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How Do I Get Rid Of Gnats In My House?

Common gnat, Culex pipien, in front of white background

Common gnat, Culex pipien, in front of white background

There are few pests as annoying as gnats. Gnats can quickly fill up a home, and seem to fly around carelessly, getting into food and bouncing off of everyone. The good news is that gnats are harmless, although they cause a bit of stress, and it’s fairly easy to get rid of a gnat problem.

Gnat swarms are comprised of one or more species of small flying bugs that gestate in wet, warm areas. Unlike many other types of pest infestations, a gnat problem is usually easily remedied once the source has been discovered. What’s more, the source of the infestation is often fairly easy to find, as gnats tend to gather around rotted food, fruit, and garbage. Once you properly dispose of the trash that attracted the gnats, you’ll get rid of the majority of them.

To start getting rid of your gnat problem, take all trash out of your house and do a little light bleaching around your trash cans to get rid of smells and any gnat eggs that might have been left behind. Be sure to check everywhere for potential food sources. Look around your refrigerator and stove for food that might have fallen down. Check the areas immediately around the outside of your house, too, as gnats could be coming in through windows. You might decide to invest in a commercial bug spray for around the windows and doors of your home; you won’t need a very powerful spray, though, as gnats will die easily. You can also use the spray (or just a bit of bleach) around the inside of your house. Be careful to read the directions and warnings on the bottle, especially if you have small pets in the house.

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Once you’ve eliminated the gnats’ food source, you won’t have any new gnats coming in to the house. However, you’ll still have some on the inside, and gnats can live for up to four months, so you’ll want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. One common home remedy is vinegar, which draws gnats in. Put some vinegar in a little covered dish, jar, or bottle with several holes in the top. Gnats will be able to get in, but they won’t be able to get out. Place a few vinegar dishes around your home, and you’ll quickly clean up the remaining gnats.

Be a bit patient, as it may take some time for all of the gnats in your home to disappear. Keep checking for potential food sources and eliminating them. Make sure your home’s as clean as possible for several weeks to avoid a new infestation. In particular, keep dishes around your sink clean, and make sure that you use fruit and vegetables before they go bad. As you’ve probably noticed, there’s nothing that gnats like more than a good overripe banana or apple.

It’s not hard to get rid of gnats–you’ll just need to be persistent. If you live with roommates or family members, make sure they help you to starve the gnats until they disappear. Once they’re gone, keep your home (and especially your kitchen) clean, and you won’t have to deal with a gnat problem ever again.

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Neil

Neil Wardlow has been writing professionally since 1989. Neil discovered he enjoyed writing when he suffered an injury during his 15-year building construction career. Neil now writes full-time, whenever he’s not occupied with entertaining family and friends, growing things, or making repairs in and around his beautiful ranch house.



  • Guest Golf

    Try beer.  Vinegar attracted them, but didn’t trap them.  I used a saucer and filled with beer and a drop of dishwash soap, stirred.  Had dead ones in the beer by a.m.

  • zebra1234

    Thanks for the suggestion. Although you must be using a cheaper beer, using a higher end beer like Stella would become expensive, haha.

  • PennyV

    LOL!  The vinegar was supposed to attract the gnats, Guest Golf!  The idea is to put the vinegar in some type of container that the gnats can get into but can’t get back out of.

  • Styxguitarfan

    Vinegar attracts them and the Dish soap traps them… they can’t get out of dish soap….

  • PennyV

    Just keeping a few containers filled with water and dish soap placed in the areas where the gnats are most active is a very effective way to get rid of gnats and flies.  They seem to love to commit suicide that way!

  • Rdschuler

    fill saucer with dish soap and water .Place small desk light shining down on mixture .Light attracts gnats and get caught in soap and water mixture .Works great at night when all othe lights are off .Saucer will be filled with gnats by morning .

  • PennyV

    These suggestions are all good for the fruit flies and common non-biting gnats.  However, I live where the most common type of gnat is the buffalo gnat.  They love to bite people!    So what’s the best way to repel them?

  • Kirbyco09

    I stay in memphis tn. I steady see these small bugs flying tru the house. The whole family has bites with tremendous swelling around them.. Could they b the problem??

  • PennyV

    There could be a variety of insects causing your family to have bites with swelling around them.  You should try to identify the specific species of bugs that are flying through your house so you can find the best way of eliminating the pests.  This site might be helpful to you for identifying the species of insect: 
    http://www.insectidentification.org/

  • W’Bob

    Hope this helps some folks with the gnats…

    I’ve been in my house for 10 1/2 years, since it was nearly new. This summer (2012) is the first time I’ve had a gnat problem. I’m a single guy, and subsist on WAY too much freezer-to-microwave food, so I don’t even have a lot of bug food around. Any food waste goes on my “compost pile” – which actually means throwing it off the front deck 20 feet down and as far into the woods as possible. No sense filling the landfill or having stinky trash when the critters will finish it off overnight! Food containers and beverage cans all get rinsed out and go in the recycling bin in the garage.

    So what are these little pukes thriving on?!?!?

    I noticed they’re frequently around my plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilets, disposer, etc.) If you’ve ever done plumbing work, you’ve probably noticed drains accumulate nasty, dark “slime”. AhHa!  Food & water = grants.

    I bought bottles of the “foaming drain cleaner” (Drano, Liquid Plumber, etc.)  It made a BIG drop very quickly in the gnats. Now I peer down into the drain trap, and it’s nice white PVC plastic  :) Also pull out the rubber seal on your kitchen disposer and replace it, or scrub the funk off the bottom, or run through dishwasher it it’s not too bad. Once the worst of the funk is gone, a dose of bleach down them every week or two keeps it in check.

    I also spray “Ant & Roach Killer”, the kind that is designed to leave an effective insecticide residue for some time, in my trash cans, bags,  and around entry points to the house. The Hot Shot brand unscented works, and really is unscented. “Raid unscented” REEKS! Most insecticides are neurotoxins to bugs but harmless to mammals — but if you have kids or pets, you might not want to go there. Also have an exterminator company lay down “Talstar” on the outside of the house and yard 3 times a year, which has helps immensely with the spider and other bug problems.

    HTH (and this page lets me post this, which I just spent 20 minutes typing)

  • PennyV

    Thanks for sharing these ideas, W’Bob!  These solutions definitely need to be used with great caution since bleach, Drano, and commercial pesticides can all be very deadly to small children or anyone who accidentally gets these chemicals in their eyes or ingests them.  It’s also very essential to ensure the drains are thoroughly flushed with hot water once the commercial products, especially bleach, is poured down the drain.  Bleach and Drano are forms of acid and can damage the PCV piping if it sits in the pipes too long.

  • knatinsanity

    Don’t use beer. I don’t want the lil buggers feeling good as they die. Let them die in agony. pesty lil hell birds. :-) Plus using beer in such a fashion is a crime against humanity

  • mosquitoeinanity

    knats dont bite or cause pain. It sounds like you have mosquitoes instead

  • knowledgeinsanity

    I feel i have been wronged with my knowledge. Some types of knats do bite . Ty PennyV for some new knowledge . Its a good day when you learn something :-)

  • PennyV

    Glad I could help expand your knowledge! It’s always a good day when a person can learn something new.

  • PennyV

    Here’s a slideshow that WebMD has that demonstrates what some of the most common insect bites look like: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/ss/slideshow-bad-bugs

  • PennyV

    Not all gnats bite, but many of them do. And the bites can be painful. If you don’t believe me, then do a bit more research online. Better yet, just come visit me sometime in June or July when the Buffalo Gnats are out in full force!