Vinegar is a highly effective household remedy. In addition to being a great cleaner, it can have a variety of household uses such as keeping pests away.
But there is one major deterrent to using vinegar: the smell. Vinegar has a pungent odor to it that can permeate the entire space. (Although there are some good ways to get rid of that smell!)
Speaking of pests, there are quite a few that can show up during the hotter months of the year, but few are as annoying as dealing with gnats. While gnats aren’t particularly dangerous, they can be highly annoying because they will swarm around food, both old and new.
So, how can we keep those gnats away without having to implement that smelly vinegar?
Here are a few ways that you can keep those nasty little buggers from flying around your garbage or fruit basket.
Where Do Gnats (AKA Fruit Flies) Come From?
This isn’t going to be something that anyone will want to read but the reason that gnats become prevalent is because of the food that we eat. Gnats will primarily be found on most plant-based materials.
This is because adult flies will lay several eggs – hundreds of them – on unripe fruits. They do this so that the larvae can use them as a primary source of food for nutrition. It doesn’t even matter if the fruit has rotted or not.
They can also simply come in from the outside. Adult flies are seemingly everywhere. They can come in through windows, doors, and other small openings.
If you tend to keep a pretty neat home, check your surroundings to see if there is anything that may be attracting a bigger swath of flies (and gnats) to your home.
Prevention Is the Most Effective Method
The most effective way to keep pests of any kind out of your home is with prevention. It is always easier to take the steps to keep those things from entering your home than it is to get rid of them after they have shown up.
If you have a gnat problem, you can implement one of the methods below to get rid of them. But the best way to go about things is to find out why they showed up in the first place and then make sure that source never appears again.
Keeping your trash can effectively covered is one of the best ways to ensure that there are no gnats to contend with. Make sure the lid of your trash can is closed and sealed tightly whenever you aren’t using it.
That trash odor can be a major attraction for gnats and the worst thing is that the smell can begin to permeate your home. If that weren’t enough, that trash odor can cause other things such as roaches and ants to suddenly show up.
In a similar vein, don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink on a regular basis. Doing this every so often may not be often enough to attract gnats to your home, but you shouldn’t risk it. If you do plan on leaving dishes in the sink, at least make sure to rinse them off thoroughly.
Dishes with leftover food items on them can be a major attraction for gnats. Seeing a theme yet? Gnats are looking for food, whether that be old fruit, food scraps left out, or open garbage containers. Cut off their food source and you should be able to cut off the gnats entirely.
Another thing to watch out for are areas with a lot of dampness. Fruit flies tend to do quite well in areas that are moist and damp. Take a look around for any bathroom or kitchen pipes or faucets that may have a leak.
Any indoor drains should be inspected, too. If you contend with major humidity on a regular basis, consider investing in a dehumidifier.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Without Using Vinegar
1 – Fruit Fly Traps
Perhaps the best and most effective way to get rid of gnats around your garbage or fruit basket is to pick up fruit fly traps. Most of these are disposable, so you can use them to catch the little buggers and simply throw them away when you’re done.
All that you need to do is open up the lid on the trap and put the trap in the area that is most impacted by the fruit flies. Within a single day, you should notice plenty of victims.
Still, having to dispose of the traps can be a pretty gross experience, so if you don’t like dealing with the cleanup, this might not be the best solution available.
2 – Candle Traps
If you don’t want to have to get your hands anywhere near the dead fruit flies, there is another trap that will work quite well with less of the grossness: a candle trap.
When the sun goes down, light up a candle and place it on a tray or in a bowl that is filled with water and set the entire thing next to the area(s) that have the most fruit flies. Make sure that there are no other lights on in the room as they will be attracted to the only source of light left in the room (the candles).
This trap works in a couple of different ways. The first is that if the gnats get close to the flame, the heat should be enough to burn their wings. They will then fall into the melted wax and, ultimately, their demise.
The second way is that, even if the gnats avoid the flame itself, they may be attracted to the reflection of the water. When they land, they’ll have nowhere to go.
You can even try adding a couple of squirts of dish soap into your water to make it impossible for them to escape when they get close enough to the surface of the water.
3 – Stale Wine Traps
Wine lovers will be surprised to know that they have a pretty effective gnat trap available in their pantry.
If you have any recently stale wine, you can put it to good use by using it to trap those annoying gnats. If you have ever read about apple cider vinegar traps, these wine traps work in a very similar manner.
Just pour some wine into a container and then place that container next to your gnat-infested areas. The scent of the wine will attract the gnats to the container.
Like the water in the bowl from the previous method, the gnats will become trapped and eventually drown when they come into contact with the surface of the wine. Adding a splash of dish soap will only improve the trap.
The best part is that you don’t need anything else to make the trap work. In most cases, the bottle itself works as a fine container. Since you’re going to throw the bottle away anyways, it doesn’t matter if the gnats become trapped inside.
This trap also works pretty well with beer or any other type of beverage that has fermentation to it. The fruitier the scent, the better you will likely do at attracting those gnats and sending them to their untimely end.
4 – Make Use of Rotten Fruit
Another way to get rid of those nasty little buggers is to make better use of your rotten fruit. Instead of simply tossing it away, you can turn it into a trap. The best part about this one is that they will become trapped inside the container and ultimately die off.
Just take your rotten fruit and put it into a bowl or fairly decent-sized container. Cover the entire container with some plastic wrap fairly tightly and poke some holes in the plastic wrap.
The flies will be able to smell the fruit and should fly in through the openings but won’t be able to fly out. You can leave the bowl out for a little bit so that it can collect quite a few gnats and then just dump the entire thing in the garbage.
5 – Essential Oil Sprays
Pests are a fairly common problem no matter who you are or where you live. The good thing about that is that this has led to a number of different gnat remedies. One of the more popular options out there right now is the use of essential oils.
This can also be helpful in keeping gnats away from your face.
You can even create your own gnat spray by mixing your favorite essential oil with two cups of water into a spray bottle. Generally speaking, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint are the most effective at getting rid of gnats.
Just make sure that you mix the entire thing well before you spray it on the impacted areas as those smells can be quite potent if not properly diluted.
While there are a ton of different ways to get rid of gnats after they have made their presence felt, the best thing is prevention. Make sure that there are no attractive food sources in the area for the gnats to swarm to and you won’t have to worry about a way to get rid of them.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.