides poisonous spray? Putting SAND in the pots seemed to also help a bit.

  • Gina Garbo Gina Garbo on Jul 02, 2019

    I saw this but it did not work... There are MANY ideas, and they only reduce a FEW GNATS, without poisonous stray...

  • Lisa Lisa on Jun 30, 2014
    Absorbine junior is very effective for keeping gnats away. Apply to brim of hat, bandana and on pulse points like you would apply perfume. Old farmers trick!
  • Change of Art Change of Art on Jun 30, 2014
    If you can get a fan moving the air near you, that'll always help – but I've gotta second Lisa's recommendation for those pesky gnats: Absorbine Jr.! Just found out about it from my golfing brother-in-law. He's a true doubting Thomas (for heaven's sake – I just realized, he really IS – that's his last name!). Anyway, he thought his golfing buddies were nuts when they broke out a little bottle and started applying it to the brims of their golf hats. (Note, they were playing very close to the Mississippi River.) But, after the first round – where he was the only one being 'swarmed' – he gave in. Said it was like magic. "Poof!" – they were gone! (Just a reminder, eliminate any & all standing water in your yard – it only takes a day or two for mosquitoes to take hold!)
  • Tagwatts1 Tagwatts1 on Jul 28, 2016
    I can tell you what we have done. Not sure it will help you. We have some windows that quite large and in the evenings we like to open them up a bit to have a cool breeze come. The screens were not adequate. We purchased some sand screens and added them to the existing screens and this works very well. I hope this may help you. you can purchase rolls of screen that have very tiny and small openings in them . Go rto a good hardware store, or Home Depot, Lowe's . They will have what is needed.
  • Linda Linda on Jul 28, 2016
    Buy a finer grade of nylon screening from hardware store and attach over top of your present screen using self adhesive velcro around the edges. You can remove it in the winter if you wish.
  • Southernlady Southernlady on Jul 29, 2016
    Standard screening material does leave "holes" that no see um's can get thru. You need a finer grade sceeening material. Standard insect screening is made from woven strands of material. The tightness of the weave, or mesh size, is measured in the number of strands per inch. Standard mesh is 18 x 16, which has 18 strands per inch in one direction and 16 strands in the other direction. For large expanses of unsupported screen, you might consider using 18 x 14 mesh. This has slightly heavier strands, so the screen holds up better when stretched over large areas. If you live in a climate where tiny “no-see-um” bugs are a problem, you might need 20 x 20 mesh screen, which offers the best protection from teensy pests.
    • Miranda Wick Miranda Wick on Sep 22, 2017
      HI, I am having the same issue with gnats coming inside my house. I have Pella windows and currently my screens are 18x18 and they also sell 21x17 screen. Do you think it would make much of a difference?
  • GoddessOdd GoddessOdd on Jul 29, 2016
    You can purchase very fine screening at the big box stores, and replace all the screens, if money is no object. Replacing screens is one of the easiest home repairs, requires only a couple simple tools, basic skills and not much else. If cost is an issue, I would buy cheap sheer curtains, you can usually get panels for not more than $5-6. You should be able to make at least a couple screen covers out of each curtain panel. lay the screen down on top of the curtain panel, cut each cover slightly larger than the screen and use double face tape to secure to the inside edge of the screen and remount them.
  • Pam johnson Pam johnson on Jul 29, 2016
    pour vinegar down your sink,all my gnats dissapeared immediately
  • Per4726902 Per4726902 on Jul 29, 2016
    A little dish of vinegar on your counter, and they will be gone within a day or two!
  • Mary Mary on Jul 29, 2016
    This is a cheap idea, and it still allows you to see out of the window. Take some Saran Wrap and cut it to the size of the screen... you may have to use several pieces. If the Saran Wrap doesn't stick to the outer part of the screen, then just tape it so it won't fall down. Saran Wrap and Tape is all you need!
  • We28518635 We28518635 on Jul 29, 2016
    Spray bug repellent on your screens ; yolu can also use vinegar to brush onto your screens the smell will go away after a short time. I would think the saran wrap would also stop the breeze .
  • Sophia,M.,McConnery Sophia,M.,McConnery on Jul 29, 2016
    The vinegar and soap solution is the best.Also if you have Tea Tree Oil mix it in a small spray bottle;6 drops to 750 ML of water and spray the screens.All bugs hate tea tree oil!
  • 183212 183212 on Jul 03, 2013
    Purchase a safe garden and fruit insect killer. Gnats and other insects are known to invade house plants and outdoor gardens. Yet, there's a simple solution. Visit the local home improvement store or general retail store and buy a fruit and vegetable insect killer. Spray the chemical on the house plants. Remove the top layer of the soil. Since gnats generally lay their eggs on the top layer of soil, take the house plants outside. Using a shovel, remove about one inch of the soil's top layer. If necessary, place new soil in the pot. Spray window sills and doors with an insect killer. Some gnats venture away from house plants and collect near windows and doors. Keep these areas sprayed with insect killer. This kills the adults, and prevents them from laying new eggs. Include a tablespoon of liquid dish washing soap with water. Before watering the house plants, mix in a tablespoon of soap. The soap helps get rid of annoying gnats, and it doesn't hurt the house plants. Use cider vinegar to attract gnats. Get a shallow bowl and pour about one cup of cider vinegar. Cover the bowl with a clear plastic cover, and cut a small hole in the middle. The cider vinegar attracts the gnats, and they become stuck inside the bowl. Empty the bowl as needed.
  • KJ KJ on Feb 08, 2015

