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How To Get Rid Of Gnats In the Kitchen?

Common gnat, Culex pipien, in front of white background

Common gnat, Culex pipien, in front of white background

Gnats and fruit flies can be a big nuisance, especially when they appear in kitchen. The last thing anyone wants swarming around food is insects. Thankfully, you can remove the gnats for good by making a few simple changes in your home. You must first kill the gnats in your kitchen and then clear your home of everything that might have attracted gnats in the first place. In addition, you need to dispose of any gnat larvae that might be hiding around your kitchen. Your kitchen will certainly need a good cleaning!

Your first step is to get all the living gnats out of your kitchen. Since gnats are particularly attracted to sweet things, it’s quite easy to put together something to trap the gnats. Pour a sweet liquid, like lemonade or sugared soda, in a shallow dish and leave the dish in your kitchen overnight. The next morning, you will find dead gnats floating in the pool of liquid.

If the above tip did not solve your gnat problem completely, you could try a few more tricks that are a bit more intensive. Drop several small pieces of spoiled fruit in a few plastic cups and then fill the cups with water and a splash of dish soap. Place one cup in every area where you are still experiencing problems with gnats. Although the rotten fruit might disgust you, the gnats will be attracted to its smell and fly into the cups. Once the gnats fly into the cup, the dish soap should kill them.

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Gnats usually appear in kitchens with dirty counters and kitchens with food left out of the fridge. Mix a little vinegar and water and fill a spray bottle with the solution. Spray all of your kitchen’s surfaces with the cleaning solution, including your fridge, your counters, your stove, and your kitchen table. The idea is to disinfect your kitchen to remove any crumbs or spilt liquids that might attract gnats.

It’s important that you keep perishable foods in tightly sealed containers in the fridge. If you prefer to leave a fruit bowl out on your counter, it’s important that you first wash the fruit and be sure to throw the fruit out before it starts to spoil. Rotten fruit is a gnat’s best friend. A good rule of thumb is to eat or throw out fruit within four or five days of purchase. It might be best to put the fruit inside your fridge for the time being to help clear your kitchen of gnats.

If you have any houseplants in your kitchen, you might be surprised to learn that your plant might be attracting gnats into your home. You should bring your plant outside to inspect your plant to see if any of its leaves have started to wilt. In addition, you should dig a little underneath the soil to see if the roots of the plant have started to rot. Gnats are attracted to rotting or dead plants. Be on the lookout for anything else that might be growing in the soil, including fungus and gnat larvae. Remove anything you find. If necessary, you might need to repot your plant in fresh soil. When your plant is clean, apply a light layer of sand on top of the soil and sprinkle a little cinnamon. Both cinnamon and sand help your plant fend off gnats.

After clearing your kitchen of gnats, you need to work to continue to keep gnats away. In the future, be sure to keep your kitchen spotless and clean. Always remember to clear your kitchen of any old food or perishable items.

Kelly

Kelly Sperber has been a professional writer for 5 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2011. Kelly enjoys skydiving, attending fashion shows, and gardening in her spare time.



  • Jackiecorpus

    thank you,,

  • Erin6466

    Thank you for the advise. However, my kitchen stays pretty free and clear of spills and food droppings. Could they be coming from the plumbing in the house? We are renting a home and have had a bad septic/plumbing problem in the last 2 months. Should I be pouring something down my drains on a daily basis?

  • Rebecca

    i heard to pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain ..first  the baking soda then vinegar.. then give it a good rinse….

  • PennyV

    Good article, Kelly!

    Erin6466, your gnat problem could actually be a fly infestation.  Check out this article: http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/drainflies.htm.

    Rebecca is right about using the baking soda and then vinegar.  However, before you pour anything down the drains, try to break up as much of any blockages that might be in the drain, such as hair clogs.  The little buggers can lay larvae in the clogged areas.  It’s best to use apple cider vinegar and to actually plug up the drain for 24 hours after pouring the vinegar down the drain.  Make sure the septic outlet pipes are plugged too.

  • taniasue

    Thank you for this advice. I was upset because keep a very clean house… Then I noticed my problem thanks to this article. I had brought my basil plants that were in window boxes, inside… Root decay on one plant, moved some soil bam! Bye bye plant lol Now I’m doing the vin/water and baking soda tricks. I don’t do well with bugs lol THANK YOU!

