How to Get Rid of Gnats | 16 Effective Remedies


Pest infestation is something that everyone wants to avoid once and for all. If you are one of those people consistently struggling with the buzzing and whirring noise of gnat infestation in your home, be assured that you aren’t the only person.

Gnats are notoriously known for their infesting power, especially around the kitchens where you are trying to cook and ensure optimal hygiene surrounding your meals. The worst part of a gnat infestation is that they multiply exponentially fast. This means that if you don’t take the necessary steps quickly, things can get out of control quickly.

This guide will walk you through all the tips you need to know on how to get rid of gnats, the effective remedies, and all about the signs of infestation.

What are Gnats?

Given that there are so many varieties of insects and pests surrounding us, it isn’t surprising that many people are often confused about which ones are gnats and which ones aren’t.

For those who aren’t aware, gnats are small, winged insects measuring ¼ of an inch with a combination of yellow, tan, black, or brown colors splattered across their bodies. Their flat wings are often complemented well by their otherwise larger body.

Much like bacteria, even gnats can be distinguished as good and bad. The good ones help with pollination, while the bad ones are only there to infest your home. When it comes to the extent of their infestation on the health, gnat bites lead to pain, redness, and irritation on the skin.

Besides that, their bites are also known for transmitting some diseases. However, the good news is that they don’t generally cause any damage to the home and the furniture.

Furthermore, gnats are of three primary types:

They are found worldwide and are known for causing a ruckus in people’s lives and inside their homes, making things a tumultuous ride.

How Does One Distinguish if they have a Gnat Infestation?

With so many different types of pests and insects around us, finding out and pinpointing the exact type of infestation at home can be challenging.

You must be sitting there wondering, “Do I have a gnat infestation at home?”

Unlike other insects and pests, which cause damage to the home and thereby leave by their signs, gnat infestation is easy to spot. The only tell-tale sign that you have to pay attention to is their presence around the house.

So, if you find them flying around your home in flocks, that’s the most telling sign that you have a gnat infestation in your home that needs a close look over.

Ways to Get Rid of Gnat Infestation

As we mentioned earlier, gnats are pretty frustrating to have around the house. Not only do they bite and spread diseases, but they also compromise the hygiene factor around your home.

Hence, knowing the best ways to eliminate gnat infestation around the house is quintessential. We will discuss some of the most effective techniques in this article:

1. Make Use of a Bug Zapper

Bug Zapper

Before you get confused, bug zappers are equipment for pest control. Not just for a gnat, they work in getting rid of mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs too.

The primary objective of the bug zapper is to attract the gnat towards it, and when you turn it off, the zapper electrocutes the gnat, killing it in the process. Most of these bug zappers are shaped like a badminton or tennis racquet, making it easier for you to use it and kill multiple gnats at once.

Besides the ones that electrocute the gnats, other types of bug zappers trap the gnat and then dehydrate them inside, killing them in the process.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

Apple Cider Vinegar

This might sound very farfetched, but vinegar traps are pretty effective in trapping and killing different types of bugs, including gnats.

The acidic nature of the vinegar, along with the pungent smell, is enough to trap and kill the gnats in mass and in no time. However, to lure the gnats into the apple cider vinegar solution, you have to make it enticing.

To make the solution, mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with half a cup of warm water, some sugar, and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Mix everything until combined, and leave the dish uncovered in an area where the gnats fly around the most.

3. Use a Flypaper

Fly Paper

Flypaper are sticky traps that you can apply at the entrance of your home or kitchen, and the gnats will get trapped when they try to fly in.

What’s excellent about fly papers is that they are available in different shapes and sizes. You can take and apply them across the curtains, on the walls, or above the doors to trap the gnats and kill them in the process.

4. Bleach the Drains

We discussed the different types of gnats in a previous section of the article. Amidst them, drain flies are a type of gnat known for infiltrating our houses the most.

If you have open drains surrounding the perimeter of your home, be assured that could be a reason why the gnat infestation is at an all-time high around your house. The best way to keep their population in check is to bleach the drain.

If you are wondering how to get rid of gnats that are growing in population around the kitchen sink or bathtub, the easiest remedy is to pour some diluted bleach down the drain. You can do the same with your garbage disposal too.

5. Use Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil

Essential oils are comprehensive and effective in getting rid of different types of insect infestation, including eliminating gnats. What’s great about using peppermint oil is its versatility. Not only will it get rid of gnats, but it is also effective in getting rid of cockroaches.

To make the concoction right, mix peppermint oil into some warm water and liquid dish soap to make a solution. The strong scent of peppermint is effective in getting rid of the gnats infesting your house.

You can spray this solution around the areas where the gnats frequent the most. Ensure that you spray this solution now and then to keep the smell fresh to deter the gnats.

6. Use Wine Traps

Red Wine

Wine traps work similarly to vinegar traps by trapping the gnats inside. Since wine contains natural sugar, it is effective in luring the gnats inside and killing them. Ideally, you have to set up the wine traps with some plastic wraps on top to ensure that the gnats don’t escape.

If you want better effectiveness, we’d recommend mixing a few drops of dish soap into the wine.

7. Use Rotten Fruit

Rotten Lemon
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Now, this sounds counterproductive, but rotten fruit is another way to lure them. This is an effective way to eliminate fruit flies from around your house.