    They are attracted to moisture and things that have an odor. I had this awful problem last summer and won the battle so don't be dishearten. I have two cockatoos so I cannot use chemicals in my home. So outside of laundry bleach, here is what I did to win back my home LOL. From my research, I found out that their resiliency, is fast turn around life cycle so this is not a quick overnight fix if you want to go chemical free. First, buy a gallon bottle of white viniger. The gnats are attracted to the smell. Every day, throughout my home, I placed extremely shallow bowls with viniger. They are smart, I guess, as a means of survival, so if the bowl is too deep (and I really didn't want want that much vinegar sloshing around) they will just stay at the top of the rim without going closer to the viniger and drowning. I also used packaging tape on my windowsills, sticky side up with a bowl of vinegar nearby to lure them in. I did use bleach in my drains at night before I went to bed because they are attracted to the water left in the drains and in the trap of the pipes (curved section of pipe under your sinks). But I CAUTION, I do not know what a safe solution is for someone on a septic tank so please do your research. You only pour this in your shower/bathtub and sink drains at night because water is standing still. Turnip is also correct about your plants. They will live in the top layer of your soil so you can either replace all of your soil or put your plants outside and let nature handle the issue. I know most states, indoor plants will not survive the great outdoors right now, so perhaps, you can replace your soil, and cover the plants with plastic bags at night like a mini hot house. I just think that until you get the gnats under control, your plants will be constantly reinvested. Also, make sure that you do not have standing water under your plants. Next, be careful to immediately throw out your coffee filter. They love the moisture and I guess the smell so that has to go right out to the trash. Also, keep all food off your counters. I bought a package of hot dog buns to use the next day, and in the morning, the gnats were inside the wrapper by the dozens....gross, but I did look at it, that I just caught a few dozen or more. Make sure to keep all beverages covered as well while drinking, otherwise, you will find a gnat floating. It took me about two months, when I started to notice that the size of the gnats were much smaller which meant that I impacted the life cycle and suddenly, the way they came, they were gone. As a side note, I was not the only one dealing with this pest last summer in the Los Angeles area and my sister had some trouble in the Orlando area. Good Luck!

