Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Ridding your kitchen of fruit flies

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It's that time of year again... when fruit flies just love to congregate in our kitchen. They love it when I buy bananas, or leave out a few dirty dishes overnight. We can't stand gnats (who really likes, them, anyway?!), so here's our quick, cheap, and effective recipe for exterminating them!

Fruit Fly Trap!

1. In a small bowl, combine about 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid.* Mix very gently to avoid creating lots of bubbles.

2. Set bowl in gnat-prone area, and watch them die!!

In fact, just a couple hours ago, I made one of these traps because I noticed a few gnats in the kitchen. About ten minutes later, I saw three fruit flies in my trap. This trap will seriously attract and kill every gnat in my kitchen. Joshua invented the recipe after ill-success using regular vinegar. Now we have this new-and-improved gnat trap recipe, and it sure works for us!

And, of course, if you really want to do away with fruit flies, it's best to make sure you're not leaving anything else around for them to eat. Wash every last dish, dump your garbage, and wipe down the counters really well, especially before bed. I like to store my bananas out on the enclosed porch if possible, since those seem to be one of the biggest attractions for bringing fruit flies into the house. 

*I use a clear Dawn dishwashing liquid, but others will work also.

Those of you who use alternative homemade fruit fly traps, feel free to add your tips in a comment! :)

This tip was originally published in October, 2006

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Our "pet" spider, Spike, died today at the hands (or bowl?) of the fruit fly remedy. He must have crawled in...he will be missed. A memorial service will be held on Friday at 11 am.

;) Just kidding. If that was the spider I've been trying to kill for weeks, great! This is a double remedy ;)

Because we've never caught a spider in one! Oh, wait... we don't have spiders. We have house centipedes. I wish it would catch those nasty creatures! :D

We have a spider in the southern part of Wisconsin called the brown jumping spider. It actually hops, is bigger than the normal spiders you'd whack, and really, just gross looking. We had one of these critters running around our apartment for a few weeks, and I was getting really annoyed with it. In fact, I got so annoyed, I named him Spike.

My neighbor stopped by the other afternoon because he heard banging and smacking noises and me yelling. He thought something bad was happening, but I was just "playing" with(read: trying to kill!) Spike.

I'm glad I didn't actually kill him...he was a pretty big critter. ;)

Those are cave crickets!! so nasty they like dark damp places like basements, bathtubs anywhere to creap u out

Fruit flies are driving me nuts! I made asmall trap for them a few weeks ago but it didn't seem to work, I'll bet the dish soap will keep them from getting out!
Thanks for the tip.

Also, we discoverd that they were breeding in our sink drain. The pipe has a small bend in it (to keep it from backflowing into the sink) and that is where they were laying eggs overnight. I now cover my drain/disposal each night before bed.

Ugh, I know, years ago I had an apartment that must have had bad plumbing. The garbage disposal reeked of mildew. It was gross, I had it replaced w/a new one, and to no avail didn't work.

I'm not a compost person, I'd rather feed the birds, I throw out bread and basically anything else. I don't want to have bugs or anything. I'm pretty much a clean freak. I scour the counters after every meal w/Comet. And thankfully, the highchair has a double tray one being dishwasher safe!

I don't know where they came from, how they got here, and why they like it so much in my apartment that they don't want to leave... I thought I was nearing the end when I caught several in my cider vinegar trap with the paper funnel cone, but alas they keep coming. I have nothing organic sitting around, trash taken out, laundry washed, no moisture accumulation (that I'm aware of). I'd like to know, to the poster above, did the hatchlings not come out of your drain when you uncovered it the next day? Also, to the original poster, did you put plastic wrap over the bowl or did the flies just stick to the vinegar/soap concoction? I'm afraid of FEEDING the suckers so they can breed more... I want them trapped!

Does anyone else have to deal w/these creatures?

I was at the grocery store today, and was over near the veggies, and the fruit flies were all over the onions. (yucko!!) Needless to say, I didn't buy any!

...unless ladybugs count! ;)

I didn't know that about fruit flies breeding in sink drains! Does anyone know if boiling water poured down the drain solves the problem (even just temporarily)?

Also, I'm not sure if the dish soap traps the fruit flies, or if they ingest it and it kills them. I was thinking they drank the red wine vinegar (with the soap) and the soap killed them. But they do end up at the bottom of the bowl, and that's all that matters, I guess!! :)

The red wine vinegar attracts the fruit flies because they like the smell and the dish soap affects the surface tension, which causes them to fall in and drown when they land on the red wine vinegar!
A little bleach in your drains is supposed to help do away with the critters.
I waged a war against them last year. So far, they haven't been too bad this year.

Thanks for the fascinating explanation! :)

I have tried vinegar(regular) and cider vinegar. Didn't work for my gnats. I tried wine - the sweet kind. I have 50 gnats in there in the course of 3 days. Now, I know what works!

