How to Get Rid of Gnats in Your Home

Gnats are tiny flying insects that can invade homes and become a nuisance with their incessant buzzing and biting. Getting rid of a gnat infestation takes some diligence, but there are many effective methods to help eliminate gnats and prevent future infestations.

What Are Gnats?

Gnats are very small flies that are often drawn to sources of moisture and decaying organic matter. There are many different species of gnats, but some of the most common household gnats include:

  • Fruit flies – Tiny gnats attracted to overripe or rotting produce. They lay eggs near fruits and vegetables.
  • Drain flies – Breed in damp, organic matter, like hair and grease clogs in drains.
  • Fungus gnats – Lay eggs in overly damp potting soil, feeding on roots and fungi.
  • Moth flies – Resemble tiny moths but are actually a species of drain fly.
  • Phorid flies – Attracted to moist organic matter and decay. Can reproduce rapidly.

Though just a few millimeters in length, gnats can be annoying when they amass inside your home. Keep reading to learn the best ways to eliminate gnat infestations.

How Do Gnats Get Inside Your House?

There are a few common ways that gnats can find their way into your living space:

  • Through drains – Drain flies and moth flies may come up through sink, shower, and bathtub drains that contain organic matter buildup.
  • Via produce – Fruit flies can breed on ripening fruit and follow it indoors. Vegetables or houseplants can also transport fungus gnat larvae inside.
  • Through cracks and gaps – Any small openings along doors or windows can allow gnats to fly into your home from outside.
  • Damp environments – Bathrooms, basements, and kitchens provide ideal breeding grounds for gnats.
  • Trash cans – Gnats may breed inside if trash contains rotting fruits, vegetables, or other decaying organics.

Once inside, gnats can rapidly begin to reproduce if they have access to moisture, standing water, and rotting matter. Removing these conditions is key to eliminating infestations.

Signs of a Gnat Problem

How can you tell if pesky gnats are present in your home? Here are some of the most common signs:

  • Small flying insects – If you notice tiny flying bugs buzzing around fruit bowls, plants, or sinks, they are likely gnats.
  • Swarms near food – Fruit flies swarming around produce, compost bins, or trash cans may indicate an infestation.
  • Buzzing near drains – Drain and moth flies congregating near bathroom or kitchen sinks signal a likely breeding site.
  • Poorly draining sinks – Slow drains can be a telltale sign of organic matter accumulation that attracts drain flies.
  • Wilting plants – If houseplants or vegetable seedlings are wilting for no apparent reason, fungus gnats may be damaging the roots.
  • Bites – Some gnats like mosquitoes will bite exposed skin, leaving small red bumps.
  • Vinegar traps catch gnats – This indicates gnats are active, as they’re attracted to the vinegar.

The sooner you identify and address a gnat issue, the faster you can eliminate them.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in the Kitchen

Kitchens provide plenty of gnat breeding conditions, from drains to produce. Here is how to tackle kitchen gnat infestations:

Inspect fruit bowls – Any overripe fruit or vegetables can harbor gnat larvae. Remove rotting produce, and refrigerate fresh produce.

Clean trash cans – Empty the trash frequently, scrub cans with soapy water, and line with plastic bags to limit food residue.

Pour boiling water down drains – This will kill gnat larvae living in the organic buildup. Do weekly to prevent drain flies.

Remove standing water – Fix any leaky pipes, and wipe down wet surfaces that allow gnats to breed.

Use vinegar traps – Set out small bowls of apple cider vinegar with a drop of soap to attract and drown fruit flies.

Clean with bleach – Mix 1 cup of bleach into 1 gallon of water and wipe down all surfaces to kill gnat eggs.

Seal cracks and gaps – Apply weatherstripping and caulk to seal any openings that may let gnats inside.

Use essential oils – The strong scents of eucalyptus, lemongrass, or peppermint repel gnats. Apply diluted oils to cotton balls.

Staying vigilant about eliminating moisture sources, leaks, and food residue deprives gnats of breeding grounds in kitchens.

How to Get Rid of Bathroom Gnats

Bathrooms provide the ideal damp environment for drain and fungus gnats. Use these tips to tackle bathroom gnat issues:

Clean out drains – Use a zip it tool or baking soda and vinegar to break up gunk, hair, and debris clogging drains where gnats breed.

Flush with boiling water – Carefully pour boiling water down bathroom drains weekly to kill larvae and eggs.

Clean with bleach – Mix 1 cup bleach into 1 gallon of water and scrub down sinks, showers, and tile. This disinfects and kills gnat eggs.

Remove standing water – Fix any leaky pipes, wipe surfaces dry after bathing, and limit excess moisture.

Install drain covers – Cover drains with fine mesh to prevent fly access and egg-laying.

Use desiccant dusts – Apply diatomaceous earth or silica aerogel in drains at night to dry out and kill larvae.

Plug sink and shower drains – Place a drain plug or duct tape over drains when not in use to block flies.