Sometimes, you need to use the bait to lure the flies. Since fruit flies are attracted to overripe fruits, you can place them inside a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Also, ensure that you poke the plastic with a toothpick.

Doing so will attract the gnats and fruit flies inside the bowl and trap them inside, killing them in the process.

8. Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth
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This organic abrasive powder that’s great for eliminating the gnats that are destroying the plants in your garden.

When you sprinkle this powder over the plants infested with gnats, it traps the flies and then dehydrates them to a point, finally killing them. Also, you have to sprinkle them when the soil is completely dry and not wet.

9. Open and Close the Windows

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When it comes to non-toxic and easier ways to eliminate gnats from inside your home, the best way out of the process is by opening and closing the windows.

Opening and closing the windows create a difference in breeze flow inside and outside, forcing the gnats to fly out of the home. If you are tired of all the other techniques because they aren’t working, we’d suggest giving this a try.

10. Candle Traps

Citronella Candles

A lot similar to dish soap and vinegar traps, candle traps involve placing melted candles around the house, especially around the areas where the gnats frequent the most.

If this is too extreme, another technique is to make a dish soap trap and then place a candle on top of it. Light the candle and turn off the lights in the surrounding. This might not seem like a lot, to begin with, but it works wonders in luring the gnats into the dish soap solution and killing the bugs immediately.

11. Seal the Garbage Can

Trash Can
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Gnats, much like other bugs, are attracted to waste and rotten food items. So, if you are leaving your trash can open in the backyard, be assured that it will attract many of these bugs without you even trying.

Irrespective of the placement of the garbage can (inside or outside), ensure that it is appropriately sealed with the top lid.

12. Avoid Overwatering the Plants

Lawn Sprinkler
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Sometimes, overwatering the plants leads to damage and decomposition, which is another potential reason you can’t control the gnat infestation around the house.

The moist soil works as a breeding ground for the gnats, making them multiply in number and infest the surroundings of your home, especially for fungus gnats, which breed in moist soil environments. So, if you don’t want to encourage their reproduction, avoid overwatering the plants.

13. Try out Chemical Sprays

Unlike mosquitoes that respond well to herbs and woods, gnats have a higher tolerance to such natural remedies. So, chemical sprays are your best friend in that case. Several brands have come out with chemical sprays specific to kill gnats. So, you can pick them up and spray them around the house, ensuring that you keep them away from eatables or other surfaces that your children or pets reach out to.

14. Raw Potato Chunks

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It might sound a lot weird, but potato chunks do have the ability to prevent further infestation of the gnats for good. This ideally works the best for fungus gnat larvae and prevents further spread or growth in the water or flower pots. If you have an attached garden on your balcony, it is always better that you cut up a few cubes of raw potato and then place the same inside the flower pots to keep the level of fungus gnat in check. Make sure that you replace them now and then.

15. BTI or Gnatrol

Although quite difficult to get your hands on, BTI or gnatrol is another natural way of getting rid of the gnats at their larval stage. It is nothing but a naturally occurring fungus that is toxic to the various larval stages. They are predominantly effective for getting rid of the gnats that infest the potted plants. So, all you need to do is spray them on the plants and the pots and forget about any future infestations. Don’t worry; they are completely non-toxic to humans, so you wouldn’t have to worry about affecting your health in the process.

16. Professional Pest Control

If none of the natural remedies work, the only option you are left with is to get professional pest control done. This is your best bet if the infestation has gone out of control. They work well because they offer customized treatment plans for your home to get rid of these pesky insects from the root.

The ways to get rid of gnats aren’t as complicated as many make them out to be. If you have the right resources at your disposal, you shouldn’t find it hard to navigate through the issue. Just ensure that you know the trigger points and practical ways to eliminate the gnat infestation from around your house. The tips in this guide can be a good starting point.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes? | 14 Effective Ways

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the fastest way to get rid of gnats?

The easiest and quickest way to get rid of gnats using a natural remedy is to use the vinegar solution. It traps the bugs, killing them in the process.

What causes gnats in the house?

Gnats can be attracted to several factors, including fresh or rotten produce, open trash cans, food spillage, house plants, etc.

Are gnats harmful?

Although they don’t cause severe damage to the house or people’s health, their presence is quite annoying.

What smell kills gnats?

A solution made with water, isopropyl alcohol, and dish liquid is enough to keep the gnat population out of the house without any complications.

What kills fungus gnats instantly?

If you want to kill the fungus gnats instantly and prevent them from returning, the best remedy would be hydrogen peroxide.

How long do gnats live?

The average life span of an adult gnat is around one week. However, they are notorious for multiplying quite quickly, which is why taking immediate action is necessary.

Do gnats bite you in your sleep?

Gnats tend to bite you in your sleep, but the good news is that their bites don’t cause long-lasting damage to the skin.

Can gnats live in your hair?

Gnats are known for crawling up the skin into the hair so that they can bite into the scalp. It is rare but a possibility nonetheless.

Do gnats hate perfume?

Surprisingly, the opposite. Gnats are attracted to perfumes and pleasant smells of soaps and body washes, so that’s another thing you must consider.

Does Vicks get rid of gnats?

Although not the most effective, some reports suggest that Vicks can kill gnats to an extent. So, give it a try.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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