How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Four Steps

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For the back story behind this post, read yesterday’s nail-biting account of my adventures in the kitchen.

After making Balsamic Port Chicken last week, I was stuck with an infestation of fruit flies that was enough to make me wish there were such things as all-room vacuums.

Anyone who’s wanted to get rid of fruit flies quickly could benefit from knowing what I did, so I’ve included step-by-step instructions, as well as a video of how to make a fruit fly trap (at end of post). First, what doesn’t work:

*Swatting at them (they’re too danged fast)
*Vacuuming them (ditto)

Peter said I should just ignore them and they would die off in less than a week (true). I still wasn’t crazy about the swarm that descended whenever I dared to move through the kitchen. Also, I wasn’t sure if they were breeding anywhere I didn’t know of, like in the pantry. Best get rid of them all at once.

Step 1: Remove all fruit from the kitchen, especially old/rotting fruit.

I like to keep our fruit on the counter (or hanging). No longer. (At least for now.) We’re keeping our fruit in the fridge, which will wreak havoc on the color of the bananas, but there we are.

Step 2: Put all vinegar and wine bottles in the refrigerator.

Maddle checking out the fridge.

You’d think that would be the easiest step, but when your fridge is crammed full (see Step 1) and your husband has a penchant for buying every available type of vinegar from the nearby Asian grocery, you have a problem on your hands. For now, the vinegars will have to share space with my year’s supply of cheese and Peter’s twenty pounds of smoking pork.

Step 3: Wipe down all surfaces with cleaner of choice. Pay special attention to the area around the dishwasher and disposal.

Step 4: Make a fruit fly trap.

I tried a few types of fruit fly traps, but this one is the best (and most customizable! How about painting racing stripes on the side of the jar? The possibilities are endless.). I made of video last weekend of how to make a fruit fly trap, back when I was still stuffy from my cold.

For those of you who don’t want to watch a video, a description of how to make a fruit fly trap:

[1] Find a jar with a narrow neck.

[2] Make a cone out of a piece of paper, leaving a tiny hole in the tip. This will allow the fruit flies to enter the trap and be unable to leave it.

[3] Pour about 1/4-1/2 inch of wine or vinegar into the jar (you can use a piece of fruit instead if you want to catch-and-release). Darker vinegars (red, balsamic) work better than white.

[4] Add a drop of dish soap to the wine and swirl. The soap will break the surface tension of the liquid and cause the flies to drown.

[5] Place cone on jar and tape all around the edges to keep flies from escaping (see picture above).

[6] Put trap in well-trafficked fly area and wait.

You may have to repeat this procedure more than once. I had to do it twice to get rid of all the fruit flies.

Tiny hole.
The soapy wine.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes 🙂

Q: Have you ever had a problem with fruit flies? What did you do?


  1. These are some fabulous tips. Now if you want to also do a post on how to get rid of grain beetles…I would be much obliged.

    1. I definitely need help with those myself!

  2. Very helpful. I often use pesticides when I see fruit flies at home but I only do this when my kids are not around because I worry about their health. Thanks for sharing this useful information. I will definitely try this one.

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