How to get rid of fruit flies – by cleaning with bait and using store-bought traps

Banish those pesky little bugs forever with our guide to how to get rid of fruit flies

(Image credit: Future/Alex Sarginson)

Whether you call them fruit flies or gnats, those pesky flies buzzing around your home can be a real nuisance. If left untended a fruit fly infestation can quickly escalate. The little gnats can lay eggs on the smallest crumbs, so it is important to tackle them immediately.  

Luckily, there’s plenty of tricks on how to get rid of fruit flies out there. Here is a selection of the most effective, so you can stop them buzzing around your fruit bowl once and for all.

See: Cleaning tips – our essential guide to keeping your home spotless

What causes fruit flies in the house?


(Image credit: Future/James Merrell)

Due to their small size, fruit flies can often enter your home in your groceries. They are attracted to the scent of ripe fruit and vegetables, so if you have a fruit bowl in your kitchen that is likely to attract them. 

Fruit flies are also attracted to sugary drinks and alcohol, so any spills could also be luring them in. However, they can also be drawn to non-food items. Damp mops, sponges and cloths can all be luring the irritating gnats into your home.

Why do I have fruit flies in my bedroom?

Small bedroom space

(Image credit: Future)

Fruit flies are most commonly found in the kitchen, due to their fondness for food. However, they can make their way into other rooms too. 

‘Fruit flies don’t discriminate about where they get their nourishment – if they can find something to eat in your bedroom, bathroom or living room, they’ll stick around,’ explain the experts at Terro. 

If you find you are getting fruit flies in your bedroom, hunt around for any forgotten food, damp spots or even a drink spill. If you have carpet, a drink spill that hasn’t been properly cleaned can be enough to attract them. 

How long does it take to get rid of fruit flies?


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If you have a full-blown fruit fly infestation, it can take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to get on top of the problem. 

Once you have gotten rid of the nuisance it is best to take preventative measures. Taking the trash out regularly and not leaving out overripe fruit can help avoid a future infestation.

1. How to get rid of fruit flies by cleaning

When trying to get rid of fruit flies from your home, cleaning should be your first priority. Work out where the source of the flies are and give that area a good clean. 

Fruit flies like to live and breed in damp warm areas. This could be a fruit bowl or even a blocked kitchen sink. 

Invest in a bottle of drain unblocker to remove any clogs. Wipe down any surfaces, including the bin and make sure they are dried thoroughly. In most cases wiping out the fruit flies home and potential homes like this, will be enough to get rid of them. 


(Image credit: Future/Emma Lee)

2. How to get rid of fruit flies with apple cider vinegar

If the gnats in your home are more stubborn, curb the infestation with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. Mix a few tablespoons of your chosen vinegar with some sugar. 

Add this solution to water in a disposable container, along with a few drops of dish soap. Stir together, cover with cling film, and pierce a few holes in the top. Leave out on a surface near where the fruit flies congregate. 

The flies will be attracted to the solution. However, they will drown when they come into contact with it or be trapped by the plastic barrier. Repeat the process each day until you have no more fruit flies.

This technique can also be done using wine in place of vinegar, if you can bear to spare any. 

3. How to bait fruit flies


(Image credit: Future/Emma Lee)

In a similar way to the vinegar solution, you can bait fruit flies using some of their favourite foods. Using this simple technique you can turn their fondness for rotten fruit and alcohol on them. 

Using rotten fruit

If you have any fruit that is about to turn, put it inside a disposable container and cover with cling film. Poke a few holes in the top and leave it in an area where the flies tend to gather. 

The flies will be attracted to the fruit, but trapped inside the container by the clingfilm. However, make sure you get rid of the trap promptly to avoid making the problem worse. 

Using a beer bottle

An even simpler way of baiting fruit flies is to use an old bottle of beer or wine. Leave the bottle out near the fruit flies.

The flies will be attracted by the stale scent and drawn into the bottle. The narrow neck acts as a barrier to keep them trapped.

4. How to get rid of fruit flies with a store-bought trap

If you aren’t getting anywhere with homemade traps, there are plenty of store-bought versions available on Amazon and through other retailers. 

Filled traps will work in a similar way to the homemade traps above. However, they tend to be less messy. 

Flypaper is another option, that might be preferable if you have young children. Put it up on the wall to lure and trap flies, and avoid any accidental spills on surfaces. 

Should I call an exterminator to get rid of fruit flies?


(Image credit: Future/Jon Day)

Calling an exterminator to get rid of fruit flies should be the very last thing you try after exhausting all other options. While effective, exterminators can be costly and expose you and your home to a number of chemicals. 

However, if your fruit fly nuisance has become a serious infestation, you might have no choice but to call one in. 

Rebecca Knight

I am the News Editor on Homes and Gardens. I have been working as a homes and interiors journalist for over four years. I first discovered my love of interiors while interning at Harper's Bazaar and Town & Country during my Masters in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London. After graduating I started out as a feature writer for Women's Weekly magazines, before shifting over to online journalism and joining the Ideal Home digital team covering news and features. 

I love sewing and knitting and enjoy nothing more on a Saturday afternoon than browsing the haberdashery at Liberty London.