Super Easy Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are amazing and by that I mean amazingly annoying! These tiny creatures can detect the smell of ripe fruits and vegetables from miles away. If there’s a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, there’s probably a fruit fly or two looking for a way into your home to get to it. They’re so small, they can get in through window screens or crevices around windows or doors.


Homemade fruit fly trap that's filled with dead fruit flies


Once inside, they reproduce like crazy. All it takes is one pregnant fruit fly to get in and before you know it, you’re dealing with a full-fledged fruit fly infestation. I know. I’ve been battling this problem, too!

If you’re tired of fruit flies taking over, start by tossing out anything fresh that is overripe. Next, clean the muck from your sink drains* and eliminate wet sponges, mops, and the like. Then try one of these effective remedies to banish fruit flies from your home. Those disgusting little flies are no match for these super easy traps and potent potions!

Fruit Fly Trap

See that photo above? That’s a picture of one of my fly traps, so I know this works. To make this simple trap, assemble these supplies:

    • a small glass bowl
    • plastic wrap
    • unfiltered apple cider vinegar (no substitute, please)
    • liquid dishwashing detergent.

Pour some apple cider vinegar into the bowl. Add one drop of liquid dishwashing detergent. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, pulling the wrap back just a tiny bit at one edge to allow for entry. (By the way, I removed the plastic wrap before I took the photo to provide for visual clarity.)

Don’t skip any of these steps. The apple cider vinegar by itself has significant “surface tension.” That means the fly can actually walk on the surface, take a sip and then use it for a runway to take off. The soap breaks that surface tension and the plastic wrap helps make sure that sucker gets hopelessly trapped.

That’s it. Just set the bowl out on the counter and go about your business.

Red wine

Fruit flies love the sweetness of wine. Try leaving out a bottle with a little liquid left—the skinny neck will trap the flies.

Paper cone and fruit

Place a little vinegar and a chunk of very ripe fruit or fruit juice in a jar. Roll a piece of paper into a cone and stick it in the jar with the narrow opening downward. Fruit flies will be drawn in but they can’t get out.

Milk, sugar, pepper

Cook up a batch of this fruit fly bait that comes from an Old Farmer’s Almanac. Combine  2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 ounces ground black pepper in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then pour into a shallow dish. The flies will be drawn to the mixture and quickly drown.

Fly punch

I’ve had reports from multiple readers who say that Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! works better for them to attract and eliminate fruit flies than any other remedy they’ve tried. This non-toxic formula that contains sodium lauryl sulfate and malic acid is fast, powerful and easy to use. And it is reported to last up to 30 days.

If you have any slow-moving drains in your house, there may be enough organic matter hanging out inside your pipes to support a breeding population of fruit flies. You can tape some plastic wrap over suspect drains for a few days to check for fruit flies. If you see adults on the underside of the plastic, you’ve got some breeding in your drain. To fix any drainage issues, pour boiling hot water down problem drains to help loosen accumulated deposits. If accessible, you can also use a firm brush to scrub the inside of the pipe and free debris.

First published: 11-11-13; Revised & Updated 7-17-19

You may also enjoy:

Make Your Own Natural Non-Toxic Ant Spray

26 Ways to Use Vinegar that Will Surprise You!

How to Remove Yellow Sweat Stains—It Really Works!

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7 replies
  1. Sarah says:

    I noticed whenever I would drink coffee sweetened with liquid creamer (coffee mate or generic), they would fly to it and get stuck. Now I just put a mug of cold coffee with a splash of creamer on the counter and they flock!

    I also noticed a reduction in fruit flies when I have an electric pest repeller plugged into a kitchen outlet.

  2. MadeInDetroit says:

    I received a few potted plants in planters from my husband’s funeral. Don’t know which pots were infested with fruit flies. Either multiple pots were infested or one spread to many others. I gave a couple away explaining the bug problem, and don’t have the heart to get rid of any more pots. My favorite large 3′ tall pot has the worst infestation. I keep changing the apple cider vinegar/dish soap and even added it to the dirt. I change out the yellow sticky paper for planters, and with all that it only catches one flying around and not stop the re-hatching. It is too cold to take the pot outside. Is there any other suggestions? Also tell people to not give planters for funerals. I did request “In lieu of flowers…” and now I have a bug infestation that I have been dealing with for months.

  3. rachel frampton says:

    I’ve been meaning to look for ways to get rid of fruit flies. I never knew that pouring some apple cider vinegar on a dishwashing liquid is a great way to trap fruit flies. These are great tips, but if this worsen I better consult from a professional pest control service.

  4. Janie Payne says:

    Is there anything that I can use to remove a stain from a concrete driveway? Previously drip from car oil. That cleaned off
    but stain remained

  5. Luisa says:

    I went out of town for a week and my pet sitter did not clean the litter box twice a day, but evidently only right before I came home. Also, she did not rinse out the cat food cans and put them in recycling, but instead stuck them in the kitchen trash can with bits of cat food in them. Both areas were swarming with these flies when I came home. I checked with an exterminator who confirmed that they were fruit flies and said that the best option was the cider vinegar and Dawn in a bowl. It took a couple of weeks, but my house is finally back to normal.

    Also, I found an online article that said fruit flies would not go near cork. I was skeptical, but had nothing to lose by trying it. I put a wine cork in a bowl of fresh peaches and one with some tomatoes and left both on the counter. This was during the worst of the infestation, and I never saw a single fly go near either bowl.

  6. Janie L Claypool says:

    The best thing I’ve found is cheap sweet red wine with a drop of dish soap. They go to that quicker than apple cider vinegar an I’m not sure why.


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