How to get rid of flies in your home using homemade traps, apple cider vinegar and more

Find out how to get rid of flies in your home – our 10 quick and easy ways to zap houseflies including a Mrs Hinch fan favorite

how to get rid of flies
(Image credit: Getty)

Want to know how to get rid of flies in your home? 

Dealing with one fly is an annoyance in itself, but when there's a dozen houseflies swarming your space, it can become more than just a bit of a nuisance. While most flies don't carry disease, some do, and can spread, among other things, E.coli bacteria, cholera, and typhoid (nice). 

That's some pretty nasty bacteria so to be on the safe side, say goodbye to any foods they've landed on, and then tackle the flies themselves.

Unsure you have flies? Check our guide to how to get rid of flying insects and how to identify them.

Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control says: "Flies are one of the UK’s most common causes of food poisoning so it is particularly important to protect food preparation and dining areas in your home."

So read on for all the nifty ways to rid yourself of the buzzers before calling in the pros.

  • Double check our guide to how to identify bugs and make sure this is the critter you're dealing with.

how to get rid of flies - woman pouring water fruit salt - gettyimages

(Image credit: TARIK KIZILKAYA, Getty)

How to get rid of flies naturally

You might think flies are reasonably harmless - and of course, you'd be right - but they are also incredibly annoying, frustrating and unhygienic when they come in their hoards.

So, how do you get rid of them at home if there's no time to call in the pest control experts? These handy natural remedies should make life that bit easier.

1. How to get rid of flies using apple cider vinegar

Although you can use pesticides, they won't be effective over the longer term, and many house flies are now resistant to them anyway.

Try out this natural remedy using apple cider vinegar instead:

The product you need to get rid of house flies effectively is actually apple cider vinegar (read more about it in our guide). 

ACV is known for its beneficial health properties and antibacterial action, but did you know that it's irresistible to house flies? The idea is to trap them in a ACV bath and drown them (this is not very humane, unfortunately).

To make the traps, you'll need:

Method

1. Mix apple cider vinegar with equal parts washing up liquid to form a sticky mixture. 

2. Cover with cling film tightly and make holes big enough for flies to pass through.

3. Place in a spot the flies frequent. They'll be attracted into the bowl by the smell of the vinegar, but won't be able to get out because of the washing-up liquid. 

Top tip: as with all other household pests, prevention is better than cure. If you have lots of house flies, it will most likely be because food is being left out on a regular basis. Make sure your kitchen counters are clean and any leftovers are securely put away in a food waste bin.

2. Make your own fly paper

OK, we know DIY flypaper isn't going to win a design award any time soon but we've got to mention it as it's actually pretty effective.

Hang it in the places you spot houseflies buzzing around and if you're that way inclined, watch them flock.

Here's what you'll need to make homemade flypaper:

  • Brown paper
  • Scissors
  • A saucepan
  • Cookie sheet
  • Tongs
  • Drying rack
  • Parchment paper
  • 1/4 cup honey, sugar and water

Method

1. Cut your brown paper into strips

2. Heat up a saucepan with the honey, sugar and water and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved

3. Remove pan from the heat and dip the brown paper strips in the mixture until saturated

4. Use your tongs to very carefully (it'll be hot!!) remove the strips on to a drying rack with a parchment-lined cookie sheet beneath.

5. Allow the sticky strips to air on the rack until completely dry. 

6. Et voila, homemade sticky paper to place around the problem areas. 

Warning: Keep away from pets and kids because these bad boys are extremely sticky.

3. Make a fly trap with an empty soda bottle

Another idea consists of making a funnel with an empty soda bottle to trap the houseflies so they can enter but not escape.

Intrigued? Read on for this fool-proof how-to using these common household bits and bobs.

  • An empty soda bottle
  • Overripe fruit, sugar, honey or sweet scented dish soap

Method

1. Using an empty plastic soda bottle, cut the plastic bottle just below the tapered neck, turn the tapered neck upside down and insert into the bottle base. 

2. You can keep the lid on but you'll need to punch a hole through it so the flies can enter (the lid will help make sure they can't escape)

3. Fill with your bait of choice: overripe fruit, 50/50 water sugar mix, sweet scented dish soap or honey mixed with water to make a sticky solution.

4. Try Mrs Hinch fans' trick

According to an avid cleaner on Mrs Hinch's Cleaning Tips Facebook group, all you need for this trick is a ziplock sandwich bag and some loose change.

