How to get rid of flies in the house - keep pests at bay with these nifty hacks

Here's how to wave goodbye to flies in your home - and stop them entering in the first place

Small flies on leaf
(Image credit: Future PLC / Chris Snook)

We wait for the warmer weather all year, dreaming of days spent with the windows wide open and evenings al fresco, but with this comes the arrival of flies. Between fruit flies and other flying insects, having our windows open to deal with the heat offers the perfect portal for these pesky bugs to venture indoors. Similarly to getting rid of ants and waving goodbye to mosquitoes, figuring out how to get rid of flies can be a challenging task. 

We're not taking no for an answer this summer though, so whether it's trialling at-home remedies to deter flies or investing in a home appliance to banish them, these tricks should be effective at keeping your house pest-free. 

How to get rid of flies in the house 

Flies on white flower

(Image credit: Getty Images/Christophe Lehenaff)

If you’ve found yourself searching for ‘how to get rid of fruit flies’ during the warmer weather, you’re not alone. Each month an average of 30,000 Brits take to Google to look for some expert advice, with them being most prevalent in our homes from around May to September. ‘Thankfully, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to reduce the chance of infestation,’ in the first place, says Rachael Kiss from Alliance Online.

How to get rid of flies in a kitchen

You may have noticed that your kitchen can often become an epicentre for flies in the warmer months but there are some precautions that you can take to stop this. ‘The best way to prevent a fruit fly infestation is to cut off their food supply,’ says Robert Collins at

Keep surfaces and dirty dishes clean

If you’ve left your windows or back door open to let in the fresh air in, it’s no surprise that flies naturally gravitate towards where food is being prepared. Making sure to keep surfaces clean and tidy and taking the rubbish bin out more frequently than you usually would, especially when you’re binning food that will go off, is key. Rotten food is, ‘the perfect attraction and breeding ground for fruit flies,’ suggests Rachael.

This means you’ll also want to clean up your pots, pans and plates as soon as you’ve eaten during the summer. The same can be said for the remnants of your favourite cocktail, fizzy drink or glass of wine that may be lingering at the bottom of a glass or two.

Store fruit and vegetables away

If you normally leave your fruit out in a fruit bowl or on your kitchen counter, you may want to reconsider this in the warmer months. Fruit flies, in particular, ‘are attracted to the ripeness of fruit and vegetables and the smell of fermentation, so seal and refrigerate food and keep it in an airtight container,’ if you can, says Rachael.

Ensure your drains are clean

Cleaning a kitchen sink drain with denture tablets

(Image credit: Future / Heather Young)

You may or may not be aware that flies can breed and lay eggs in damp areas like drains, so it is important to keep your kitchen sink drain as clean as possible.

Rachael recommends, ‘a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to eliminate any buildup and deter fruit flies from breeding there. If you don’t have baking soda or vinegar, boiling water could work just as well.’

Use a fan

Using a fan to keep flies at bay is one of our favourite hacks because it also works to keep you cool. When the weather is muggy, a fan is the most convenient way to ventilate a room, and that airflow presents a difficult environment for fruit flies to thrive in. 

‘Fruit flies are weak fliers and dislike strong air currents. By placing a fan near where fruit flies congregate, you can create an environment with increased air circulation which makes it more difficult for the fruit flies to fly and land on surfaces,’ suggests Rachael.

It's also important to be strategic about where you position a fan, to ensure you're optimising the spots where flies will enter the room. 

Alvin Pullins, Home Maintenance Expert at Nerd in the House, also suggests to 'set up multiple fans strategically throughout your home, aiming them towards areas where fruit flies tend to gather'. This will maximise the airflow and result in an airy room that is free from flies.

How to keep flies out of other rooms

'The best way to get rid of flies is by making sure your home is clean and free of any sugary substances, rotting meat or other waste' advises Walter Murphy, pest control expert at 'This will involve wiping down surfaces and emptying the bin as often as possible to prevent flies from lingering in your home.'

One area that's often neglected is under the bed, so make sure this is included in your cleaning routine.

'Whilst many find cleaning under the bed to be a chore, it’s still an important one especially if you eat in bed,' says Martin Seeley, CEO, MattressNextDay. 'To prevent flies from appearing, use your hairdryer to blow dust out from under the bed, so you can then hoover it up. Do this at least, twice a month to ensure those mites don’t have time to gather and cause health issues.'

