How To Inexpensively Get Rid of Fruit Flies in the House

by Reader Contributors

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in House photo

Tired of those pesky fruit flies in your home? Our frugal readers share tips on how to get rid of fruit flies in the house and prevent them.

Dear Dollar Stretcher.
I have had a big problem with those pesky little “fruit flies” in my home. I do not leave fruit out on the counter, so I know that isn’t the problem.

I wanted to know if any of your readers have had this problem and how they solved it without spending a lot. I would appreciate any assistance.
Mary from MA

Cans Attract Flies

One thing that attracts fruit flies is beer or soda cans. If you save them to later recycle them, this could be the source. You will either have to rinse out each can or put them in a sealed garbage bag or container.

“Fly Trap” Gets Rid of Flies

I worked at a bar where fruit flies can be a problem. We put a small amount of red wine into a shallow dish, covered it with plastic wrap, and then poked a hole into it. This “fly trap” worked so good that it had to be changed every couple of days.

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Down Under How To

I grow tomatoes, and I have found a great way to trap the flies when ripening fruit inside.

To trap the fruit flies, I take a 600ml or bigger soft drink bottle (soda bottle for the non-Aussies!) and cut it in half round ways about a third of the way down from the top. Put an old tomato or some fruit in the bottom of the bottle with a small amount of water. Take the top third of the bottle without its lid and turn it upside down and put it into the bottle (like a funnel). The flies can fly in, but don’t make it back out again!
Barbara – Australia.

Try Apple Cider Vinegar To Control Flies

The easiest way I’ve found to get rid of fruit flies is to put about an inch of apple cider vinegar in a jar with some small holes poked in the lid. The flies go in, but they can’t find their way out.

Get Rid of Moisture and Flies

We had a problem with fruit flies for months. We couldn’t even have fresh flowers in our home. During a visit from my dad, he noticed that the kitchen sink faucet had a small leak that caused perpetual dampness around the faucet. We bought a new one and Dad replaced it.

By eliminating the extra moisture in that spot in the kitchen, the fruit flies suddenly disappeared.
Carol from AB, Canada

How To Use Old Fashioned Fruit Fly Control

You can try fly paper or tape. Look for them at places that sell stuff to horse owners. Wipe down all kitchen surfaces with pure vinegar. You can also mix up some peels and other stuff in a container that you throw out daily. Here is a recipe for Fly Eliminator from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Fruit Fly Eliminator

1 pint milk
1/4 lb. raw sugar
2 ounces ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Pour the mixture into shallow dishes. Flies attack it greedily and soon suffocate. Recipe has been handed down in New England since 1850.

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Check Your Houseplants

Those fruit flies could actually be gnats that hatch in plant soil. If you have live plants, check the soil when you water and see if the little critters are running around the pot and plant. If they are, you can buy the yellow sticky traps and put them in your plants.

Bubble Bonanza

I simply put 1/4 cup white vinegar and a squirt of liquid dishwashing soap in a cup and add water until the bubbles reach the top of the cup. Leave it on the counter and the fruit flies are attracted to it and they get stuck in the bubbles.

Laboratory Tested Solution

I’ve worked with fruit flies for several years in a laboratory situation and we used bottles filled with beer or another sweet liquid with a paper funnel taped to the top to capture stray fruit flies.

Make sure that the funnel opening is large enough for the flies to enter, but not too large that they can easily fly out. The flies are attracted by the sweet smell, but aren’t smart enough to escape the funnel. Once the bottle is filled, you can tape over the top of the funnel and throw the bottle away. Make more bottles as necessary.

Lemongrass Essential Oil Works

Fruit flies are a real pain when they appear for the summer and fall. We used to have problems with them until I began spraying the house with a dilution of Lemongrass Essential Oil.

I take a clean spray bottle that has not been used for other chemically laden products and place 10 drops per 2 ounces of hot water in it. Shake it well and spray those little pests. Not only does it work on fruit flies, but it will also rid your home of spiders, ants, house flies and most unwanted creepy crawlers.

Not only does it work, but it also smells great! Leaves a pleasant scent in the home. I use it outside around the side walk, the doors, windows, and anywhere I see creepy crawlers gathering.

Not long ago, as the winter gave way to spring, we had an infestation of little tiny ants in the bathroom. We are on the ground level of an apartment complex, so we get whatever crawls upon the earth. I sprayed heavily and we have not had any more problems. Only a week prior, the office sent out word that they were spraying for spiders and ants. They did, but we still had ants and spiders in our home. However, we are now virtually bugless! I was almost disappointed I only had to use the solution a couple of times to rid us of them! It works very well. Just make sure you get the real stuff.

Rubbing Alcohol

I’ve tried everything to get rid of these gnats or fruit flies! Ugh! They really made me sick and I couldn’t even eat without them right there. Finally, my mom suggested rubbing alcohol.

I put a sprayer (Windex spray bottle sprayer) on a bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol that you can buy from the store and they are dying. They were dropping to the ground. Kind of chasing them in the kitchen but well worth the fight. More like playing hide and seek! I am the winner. It really works. Used it in my bathroom where they began forming and they are dead gone.

Reviewed August 2023

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