  • PennyV

    Taniasue, I’m glad the article and information I provided was of help to you!  It does get frustrating to work so hard to keep a place clean just to have bugs invade the area.  I do alright with the bugs being outside my home, since they provide food for the various types of birds and wildlife in the area.  But I definitely don’t like for them to be inside my home or other buildings on our property.  I live in a national forest though, so I have to expect to find them inside occasionally.  It does help to know how to get rid of the annoying pests.

  • Tamika R.

    I hope this is of some help because it surely has helped me. What I did to get rid of the gnats that worked when nothing else did was red wine. I filled a small breakfast juice glass half way with red wine and placed it around the house where I saw the gnats the most (feel free to use more than one glass). After a short time you will see the gnats sitting along the rim of the glass and later you will find them floating in the glass and then they’ll sink to the bottom. The aroma of the wine will actually intoxicate them. Empty the glass and refill once you realize the wine has lost its potency. You’ll know this because you’ll still see the gnats flying around but they won’t be so attracted to the glass of red wine anymore. I would imagine that a sweet red wine works best because gnats like sweet things. I have used a port and a pino noir. Again, I hope this helps because it truly works wonders. 

  • PennyV

    Hi, Tamika!  Welcome to the THF forum.  Thanks for the useful tip!  This makes twice today that I’ve heard how red wine can get rid of pests.  This morning, my husband said some newscaster had been talking about using cheap wine to get rid of roach infestations.

  • Brens311

    Ok here is the best way i’ve found to get rid of the gnats. I tried sweet liquid (beer or wine) in a bowl with plastic wrap around with holes in to trap them. It attracts a lot, and it traps and kills some. I tried the plastic bottle with the inverted cap partially filled with vinegar and water. It attracts and traps and kills a few more. Then I just used the vacuum and got rid of the majority of them.  Much much better!!

    I feel like the traps attract and the vacuum eliminates. I tried to make every little trap to try to catch them and release them which was a tremendous waste of time. I used the vacuum with the hose I could control. The gnats would be lined up my cabinets and I just sucked them right up. It also snagged them out of the air well too. 

    I feel like the traps attracted and killed some but attracted more than killed. The vacuum actually got rid of them and i’m thinking helped them to stop breeding more as well. 

    To each their own, but vacuum was a much ore effective way of getting rid of gnats in my kitchen. I use my kitchen very frequently and I usually have fresh fruit and dishes laying around. It is much easier to eliminate them as opposed to attract and trap them.  It’s also easier than trapping them in my dishes and then throwing them outside. 

    Good luck!

  • Melissa

    This helped me a bunch, my husband put a peach in the fruit bowl and we forgot about it, several gnats later I found it. They were all by my window so I sprayed them with Windex and it killed all the ones it touched. Thanks.

  • PennyV

    Thanks for this suggestion! I would never have thought about using a vacuum cleaner to suck up gnats. I’d try it out, but I don’t have a vacuum cleaner. I do have a question for you though. Does the vacuum cleaner kill the gnats or are they still alive when you empty the vacuum cleaner?

  • PennyV

    Thanks for the good suggestion, Melissa! It’s nice to know Windex can be used as a bug spray as well as a window cleaner. Did you know that you can use the vinegar/water spray mixture for cleaning your windows too?

  • Cindy

    Use Apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish washing liquid in a small dish…works the best and is easy.

  • PennyV

    Cindy, this does seem to be one of the more popular methods to kill gnats.

  • Rude

    Not everyone that has gnats had a dirty kitchen. You made it seem that only people who live in filth get gnats. SMH.

  • Jim

    ummmm the picture above is not of gnats. Or at least not the kind I have…

  • PennyV

    Rude, Kelly did make it sound like everyone that has gnats has a dirty kitchen, which isn’t exactly true. However, once gnats are in the kitchen, then the entire room has to be thoroughly cleaned again to get rid of the gnats. Here’s a link to an article that I shared earlier in this discussion which you might find interesting. It talks about how gnats/flies can breed in the drains: http://www.doyourownpestcontro….

