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How To Kill Gnats In Your House?

Common gnat, Culex pipien, in front of white background

Common gnat, Culex pipien, in front of white background

Gnats are the most annoying pests that can infest your home. They hover around your head, get in your ears and drive you crazy. Gnats can seem like a never-ending problem but you can get rid of them.

Where They Come From

Gnats, also commonly called fruit flies or vinegar flies, are attracted to the smell of rotten food. They particularly enjoy sink drains, trash cans and other moist, dark places. One gnat can lay up to 300 eggs in it’s short lifespan. Even one gnat getting into your house can be enough to start a war. The eggs are too small to see but if you notice any of these bugs in your house, chances are they’ve already laid eggs.

How To Prevent Them

If you don’t want gnats around, your best option is to prevent them from ever becoming an issue. Keep all food sealed and never leave open food products around for long. Take out your trash frequently. Don’t ever keep a compost bucket inside, these can provide great places for gnat eggs to mature. Learn how to care for your house plants and avoid over watering them. There is one type of household gnat that is notorious for infesting waterlogged soil. You can also hang sticky gnat traps in inconspicuous areas to kill any gnats that come in from outside.

How To Get Rid Of Them

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If you already have a gnat infestation, you need more than prevention strategies. There are a lot of home remedies to get rid of the obnoxious bugs. One effective method is to spray your house with a homemade concoction of diluted lemongrass oil. You can find lemongrass oil at most drug stores. Use 10 drops per 2 ounces of hot water and use it all around the inside of your house. A side benefit to this solution is that it will also kill spiders and ants. Another way to kill them is to use apple cider vinegar and dishwashing liquid. Fill up a cup with the vinager and add just a squirt of the dishwashing liquid. Gnats will drink this liquid and then sink to the bottom and be trapped. If it’s your house plants causing the problem, you want to pick up some food grade diatomaceous earth at any garden nursery. Layer your plant’s top soil with about a 1/2 inch of the diatomaceous earth. This will take care of any gnat larvae lurking in the soil.

If you need a guaranteed and fast way to remove the gnats, you might want to consider using chemicals. Supermarkets and hardware stores sell a variety of sprays for flying insects. Any of these will take care of your problem. If the infestation is severe enough, you’ll need to use a chemical bug bomb. This will require you to seal up your cabinets and any other places you keep your food. After you use the bomb, you’ll need to leave the house for several hours. Be sure to take your pets with you.

Additional Information:

Garden Guides – Kill Gnats
All Experts – Indoor Bug Problem

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.



  • Patty

    please please someone help. I live in a very nice pricey apt.  I say this cause in addition to hgreatigh rent I have a terible indoor nat prob. I do not have any plants, no trash or fruit anywhere. I do not have water sitting anywhere. I have to leave slider open so dog can always go on patio to go potty. I always clean that up right away.  This happened last year on 1st floor. I moved to 3rd floor and all was great. Now they back and I do not see them coming out of drains. I sure through slider but I surprised they all the way up here. I know I rambling but I so mad I cant think. Please someone, I not great w computers so I hope someone responds to this if I doing right.

  • Patty

    I had som typos sorry, Did anyone read my comment on my gnat prob. Again I am embarased hor computer illiterate I am but I hoping maybe i will get lucky and get some advise that for sure works

  • PennyV

    Patty, are you referring to a pet door or a sliding glass door when you say “slider”?  If you aren’t seeing any gnats/flies around the drains and don’t have any trash, food, or plants to attract the gnats, then perhaps you’re getting them in through the “slider” because one of your neighbors has an infestation.  If this is the case, you can only hope to repel some of the gnats, since you can’t get rid of all of them.

    The only way you can get rid of your problem if it’s being caused by a neighbor is to report the problem to your landlord.  You should do this immediately, so they can deal with the infestation before it spreads.  In the meantime, keep the slider tightly closed and just let the dog out by opening the door only when (s)he needs to go outside.  Make sure there’s a good weather seal around the doors and windows and block any cracks.  If you prefer to have the sliding door open, then make sure there’s a good screen door to keep the gnats from entering the apartment.

  • Rigorangel18

    Hello? I seem to have a similar problem, it started about 3 to 4 years ago, I believe they’re laying eggs somewhere inside my house by now, I’ve sprayed the concentrated 2gal. water dilutable formula and it works but some how they manage to come back every year it seems seasonal, I’ve seen them come thru window springs also. If I kill 5, 3more appear almost imediatly.

  • PennyV

    RigorAnge118, do you have any idea of what type of gnats they may be?  Are you sure they are gnats and not some type of fly?

  • Barbiepinkbasics

    du gnats are a type of fly

  • Drumming Forlife

    I found a solution to your problem.  I had a bad gnat problem and could not find out how they were getting in and why they were sticking around.  I tried bayer spray for my yard and for inside my house.  Didn’t work.  I finally thought about farmers.  They have to have good stuff to fight off insects on their crops.  I went to a local farmers store and found a spray called LD-44Z Insect Fogger.  That stuff killed those gnats in minutes.  I still am finding new dead gnats in my kitchen.  I would say make sure to leave the house after spraying for about 15-20 minutes because this stuff is strong.  I would also say take your pet’s out of the house as well.  When you re-enter your house; open the windows to let your house air out.  After I re-entered my house; I saw a gnat cemetery.  Be Blessed.