Racking up more that 2000 likes, the cleaning whizz's tip came with quite a lot of credibility from the other disbelieving fans, and it's as simple as this: 

 “I've seen a few people mention on here about a bag of water with coins in to stop flies from going in the house. Today I decided to give it a go. I had nowhere to hang the bag so just put it on the ground. The doors have been open since 7.30am and I haven't had one fly in the house – even when making food. It’s a big thumbs up from me.”

How to get rid of flies - water fly deflector by Delao

(Image credit: Delao)

5. Or try Martha Stewart's version

According to Martha Stewart's blog, this is similar to a tried-and-tested Mexican street vendor tactic which consists of a glass bulb filled with water. 

She explains why it's so effective:

"...Sunlight reflecting off the water-filled glass bulb confuses flies and repels them."

Worth a go.

If this all sounds a little too shabby chic for your liking, you can buy a stylish version, like Martha's recommendation: the minimalist Anti-Fly Sphere 3.0 by Delao, above.

how to get rid of flying insects in your home - white kitchen with casserole dishes and sink by window - unsplash

(Image credit: Roam In Color on Unsplash)

6. Keep your house clean and tidy

Keeping up with your chores never seemed so important... so check out our guide to how to clean a kitchen

First things first, keep your sink area clear of dirty dishes, standing water and soggy dish cloths which will draw your unwanted guests in.

Vacuuming regularly will also help to deter the buzzers as you'll pick up debris that may be hard to see with the naked eye but are tempting treats for them.

Lynsey Crombie, a.k.a., Queen of Clean recommends: "If you do get an infestation of flies, vacuum first, cleaning behind furniture and shelving because that’s where flies like to hide; then wash down surfaces with a disinfectant spray or wet wipes to pick up any fly eggs."

how to get rid of flying insects - cat paws by silver pet bowl - unsplash

(Image credit: Marco Giuseppe on Unsplash)

7. Clean pet's equipment regularly

After finding out that flies tend to lay their eggs on poo and it only takes 24 hours for those eggs to hatch, we don't need any more motivation to keep on top of scooping up after our pets.

It's also important to keep pet's food covered when not in use and if your pet has polished off their dinner, clean out the remnants as crumbies are just as attractive as a generous bowl of chow.

how to get rid of flies - a country kitchen with open shelving, food containers and wood worktop - gettyimages

(Image credit: Getty)

8. Store food away and keep on top of trash 

Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control explains, "Flies are typically attracted to unhygienic areas and places, and in the house they most commonly frequent kitchen areas where leftover food and rubbish is collected. 

Food waste should be disposed of frequently, and before bins start overflowing. If you collect food for composting then ensure it is stored in a container with a lid, and that it is also taken outside in a timely manner. 

In the spring, it’s important kitchen doors are closed and that there are enough fly eradication measures in place to cope with the arrival of these pests."

It's also a good idea to store food in cupboards and sealed containers, and ensure that any spillages are cleaned promptly, since any sugar will attract flies into your home.

Taking out the trash more often and clean your bin regularly in the warmer months will make for an even more unwelcoming environment for them.

how to get rid of flies - a houseplant on a windowsill - gettyimages

(Image credit: Getty)

9. Find out where the flies are coming from

It's normal for a few flies to enter via open windows and doors but if you're seeing a lot more than that, consider fly screens if you haven't got them already or if you do, examine them for any holes or damage and get repairing.

They can fly through even the smallest cracks and crevices so it's also important to seek those out and fill them for an all-out ban. You can use wire wool to fill big areas but for smaller cracks, we recommend using caulk to fill them, which is easy to paint over after.

Everbuild Caulk Once Premium Quality Acrylic Caulk, White, 295 ml, £2.99, Amazon

Everbuild Caulk Once Premium Quality Acrylic Caulk, White, 295 ml, £2.99, Amazon

If you're looking to stop flies or bigger pests from entering your home, you can use caulk once to fill up cracks and gaps you suspect the flies are using as entry points.

how to get rid of flies - umbra hanging planters - umbra

(Image credit: Umbra)

10. Create a herb garden indoors

Create a herb garden armed with all the herbs that flying beasties don't particularly like. Herbs that have strong oil content are usually the most disliked and it just so happens most of us love the heady smell of fresh herbs so what's not to like?

Plant basil, lavender, lemongrass and mint in areas in your home that are most blighted by flies. Your house will smell divine if nothing else.

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.

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