Removing dampness and sanitizing breeding sites curtails bathroom gnat issues over time. Monitor drains weekly.

How to Eliminate Gnats in Basements

The cool, damp environment of basements can lead to fungus gnat and drain fly issues. Here’s how to get rid of basement gnats:

Fix moisture issues – Address any leaks, condensation, or excess water letting gnats breed. Improve ventilation.

Discard clutter – Remove stacks of wet boxes, papers, or debris that gnats use as habitat.

Dust baseboards with diatomaceous earth – This abrasive powder dries out larvae and eggs. Wear a mask when applying.

Clean drains – Flush drains with boiling water and baking soda. Use a wire brush to scrub out debris.

Fill sink basins and floor drains – Plug unused drains with cotton balls coated in mineral oil to block fly access.

Use a dehumidifier – Maintaining humidity under 50% helps deter gnat populations.

Seal cracks and gaps – Caulk and weatherstrip any openings to prevent flies from entering the basement.

Controlling moisture and eliminating damp breeding sites is key to getting rid of basement gnats long-term.

How to Remove Gnats from Houseplants

Fungus gnats thrive in the damp soil of potted plants. Follow these tips if you suspect houseplants are harboring gnats:

Let soil dry out – Allow the top few inches of soil to dry between waterings to deter larvae.

Remove excess moisture – Pour out any water pooled in plant saucer dishes after watering your plants.

Repot plants – Replace old, soggy soil with fresh, sterile potting mix to eliminate larvae.

Use yellow sticky traps – Stick traps near plants capture adult fungus gnats.

Apply food-grade diatomaceous earth – Sprinkle this powdered desiccant on the soil to kill larvae.

Spray neem oil solution – Neem oil coats plants and makes them inedible to larvae and eggs.

Water plants with mosquito dunks – Dunks contain bacteria that kill gnat larvae but are plant safe.

Spread sand or aquarium gravel – Top dressing plants with 1/2″ layer of sand or gravel prevents gnats from laying eggs in soil.

Allowing plant soil to dry out between waterings and using desiccants or biological controls knocks out fungus gnat problems.

How to Keep Gnats Away From Your Bedroom

Gnats can disturb sleep when they enter bedrooms. Here is how to keep them out:

Take out trash regularly – Empty bedroom wastebaskets often since organic debris attracts gnats.

Address pet dishes or litter boxes – Clean these regularly and clear away leftover food that can breed gnats.

Remove or cover fruit bowls and plants – Don’t keep produce or damp potted plants in the bedroom.

Fix plumbing leaks – Repair any leaky pipes that allow moisture accumulation.

Seal windows and doors – Apply weatherstripping and cover gaps that give gnats access.

Use fans at night – Run ceiling or floor fans on low speed to deter gnats from flying about.

Spray essential oils – Fill a spray bottle with water and several drops of lavender, citronella, or eucalyptus oil.

Turn off lights at night – Gnats are drawn to light sources, so switch off bulbs.

Monitoring for moist breeding conditions and keeping the bedroom clean and dry prevents gnat issues.

How to Keep Gnats Away From Your Patio and Yard

Outdoor gnats can be bothersome when entertaining or relaxing in your yard. Here’s how to control patio and yard gnats:

Install outdoor yellow bug lights – These attract and electrocute gnats and other flying insects.

Remove standing water – Get rid of water collected in buckets, tires, toys, bird baths, etc. to destroy breeding sites.

Clean debris from gutters – Prevent clogs that can lead to water accumulation.

Use a fan – Position a patio fan nearby to keep air circulation high and deter gnats.

Apply beneficial nematodes – These parasites kill gnat larvae in soil but won’t harm plants.

Spray neem oil – Mix neem oil with water and spray plants to deter fungus gnats.

Spread diatomaceous earth – Apply diatomaceous earth powder where gnats congregate.

Burn citronella candles – The strong lemony scent drives away mosquitoes and gnats.

Eliminating sources of moisture and decaying matter helps reduce pest populations long-term outdoors.

How to Make DIY Gnat Traps

Using homemade traps is an easy, effective way to capture and kill gnats. Here are simple, budget-friendly DIY gnat trap ideas to try:

Apple cider vinegar trap – Fill a small bowl with 1/3 cup vinegar and a drop of dish soap. The soap breaks the surface tension so gnats drown.

Wine and soap trap – Similarly, gnats are drawn to the yeasty scent of wine. Add a drop of soap.

Fruit fly bottle trap – Poke holes in a plastic bottle, invert the spout into the bottle, add wine or vinegar, and a drop of soap.

Yeast trap – Mix a packet of yeast with 2 tsp of sugar and 2 cups of warm water. Stir in a drop of soap.

Rotting banana trap – Poke holes in a zip-top bag with an overripe banana slice inside. The smell lures gnats in.

Funnel trap – Make a paper funnel and place narrow side down into a jar filled with soapy water. Gnats fly in but can’t escape.

Simple DIY traps like these placed strategically around your home capture gnats effectively without the use of pesticides.