Thanks for this husband and I are going crazy with fruit flies and it makes me feel like I have an unclean kitchen, which I know is not the case b/c I clean after each meal. With a little one now, we ALWAYS have bananas on the counter, so that must be the difference this summer. I can't wait to try this tomorrow!


The cider vinegar/red wine vinegar/detergent trap always workeds for me during the fall especially when the fruitflies seem to increase. I always used a glass bowl, topped tightly with saran wrap and pierce it a few times with a knife so the flies get trapped one way or another. I honestly haven't hardly ever had the problem since I learned to wash all fresh fruit with soap and water when you bring it home. May be the soap?
This really works for all who try it!

Fruit flies do appear when you have old fruits in the house but it is really hard to get rid of them cause they hide in the plumbing with the debree

I heard that if you wash your fruit, even the bananas, it will prevent any fruit flies from being a problem as well because you are washing off the eggs that are on the fruit from the store.

Any ideas or suggestions on safely ridding a home of sow bugs a.k.a. pill bugs or roly poly's? I think they're breading in our basement!

One thing you can do in the flowerbed that might work in the house is to put out a shallow dish or pie pan with a little beer in it. They are attracted to it, but can't get out and drown.

Sorry I don't have a remedy, But sure would like to have one as my basement is infested with those darn things...I find it very frustrating.....I've tried so many different things....Nothing has worked so far......

I really have not had a problem with the flies, but I clean my drains alot. ( watch now that I said this I will get them. ) But I clean the kitchen drain with Vinegar, baking soda and boiling water...

put the soda in the drain about a 1/2 cup or so... have boiling water ready... Pour the vinegar on top of the soda... it will bubble up. Then flush it all with the boiling water.. use more water if you feel you need to.
This cleans out grease and all the other "gunk" that builds up in the drain... Works great in the bathroom drain too...


Fruit flies can breed in my DRAIN!? Egads, I wish I hadn't read that. I am throughly grossed out now. Ick. I will definitly be dumping bleach down the drain tonight.

I have used this method to keep the drain clear, it leaves the sink drains smelling sweet and clean. If sinks can smell that way :)

That we've been having this problem!! I'm going to try this your way. I've tried so many ways, but nothing that gets rid of all of them. They were BAD, though. Things are better since we used or threw everything out, closed up the house and went away for a long weekend!!!

Did you know that fruit flies WILL find their way into the oven??!? I made a peach pie and when it was cool, I covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the (cold) oven for safekeeping. At least 15-20 fruit flies were in there the next morning. Ugh!!! I'd just wash off an apple or piece of fruit, but I couldn't eat the pie. :( Too gross!

I think I'll try that tonight. Thanks for the tip.

when I have this problem I too pour a little bleach down my drains, I do it right before I go to bed so it can soak. A man from the county extension service where I live told me to do this several years ago and it works.

Uggh..the fruit flies are driving me nuts! I am going right now to pour bleach down the drain. Thanks for the tips!

I've had a horrible time with gnats or fruit flies and I've figured they are coming from the drain. I'm trying the bleach and boiling water now. If that doesn't work I'll try the baking soda and vinegar tomorrow.

I am having the most AWFUL experience with these gnats/fruit flies! They have gotten to the point where they are in other partsof the house! And my house is CLEAN! That's what kills me! And I find that they tend to congregate on wood surfaces. I am boiling water now to try the bleach and tomorrow I'm trying the traps! Thanks for all the great tips! I hope they work.

Don't wait on the gnat traps--put them out tonight! They really work and at night, when things are quiet, they seem to catch an extra amount.

Tammy, we have used your recipe and it works well and seems to catch most of them. But there always was a few left and we never got them ALL(even with a clean kitchen, no fruit out....). I read somewhere that you can spray them with rubbing alcohol. It paralyzes them and then you just wipe them off the counter. It works! Just another method to get rid of those nasty things! Aimee

We decided to try to save our kitchen scraps to throw in the compost for the chickens to pick through and quickly "scrapped" the idea when our typical fruit fly breeding program :) got out of hand. I set this out and while it took care of a great deal of them, we had just far too many.

I finally got them under control. My method: I sucked them up with a vacuum cleaner. Definitely worked- I highly recommend it for those who need a fast acting solution.

What a great idea...I had fruit fluis a few years ago and I hated it. I will have to try this next time.

Here is my link to help lettuce last longer.


Here's my kitchen tip for the week:
Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

Apple cider vinegar works for the fruit flies, too. I keep forgetting to refill the bowl, though, so they keep coming back!

I read years ago to vacuum the little critters away. I leave a somewhat ripe banana
out to attract them, and have the vacuum ready. Works better than anything else that
I have ever tried. It takes a few "suction sessions" to get them. Wait in between about 20 min,and by the end of the day, they will be children love this job!!

Here's my tip - freezing potatoes/Using ones from the garden that got cut or are green

(I know that's way too long of a description.)

I have had some success with this fruit fly trap, but it seems I always have some that just hang out near it. So I tried coveringn with plastic wrap and poking holes and that helped, but there are still a few tough hanger-ons. Bleah!

