Organic Pest Control

Gnats – An easy way to get rid of gnats in the house.

I keep a stainless steel bowl on my kitchen counter for my kitchen scraps like onions skins, tomato peels, etc. It has a top.  But top or no top –it acts like a magnet in late summer and early fall for little gnats.

(Some people call them fruit flies, but I think fruit flies are a bit bigger than the gnats and move more quickly – like a fly.)

The gnats are attracted to any food, dirty dishes, vinegar, or any fruit or vegetable especially with a cut place or bruised place on it.

Even after you do your dishes, clean up the kitchen, empty and clean the compost bowl the gnats remain.  After that, sometimes gnats migrate to other parts of the house. And of course they always show up where food is prepared the next day.

More Come Each Day

Each day a certain amount of new gnats join the in-house population. If they’re not killed you could have a real problem.

After years of becoming quite proficient at killing gnats with a fly swatter or clapped hands, I finally found a very easy way to rid myself of them on a daily basis.  It only takes a couple of seconds.

How many times a day you do this depends on how bad the gnat situation is.  This year, I started out  doing it three times a day. I’d kill 3 or 4 gnats each time. Here at the end of the season, I do it just once a day and kill one or two gnats.

Works no Matter How Many Gnats

And yes, if you have dozens and dozens of them, it still works. Swarms of gnats — it still works.  I’ve been there – so I know. All that is required is resolve, diligence and a couple of seconds each time you do it.

Here’s What to Do

  • Find a little spray bottle.  You can use anything you might have on hand: an empty hair spray bottle or an empty windex bottle.  Anything you happen to have.
  • Fill it with alcohol or peroxide.  Even water is ok if that’s all you have. (One day I grabbed my Windex when I didn’t have anything else handy.)
  • Keep the spray bottle about 3 feet away from your compost pail, bowl, or whatever it is you have that the gnats are drawn to.  Keep a little paper towel beside the bottle.
  • Be ready when you approach where you know the gnats will be.  With spray bottle in hand make a motion that will make the gnats fly up.  When they do — spray them a couple of times.  They’ll be “heavy” with fluid from the spray and fall to the counter.  When they do kill them with the paper towel.

Final Words

This is an easy and quick way to keep gnats from taking over in late summer and early fall.  A second or two a day and you’ll be able to kill any new arrivals and keep the population of in-house gnats to zero by the end each day.


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  • If they are fruit flies, putting coffee grounds in your compost will help. It is likely they are drain flies, whichlive in the sludge buildup in bathroom and possibly kitchen drains (kitchen drains are flushed with water more often and may have little sludge build-up). Thoroughly cleaning drains with a brush and then pouring in bleach may help. So will special bio-digesters that eat the sludge. I found the following helpful:

  • Thank you for the additional information, Garden Dmpls.

    I read the article and my little gnats don’t seem to fall into either category. The ones I have mainly come to what I described in the post.

    Nice to have your comments.


  • I have a super infestation of what I believe are fungus gnats. They appear to resemble a miniature mosquito and I have them everywhere in my house, but worse area is the kitchen. I have been trying everything I have read about and can’t seem to get ahead of them. I have lung problems and also have pets so I am trying very hard not to call an exterminator for a costly treatment and the chemicals they use may not be pet or human friendly and my 3 rescue dogs and being disabled myself does not allow a number of options of a place to stay while it airs out with bombing with pesticides. PLEASE CAN YOU HELP? Do you have any suggestions to rid my home of these pesty critters I can’t even cook or bake in my house without them attempting to get in my food they are so bad. I must have gone through about 15-20 sticky fly strips that get loaded so full in less than a day, I also have cider vinegar containers everywhere catching even more. What else can I do that is human and pet friendly and can take care of my whole home at once? Please, please any suggestions, products to try would be greatly appreciated. Am I ever going to get rid of these? I can’t even find where they may be breeding or the main source or area.

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