6 Simple Tips to Keep Flies Away From Your Garbage

You have just had a nice meal with your family and it’s your summer holiday. You take all of the garbage from the meal and go outside to throw it away. You get to your garbage disposal and you hear buzzing. A lot of buzzing. You then open the lid and what do you see? A horrible, repulsive infestation of flies! Oh, no! What can you do to keep these flies away?

You can keep flies away from your garbage by consistent deep cleaning, being mindful of how you dispose of trash, using some natural and homemade remedies, and purchasing fly traps that remove flies.

Listen, we have all been there. No matter how clean we keep our home and our belongings, flies are inevitable. So buckle up and read on to learn about some simple and effective ways to keep the flies and all of their incessant buzzing away for good!

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Where Do Flies Even Come From? 

You might be wondering, “where in the world do these flies even come from”? How did they get into your trash? When did it even happen?

Well, these flies sure are sneaky pests. There are a few facts about them that may be beneficial for you in understanding how they found their way into your home and garbage. Trust me, these flies have been around for a long time so do not take it personally when they find their way into your house and yard.

Flies are very common during the warmer summer months. This is usually when most people see them hovering around garbage bins. They like rotten garbage and decaying matter.

When the flies begin feasting on trash and garbage, they lay eggs which then turn into maggots. 

This is all kind of gross, right? We totally agree but we do acknowledge that it is helpful to know a few things about how flies even got into your home in the first place.

The maggots and flies then feast off of garbage and decaying matter which is why you usually see an infestation around those items. 

Believe it or not, after a fly passes (they have a very short lifespan), their bodies attract other flies. So you will want to keep an eye on cleaning up after the flies are gone as well.

Now that you have a basic understanding of why flies are attracted to your garbage, let’s dig into a few simple tips that will help you get rid of them forever.

Let’s do it!

If you’re interested, you can read more about the foods, fruits, and scents that flies are attracted to here.

Citronella Repels Flies From Your Garbage

Ah, do you smell that? It smells like tea tree oil and citronella candles and fresh herbs like peppermint and lavender. Wonderful, right?

Although these scents may appeal to you, for flies? Not so much.

So let’s find some ways to take these awesome, natural oils and smells and put them to use to banish those flies once and for all!

To begin, you can get some citronella candle repellent like the Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle online. This product is fantastic because it comes prepared and ready for you to use so you can ward off insects and pests like flies.

Once you light this candle, it lasts for up to forty hours. That is plenty of time to ward away flies from your garbage receptacles!

Simply place the Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle close to the areas where you see the flies hovering around your trash and let it work its magic.

Tea Tree Oil, Lavender, Peppermint and Basil Repel Flies

Fly on window screen, closeup

Luckily other natural oils like tea-tree are also known to be effective in keeping away flies.

You can find tea tree essential oil, soak rags with the oil then lay those rags around your trash. Spraying or spreading the oil on top of the garbage lid has also been known to work!

Scents like lavender, peppermint, and basil have been effective for keeping flies away from garbage as well. One of the best and easiest ways to use these natural oils is to take the liquid oils and pour them into an empty spray bottle (dilluted, of course.)

Properly dilute the mixture according to your essential oils specifications by adding water to the spray bottle and then shake up the liquid. Now get to work spraying it on and around your garbage can! The scent should ward away any pesky flies headed your way while it lasts.

If you’d like to learn more about using scents to deter flies, you can read our guide on the scents flies hate here.

Consistent Deep Cleaning Keeps Flies Away

Cleaning your house is something that should be done consistently and as a routine. Be sure that this cleaning also extends to cleaning out any trash receptacles and garbage bins. After all, who wants a dirty trash can lying around?

There are plenty of ways you can keep your garbage areas clean without spending any extra money.

After your garbage gets picked up by the city’s trash disposal, you should take your hose and clean out the inside of the garbage bin. You can even add some dishwashing soap or disinfectant spray into the mix to really get a good, deep clean. 

Once you completely clean and disinfect the inside of the garbage bin, be sure to rinse off the outside as well to get rid of any extra dirt or residue.

Flip the garbage bin upside down with the lid open and let it completely dry before storing it away.

Regular cleaning inside any of your garbage cans is a must to keep away any flies.

This cleaning also extends to even the smallest garbage pail or bin in your house. You can use disinfectant wipes to clean the inside of these bins before placing a new garbage bag inside.

Another important thing to note is that, although this is not directly related to cleaning, you should make sure that all of the screens and doors in your house are properly closed and sealed.

While it may seem like common sense to close doors and windows and screens, you would be surprised at how small of a crack or hole flies need to squirm their way in.

Flies can find their way into your house through an open door or slightly cracked screen. So be sure to take note of this as you walk through your house getting it fully fly-proof.

Throw Away Your Garbage To Remove Flies Inside

When you discard food waste, be mindful of how you do so. Do not just simply throw it in a garbage bin unwrapped and unprotected. That will lead to trouble!

Food waste is one of the biggest attractions for flies and it is where they will lay their eggs which then leads to the creation of more maggots and flies.

Be sure to double-bag all food waste. If you have leftover meat that needs to be discarded, do not simply put it in your garbage bin in your kitchen. 

Take the old meat and pour it into a bag which then should be placed in another bag before being disposed of into the garbage bin. Basically, you should always double bag food waste. This double protection will lead you to less of a headache in the future.

