How to Kill Fruit-Flies in 5 Easy Steps

Kill Fruit Flies in 5 Steps

Family cutting up fruit in the kitchen

How do you get rid of fruit flies?

Using homemade traps — like apple cider in a bottle — or store bought aerosols, you can rid your home of existing fruit flies. Then, keep them away with simple preventative measures. Follow these 5 simple steps to rid your home of fruit flies, once and for all.

  1. Wipe Down Surfaces That are Potential Breeding Grounds
    Start by wiping down all cabinet surfaces and cleaning the interior of all household trash cans. Make sure that your trash cans do not have any gunk or food residue stuck to the interior walls; it should look like it did when you first bought it. After you wipe down the trash can, always use trash bags and throw the trash bag away at the end of the day. If the bag is not full and you don’t want to toss it, at least make sure it is always covered. Additionally, wipe down any fruit or vegetables ripening on your countertops. To wipe the fruit, use a clean towel that you have dipped in slightly soapy water. After wiping, rinse and dry the fruit. You can also use a combination of water and apple cider vinegar in place of soap to wipe the fruit (1cup water to 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar). Again, after wiping, rinse and dry. Once dry, you can let the fruit and veggies continue ripening on the kitchen counter, but put them in an empty paper bag, which you should keep closed while on the counter.

  2. Clean Those Drains
    Next, cleanse the drains in your kitchen sink. You can do this whether or not you have evidence that the fruit flies are living there. This part is purely a preventative measure. Do not use bleach. Since bleach does not coat the pipes, it will not kill the flies. Also, undiluted bleach is not good for your pipes and is not eco-friendly. Instead, try picking up an everyday drain cleaner from your local supermarket that will remove all sludge, grime, and bio-buildup. It is the bio-buildup that attracts fruit flies to your drains. It also gives them another place to lay their 500 plus eggs, other than on your fruit and in your plants.

  3. Set Traps
    Typical fruit fly traps include:
    • A small mason jar filled with 3 oz of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and covered with a thick layer of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should have a small hole poked in the center of it, and the hole should be no larger than the tip of a ball point pen.
    • A small glass ramekin or saucer filled with sugary, soapy water, and set on your kitchen counter.
    • An empty mason jar with a piece of rotting fruit at the bottom of it. A paper funnel is inserted into the jar, through the opening. The circumference of the middle of the funnel should be wide enough to fill and close the opening of the jar. The funnel should taper from a large opening at the top to a pin-size hole at the bottom. This allows the flies in to the jar but does not let them escape.
    • Fruit fly traps that you can purchase from your local supermarket, like hanging sticky traps.

  4. Monitor Traps and Drains
    Now that you have flushed your drains, cleaned your cabinet counter tops and trash cans, and wiped your fruit, watch to see if the fruit fly problem begins to subside. Are you catching less fruit flies in your traps daily? Do you see less fruit flies hovering above or flying in and out of your drains?

    If the answer to those questions is yes, then great job! You can move on to regular maintenance.

    If the answer is no, repeat steps 1 through 4. Or, move on to natural or chemical-based insecticides, or fruit fly-decimating aerosols. If you choose the latter option — aerosols or insecticides — take care to use products that are safe for your home environment (e.g., safe for kids, pets, pregnant women, allergies, asthma, etc.). Also, remember not to use those products around food or on food prep and eating areas, unless otherwise advised in the product directions.

  5. Clean Those Drains and Set Traps
    As you work towards your goal of being fruit fly free, and then reach it, remember regular maintenance is key. To keep fruit flies away, always wash and dry fruit and produce. We know these things are likely carriers of fruit fly eggs. Also, take a minute to utilize these additional measures to prevent those potential eggs from hatching in your home:
    • If your fruit is pushing over-ripe, compost it, bake with it, or toss it.
    • Clean your drains once a month to prevent fruit fly-friendly buildup.
    • Never leave dirty dishes overnight.
    • Use trash bags and trash cans with lids (if able).
    • When you pour the last drop of liquid from your beer bottles, beer cans, wine bottles, juice jugs or bottles, or vinegar bottles, rinse them out before tossing them in to your trash can.