Home remedies to get rid of flies – 4 methods suggested by pest experts

These four home remedies to get rid of flies are quick and easy to make

Apple cider vinegar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flies are not the most damaging pest, but they are some of the most irritating when they buzz against window panes and around our ears.

The good news is there are multiple home remedies to get rid of flies, and they all use things you likely already have around your home, making them both quick and affordable. 

Here is what the pest control experts use at home to help keep flies out of the house.

Home remedies to get rid of flies 

Whether getting rid of fruit flies, or getting rid of gnats, these four homespun methods are excellent for repelling frustrating flying insects – but work best when paired with targeted preventative measures such as removing food sources to really repel these bothersome bugs. 

Gnats buzzing in a group outside

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Use a vinegar and soap trap

There are plenty of ways you can clean with vinegar, and combining it with dish soap and water can make for an excellent fly trap to clean out flies, suggests Eddie Conner, pest control expert and owner of Conner’s Pest Pros. For this, it is best to use apple cider vinegar, which is sweet enough to draw the flies in, he adds. 

The soap then breaks the vinegar water tension and sucks the flies under the surface, drowning them, he explains. Place it near where the flies are buzzing (usually near sinks, houseplants, or windows) for the best effect.

Eddie Conner
Eddie Conner

Eddie Connor has spent his life building Connor’s into a trusted and respected leader in the pest control industry, carrying on the tradition of hard work, professional integrity, and dedication that his grandparents and father had since 1944 with the former Connor's Pest Control company. 

2. Use sticky tape to catch flies

Fly tape is a common item in a plant care kit, especially if you have a lot of houseplants that attract common houseplant pests, but it can be expensive when it quickly dries up. The solution? Making your own out of sticky tape, suggests Scot Hodges, A.C.E certified entomologist and VP of professional development at Arrow Exterminators, hanging the tape up around areas the flies are buzzing and replacing frequently. 

3. Dissuade flies with strong scents

Essential oils are excellent to have in your home for a range of reasons, from making your home smell nice to creating homemade bug sprays to get rid of flies and other pests.

When it comes to flies, Jum Skinner, president and co-owner of A&C Pest Management suggests mixing a few drops of scents such as peppermint, lemon, or eucalyptus with water in a spray bottle and liberally applying it around your home – particularly where the flies are tend to gather, he advises.

Tea Tree Essential Oil | $19.99 at Amazon

Tea Tree Essential Oil | $19.99 at Amazon
Tea tree essential oil has a range of uses around the home, from getting rid of flies to cleaning with tea tree oil. It is a great little bottle to have in your home for solving problems at a moment's notice.

4. Catch drain flies with a cup and petroleum jelly

Drain flies are particularly tricky to get rid of, as they have a great place to hide. The solution, says Scot Hodges, pest control expert, is to coat the inside of a disposable cup with either cooking oil or petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, available in bulk at Amazon, and place it over the drain, leaving it for several days. 

‘This will catch adults as they fly out for air and identify breeding sites,’ he explains. ‘You can then take steps to flush out larvae by pouring hot but not boiling water down the drain a few times, and leaving the cup there until no more flies are caught.’


Does bleach keep flies away?

It might seem logical to pour bleach in drains where flies are hovering, but this often does very little to get rid of the pests – and is bad for the environment. The flies and their larvae will live on the walls of your pipes, which the bleach does not stick to, avoiding them completely and having no effect on your pest problem.

Will boiling vinegar get rid of flies?

Flies are repelled by the smell of white vinegar, so boiling it with some water on a stove can help to chase flies away. The downside is that it will also make your home smell of vinegar too, which is far from pleasant. As a result, it is best to rely on other home remedies to get rid of flies first, using boiling vineger as a last resort.

These home remedies for getting rid of flies are great in a pinch, but for long term fixes, you may want to consider sprucing up your home with the best fly repellent plants instead to avoid having unsightly pots of vinegar or hanging sticky strips around for extended periods of time.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.