Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

Get rid of pesky gnats and fruit flies once and for all with this easy homemade fruit fly trap! All you need is a container and 2 simple household ingredients!

image collage of vinegar and fruit flies; text overlay "Easy DIY Fruit Fly Trap"

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

Fruit flies are a common household pest, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Not only are they annoying, but fruit flies can carry germs and disease, leaving them on surfaces in your house.

Fruit flies are attracted to your home by an accessible food source. Things that can attract fruit flies include:

  • Trash in garbage cans
  • Crud in your drains
  • Overripe fruit on your counter
  • Anything that’s starting to turn or ferment — from a spill on the floor that you missed to a dirty mop

What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

Before you start trapping fruit flies, it’s important to get rid of their food source first. Otherwise they will keep coming back!

Throw any old fruit in the compost pile. Empty the trash can regularly, and if necessary, clean the inside and/or outside of the can if there have been spills or food getting stuck to it.

If the problem is your drains, pour a cup of white vinegar in the drains and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. This is safe to use in homes with a septic system and effective at killing mold and mildew that fruit flies love.

Once you’ve gotten rid of their food source, it’s time to get rid of the fruit flies that are left behind.

jug of vinegar and dish soap on counter

What to Put in a Fruit Fly Trap

The beauty of this DIY fruit fly trap is that you only need a few basic supplies:

  • Container with lid — You can use a plastic soup container, a mason jar, etc. Anything that has a lid that you won’t need to reuse for something else afterwards.
  • Apple cider vinegar — I find this to be the most effective type of vinegar to use in your trap because it has a sweet smell.
  • Dish soap — Soap is a surfactant, a substance that reduces surface tension and helps the flies sink down into the liquid in your trap instead of landing on the surface.

How to Make Your Fruit Fly Trap

First, pour apple cider vinegar in your container. You don’t need to fill it all the way to the top.

Add a spoonfuls of dish soap. There’s no exact “right” amount, so don’t worry about measuring. Give your solution a gentle stir to combine the soap and vinegar, without making bubbles.

You can use the trap as-is, with an open lid, for optimal results. However, if you’re worried about spills, take a lid and poke holes in it. This will allow the fruit flies to smell the vinegar and get inside the container, but prevent any major spills.

poking holes in a the lid of a plastic container

Place the container in the area where fruit flies are gathering. That’s it!

placing a fruit fly trap on windowsill

The sweet-smelling vinegar will attract the fruit flies. They’ll fly into your container and try to land on the liquid, but will fall in and drown.

Bye-bye fruit flies!

When your trap is full or the liquid starts to look gunky, get rid of it and make a new trap if needed.

It’s easy and thrifty!

A Note About the Containers

You might have noticed that in the photos I used a plastic container for my trap. I’m not a huge fan of plastics and we’ve worked hard to cut back on using things made of plastic, such as water bottles. Our goal is sustainability!

However, we do occasionally get takeout from local restaurants and they will often use plastic food containers. Instead of throwing them away we keep these containers. Aside from this DIY trap, we use them for seed starting and sending leftovers home with family.

They’re actually really useful!

Another great container idea is a small mason jar. Since you can’t reuse lids for canning once you’ve broken the seal, these are perfect to poke holes in as well.

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