The other day, a bowl of ripe peaches attracted fruit flies to my kitchen, giving me the perfect chance to try out a homemade fruit fly trap. I typically don’t refrigerate produce, so the occasional household pests are unavoidable. The flies seemed harmless at first, but they rapidly multiplied, causing a major gnat problem that required action.

Tossing out the peaches helped temporarily. However, the pesky fruit flies persisted. I decided to test a simple homemade gnat trap using white vinegar and drops of liquid dish soap. The pungent smell of the vinegar lured in the flies looking for food sources, while the soap reduced the water’s surface tension, trapping the tiny flying insects inside.

Below, I’ll share how my DIY gnat trap experience worked, how to build your own, and tips for getting the best results.

How My DIY Trap Worked

Within seconds of placing the bowl of vinegar and dish soap on the counter, swarms of tiny flies flocked to the rim, drawn in by the irresistible scent of the white vinegar bait. 

After barely an hour, nearly 10 flies had already met their soapy demise inside the trap. By the next morning, my homemade gnat trap had completely eliminated every last fruit fly, effectively ending the gnat infestation.

This homemade trap is an eco-friendly way to control gnats, fruit flies, and other tiny flying bugs inside your home or outside around areas with organic matter. The vinegar can even freshen the air by neutralizing odors.

Creating Your DIY Gnat Trap

Making a gnat trap at home using white vinegar and a bowl is simple, cost-effective, and can work just as well as the best fruit fly and gnat traps on the market. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own DIY gnat trap:


  • A small bowl or container
  • White vinegar (or apple cider vinegar as an alternative)
  • Liquid dish soap


  1. Select a bowl: Begin by choosing a small bowl or container. The size of the container depends on the extent of your gnat problem. Smaller bowls are suitable for localized infestations, while larger containers may be necessary for more extensive problems.
  2. Pour white vinegar: Fill the selected bowl with white vinegar. White vinegar is highly effective in attracting gnats due to its strong odor. You can also use apple cider vinegar as an alternative if it’s more readily available.
  3. Add liquid dish soap: After adding the vinegar, put a few drops of liquid dish soap into the bowl. The dish soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, causing the gnats to sink when they come into contact with the liquid. This prevents them from flying away.
  4. Mix gently: Give the mixture a gentle stir to ensure that the vinegar and dish soap are well combined.
  5. Place the trap: Position the bowl in areas where you’ve noticed gnat activity or where they tend to congregate. Common locations include near sinks, countertops, windowsills, and ripe produce.
  6. Monitor and empty: Check the trap periodically. You’ll likely notice gnats being drawn to the vinegar and subsequently trapped by the dish soap. Empty the trap as needed and refill it to maintain its effectiveness.

Remember that this DIY gnat trap offers a natural and non-toxic solution for managing gnat infestations. It’s a safe and eco-friendly method that effectively targets adult gnats. To fully eliminate an infestation, it’s essential to consistently maintain traps for one to two weeks to disrupt breeding and reduce the gnat population.

The Benefits of a Homemade Trap

Compared to harsh chemical pesticides and foggers, this natural DIY trap has advantages:

  • Is non-toxic and safe around food
  • Uses inexpensive household items like apple cider vinegar
  • Kills flies effectively without leaving a mess
  • Is easy and quick to prepare
  • Eliminates odors 

For limited fruit flies around produce, this handy trap quickly solves problems without the need for more aggressive pest control.

Tips for the Ideal Trap Placement

When looking for the best spot to place your homemade trap, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Set out traps at the first signs of an infestation or preventatively around problem areas like sinks, drains, and ripe produce that can attract flies. To lure the most flies, place traps along countertops, windowsills, and congregation spots.
  2. Use small, multiple traps around infestations rather than one large trap.
  3. Replace bait solution daily to empty the dead insects and maintain the scent appeal.

Alternative DIY Ways To Get Rid of Gnats

In addition to vinegar traps, there are other homemade remedies you can try for how to get rid of gnats:

  • Use a spray bottle of warm water to kill gnats directly on houseplants and sink drains.
  • Place drops of liquid dish soap into a cup of warm water to trap and drown gnats.
  • Repel gnats by wiping kitchen counters with vinegar. 
  • Pour red wine into a glass trap to attract and kill fruit-loving gnats.
  • Rinse garbage disposals with boiling water to eliminate breeding gnats.
  • Refrigerating or removing ripe produce to prevent flies.
  • Using fans near open windows to deter entering flies.
  • Making a vinegar solution to spray down surfaces.
  • Plugging drains and cleaning them with baking soda.
  • Capturing drain flies with plastic wrap.
  • Purchasing inexpensive sticky traps on Amazon.
  • Using a bleach solution to disinfect problem areas.

Employing a combination of these DIY gnat control methods can help rid your home of annoying flying pests for good.

So, Are Homemade Traps an Effective Solution?

Based on my experience, homemade fruit fly traps are an incredibly effective, non-toxic solution for controlling pesky fruit fly infestations. The ingredients are readily available, and the traps start working instantly to eliminate the swarming adult flies. Vinegar traps give you total control over flies the natural way.

Maintaining traps continuously for one or two weeks disrupts breeding and clears out an infestation without harsh chemicals.

FAQs About Controlling Fruit Flies

What bait works best for homemade traps?

White vinegar is the most popular and effective fruit fly bait. Apple cider vinegar also works very well. You can try other acidic liquids like wine, fruit juice, or overripe fruit pieces.

Where should I place my homemade traps?

Focus on areas where you see flies gathering, such as around produce, sinks, drains, windows, etc. Use multiple small traps around infestations rather than one large one.

How often should I change the bait liquid?

Replace it every 2-3 days or whenever it fills with dead flies to maintain the scent appeal.

How long until the traps start working?

The traps begin working immediately to catch adult flies. But it takes 1-2 weeks of consistent trapping to fully eliminate breeding and clear an infestation.

When should I call an exterminator about fruit flies?

If diligent trapping for over 2 weeks doesn’t solve the problem, or you can’t locate the breeding source, professional help may be needed. Exterminators have commercial insecticides and can access difficult areas.

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas

Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas

Expert Writer & Reviewer

Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas is a globetrotting content writer hailing from the USA. With a passion for pest control, he brings a unique perspective to his writing from his early years working for one of the largest pest control companies in America. Throughout his early 20s, Jordan gained valuable experience and knowledge in the field, tackling pest infestations head-on and ensuring the well-being of countless homes.

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photo of Lori Zaino

Lori Zaino

Lori Zaino is a freelance writer and editor based in Madrid, Spain. With nearly two decades of editorial experience, she’s written and edited for publications like Forbes, CNN, Insider, NBC, Newsweek, The Points Guy, The Infatuation, and many others. Having just completed her first home renovation, she’s more interested in home improvements than ever, dedicated to bringing you fresh and accurate content to help you update your living spaces.

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