How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies with Vinegar, Traps & Other Tips


If you have ever battled an annoying and embarrassing infestation of fruit flies in your home, you know they are not easy to get rid of. They can breed quickly and live long after you’ve gotten rid of the food you suspected created their presence in the first place. Hopefully, these tips will help you to get rid of fruit flies and prevent them from returning in the future.

Empty all recycling bins and clean them

The fruit fly looks for anything that is sweet or fermented and provides a little moisture. Recycling bins meet all the requirements a fruit fly wants and needs to set up their habitat. Soda cans, fruit juice bottles, and beer cans are all perfect homes for the pesky little fruit fly.

Empty out your recycling bin and get rid of all the containers inside. Clean the recycling bin itself by removing all the residue left behind from those containers. When you start to re-add recyclable containers; wash or rinse them first before throwing them into the bin. Don’t re-start creating the residue these flies will look for to start another home.

Get rid of old sponges, dishrags, and mops

If your sponges, dishrags, and mops are old; you should replace them or wash them routinely. The fruit fly can breed on sour sponges or rags. Fruit flies breed very quickly and if not removed right away will be extremely hard to get rid of. Understanding how these insects develop will help you in your fight to be rid of them.

Remove compost scraps from inside the home

Composting is a great idea. If you compost your kitchen scraps and find you have fruit flies flying around; then it is time to clean out the bin and move it outdoors. Ideally, it would make it more successful for you to take the scraps to the pile each time you collect a pile. If you do not want to make the trip to the pile after every meal; then try placing the bin outside and keep a little distance from your door.

Get rid of rotting fruits and vegetables

When you start seeing fruit flies it most likely means you have rotting fruits and vegetables. Any fruit or vegetable you have sitting out that has broken skins or been cut open must go.

This means removing it from the house, not just throwing it into a compost bin or garbage can in the kitchen.

Put out a few apple vinegar traps in infested areas

The best way to get rid of the fruit flies is to remove the adults. The one good thing for you when trying to get rid of fruit flies is that they are not very smart. If something smells rotten or like it is fermenting they will dive right in. You can place cider vinegar traps around areas you see them flying and you’ll be able to get rid of a lot of the flies fast.

The traps are easy to make; here’s all you need:

  • A glass.
  • A plastic baggie.
  • A rubber band.
  • Apple cider vinegar.

Put a small amount of apple cider vinegar into the glass. The fruit fly will not be able to resist the smell of the vinegar. Take some scissors and snip a small enough corner off for the fruit fly to crawl through, but not crawl back out of. Place the baggie over the glass so that the snipped corner is pushed down into glass forming a funnel, but does not touch the vinegar. The rubber band should then be put around the baggie securing it to the glass.

Video showing how to make a homemade fruit fly trap

Place this trap where you see the most activity; you may even want to make a couple of them if the infestation is heavy. The flies will go into the glass through the hole and become trapped. You should notice a good accumulation of dead flies in the vinegar within a few days.

There are other types of traps that can be very effective for getting rid of fruit flies:

Vinegar and dish soap

Place a bowl of vinegar on your counter with three drops of dish soap added to it. The soap will make it impossible for the fly to float and they will sink and drown.

Paper cone and piece of a fruit

Place a very ripe piece of fruit and a little vinegar in a jar. Take a piece of paper and shape it into a cone and place it into the jar with the narrow point facing down. The fly will go in through the opening and not be able to get out.

Red wine

Fruit flies love the smell of wine. If you leave an open bottle out that has a skinny neck and a small amount of wine at the bottom, you will be able to trap quite a few flies.

Milk, sugar, and pepper

There is a favorite of many found in the Old Farmer’s Almanac to trap fruit flies. Take a pint of milk, four ounces of raw sugar, and two ounces of ground pepper and simmer all together in a small saucepan for ten minutes. Pour into a shallow dish after ten minutes. The fruit flies will be attracted to this mixture and drown.

Aunt Fannie’s Fly Punch

Health Beauty and Environmental Sciences chemists at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute found the Fly Punch is one of the best fruit fly remedies. It is an all-natural product and comes in a stand-up pouch. You simply rip off the top, put it on a cupboard where you see the activity of flies, and “count the bodies.”

Check potato and onion storage areas

Root vegetables are normally kept in cool, dark bins or cupboards. Make sure these areas are checked if you see any sign of fruit flies. It will only take one old potato to start your infestation of the fruit flies. Any of these vegetables that display soft or mushy spots should be disposed of.

Make sure all home-canned products are completely sealed

Not all people can their own products, but for those of you who do and see signs of fruit flies, check to make sure all your jars are sealed properly. The fly will detect this unsealed product long before you do, so their presence may indicate one or more of your jars is not sealed safely.​

Clean your kitchen thoroughly

Food bits can accumulate in a kitchen and if you are having trouble ridding your home of the fruit fly it may take some good cleaning to get rid of all the food bits. Clean all areas like:​

  • Lip of the kitchen sink.
  • Burner drip pans.
  • Underneath the stovetop.
  • Check under the refrigerator for spilled spots.

These uninvited pests can become numerous if not removed; however, we hope these tips show you there is the hope of getting rid of them and keeping them away.

Knowing more about how flies thrive is going to help you remove these undesirable areas from your home—along with the flies.​

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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