  • TINA

    I have the same problem the last month or so, i live in an apt. on second floor, i also have a sliding glass door that leads to my balcony. I set the vinegar traps and i caught  a few but didnt get close to solving the problem.Then i sprayed everywhere with a flying insect spray by Raid . It seemed to help alot for about 48 hours then they were back with a vengence.Ialso have no rotting food in my house, no garbage, my house is extremely clean. Idont know what to do, i told my landlord they said they have not had any other complaints from any neighbors which doesnt really mean anything , not everyone complains. My neighbors dwn stairs let their dogs out back to poop and they dont clean it up, so its right below my balcony, i havre considered this may create a problem i dont know, i hear gnats like sweets and poop well not so sweet . Killing them with a spray is temporary, finding the intial cause is what has to be done, or else spraying  evry 48 hrs is gonna be what is needed, then after spraying or fogging you must clean off everything in your house with warm soapy bleach water because this spray is very dangerous and who wants to do this evry couple days wat a hassel. I guess they are gnats they are so tiny and fly around and they are black or dark brown i guess they are so small and its hard to tell. Do i need to move !!! Are gnats seasonal ? I know there was a lady bug issues for a few weeks then it was over but GNATS I DONT KNOW its been almost 2 months and still no relief . help HELP !!!!!!!

  • Www Tinafox30

    3 or 4 years ago ? OMG so clearly this is a major issue and almost impossible to solve. If it  were easy we all would not be on here searching for answers. This isnt a matter of getting use to it, i would definately consider moving if this dont get better soon im losing my mind its disgusting !!!!

  • PennyV

    Tina, there are a wide variety of gnat species, so it’s difficult to give specific advice without knowing exactly what type of gnat it is.  However, gnats do seem to be seasonal, mostly infesting homes during the summer time, when the moisture levels are up from people watering their lawns and plants. But some species are more likely to create an infestation in fall or winter.

    If your apartment complex keeps a well-maintained lawn and other plants (such as flowers, trees and hedges), then these might be what’s attracting the gnats, along with the neighbor’s dog’s droppings.  As I mentioned before, it can be very difficult to identify all the sources of infestation when living in an apartment complex.  It’s also impossible to keep a gnat infestation from returning if the sources of the infestation cannot be identified and dealt with.

  • PennyV

    Drumming ForLife, using LD-44Z Insect fogger probably is quite effective.  However, that type of insect fogger is designed for outdoor use and for barns.  I would use extreme caution if choosing to use it in any smaller indoor areas, as it may contain possible human carciogens and can stimulate any asthmatic symptoms a person may have.  

  • waytogo19

    I’d certainly report your neighbors for not cleaning up after their dogs, the pleasure or sometimes not the pleasures of having a dog is cleaning up after them. It’s like your kids would you not clean up after they’ve taken a dump lets hope not.

  • PennyV

    Waytogo19, this is also a good suggestion. Not only is it a moral obligation to clean up after a pet, it is also sometimes a legal obligation for health reasons. In some places, it is against the law to not clean up your pet’s messes.

  • PennyV

    Tina, perhaps you should do as Waytogo19 suggests and report your neighbors to the landlord and/or health or law authorities if the problem persists and you cannot talk your neighbors into cleaning up after their dog. But I would suggest you try talking to your neighbors first and make sure they are aware that their dog’s dropping are creating a gnat infestation in the apartment complex. They may be assuming that it’s just a natural occurrence and not realize the dog droppings are attracting the gnats to the area.

  • Robyn

    Just saying but the picture in the article above is a mosquito not a gnat or fruit fly.

  • Tiffany

    Another thing that helps kill the gnats is a bug zapper. We have a good one we bought online and it has gotten the majority of our infestation now. No spraying, no chemicals just the bugs being zapped dead.

  • THF-Man

    Thanks for the tip Tiffany!

  • PennyV

    Bug zappers are a good option, Tiffany! Which room in the house did you place the bug zapper in?

  • Anthony

    Eazy!….To kill fruit gnats ect. Use “Windex Multi-Surface W/Vinagar” they will die over night, found at any store. Believe me it works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Christina Mayer

    i have the same problem it happens ever spring i thought my plants but they r not watered like they should be so they r dry and im a neat freak so i cant figer it outt trash is out daily some times twice a day and dishes cleaned after every meal and there is nothing on the counter not a coffee pot or a toaster and i use sanitized wipes on every thing and a steam cleaner on to help with in case flees from my three dogs and ticks eggs now i think my garbage disposal but i have a septic tank so no bleach help please

  • PennyV

    Christina, this article (http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/drainflies.htm) that I recommended in other posts may help you determine whether the gnats may be in your garbage disposal. There are numerous ways to get rid of the gnats, but the process has to be repeated every season if the source is outside of your own control, such as a neighbor’s water leak or moist landscaping. You may also find this other THF article (http://thehousingforum.com/how-to-get-rid-of-gnats-in-kitchen/) and the accompanying reader comments very helpful.

  • PennyV

    Thanks for sharing this tip, Anthony! I already knew vinegar and Windex window cleaner both work well, so I am certain that Windex Multi-Surface with vinegar works very well. Vinegar is a key ingredient in most of the home-made, organic pest control products.

  • Traci

    do you spray it or actually fill a cup? I tried the vinegar with the cellophane and all they do is sit on top of it. we have no fruit or open garbage cans. I do live right across from where everyone in our building dumps their garbage (inside the building). we all have asked for something to be done and all the management says it’s nothing they can do they come up through drains. that’s a crap load of a lie.