Get Rid of Gnats – Quick and Easy DIY Solutions

Gnats are one of the most annoying pests that can hitchhike their way into your house via the soil in your indoor plants. Fortunately, you can get rid of gnats:

  • using everyday household items,
  • by making effective gnat traps with natural materials and kitchen items, and
  • with the use of a variety of commercial products.
Get Rid of Gnats

Today at the Garden Bench Top we are tackling fungus gnats. We will be talking about our favorite homemade gnat traps using items that can be typically found around the house.

We’ll also touch on the commercial options to treat your indoor plants soil, such as Neem oil and hydrogen peroxide.

So, if you are ready, grab your trapping gloves on and let’s dig in.

Eliminate Fungus Gnats Forever!

Before we jump into our favorite gnat traps, we want to be up front with you.

If you are sick and tired of little black flies hovering around your house, these traps may not be your solution.

credit: Tenor

Don’t get us wrong – they work. Some work exceptionally well.

However, they won’t completely rid you of your gnat problem. And here’s the reason why – they mostly target the adult fungus gnat flies. They do not address the gnat eggs or larvae.

If you are looking for complete eradication of your gnat plague problem, you need a complete strategy that addresses all stages of the gnats’ lifecycle. We call it the Garden Bench Top’s Three-Pronged Strategy and you can read more about it to help you get rid of your gnat problem permanently.

If you do decide to jump over to our strategy, make sure you come back to read up on how you can use some of these DIY trap ideas with the three-prong strategy.

When combined, you will have the making of a winning strategy.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Gnats with Household Items

Gnat Trap Sticky

Okay, so let’s get into the fun part of the article – making your own gnat traps!

Here is a list of our favorite gnat traps in no particular order. We suggest reading through the list and choosing the ones that resonate with you.

We want you to know, it is going to be a process of trial and error. Some traps will work better for your situation than others. Such is the life of a gardener – but that’s what makes it fun and exciting don’t you think?

How to Get Rid of Gnats with Dawn Dish Soap and Apple Cider Vinegar

Dish soap and Apple cider vinegar gnat trap
credit: Everyday cheapskate

Dawn dish soap is one of the main go-to products for gnat trapping.

Apparently, they have a secret formula (or secret recipe if you will) that helps to reduce the surface tension of a liquid. This means it has a unique ability to cut through grease – and it is this unique ability that will help us trap those pesky gnats.

Top Tip – if you don’t have Dawn Dish Soap, don’t panic. Other generic dish soap will work just as well.

To create your DIY gnat trap, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a small bowl with warm water.
  2. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, one quarter of a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing detergent, and a tablespoon of white sugar.
  3. Stir until you cannot see the sugary grains on the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry if you notice the dish soap floating on the surface of the mixture – this is exactly what we want.
  4. Place the mixture and bowl next to the plant that has the most gnats flying around.

Fungus gnats find the combination of sugar and vinegar irresistible. So much, in fact, that they will flock to the bowl seeking out a taste of that delectable smell.

Once the gnats touch the water, the Dawn Dish Soap jumps into action, trapping the gnats at the surface of the bowl, eventually drowning.

Once you have a sizeable collection of gnats, repeat the process and refresh the bowl with a new mixture until the gnats have vanished.

Trapping Gnats with Coffee Filter Paper, Apple Cider Vinegar and Red Wine

Coffee Filter Jar Gnat Trap

This trap has a similar concept as the first gnat trap, but instead of dish soap as the trap, we will be using a coffee filter paper.

Here is how to construct this clever little gnat trap:

  1. Find an empty glass jar and unused cone-shaped coffee filter.
  2. Cut off the pointy end of the coffee filter paper about half an inch (1.25 cm) from the tip.
  3. Add equal parts of apple cider vinegar and red wine. The amount will depend on the size of your jar. We aim to have at least a layer of liquid that is half an inch (1.25 cm) deep sitting at the bottom of the jar.
  4. Place the coffee filter on the opening of the jar, so the cone sits inside the jar. Make sure the filter doesn’t touch the liquid.
  5. Again, position the trap next to your plants.