When to Call an Exterminator About Gnats

In most cases, the gnat removal methods described above should help tackle an infestation. But if you have attempted these to no avail, a significant gnat problem may require professional help. Here are some signs it may be time to call an exterminator:

  • You’ve tried DIY remedies extensively without reducing the gnat population.
  • Gnats are appearing in rooms far from the source, like bedrooms.
  • You’ve eliminated all possible breeding spots but gnats persist.
  • You notice swarms of hundreds of gnats throughout the day.
  • Gnats are emerging from hard-to-access places like wall voids, cracks, or attics.
  • You have allergies or health conditions like asthma that gnats exacerbate.
  • Gnat bites have become red, itchy, swollen, and infected.

In these scenarios, an exterminator has specialized tools and insecticides to reach infestations and destroy gnat nests more comprehensively. They can also identify and access hidden breeding spots.

Preventing Future Gnat Infestations

Getting rid of gnats takes determination, but preventing future infestations is key. Here are some tips:

  • Inspect fruit and vegetables upon returning from the grocery store. Discard anything overripe or spoiled. Refrigerate the rest.
  • Allow potted plant soil to dry out between waterings and remove excess moisture. Repot plants in sterile soil annually.
  • Clean drains weekly by flushing with boiling water or scrubbing with a zip-it tool.
  • Fix any leaky or sweating pipes, clean up condensation, and limit moisture.
  • Take out trash regularly before it has a chance to rot. Keep trash cans clean and lined with bags.
  • Clean up clutter and organic debris in garages, basements, and patios.
  • Seal cracks, gaps, and openings throughout the home using caulk, weatherstripping, screens, etc.
  • Use drain filters, drain plugs, bleach, and desiccants to treat drains preventatively.
  • Set out vinegar or wine traps continuously to catch gnats.

With diligence and moisture control, these proactive measures will help keep tiny gnats at bay and prevent recurring infestations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Eliminating Gnats

How do you get rid of fungus gnats naturally?

Letting the top layer of potting soil dry out, using yellow sticky traps, applying diatomaceous earth, and watering with mosquito dunks are some effective natural ways to kill fungus gnat larvae in houseplants.

What home remedy kills gnats instantly?

Small DIY vinegar or wine traps with added dish soap can start killing fruit flies instantly. The soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid, causing the tiny gnats to drown once they enter the trap.

Will apple cider vinegar get rid of gnats?

Yes, apple cider vinegar makes an excellent DIY fruit fly trap. Just add a small amount of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar. The gnats are attracted to the vinegar but then cannot escape due to the soap. Vinegar traps placed around the home will help capture and kill gnats.

Why do I suddenly have so many gnats?

A sudden influx of gnats is usually caused by new sources of moisture, standing water, or decaying organic matter. Clogged drains or pipes, water leaks, rotting produce, or wet conditions allow rapid gnat breeding. Finding and eliminating breeding spots is key to getting rid of gnats.

How do you keep gnats away when eating outside?

Using ceiling fans, citronella candles, yellow bug lights, and essential oil sprays can help repel gnats from outdoor patios or picnic areas. Avoid having open containers of food or drink which attract flies. Cover food until ready to eat.

The Bottom Line

Gnats can be pesky invaders, but a two-pronged approach of removing breeding conditions and deploying traps can help eliminate infestations. Focus on fixing plumbing issues, drying out drains, cleaning trash cans, sealing cracks, and using desiccants and microbial controls. Diatomaceous earth, neem oil, mosquito dunks, and boiling water are all gnat killers. Traps made with vinegar or wine also help decrease flying pests. With dedication to moisture control and cleanliness, you can send those tiny gnats on their way and prevent future ones from disturbing your home.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Your Home

Gnats are annoying tiny insects that seem to multiple and fly around your face. Luckily, there are many ways to get rid of a gnat infestation in your home without using harsh chemicals. Here are the most effective methods and tips for eliminating gnats in your house.

Locate and Remove Gnat Breeding Sites

The first step is finding and removing sources where gnats are breeding. This deprives them of an environment to multiply.

Some common gnat breeding grounds include:

  • Drains and pipes where organic matter accumulates. Pour boiling water down drains weekly.
  • Overly damp potting soil. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Sink and shower drains filled with debris like hair. Use a zip-it tool to remove buildup.
  • Trash cans containing decaying organic waste. Take out trash regularly.
  • Rotting produce. Remove spoiled fruits and vegetables immediately.
  • Leaky pipes, condensation and humidity. Fix leaks and ventilate rooms.
  • Cracks and gaps along windows. Seal openings with caulk or weatherstripping.

Finding and eliminating breeding environments is crucial to controlling gnats long-term.

Make DIY Gnat Traps

Once you’ve removed breeding spots, make homemade traps to capture adult gnats already flying around. Simple DIY trap ideas include:

  • Bowl of apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish soap added.
  • Wine, yeast, sugar water, or rotting banana in a jar to lure gnats.
  • Funnel trap made from a