How to Get Rid of Gnats

How to Get Rid of Gnats

How to Get Rid of Gnats


As the weather gets warmer gnat problems increase. The battle continues.

I just tried a “green” type of spray, which contains lemongrass and citronella oils. It seems to kill – but only if you spray it directly on them. While the smell is pleasant, it’s a little overpowering to me. I’m thinking a mixture of water, witch hazel or alcohol and essential oils in a spray may work in a similar way and much cheaper – that’s on my “to try” list.

Of course the nasty gnats love my kitchen trash can. I’ve tried spraying the inside of the lid with bug spray, and I’ve also coated it with cooking sprays, thinking the oil might discourage them. No such luck.

I’m trying something else which seems to be working. I’m going to share this with you, BUT LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR: I am not suggesting or encouraging you to try it. If you try it, you are doing so at your own risk. The product clearly says it’s for places like attics, vacation homes, places you don’t spend time in.

My trash can has a lid that is kept on at all times except for lifting to dispose of trash. It fits fairly snug but not snug enough to keep gnats out. The lid has plastic support strips inside. I drilled small holes in two of these strips and have secured a Hot Shot No-Pest Strip to the lid with wire. I’m thinking (hoping) the lid is tight enought to keep most of any fumes inside. Picture below.

So far, I’m seeing NO GNATS inside the can. While this is not a fix all solution but if this does work it’s one less place for them to hide and breed.

While researching for gnat killing ideas, I came across multiple posts where in desparation people had used these strips TEMPORARILY to help get gnat infestations under control. I can see how this may work if a room can be shut off. In theory, at least in my opinion, it should work similar to a fogger but with less mess.

Once again, I am NOT suggesting anyone try this product in any way other than as directed on the label.
Trash Can Lid


Do you have a gnat problem?  If so, you’re in luck because you reached a good resource that can help you deal with these nasty little critters.  I have two suggestions that will help you get rid of gnats without endangering your loved ones, pets, or yourself.  I happen to live in a older farm house in a warm and humid climate down in the South that’s prime for gnats to become bothersome.  keep reading, my advice should help you with your problem.


Botanical products that boast of being safe to use around your family and pets have never worked for me.  Unless you spray enough of these chemicals on the gnats to drown them, they just dry off and fly away.  Maybe our gnats are just super gnats; we aren’t sure yet.  Regardless, some of the harsh chemicals and sprays do work pretty well but since they’re toxic I prefer not to use them.

Two Ways to Get Rid of Gnats

Trash Your Trash

The first step to getting rid of gnats is to make sure you keep your trash cans clean and your garbage emptied.  Gnats tend to love snacks from your trash cans and this is this number one cause of their reproduction.  If you look closely inside your trash cans, you might can even see where they have laid eggs.  The gnat eggs look like small grains of rice which are a brown color.  Make sure you have a tight fitting lid on your kitchen trash can.  I have personally sprayed the inside of my trash can with a commercial bug spray from the local hardware store that will usually kill off or run out any gnats who have managed to get in.

Gnats Love Vinegar!
In these few simple steps, I have managed to get rid of gnats within a day or two with items almost everyone has readily available in their household.

Step 1) Grab a cup, jar, or any kind of container.
Step 2) Add two or three drops of liquid dish-washing soap of your choice.
Step 3) Add a teaspoon or two of water.
Step 4) Add one-quarter to one-third of apple cider vinegar.
Step 5) Use a stirring utensil to blend all the ingredients together.
Step 6) Set it in the area the gnats are, and they will be gone in no time!

I found out the hard way that the soap is necessary.  I’m not exactly sure why, but something about the soap changes the water’s texture that forces them to drown instead of flying off.  In fact, I have a previous article on how to make a trap but it really doesn’t make a difference what the container is like.  Here’s the article if you care to check it out though.

I Sentence Them to Death By Glue

I’ve had great success with fly ribbons.  Fly ribbons are these little tubes of a sticky glue-like ribbon that unroll and hang from your ceiling.  Make sure these are out of reach from pets, children, and various forms of hair!  Here in the Southeast states, I’ve been able to find them at grocery stores, hardware stores, retail chains, and almost anywhere.  If you can’t find these exact fly ribbons, you may can order some.  They’re under two dollars for four, and they last a good while.  I’ve learned a few tricks to make these work better than even the manufacturer might not know.

Step 1) Put a few drops of vinegar into the tube.  This definitely helps attract them.
Step 2) Remove the thumb tack from the tube, and heat them for 8-15 seconds depending on the microwave wattage you use.  This helps them unroll easier.

By accident, I learned an invaluable technique of adding vinegar to the tube of these fly ribbons.  I had mopped my floor with a water and vingegar mix (which is an amazing cleaner by the way!) and had happened to put the bucket under one of the fly ribbons I had hanging.  I wondered why they were attracted to this one fly strip until I remembered that they liked vinegar.


Hopefully I have helped you on you way to get rid of gnats.  They are annoying little creatures that can make anyone’s house feel uncomfortable.  One last tip I forgot to mention above is that you should keep your fruits and veggies in the refrigerator because these items attract gnats crazily.