  • Nancy Montabone Nancy Montabone on Feb 08, 2015
    Vinegar does indeed work well for us. I use a small mason jar, jam size, fill the jar about 3/4 the way full, poke about 10 holes in the lid of the jar (I use a hammer & nail) screw the lid on and place the jar or jars where you need them. Hope this helps!
  • Connie Mar Connie Mar on Feb 08, 2015
    If houseplants are a source, you can add a thin layer of sand to the top of the soil. I used that on one plant I re-potted using soil that had been in the garage for a while, and that took care of the little gnats.
  • Lettie Lettie on Feb 08, 2015
    When I was in Germany I discovered they do not use chemicals for pests. But if you have knats they put a bit of honey, a bit of vinegar and dish soap in a dish and set it near the knat problem in a couple days…no more problem...
  • Irene Fisher Irene Fisher on Feb 08, 2015
    Thanks for all your ideas, I too have been dealing with gnats this Winter, have done vinegar down the drain, helped some, also found out of I spray straight rubbing alcohol on them while in the sink they die. (I too have birds so I have to watch chemicals). Will try the vinegar, honey and soap thing, again thanks.
  • Karen boyd Karen boyd on Jun 10, 2015
    Check your potted plants!, if there is moisture in the soil they will (gnats) will lay their eggs in the soil, and those little buggers hatch EVERY day!
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jun 11, 2015
    I forgot, this is the time of year for buffalo gnats to show up. Microscopic, can get through screens bite and leave welts on you. The best bet to keep them away from you and your pets is make a spray of 1 or 2 drops of real vanilla in a small spray bottle. Spray everything and they will stay away for a while. So, if you don't have fungus gnats, this could b e your problem.
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jan 30, 2018
    You need to find out where they are coming from first. Are they in the kitchen? If you disturb the house plants soil, so you see them fly up? They are treated a little differently depending on where they are coming from. Plants need to be repotted with new soil and the pot cleaned. In the kitchen, do you have produce on the counter, or potatoes and onions in a cupboard that they could be coming from? You need an attractant like a small bowl of cider vinegar with a couple of drops of dish soap that will kill them, or purchase one from the store by the insect sprays, etc. Wash produce when you bring it into the house, especially if it is going to be on the counter. They usually come in with produce you buy or houseplants that you buy or bring in the house. They are on your window sill because they are going to the light coming in the window. If there are a lot, a fly strip would probably help.
  • Ken Ken on Jan 30, 2018
    Best traps use sticky traps. You will catch the majority of them. Better than sprays.
  • Irene Marchionni Irene Marchionni on Jan 30, 2018
    You can try a thin coat of oil of peppermint.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 19, 2016
    I have never heard of neon gnats,however try filling a few mason jars of 2tbsp cider vinegar to 1 tbsp of sugar with a quart of water and a few drops of dish soap. Cover with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band .Poke some holes in the top. Place the jars throughout the house. The mixture will lure the gnats into the jars. Repeat as necessary until they are gone.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Oct 19, 2016
    Raid makes a liquid plug in I keep plugged in by my bed, works pretty well.
  • Jennifer Oaks Jennifer Oaks on Nov 06, 2016
    I have found success with using what I refer to as "Winegar". A mixture of NASTY wine. Usually the cheap $1.00 - $3.00 stuff, does the trick with a bit more pungent flavor.. some diced up fruit (not much) most flying creatins LOVE the fermented fruit. You could add a bit of vinegar to speed up the fermented process.. I use the bottle itself or if my banana's brought a crew of unwanted house guests, I spread the concoction out between a few different jars. Clean old jam jars work well, with a bit of saran wrap over them, rubberbanded down to stay. Snip a corner. This is to ensure they will be able to get in, but not find their way out. An they go the most joyful way, DEATH by DRUNKeness! Since gnat, fruit flies, flies, an fungus gnats just seem to pop up from no where, I keep a few of these out in the kitchen. Keeps population minimal.
  • 3po3 3po3 on Mar 08, 2012
    The key is cleaning up water and food. Thoroughly wipe down all your counters and kitchen surfaces with vinegar or bleach, and put away all food. Also make sure to avoid water around sink drains, etc. That might mean wiping out the sink after every use. There are also some simple home-remedy traps you can use to get rid of them: try a bowl of vinegar covered with plastic wrap. Poke holes in the wrap, and the gnats will fly in but can't get out. You'll wake up to a bowl full of gnats. Another option: put a few drops of dishwasher soap in water, and they won't be able to fly away. I have had a couple of gnat infestations, but two or three nights of vinegar traps have cleared up the problem.
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Mar 11, 2012
    This post offers some great info that may help you too:
  • Janice G Janice G on Mar 15, 2012
    I use an old remedy= A bowl of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dishwashing detergent added. The gnats go for the vinegar, get trapped by the dishwashing fluid and drown.....
  • Rebecca Webb Rebecca Webb on Mar 16, 2015

    Set out cups of apple cider vinegar around the house. Some people suggest a drop of dish soap inside of it also in order to lose the surface tension of the cider, causing the gnats to sink.