Close your curtains to stop flies from getting any further

It’s pretty unbelievable how quickly flies can slip through open windows before being unable to find their way back outside. However, there are a few blockades that you can put in place to stop them from getting in through the windows, even when you still have them open for fresh air and ventilation in the summer.

‘Simply keeping your curtains closed can make a big difference in preventing flies from accessing the whole of your house,’ reveals Sean Mac Anbhaird, Managing Director, Core Sash Windows.

‘Closed curtains work well to contain flies in one area which, when combined with other fly traps, can make getting rid of flies much quicker and more effective.’

Now, if you don’t want to be sitting in complete darkness, because the curtains are shut all day, a mesh curtain is a great alternative, while still allowing light to filter through. It is also worth noting that this hack does work best with floor-length curtains.

Install fly screening

If you still want to let a cool breeze in, without inviting flies inside too, opting for fly screening works remarkably well. These inexpensive mesh screens, available on Amazon, can be added to doors and windows and are easy to install and remove, if you only plan on having them up over the warmer weather.

They allow you to keep a door completely open all day or evening long on a sunny day, with a magnetic snap closure allowing easy access inside and out, while keeping flies, bees and even wasps from getting in. 

Opt for sticky fly traps

We admit sticky fly traps aren't the most stylish of options for keeping out in your house, but they are effective. They come in a few different forms, including tape that you can hang from a ceiling as well as tabs that you can place in houseplants, to keep them safe from any infesting bugs. 

By positioning the sticky tape on the ceiling, it forms a barrier in the space where flies frequent the most - the top of the room. This catches them quickly before they can make themselves at home in your living spaces, plus it's easy to replace the tape after use. 

How to get rid of flies using plants

Small flies on leaf

(Image credit: Getty Images/Tori Sampson)

'The herb basil is known to repel flies and mosquitoes, making it a great kitchen plant option,' says TapWarehouse's Polly. 'Not only will it stop flies, it's also great to use in plenty of recipes!'

If you're happy for the circle of life to take over there are more, ahem, carnivorous options, too.

'If your kitchen often suffers from flies and pests then a venus fly trap would be perfect for you,' says Keira Kay, Plant Expert, Bloom and Wild. 'As the name suggests, this plant lures in flies and other bugs, traps them in their spiny mouths and eats. While it won’t completely rid your kitchen of flies, it’ll definitely help and look impressive at the same time!'

How to get rid of flies using fruit

Bowl of fruit on striped tablecloth

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

'If you have overripe fruit that is beginning to go bad, place it in the bottom of a glass jar,' explains Scott from SkipsAndBins. 'You can also add a little bit of vinegar to the fruit in order to make it more effective.'

T'hen, make a cone out of some paper, and place it into the top of the jar. This means that the fruit will attract the pests, and the cone will trap them so that they can't get out, creating an ideal zero waste trap.'

'Afterwards, you can add the fruit to your compost heap, recycle the paper, and then wash and reuse the jar.'

How to get rid of flies using water and coins

There's been a lot of talk buzzing around the internet about this one – all you need is a clear sealable bag, such as a sandwich bag, water and a few shiny coins. The idea is not a new one, but it seems most of us are unaware of its potential power.

A selection of YouTube tutorials show how to make your own harmless fly deterrent with a bag of water – put those swats aside people.

fly deterrent in plastic bag on grey wall

(Image credit: Tamara Kelly)

It really couldn't be any simpler. Take your clear bags and fill them roughly half way with water. As the video explains flies have what is known as compound vision, meaning they see things very differently to us.

As a result the small bag of water will appear in multiples to a fly's eye and given how much they dislike water it's an instant deterrent. This simple trick works a treat.

plastic bag with half filled bag with water on white wall

(Image credit: Tamara Kelly)

Drop in five or six coins to the bag of half filled water. Squeeze the excess air out then seal it closed. Tie string securely around the top of the bag, then suspend by your window. Tie to the handle so the bag of water hangs freely within the frame of the open window.

