Are those pesky little gnats in your kitchen? Are they flying around the living room? Don’t be fooled by seeing only one or two. Before you know it you’ll have a whole swarm of them inside your house. But there is an easy solution and you can get rid of gnats naturally without using any harsh chemicals around your family. Take a look here…
There are two approaches I take when it comes to removing gnats. First, you can use traps if you have lots and lots of gnats to get rid of. Second, you can remove the source of attraction for the gnats to make sure you get rid of them. I’ll tell you about the traps first – which ones I use and the ones I don’t use (and why). And…I’ve included a summary of everything at the bottom of this page.
Traps for gnats
Once you have lots of gnats in your home, you’ll need to use a trap to catch them. If you prefer not to kill the gnats, see the section below called Can I eliminate the source to get rid of all the gnats? By eliminating the source you can remove a lot of gnats but if you really have a loads to get rid of, I suggest using a natural trap.
Over-ripe fruit trap
My favorite natural trap is also one of the easiest. All you need to do is take a container (one that you’re prepared to throw away). I often use an old 32oz yogurt container that I’ve washed out and stored under the sink, ready to use.
Place some over-ripe or rotting fruit in the container. Over-ripe banana or a rotting orange that has started to ferment is always good!
Place some plastic wrap over the top of the container. And next, put some tiny holes in the plastic wrap using a skewer.
The gnats will fly in the holes to get to the fruit and then they’ll be trapped in there.
Sticky paper traps
If you want to get some sticky gnat traps, these are good ones (click here to see the details). You can either hang them in your kitchen or stick them in houseplants.
They come with hooks for hanging or the pointy arrow at the bottom to place in plants.
You can use them indoors or outdoors. They’re good for placing on a porch near the front or back door to your house.
Apple cider vinegar trap – not recommended
I’m not going to go into any details about this trap because it hasn’t been very effective for me. This trap requires more ingredients than the over-ripe fruit trap and yet it doesn’t work as well.
Try the over-ripe fruit trap instead (see above). You’ll catch more gnats that way.
Place a candle in a container of water with a few drops of dish soap liquid in the water.
At night, light the candle and turn out all other lights. You’ll need to darken the room with the gnats.
The gnats are then attracted to the flame. They will either be burnt by the flame or they’ll fall from the flame into the soapy water where they can’t get out. No more gnats!
As I said, this candle trap sounds a bit cruel to me. I just don’t like the idea of burning their wings. Yes, that’s me! Anyway, with kids and pets in my home I don’t use this trap because of the fire risk of having a lit candle in my home. Maybe you’re the same.
I also use this natural spray to deter cockroaches from entering my house.
In a small spray bottle add 1 cup (or less) of water and 20 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Just a word of warning: I like to make my peppermint spray very strong – you may want to add fewer drops of the essential oil.
Shake the bottle before spraying it in the room where you want to prevent gnats.
You also get the added bonus that it also smells good (for us, not the gnats).
Where do gnats come from?
I used to think gnats were only attracted to over-ripe fruit. When I’ve had apples or bananas sitting in the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter for too long they’ve attracted gnats.
But apparently this is not entirely accurate.
The adult gnat will lay hundreds of eggs on unripe fruit in anticipation of developing larvae being able to use the fruit as it ripens and becomes over-ripe as it’s food source. This is a bit scary. I’m glad I always wash our fruit very well before we eat it.
When I used to work downtown in a high-rise office building I would always keep lots of plants on my desk. I loved including natural plants that have been scientifically shown to absorb toxins from indoors. I also liked seeing them there on my desk throughout the day, especially the ones with flowers.
One day, a few gnats appeared in the office kitchen. There were only 2 or 3 of them and no one really noticed them much. However, as the week progressed the number of gnats grew.
Everyone started talking about the gnats. And I mean everyone. It became the talk of the office,”Where did these gnats come from?” There was even some talk about getting the office sprayed by a professional with insecticide.
That’s when I noticed. Once of my potted plants seemed to have gnats around the base, around the potting mix. On my goodness! Did I introduce the gnats? I still don’t know because they seemed to be in the kitchen area first. But I have a sneaking suspicion that they might have come from my plant.
The talk of gnats had become such a huge thing that I couldn’t possibly confess (and to be honest, I wasn’t even sure they started in the plant!)
I was so embarrassed that I made a special trip into the office the next day on a Saturday morning (when I knew no one would be there) and I removed my plant.
Did the gnats come home with me?
Actually no. They seemed to disappear. But maybe that was because the plant was then left outside and they liked the indoor office environment. I don’t know.
The lesson to learn…whether the gnats originated from the plant or whether they were attracted to it after already coming inside, I don’t know, but gnats can be attracted to the potting mix in houseplants.
If you’re looking for your gnat source at home, check your houseplants.
If you leave your dishes unwashed overnight with food scraps on them, you will get gnats. This has happened to me before. Just occasionally, I haven’t stacked everything into the dishwasher or washed everything in the evening. It tends to happen when I’m sick or extremely exhausted and my kids are too young to do it themselves yet.
Gnats love your left-overs. They will come and find them quite quickly, especially if there is another source for attracting gnats close to your house.
If you don’t take your kitchen trash out every night, you need a trash can with a sealing lid. This is essential.
I used to have one of those swing top bins. What a disaster!
They attract gnats and flies and anything that can possibly make its way into your house.
Once I switched to a self-closing and sealing lid trash can it made a world of difference.
If you want to splurge you can get some high-tech trash cans these days that are voice and motion activated.
Otherwise, just opt for one with a really good seal on the lid.
Personally I prefer a pedal operated trash can but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether the lid can stay closed properly overnight with garbage inside.
Do you have garbage in a trash can near your house? Lots of people do, including myself. I don’t have any other option than keeping the outside trash alongside the house. Most of the time the bin stays smelling fine. But when it starts to get stinky I wash it out with a garden hose and a small amount of biodegradable detergent.
When you have your trash in there, you need to be sure the lid closes completely. If the lid is broken or damaged you’ll attract gnats. And when they’re close to the house you’re more likely to get them inside your home.
Gnats love wet, damp places. If you are trying to find the source of your gnat problem, check under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. One leaky faucet could be attracting gnats.
If your bathroom isn’t well ventilated it may stay damp. Does this sound like your bathroom? If it never really dries out before the next person in the family takes a shower and steams it all up again you may be attracting gnats with the moisture in this room.
You can use a dehumidifier in a room that is damp. Alternatively, if there is a window and weather permits, you may want to open it up to get a breeze through.
How to prevent gnats from entering your house
Prevention is best. If you can eliminate the things that attract the gnats in the first place then you can prevent them entering your home.
If you go through the list above showing where the source of gnats may be, then you can change the situation to prevent them coming again.
Can I eliminate the source to get rid of all the gnats?
Yes. I’ve tried this myself. It may not always work, depending on how many gnats you already have in your home.
When I’ve had just a few gnats in the house I’ve been able to get rid of them by removing all the things they’re attracted to. And then they disappear naturally. I didn’t even need to use a trap.
The moral of the story is, take action early!
If you can identify the source of their attraction to your home, and remove it, you get rid of gnats very easily.
If you want to remove gnats naturally from your home, these are easy methods to use. You can usually take action straight away and improve the gnat problem.
Even if you do decide to use a natural gnat trap, remember to check what it was that they were attracted to in the first place. No one wants to have a gnat trap in their kitchen day after day!
I wish you the best of luck getting rid of your gnat problem. I know these natural remedies work because I’ve used them myself so please leave a comment and let me know how they worked for you.
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