Skip to main content

Flies are super gross – here’s how to get rid of them for good

Whether you've noticed drain flies in the sink or fruit flies on the counters, follow these tips to get rid of those pesky insects

close up of a fruit fly
nechaevkon / Shutterstock

If you’ve ever left fruit on the counter for a little too long or skipped a day taking out the trash, chances are you’ve found yourself face-to-face with flies in your home. While a few flies don’t always lead to an infestation, sometimes things get out of hand. Here is how to get rid of flies and tackle their breeding grounds for good.

What attracts flies to your home?

Compost pile
Jenny Dettrick / Getty Images

Several things can attract flies into your home, but the most common tend to coincide with moisture and foul odors. Finding things around your house that fit these two characteristics won’t always guarantee the source of the fly infestation, but it could be a great place to start.

Recommended Videos

Exposed garbage

Exposed garbage, like trash bins without lids, can be a breeding ground for insects. And if you have lids on your trash bins, double-check that there are no cracks or damages that could allow flies to get in.

Moisture in drains

Drain flies are a common pest that dwells in bathroom pipes around drains. Sinks, showers, and other water sources can be a nesting hole for these insects.

Spoiled food

Fruit flies, in particular, are a troublesome pest that is drawn to spoiled food and rotting fruit. Fruits and vegetables left on the tables or countertops can become a prime location for fruit flies and gnats.

Rotting plants

Rotting plants are also home to flies. In fact, plant pots that retain a lot of moisture or have mulch, like outdoor garden beds, can be a breeding ground for flies and their eggs.

How do flies get into the house?

Man installing bottom of window trim
Ernest R. Prim / Shutterstock

Flies mainly get into houses through open doors and windows or cracks and small rifts around the home. Some come through improperly sealed window cracks, while others find their way in through torn screens or holes in the wall. Make sure you stay on top of your home maintenance by checking window screens and screen doors periodically, sealing any cracks around windows and baseboards, and repairing damages on the exterior of the home can help limit fly entry.

What to do to limit flies indoors

woman taking out the trash in the kitchen
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

While consistent and proper home maintenance can help keep flies at bay, these pesky insects can sometimes find their way inside without us knowing. Here are other measures you can take to stave off a fly infestation.

Keep your trash can covered and clean

Make sure all indoor trash bins are covered and that bags are removed frequently. Don’t allow foul smells to sit for too long, and stay on top of emptying the bins when they are full. Avoid putting wet materials in the trash can if you think it will be sitting for a few days. Also, periodically clean your trash bins with a few drops of dish soap and water. Outdoor bins should be cleaned once a month. However, some homeowners opt for a grand cleaning once every season.

Clean your sink drains

Another way you can prevent a fly infestation is to clean your sink drains. Keeping drains clear, clean, and free of bad smells can help ward off pesky drain flies. Additionally, closing drains with a drain cap when not in use can also be a good practice.

Keep pet spaces clean

If you own indoor pets like cats, birds, or reptiles, you’ll want to keep their cages, beds, litter boxes, and other spaces clean. Change out water and food bowls daily and regularly clean them. Be sure to remove pet waste often as well.

Remove any rotting houseplants

If you have houseplants, check for root rot or excess moisture. While it’s important to water your plants, overly moist soil can encourage infestations.

How to stop flies swarming in your outdoor spaces

man opening trash bin outside
Westend61 GmbH / Alamy

While we often think of infestations as an indoor issue, flies can also gather outdoors, creating an annoying situation for homeowners. Here’s how to prevent outdoor swarms.

Maintain upkeep on garden and flower beds

Maintaining your garden and flower beds by keeping mulch piles fresh and tending to root rot quickly can help prevent fly infestations. Additionally, don’t allow produce to rot in your garden without some minimal processing.

Keep garbage cans empty

Another way you can limit fly infestations outdoors is to keep garbage cans empty. Be sure to put out your bins for your trash removal service or take them to a local disposal location for proper processing.

Find solutions for pet waste

If you own outdoor animals or have a pet that goes to the bathroom outdoors, be sure to find solutions on how to handle pet waste so it doesn’t attract flies.

Don’t leave mulch piles by the house

Mulch piles are a haven for flies and other pests. While they can be necessary for landscaping and topping off garden beds, we advise you to keep mulch piles away from the house so that flies don’t wander in.

How to get rid of flies at home

roll of fly paper with dead flies
Faba-Photograhpy / Getty Images

If you already have a fly infestation, follow these solutions to tackle the issue.

Apple cider vinegar and dish soap

A bowl of 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap will attract flies and kill them once they drink from the soapy liquid.


Flypaper is a great solution for attracting swarms by trash cans or other spaces in the house where the source of your infestation is small and in one specific place.

Make a DIY bottle trap

Some homeowners try the DIY bottle fly trap. Cut the top third of a water bottle off and flip the top portion upside down so that it looks like a funnel. Poke holes in the cap before screwing it back on. Then, fill the bottle with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Flies can crawl into the holes of the bottle but won’t be able to escape.