How does it work? The water and the pennies create a prism that reflects an array of rainbow colours which are overwhelming to a fly's eyes. Flies have compound eyes so the bags look like a bigger  body of water to them and they don't like water, therefore they leave.

plastic bag with coins sealed with pink string on printed wall

(Image credit: Tamara Kelly)

Make sure you've tied all your knots tight enough, a bag full of water spilled all over the house might be more unwelcome than even the flies!

fly deterrent in plastic bag tied with red string

(Image credit: Tamara Kelly)

It actually does work, this was my home last year testing it out after the buzz created on social media. It was notable the lack of flies who were tempted through the open windows during hot spells. 

How to get rid of flies inside the house with vinegar

'If your kitchen has fruit flies, you should half fill a glass with apple cider vinegar and cover it with cling film and poke small holes into the cling film,' advises Polly from Tap Warehouse.

'This should attract the fruit flies to enter the glass and you can then let them free outside of your home. It’s also important to store your fruit in the fridge to prevent flies from returning.'

How to get rid of flies in the house with wine

On the rare occasion that you might have leftover wine, you can actually make use of it as a makeshift fly trap. 

Tara Dutton, sustainable living expert at Buy Me Once, experimented with filling 3 small glasses with white wine, red wine, and apple cider vinegar, mixed with some washing-up liquid. 

She said this resulted in 'drowned fruit flies in all three glasses with the red wine as the clear winner. If you can bear to use some wine in this way it's much more pleasant than spraying toxic chemicals over your kitchen counters'. 

If you keep the glasses close to a window, for example in a kitchen, then you'll be able to catch the flies just as they enter the room, so you don't have to deal with them getting lost around your home. 

What smells will keep flies away?

fly repellent in glass bottle and white cloth

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dan Duchars)

There are various smells that can deter flies, to act as a natural cleaning hack to repel them from entering your home.

Mint, lemongrass and lavender essential oils

'The smell of essential oils like mint, lemongrass and lavender are hated by flies,' says Polly from TapWarehouse. 'You can create your own natural fly deterrent spray by adding a few drops of any of these oils to water in a spray bottle. We recommend lavender so the spray will also leave your kitchen smelling fresh. '

'Simply spray the natural remedy around your kitchen throughout the day and it should deter flies from entering.'


'Flies hate the smell of cinnamon. You may consider purchasing a cinnamon- infused air freshener to reduce the number of flies in your home' advises Walter from PriceYourJob. 

It may mean your home smells like a Christmas grotto during the summer months, but it will be fly-free at least. 'Burning cinnamon candles is also another great way to get rid of flies, as the smell will spread easily around the property.'


'Flies cannot bear the smell of vodka, so you may want to use a spray that contains vodka to ensure that no flies enter your home' advises Walter. 'You can also place vodka bags around your home, especially in areas like the kitchen, in order to prevent any food contamination.'


What are flies attracted to?

'If it's possible for you to do so, it's easier to prevent the insects from becoming tempted by your kitchen than it is to remove them once they've arrived,' explains Scott Hawthorne, Director, 'In order to do this, you should make sure that any ripe fruit is eaten or disposed of before it starts to break down. In order to dispose of the fruit and veg properly, you should place it in a food bin with a closed top to ensure that no flies can crawl in, and make sure that produce is not left out on the kitchen sideboard for too long.'

'Fruit flies are attracted to the carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks,' adds Polly Shearer, Kitchen Expert, Tap Warehouse. 'So be sure to wipe any spillages and clean the bottles to prevent fruit flies from being attracted to them.'

'Leaving dishes by the sink to be washed will also attract flies,' continues Polly. 'We recommend washing your dishes in the summer as soon as possible in order to prevent flies from contaminating your dishes with bacteria and even laying eggs on them.'

Why do I have so many flies in my house?

'If you have a lot of flies in your home, there may be an infestation somewhere in the property where the flies have hatched eggs,' explains Walter from PriceYourJob. 'The most common fly infestation areas include garages, attics or gardens, however, flies will also nest inside your home.'

'Another reason why flies linger in your home is that they are trying to keep warm during the winter. This is common amongst cluster flies, which are drawn to the sunny side of homes. These flies are not a health hazard, as, unlike blow flies, they do not lay eggs in food.'

'To avoid fly infestations, you should make sure all the entrances and exits around your home are fly-proofed,' advises Walter. 'This involves checking your windows and doors, ensuring they are in good condition. With no cracks or spaces that will allow flies to enter your home.'


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street. 

With contributions from