To day I posted how to keep homemade bacon egg cheese biscuits from sticking together when you store them in the fridge overnight.

I posted a tip about preparing sweet potato puree/mash for baked goods.

SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen

First, here's my link for my tip today:

Second, so far we haven't had any trouble with fruit flies. But if anyone has a tip to get rid of spiders, let me know...PLEASE!!! We have HUGE spiders. They look like the spiders that are on those plastic Halloween/party favor rings. EEeeeeewwww! I'm not usually all girly-girl about bugs, but these spiders are giving me the creeps!

I have an amazing tip about how to clean up scorched pans. I didn't think it would work, but when I tried it yesterday, it worked like magic!

these are much worse in the south than here because our weather is cooling off but yes I do know how bad fruit flies can be

here are a few egg tips for you

When I take smaller bags of trash out more often, it helps reduce odors and lessens the attraction for flies. Here's the link to the tip:

I posted a helpful tip about an easy method to keep a running freezer inventory. This is especially helpful with chest freezers where contents at the bottom get lost in the black hole.

Today I posted a tip about many ways to use a Scotch-Brite pad. I find them very useful in many areas of my kitchen, and even in the bathroom.

Thanks for the fruit fly trap idea. I haven't seen any, but it makes me want to go and try it out just to see if there are some lurking about.


Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been battling the little buggers for ages. I don't even have any fruit around anymore and they won't leave. I"m going to mix up a batch right now! God bless Joshua and his little invention.

Thanks for the tip!


i did this with apple cider vinegar it got some after a bit it got awhile, but they would hang out on the side of the cup/bowls and mate.. it was horrible
so i took one of those fly tape/ribbons and stuck it around the top of the cup and bowl
sure enough in a matter of seconds it was catching them they would have to land on the tape to get to the vinegar

yes you will get glue on your hands try to limit the touching of it
but it really works

I do believe the drain in the dishwasher is where I shall find my fly utopia, I will be dousing bleach down this for a week and I know (NOW) how to get rid of them! Thanks!

This method WORKS!! However, the gnats did not drown in the bowl. They just all disappeared! I have no idea where they went, but those annoyingly pesky bugs that we could NOT GET RID OF for months are completely GONE after leaving the bowls of red wine vinegar and soap out over night for ONE NIGHT. Thanks for the tip!!!! =)

I think the fruit flies are coming from my dishwasher. I just opened it and a bunch came out. What should I do?

This is a horrible problem! One of my friends found my source of them as some rotting potatoes that I had missed for quite a while (after all, rotting fruits/veggies usually smell horrid, right? I didn't actually notice them as a problem until she put a plastic bag around the bowl while I was at work one day and now they are everywhere! (Why she didn't throw them out? No idea.) Anyways...pretty sure they are breeding everywhere. And I've recently been working 60 hour work weeks and on top of school house cleaning has just been set aside. Can't wait to get rid of the things! I used some old Boston Lager (sp?) mixed with some Sunny-D and used the funnel method with an old grocery bag. I even just cut the top off of an empty water bottle so I can just trash the whole thing when (if) it gets full. If my test one proves successful then I shall move on to putting them all over my apartment.

There's a lot of helpful ideas in here! I'm currently infested with little red gnats and they are completely grossing me out :( I've been doing the acv mixed with dry bleach and it's been killing a good amount, but they're still everywhere. I've done the bleach down the drains at night, scoured my apt for forgotten food/fruit .. I'm totally at a loss. Any other ideas I can try??

Hmmm.... have you treated all of the drains (including showers)? What about the dishwasher? Also, when I suspect a gnat problem in a drain, I pour some bleach down the drain before bed and then plug it overnight (or as long as possible).

And, when we have gnats I try to rinse the dishes as soon as we're done eating (and preferably get them put in the dishwasher and it sealed asap)...

Other than those couple things, I'm not sure what else to suggest except to keep at it and eventually you'll win! ;)

I have several herbs and plants growing in my kitchen and dining room. They have apparently become a breeding ground for gnats! I have tried to let my plants dry up to kill the eggs. But that only resulted in my dill and rosemary dying and no end to the gnats. Does anyone have any suggestions?

what you are talking about are fungas gnats, I'm not sure you can get rid of them. Google and find out.

thanks for the tip,I left the remedy out over night and now almost all the fruit flies and gnats are gone!

fruit flies come in with your produce. even if you don't see them when you buy, the eggs are already on the produce and hatch by the time you get it home. fill your sink with water, add a cup of white vinigar, and let your produce soak for about 10 mins. with bananas, run your hands over them in the water real good. they are the worst offenders as are oranges, anyway, the vinigar will not hurt the produce, just rinse it off before you store your produce. i do this with everything that's not packaged. even the leafy stuff. apple cider viniger seems to work best on my fruit flies. (my husband didn't wash his banana's and now they are all over my garlic that i have growing in the window. grrrrrrrr. i use a shot glass with water, apple cider viniger and a drop of dawn.

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