Have gnats in the house? Uh oh. While it’s not a huge problem, it can be extremely frustrating. We get it, which is why we made the guide below. Read on to learn how to get rid of gnats in your house for good.
Having gnats in a house isn’t a pleasant experience, but you can usually remove them quickly using a variety of DIY methods. Plus, once they’re gone, you can use several simple strategies to prevent their return. Read on to learn everything you need to know to keep your home gnat-free.
How to Get Rid of Gnats in a House
Gnats are drawn to houseplants, produce, water, and organic waste. To remove these pint-sized pests, you can use any or all of the following methods:
- Vinegar Trap
- Candle Trap
- Drain Treatment
- Plant-Friendly Spray
Whichever method you choose, you’ll need to act fast. Gnats can lay up to 300 eggs in as little as ten days, so you want to take action at the first sign of infestation.
Knocking gnats out of your home, and keeping them away for good, is often a simple and straightforward process. Several home remedies are available, and you likely already own everything you need.
1. Vinegar Bottle Trap
Vinegar traps are the most common DIY removal method. They’re easy, fast-acting, and effective. Here’s how to make one:
- You’ll need a mason jar with a lid. Using an awl or similar tool, poke holes in the lid.
- Fill the jar about halfway full of apple cider vinegar. Then, add about five drops of dish soap.
- Place the lid on the jar.
- Place the jar near the area in your home with the most visible gnat presence. For large infestations, use multiple jars.
The gnats are attracted to the smell of the vinegar. They’ll fly through the holes in the lid, land in the vinegar, become stuck, and die (the vinegar’s viscosity is increased due to the dish soap).
Depending on the size of the infestation, the trap might fill up fast. You’ll likely need to empty it at least every few days, if not more. After you empty the trap, wash it thoroughly with soap and water before refilling it.
2. Candle Trap
Help gnats “step into the light” with a simple and effective candle trap. You’ll need a shallow dish or tray plus any type of standard, unscented candle, such as the ones commonly used on dining room tables.
To create the trap, fill the dish with water. You don’t need much – even a half-inch of water should do the trick. Then, as with the vinegar trap, you want to add a few drops of dish soap, which increases the thickness of the water.
A candle trap is most effective at night. Turn off all other lights, close the blinds, and otherwise make the room as dark as possible, so the candle is the only source of illumination. Place the lit candle in the center of the dish. Put the dish near the main source of the gnats. Leave it for a few hours.
The trap kills gnats in two ways:
- Attracted to the light, they fly into the flame and burn up.
- Attracted to the flame’s reflection, they fly into the water, become stuck, and drown.
Note that the candle trap does pose some minimal safety hazards. While you want to let the candle burn for a few hours, you need to keep an eye on it. For instance, don’t leave a candle burning overnight or if you’re away from the house.
3. Drain Trap
To remove a gnat infestation from a drain, you’ll want to use two methods. First, place either a candle or vinegar trap on the counter to kill gnats in the general vicinity. Then, you’ll create a drain trap to target the rest. You’ll need the following:
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup white vinegar
Pour the salt and baking soda down the drain, one right after the other. Wait about 15 seconds. Then, pour the vinegar down the drain. As you add the vinegar, the mixture will foam. Leave it in the drain for two to three hours.
Rinse the sink and drain thoroughly with hot tap water. A drain trap kills adult gnats in the drain and, perhaps more importantly, it also destroys eggs and larvae.
4. Gnat-Proof Your House
Gnats are attracted to sweet, organic smells. They like everything from a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter to rinds in the garbage can. Store all fruits and vegetables in tightly sealed containers or in the fridge. Also, take the trash out nightly (or more often, if necessary).
Gnats also love potted plants, especially if they have wet soil. Avoid overwatering your indoor plants. If you notice loads of gnats around your potted plants, place the pots outside in the sun for a few hours to help dry the soil quickly.
5. Plant-Friendly Pest Spray
If gnats have made themselves at home in your houseplants, use this spray. It kills gnats quickly but leaves your plants unharmed. You’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon of lemon-scented dish soap
- 2 liters of water
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Make sure the bottle has never been used to hold bleach or cleaning products. Spray liberally on the plant. Target every part, including the stems and both sides of the leaves.
Also spray the soil. Leave the soapy spray on the plant for about two hours. Then, using a different water bottle, lightly mist the plant with plain water to rinse away the soap.
6. Commercial Products
You can find a variety of sprays and traps at your local hardware or home goods store. Many commercial sprays use pesticides. While they kill gnats quickly, they’re not always safe for use around people and pets. If your gnat infestation is serious enough to require pesticides, you’re usually better off hiring a professional.
Bug zappers are another effective commercial product, as gnats are drawn to light. However, they’re only for use outside. They can help prevent gnats from entering your home, but you’ll need other treatments to remove gnats already inside.
Things to Consider
Here are a few quick considerations when removing gnats from a house:
Finding the Source is Important
As described above, different treatment methods are used depending on where in your house the gnats are located. In many cases, you can simply target the areas where you see the most gnats, such as near a drain or certain houseplants.
However, sometimes their main location isn’t obvious. Placing pest strips in different areas around your house can help you identify areas with high concentrations of gnats. A professional exterminator can also locate the source of an infestation.
Until you see it in action, it’s hard to grasp just how quickly gnats can breed. An adult female can lay up to 300 eggs in her 10-day lifespan.
Place traps out at the first sign of gnats. If you don’t see significant results within a few days, call a pest control professional. You might have a large infestation somewhere you can’t see.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are quick answers to common questions about these annoying pests.
Why Do I Have Gnats in My House?
Gnats want two things from life: food and a place to lay eggs. They’ll seek out dark, wet locations with easy access to organic matter. Dirty kitchen sinks, overwatered houseplants, and overflowing garbage cans are just some of the places inside a house that seem welcoming and wonderful to gnats.
Where Do Gnats Come From?
Gnats take up residence in a house in two ways. First, they can enter from outside. They’ll squeeze through tiny cracks, enter drains, and otherwise take advantage of any small access point.
Also, they reproduce quickly. They develop from egg to adult in less than a month. If even a few gnats find a comfortable breeding spot in your house, a large infestation is likely.
Are Gants in a House Harmful?
Fortunately, gnats don’t bite people. While annoying, they’re unlikely to cause any type of physical issue to people or pets. However, they can harm plants. Adult gnats actually don’t damage house plants, but their larvae can wreck roots and even cause wilting.
When to Call a Pro
The above DIY strategies are easy and effective – so if they don’t seem to solve your gnat problem, you need to call a pest control specialist right away. Finding the source of a gnat infestation isn’t always easy.
For example, a leak in the roof can result in wet insulation, where gnats can thrive out of your sight. A professional exterminator will know how to find all the gnats in your home and eliminate them for good.
Still Have Gnats in your House?
For such a small insect, gnats in a house can sure be a big annoyance. Fortunately, DIY solutions such as traps and sprays are easy to make, affordable, and effective. If your home has a large infestation, hiring a professional exterminator is another excellent way to keep your home gnat-free!