Can you get rid of fruit flies with white vinegar? Experts reveal the trick to get rid of them

Wave goodbye to flies with this natural kitchen remedy

White vinegar bottle with a measuring jug
(Image credit: Future PLC/Phil Barker)

Summer is always the unfortunate time of year when all the annoying bugs and pests come out to play. That includes fruit flies, feasting on your fruit bowls and food scraps. 

We all prefer an easy home remedy over getting professionals in. Recently, we've seen many people searching for can you get rid of fruit flies with white vinegar. As much as we'd love this hack for how to get rid of fruit flies to work, it turns out it might be more of an old wives tale than truly effective. 

Can you get rid of fruit flies with white vinegar?

Corner of a kitchen with a bin

(Image credit: Jonathan Jones)

Generally, cleaning with white vinegar doesn't disappoint. This multi-functional substance is great for washing your appliances, the carpet and even grout. 

But when it comes to deterring fruit flies, it's not as effective as TikTok or other social media accounts would have you believe. Healthy lifestyle blog Skinny Taste  went viral with a post claiming that mixing a little bowl of water, dish soap and white vinegar and leaving it in a fruit bowl overnight would help rid your home of fruit flies. 

The theory is that the scent of the vinegar will attract the flies, but the soap will cause them to sink and drown.  However, according to the pros if you want this hack to actually work you'd be best off investing in apple cider vinegar.

How to get rid of flies with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is the hero product if you’re looking for the fastest way to get rid of fruit flies. According to the pros, it is far more effective in attracting and trapping fruit flies than white vinegar due to cider vinegar’s sweetness. 

‘Fruit flies are drawn in by the smell of fermentation, with apple cider vinegar being a very attractive smell to them,’ confirms Sophie Thorogood from pest prevention specialist Pelsis Group. ‘An effective and natural method of trapping them is to place the substance in the bottom of a glass, cover it with clingfilm, seal the edges with a rubber band and poke tiny holes in the top. 

'The smell will draw the flies in and trap them in the glass, preventing them from flying around your home.’ Some of our experts also recommend mimicking the hack going viral on TikTok and mixing in dishwashing liquid with the cider vinegar. 

Dining table with a fruit bowl and pendant lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Caroline Foster)

Apart from being irritating, fruit flies pose the risk of cross-contaminating food with bacteria and disease-causing organisms from all the dirty surfaces they’ve previously landed on. To make matters worse, they multiply at the speed of light (fine, that’s a bit of an exaggeration) but seriously - two fruit flies can produce as many as 500 eggs in one go.

‘Fruit flies have the potential to be a problem year-round. But being attracted to ripening or fermenting fruits and vegetables, summer is their prime time of the year. And they can be deeply annoying to live with,’ explains Adam Juson, co-founder of commercial pest control company Merlin Environmental.

Apples washed in a kitchen sink

(Image credit: David Giles Photography Ltd)

While apple cider vinegar might help you get rid of fruit likes, like with how to get rid of ants it’s better and easier to practice regular prevention rather than solving an issue once it’s already arisen. 

‘Good housekeeping is essential in controlling fruit flies,’ says Sarah Beck, Operations Manager at The Pest Master. ‘Making sure all worktops, surfaces and food storage areas are cleaned on a regular basis, any spillages cleaned up straight away. Dispose of all rotting fruit and vegetables. Keep pre-prepared food on the worktop in suitable containers. Dispose of empty bottles/containers and make sure all drains are cleaned and not built up with organic matter.’

Emptying bins daily in this critical period is another way that will prevent fruit flies from sticking around, as is keeping a secure lid on top of bins and cutting your waste, adds Juson.

How to get rid of fruit flies fast without apple cider vinegar?

Another DIY hack that Juson suggests is as simple as a fan. ‘Set up a fan near the infested area and position it to create a consistent airflow towards the infested spot. The goal is to make it harder for the flies to fly and keep them away from the area.’

Good fruit fly riddance!

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.