You can also use newspapers to wrap up food. This adds another layer of protection that makes it difficult for flies to penetrate.

When you collect the various garbage bags from inside your house and you are ready to throw them into the outdoor garbage bin, make sure you properly close the lid of the garbage bin when you are done.

This step sounds foolproof and too simple but you would be surprised at how flies only need the tiniest crevice or opening to sneak their way into a place.

Storing your garbage bin in the shade and not in the direct sunlight will also help immensely. Remember that flies are attracted to waste and garbage that are exposed to direct sunlight.

Flies usually come out in the heat so if you store the trash in the shade as opposed to under the hot sun, you will hopefully have fewer flies hovering around.

If you’re specifically trying to keep fruit flies away from your garbage, you can read our guide on repelling fruit flies here.

Use Light To Repel Flies From Your Garbage

Fly macro shot

Even though flies come around when the sun is out and hot, bright lights are actually a great way to repel flies. Interesting, right?

You can invest in some light traps and place them around any areas where there may be garbage. These can be found in any local hardware store.

If you decide to go with this option, be sure to replace the bulbs every spring. The light needs to be bright as dim light will not properly attract the flies. You should place the bulbs about four to six feet above the floor.

The idea behind this product is that it will attract flies to the light, typically ultraviolet light. When the flies draw near, they become stuck on some kind of sticky surface, which you can then discard.

You can also utilize a product like the Katchy Indoor Insect Trap. This product is designed to keep flies and other similar pests away and is quite easily accesible.

The Katchy Indoor Insect Trap uses ultraviolet light that attracts the flies. The flies then get sucked into the trap and get stuck on a sticky surface. The great thing about this device is that it is small and can be placed inside your house or outside near your garbage bin.

Use Soap and Apple Cider Vinegar to Repel Flies From Your Garbage

Using basic homemade ingredients is also another tip you can use to keep flies away from your garbage. This will save you money and it is very easy to do.

Get a bowl of soap and add some apple cider vinegar. This simple substance attracts flies and they will eventually drown in the liquid. 

Pretty easy, right?

You can also get a hold of a 2-liter bottle of soda. Drain it and then cut the top part off. Once you do that, take the top part which you cut off, and place it upside down in the bottom part of the bottle.

You now have an inverted funnel that would even make your elementary school science teacher proud!

At the bottom of this funnel, you can place any type of liquid that attracts flies like apple cider vinegar, sugar water, or yeast.

Use Fly Bait Repellents to Catch Flies

If you are limited on time and would rather spend some cash, then there are several fantastic fly repellents you can purchase that are incredibly easy to use.

The Quickbayt Fly Bait are little pellets that attract flies, specifically around stables and barns and eliminates them. Please read all pertinent product information when using. This would be for use if you need the product for an outside trash can near livestock. 

This is a quick, easy, and effective way to get flies to stay away from all of your garbage cans and bins.

The Golden Malrin is another proven store-bought product that can help you with your irritating fly problem. Again, be cautious about your pets getting into this.

This can also be spread around the problem areas like garbage bins. The Golden Malrin is similar to the Quickbayt Fly Bait because they are small pellet-like items. They attract the flies and eventually, once the flies land on them or buzz around them, they perish and will fall to the floor.

So do not be surprised if you wake up the next morning and find flies near either of the bait pellets!

That’s It For Now!

Alright! Thanks for hanging in there and taking notes about the 6 simple steps you can take to keep flies away from your garbage.

Let’s do a quick recap so you know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it:

  • Flies come out in the summer. They like garbage, lay eggs, and create more flies.
  • Using natural oils like basil, peppermint, and lavender repels flies.
  • Citronella candles that are available for purchase online are effective ways to use scents to ward away flies.
  • Disposing of your garbage properly will eliminate flies even coming in the first place.
    • Double bag food waste.
    • Securely close the garbage can lid.
  • Always be consistent when it comes to cleaning your garbage receptacles. Use your hose, some soap, and disinfectant spray to get rid of all of the dirt and garbage.
  • Light traps are great as well, especially ultraviolet lights.
  • You can make homemade concoctions using dish soap and apple cider vinegar to attract flies and get them away from your garbage.
  • Store-bought repellents are also great. Look into Quickbayt Fly Bait and Golden Malrin. Both are reputable brands and are known to be highly effective.

We hope at least one of these will help you out with that pesky fly problem. Hey, it happens to everyone! So try one of the tips and don’t sweat it too much.

Thank you so much for reading and supporting Pest Pointers!

We’ll see ya next time!


Rozendaal, J. A. (1997). Vector control: methods for use by individuals and communities. World Health Organization.

Fareham Borough Council. Flies, maggots, and bin smells. https://www.fareham.gov.uk/waste_collection_and_recycling/refuse/maggots.aspx

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Controlling Houseflies. https://texashelp.tamu.edu/browse/by-type/agriculture-disasters/insects/houseflies/

Lachance, S., & Grange, G. (2014). Repellent effectiveness of seven plant essential oils, sunflower oil and natural insecticides against horn flies on pastured dairy cows and heifers. Medical and veterinary entomology, 28(2), 193-200.

Moon, R. D. (2019). Muscid flies (Muscidae). In Medical and veterinary entomology (pp. 345-368). Academic Press.

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