When to call a professional

If you’ve tried the above DIY methods and reduced sources that contributed to the infestation but are still struggling with a fly problem, you may want to call a professional exterminator.

Flies may not be the scariest insects, but they’re certainly frustrating. Finding ways to limit their breeding grounds and tackle the things that attract them can help you avoid infestation.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
11 helpful tips to keep bugs out of your apartment or condo
Keep bugs out of your home without calling the exterminator
Dead bug with pest control sign

Cleaning your apartment will keep your place looking nice, but it may not be enough to keep pesky bugs from making your home their home. Keeping bugs out of an apartment or condo is much different from keeping them out of a house. When you live in an apartment building or condo that's part of a larger unit, bugs can quickly enter your space from community spaces. So if your neighbors have habits that attract bugs, it doesn’t take much for those critters to come into your rooms, too.

Your apartment or condo location can also contribute to the number of bugs in your living area, such as if your apartment is near the woods or close to the outdoor dumpsters. Also, apartment complexes and condos often have several entrances, which increase the chances insects have to get into your home.

Read more
Eucalyptus in the shower? Here’s how to grow this fragrant plant for your spa-themed bathroom
Hanging eucalyptus in your shower has a ton of benefits. Here's how to plant it for months of use
Eucalyptus plant in shower

Are you looking to create a spa-like experience in your luxurious bathroom? Eucalyptus in your shower can create a relaxing ambiance and add a refreshing and invigorating aroma to your daily routine. If you're curious about the benefits of having eucalyptus in the shower, how to grow eucalyptus indoors, and the proper techniques for harvesting and using it in your shower, you've come to the right place. We'll walk you through how to grow this fantastic plant indoors and why you need it in your shower today.
Benefits of having eucalyptus in the shower
Eucalyptus is a fantastic choice for your next shower plant. Its aromatic leaves are not only known for their pleasant fragrance, but this plant also sits at the top of many lists of medicinal herbs due to its numerous health benefits. Here are just a few benefits of having eucalyptus in the shower.
Spa-like fragrance
Imagine stepping into your shower and having a soothing and refreshing scent reminiscent of a luxurious spa greet you. Eucalyptus emits a delightful fragrance when exposed to steam and warm water, turning your daily shower into a revitalizing experience. The aromatic oils released by eucalyptus can invigorate your senses and awaken your mind for the day ahead.
Reduces stress
In today's fast-paced world, finding moments of tranquility and relaxation is essential. Eucalyptus has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety, as its fragrance has calming properties. When the steam from your shower activates the eucalyptus leaves, it releases essential oils that can help reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. Breathing in the fragrant vapor creates a serene atmosphere, allowing you to unwind and melt away the tensions of the day.
Soothes respiratory issues
If you're battling respiratory issues like congestion or allergies, eucalyptus can offer relief. The aromatic compounds in eucalyptus leaves are actually known to have natural decongestant properties. When infused with steam, the eucalyptus vapor can help clear your nasal passages and soothe irritated airways. Breathing in this therapeutic mist can provide a comforting sensation, making your shower a sanctuary for respiratory wellness.

How to grow eucalyptus indoors
If you're sold on the benefits of having eucalyptus in the shower, you're probably wondering how to get your hands on some of this amazing plant. Instead of searching for pricey sprigs of eucalyptus online or in stores, try your hand at growing it on your own as a beneficial indoor plant. Here's how to grow and nurture eucalyptus plants.
Step 1: Choose the right eucalyptus variety
Before embarking on your eucalyptus-growing journey, it's essential to select the right eucalyptus variety to thrive indoors. Some eucalyptus species are better suited for indoor cultivation due to their compact size and adaptability to container gardening. Consider varieties like Eucalyptus gunnii or Eucalyptus globulus, which are commonly grown indoors for their aromatic leaves and manageable growth habits.
Step 2: Create the ideal growing conditions
This aromatic plant thrives in bright, indirect sunlight, so find a well-lit spot near a window where your eucalyptus can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Ensure the room temperature remains between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as the plant prefers moderate warmth. Adequate humidity is also crucial for its growth, so consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase moisture levels. Of course, growing it as a bathroom plant ensures wonderful levels of humidity that your eucalyptus will love.
Step 3: Plant and care for eucalyptus properly
When planting and caring for eucalyptus, make sure to use the following techniques to guarantee excellent growth and a healthy plant:

Read more
Be sure to get rid of these 7 items in your spring garage sale
Stuck holding on to that old stuff? This list will help get you started with your garage sale purge
Young couple at a yard sale

Spring is the season for new beginnings; there’s no better time to clear out old clutter and give your home a total refresh. In addition to this year’s spring cleaning, focus on getting rid of belongings you no longer need. And since the temperature’s rising, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining, it's a great time to plan a garage sale!

Set aside items in good condition to sell and donate the rest. Don’t know where to begin? Here are a few things you should definitely ditch at your spring garage sale.

Read more