  • PennyV

    Jim, there are several types of gnats. Midges, fruit flies, fungus gnats, no-see-ums, and sand gnats are just the most common ones. If you google images of gnats (https://www.google.com/search?q=gnats&hl=en&safe=off&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=FNnIUOHEA4OmqgGxkYHoDg&sqi=2&ved=0CAQQ_AUoAA&biw=1120&bih=623) you’ll see there’s a wide variety of gnats, and they certainly don’t all look alike! So what type of gnat do you have?

  • LoRu Besomiculo Dedios

    Lemon juice down the drain works wonders

  • PennyV

    Thanks for the tip, LoRu!

  • PennyV

    Erin6466, I hope you take the time to read all the comments that have been made by other readers, as they contain many helpful tips. Gnat infestations can indeed be caused by septic/plumbing problems. You may have to fix the plumbing problems first. Then pour baking soda, followed by apple cider vinegar down the drain. Afterward, give the drain a good rinsing.

  • Jeff G

    The best way to get rid of gnats is to put a large bowl of uranium-225 on your kitchen counter. Make sure it glows in the dark. After a short time your kitchen should be free of any type of gnats and their larvae. In order to prevent any further problems just leave the bowl in an out of the qay place on your counter.

  • PennyV

    Jeff, how do you even get the uranium-225 in order to put it out on the counter? And if it’s radioactive enough to glow in the dark, wouldn’t it be a bit dangerous to be using without taking proper precautions to avoid radiation poisoning?

  • jj

    If you have been a “professional” writer for 5+ years, you should know that you dont “bring” anything outside..DUH!!! professional.. yeah right

  • PennyV

    JJ, perhaps you would care to clarify your remark a bit more for those who are not as well-versed in the proper use of the term, “bring”. But you may want to reconsider your comment first. Here is a paragraph from the Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bring):

    “bringer n.
    Usage Note: In most dialects of American English bring is used to denote motion toward the place of speaking or the place from which the action is regarded: Bring it over here. The prime minister brought a large retinue to Washington with her. Take is used to denote motion away from such a place: Take it over there. The President will take several advisers with him when he goes to Moscow.When the relevant point of focus is not the place of speaking itself, the difference obviously depends on the context. We can say either The labor leaders brought or took their requests to the mayor’s office, depending on whether we want to describe things from the point of view of the labor leaders or the mayor. Perhaps for this reason, the distinction between bring and take has been blurred in some areas; a parent may say of a child, for example, She always takes a pile of books home with her from school. This usage may sound curious to those who are accustomed to observe the distinction more strictly, but it bears no particular stigma of incorrectness or illiteracy. · The form brung is common in colloquial use in many areas, even among educated speakers, but it is not standard in formal writing.

    Since blogs are not always written in the more stuffy formal formats, Kelly was within her rights to use the word “bring” instead of “take”.

  • Davil

    Thanks a lot:)

  • Brynisha

    I don’t even know what uranium-225 is but I’m pretty desperate to get
    rid of these damn gnats that I’m about google what that stuff is. I’ve
    been having a problem with all summer. Now I’ll admit that my kitchen
    doesn’t stay the cleanest but it’s not God awful filthy but yeah we
    probably do leave dishes in the sink for a few days that may have
    attracted gnats or trash int the kitchen that probably attracted them
    and I think they did come up through the drain b/c that’s where I mostly
    see them. I have tried the apple vinegar/sugar in the 2-liter bottle
    and it did catch quite a bit, the sticky traps you hang around, it
    caught some, 2 store bought foggers, 2 bottles of ammonia down the drain
    (and did not run the water for an extended period of time) and these
    gnats are still in here. Now I think that I waited a little too long
    before doing something about it. I probably should have started trying
    to eliminate these things when I first saw them. I remember I had these
    last year and I tried the apple cider vinegar/sugar trap and it seemed
    to work. I didn’t see any more gnats after that so I was hoping/thinking
    it would work again this year. It’s awful. I’m about to call an
    exterminator. I don’t even want to cook in my kitchen anymore; always
    having to watch out for fear of a gnat landing on the food I’m
    preparing. I’m about call an exterminator. That’s what I want to do BUT I
    have not thoroughly cleaned my kitchen which I’m going to have done in
    the next few days. Deep cleaning. Maybe this will help?