The idea of this trap is the fungus gnats smell the alluring aromas of vinegar and wine. They enter the trap via the hole in the coffee filter, and become trapped inside the jar.

How to Get Rid of Gnats with Essential Oils

Source: Unsplash

Okay, we admit it. This one isn’t a trap per se, but more of a repellant for fungus gnats. However, it is effective, so we thought it may come in handy for some indoor plant enthusiasts.

There are particular scents that deter gnats. And you know what that means – with the right smells we can essentially (pun intended) keep a room or area gnat free! The types of plants that naturally deter gnats are:

  • lavender,
  • tea tree,
  • cinnamon,
  • cedar,
  • lemongrass,
  • citronella,
  • rosemary, and
  • mint.

Essential oils are distilled liquids of plants and flowers – but magnified by 50 – 100 times the concentration of the original plants.

Can you see where we are going with this one?

By using one (or a combination) of the essential oils listed above in your favorite room, you can drive away any annoying gnats and enjoy a coffee while reading your favorite book…all gnat free.

Not only that, your room will smell amazing!

Homemade Insect Spray

Homemade Insect Spray

If you prefer a more proactive approach to gnat extermination (rather than passive traps), try using a homemade gnat spray.

To make this insect spray:

  1. In a mixing bowl, measure out a tablespoon of vinegar, a tablespoon of baking soda, one cup of water and a few drops of dish soap.
  2. Mix the solution well and carefully pour into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the surfaces around gnat infested areas. This solution can be used around your plants, but try not to spray directly onto your plants.

The gnats will be attracted to the sprayed areas and become stuck, eventually dying.

Commercial Ways to Get Rid of Gnats

If you want results fast, sometimes the best option is to go down a path that uses a more commercial approach.

Usually, this involves the use of chemicals, so please make sure you read the instructions on any packaging.

How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats with Hydrogen Peroxide

Applying a hydrogen peroxide mixture to the soil helps to target fungus gnat larvae. It is a quick and effective method as it kills instantly on contact with the larvae.

The ratio for creating your solution mix is one part 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to four parts water.

Simply apply the mixture to your plants soil as you would when watering your plants.

Don’t worry if you notice some bubbling and frothing of the solution in your soil – this is normal for hydrogen peroxide.

The great thing about using this method is once the hydrogen peroxide has done its job (killing the gnats), it breaks down into oxygen and water molecules that are harmless to the plants. Bet you didn’t think you’d be receiving a science lesson today, did you?

Neem Oil Soil Soak

Neem Oil Drench

Neem oil seems to be going through a revival at the moment of flavor of the month to kill off gnats from indoor plants.

Neem oil has been used for centuries, but has been used for gardening applications more recently as a natural insecticide. The reason being, it is non-toxic and biodegradable, making it perfect for attacking pests like fungus gnats.

There are many commercial products available that contain Neem oil as an ingredient. Some are ready -made solutions ready for use straight out of the bottle (or spray). In these instances, we recommend following the manufacturers instructions for application to your plants.

You can also buy raw Neem Oil, which is a concentrated form. Here is a recipe for making up a Neem oil solution for soaking into your oil.

To make up your Neem oil solution:

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of raw Neem oil and one teaspoon of dish soap into 4 litres of water. The soap is necessary to allow the oil to form an emulsion with the water.
  2. Pour the emulsion into your plants soil when it is time for their next watering.
  3. Continue the application at each watering of your plants (ensuring the soil completely drys out between each watering).

You should progressively see fewer fungus gnats as time progresses. The goal is to break the life cycle of the gnats and interrupt them at each developmental stage.

What’s Next?

You now have an entire arsenal of tools to use against the plague of fungus gnats in your house. And you don’t need to throw away your plants just to rid yourself of those pesky black insects!

From DIY homemade gnat traps, to ways for deterring gnats away from particular areas of your house, it will only be a matter of time before you can enjoy your tea without a sprinkling of gnats on top!

Remember, this is only ONE part of the strategy for permanently eliminating gnats from your house – we highly encourage you to find out more about our three-pronged strategy for completely extermination of fungus gnats.