    If there is something that is attracting them, then get rid of that. You can also set cups outside, but I am thinking if you don't get rid of whatever is attracting them, you're stuck.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 16, 2012
    can you remove a screen and place a small fan in the window blowing out? Run that for an hour and they should be sucked outside.
  • Angie CountryChicCottage Angie CountryChicCottage on Oct 16, 2012
    Apple cider vinegar in a jar or glass (about 1/2 cup). Add 2-3 drops of dishwashing liquid then 2-3 tbsps water (enough to make it start to foam). Add a piece of plastic wrap over the top secured with a rubber band. Poke holes in the plastic with a knife. They are attracted to the smell. They can get in holes but not smart enough to get out. Soap coats their wings and they drown.
  • BJ BJ on Sep 01, 2016
    In small jar pour 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar. Tightly stretch cling wrap over the top stretch a rubberband to help hold it tight. Poke 3 or 4 small holes in top 1/4 inch or so with a knife. Gnats smell the vinegar and go in the hole to investigate and die. Non toxic to dogs or humans
  • Rusty Rusty on Mar 14, 2017
    I have always used a mixture of 50/50 water and rubbing alcohol on any bugs or spider nests on my plants and it has worked without hurting the plants.
  • Pat Allen Pat Allen on Dec 02, 2013
    *I make a soap/vinegar solution that kills them. First I pour about a half a cup of soap into a wide mouth jar/bowl/glass then I add about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Stir like crazy to get a super foam on the top. The gnats are attracted by the vinegar but captured by the soap bubbles. They DIE. My gnats came in with the bananas so now the bananas are stored in the frig. When the froth dies down, just stir like crazy again to rebuild the foam. Worls for me.
  • Pamela Pamela on Dec 06, 2013
    Thanks everyone for all of your help. What I did, first I sprayed all of the plants dirt with smart balance cooking spray (didn't have any Skin so Soft) then I placed a small bowl of the soap, vinegar out on my counter and I placed a lemon that was spoiled in a sandwich bag, leaving a small opening and I have had equal results, the bowl and sandwich bag had equal number of dead gnats in them, however the lemon was easier to deal with than a bowl of vinegar sitting on the counter. I have not seen a gnat for 2 days now. Yeah!!!! Thanks again everyone.
  • Kar29542146 Kar29542146 on Sep 18, 2017
    cut off top of plastic pop/juice bottle; put fruit juice and borax in bottle (just about 1/2 cup. Place top upside down (like a funnel), tape around it and the juice attracts the fruit flies
  • Tess Borgra Tess Borgra on Aug 28, 2013
    I saw and used a great simple idea. Get a small bottle, place some fruit in it and cover with plastic wrap and rubber band. Punch a couple of small holes in it. The gnats climb in and can't find way out.
    • Gen Gen on Aug 28, 2013
      @Tess Borgra, thank you. I think this is the same with apple cider vinegar in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and poke holes, which I caught so many already but still there's so many flying around. But I will also try your idea. Thanks, Tess!
  • Kimberly Lopez Kimberly Lopez on Aug 29, 2013
    put a piece of old banana at the bottom of the bowl. I usually make a cone out of paper like a funnel to the top of a glass with about 3 TBS of apple cider vinegar completely securing with tape. The cone has to have the smaller opening face down into glass. The hole in the cone must be small about the size of a pin head or a little lgr. They also hate Pine Sol. I add pine Sol to a sprayer bottle and go to town wherever they land. You can wash things down later. Bleach all your drains even bathrooms and toilets. Wipe all your cabinets down as well!
    • Gen Gen on Aug 29, 2013
      Thank you, Kimberly..this will also help. Haven't thought about putting banana in the bowl. I'll do that. thanks!
  • AvonelleRed AvonelleRed on Oct 10, 2014
    I use apple cider vinegar with a squirt of Dawn and a little sugar to attract them. I run a little water into the bowl to make some bubbles, and the gnats get caught up in the bubbles and eventually end up in the vinegar mix. It probably works just as well without the bubbles, but I just like to add them.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 11, 2014
    I'm not sure which post you are referring to, Shirely, but here are some on that topic:
  • Margie Spenser Margie Spenser on Sep 29, 2017
    Keep food in refrigerator. Wash any fruit or produce as soon as you bring it into the house to avoid importing flies, especially if you leave it out to ripen.

    Also, make fruit fly traps:
    Take large jars and put a couple inches of apple cider vinegar in the bottom.( wine is also good if you can spare it). The flies drink and drown, and you just pour them down the drain.

    My favorite is to put pieces of banana in the dry jar, then take a piece of paper ( half a sheet out of a school notebook) and make a cone out of it with a tiny hole at the tip. Tape the paper edge so the cone keeps its shape. Put the paper into the jar point down and fold the wide part of the cone down over the rim of the jar. Put a rubber band around the jar top or tape it. The fruit flies go in the little hole in the cone and can't figure out how to get out. This attracts more flies than the vinegar, but there are disadvantages. You have to drown the trapped flies by running water through the cone until the jar is full, then empty the jar down a big drain. The bananas get ugly. Also, the flies mate in the jar so you get more flies to drown, and you have to be careful they all drown before you remove the cone, then clean out and dry the jar.

    Raid flying insect spray works very well if you manage to hit the fly directly, but it's expensive and dangerous to inhale, and leaves goop on surfaces that you have to wash off completely. It is cheapest at Home Depot or Lowe's, not a supermarket. Every other spray I have tried wasn't worth a cent.
  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Sep 29, 2017
    I have used dry yeast, sugar and warm water, place in a small bowl and then cover with plastic wrap. Put a hole in the top. This has worked good for me.
  • Deb walser Deb walser on Feb 04, 2017
    Let the plants dry out for about two weeks. Gnat life cylce is 10 days. Over watering will encourge eggs to hatch. A sticky trap will attract and capure aslo.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 04, 2017
    You will have to repot the plants. Spray them down with an insecticidal soap.
  • No recipe . . . I just toss a little white vinegar down the drain every night after doing the dishes. Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will work just as well, depending what you may have on hand. My girlfriend had no luck with all the various concoctions so she just set out a small bowl of Kahlua and that did the trick within a couple days.

    Many options here, just try and see what works best for you!