9 Ways to Use Cloves to Keep Fruit Flies Away

Close-up of a fruit fly with yellow background

Fruit flies are a common nuisance around aging fruit in our homes. It seems like they sprout out of nowhere, right? Luckily, there are some natural ways to repel these pesky pests, one of which is using cloves.

Cloves are dried flower buds from the clove tree that are commonly used as a spice in cooking. Rich in essential oils and containing a strong aroma, cloves have been known to deter fruit flies due to their potent scent.

To use cloves effectively to keep fruit flies away, various creative methods can be employed. From incorporating cloves into your home décor as a fragrant addition to using them on fruit bowls, or even creating your own clove-infused repellents, there are endless possibilities to keep your home free of these unwelcome guests!

Key Takeaways:

  • Cloves can prevent fruit flies due to their strong aroma and natural compounds
  • Fruit flies are deterred by the scent of cloves, which disrupts their sense of smell
  • Creative methods using cloves can be an effective and natural way to repel fruit flies.

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Why Cloves Repel Fruit Flies

fruit fly crawling on banana

Fruit flies, also commonly known as drosophila, are pesky little insects that can be a real nuisance in homes. These bothersome bugs are often found swarming around ripe fruit, rotting leftovers, or even your favorite potted plants!

They tend to breed quickly, making it a challenge to eliminate them from your home. But we have a secret weapon: cloves!

Why cloves, you ask? Well, let’s dive into the science. Cloves are the unopened dried flower buds from the Syzygium aromaticum tree. These aromatic treasures contain eugenol, a compound known to repel fruit flies. Eugenol interferes with the fruit flies’ sense of smell, stopping them from detecting those irresistible fruity scents in your home.

Science backs us up here! A study from the Journal of Insects found that fruit flies preferred untreated fruits over clove-treated fruits, indicating a repelling effect against these tiny nuisances.

Ways To Use Cloves To Repel Fruit Flies

clove essential oil surrounded by cloves to repel fruit flies

To help you reclaim your fruit-full paradise, here are six creative ways to use cloves to keep these pesky little insects at bay:

  1. Cloves in fresh fruit: Push whole cloves into your fruit, especially around the stem area. The eugenol released from the cloves will help to disguise the fruit’s aroma and keep those pesky flies away.
  2. Make a clove sachet: Fill a small cloth bag or nylon stocking with crushed or whole cloves. Hang the sachet near fruit bowls or other vulnerable areas to repel fruit flies. Try SPICE TRAIN Handpicked Cloves Whole for this method.
  3. DIY clove-scented candles: Melt beeswax or soy wax and add a few drops of clove essential oil like MAJESTIC PURE Clove Essential Oil. Pour the mixture into a container with a wick. Light this homemade aromatic clove candle to deter those winged nuisances.
  4. Clove-infused water spray: Mix a teaspoon of clove essential oil in a spray bottle with one cup of water. Shake well and spray surfaces where you’ve noticed fruit flies, like countertops or near your houseplants.
  5. Stovetop clove simmer: Add a handful of cloves to a pot of water and let it simmer on low heat. As the pleasantly spicy scent fills your home, it will simultaneously repel unwelcome fruit fly guests.
  6. Clove-studded citrus fruit: Pierce an orange or lemon with whole cloves, then display the fragrant fruit in an open container. Not only is it a lovely table centerpiece, but it also works as a deterrent for those pesky fruit flies!

Remember, the key to success is consistency. By incorporating cloves into your household routine, you’re sure to deter fruit flies and keep your home refreshingly fruit fly-free.

More Ways To Use Cloves to Repel Fruit Flies

Cloves are a natural and effective way to keep fruit flies at bay, ensuring your home stays pest-free! We’ve already discussed 6 creative ways to use cloves. Now, let’s move on to a few more ways to use this wonderful scent to repel fruit flies.

7. Cloves and Candle: In a candle holder, stick cloves around the rim of a tea-light candle. Light the candle and enjoy its fruit-fly-repelling aura, accompanied by a warm, clove-scented ambiance.

8. Clove-Infused Vinegar: Add whole cloves to a jar of vinegar, and let it steep for a week. Use this clove-infused vinegar as a cleaning solution to wipe down countertops and other surfaces, effectively repelling fruit flies while cleaning at the same time.

9. Bowl of Cloves: Simply place a small bowl filled with whole cloves near areas where fruit flies congregate. Replace cloves every few weeks to maintain their potency and keep your home fruit fly-free.

By incorporating these inventive strategies using cloves, you can effectively repel fruit flies and maintain a pest-free environment in your home, all while using a natural and fragrant solution.

Types Of Cloves To Use To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

Whole cloves and clove essential oil to repel fruit flies

Clove oil, whole cloves, dried cloves, and even just the clove scent can be effective in repelling fruit flies. These pesky insects detest the strong aroma of cloves, making them a great natural method for keeping fruit flies at bay.

Here are a few ways you can use the different types of cloves to keep fruit flies away:

Type of CloveMethod of UseEffectiveness
Whole ClovesPlace 10-15 in a small dish and set near fruitModerate
Place in a small cloth bag and hang near fruitModerate
Dried ClovesPlace in a sachet and hang near fruitLow
Grind and sprinkle near fruitModerate
Clove OilMix with water and spray near fruitHigh
Soak a cotton ball and place near fruitHigh
Clove ScentBurn clove-scented candles or incense near fruitModerate
Place a few drops of clove oil on a cotton ball and place near fruitModerate

Note: The effectiveness of each method may vary depending on the severity of the fruit fly infestation and the environment in which the cloves are used.

The strong scent of cloves, whether in the form of clove oil, whole cloves, dried cloves, or the clove scent alone, is unappealing to fruit flies and will help keep these unwelcome visitors from invading your home. Keep in mind that it is important to continuously replace or refresh the clove-based solutions to maintain their effectiveness over time.

What Attracts Fruit Flies?

Fruits and Vegetables Role in Attracting Fruit Flies

As you likely know, the kitchen plays a crucial role in attracting fruit flies because of the abundance of rotting fruits and vegetables. Fruit flies thrive in environments where there is rot and decay, as they lay their eggs near or on these surfaces.

The University of Kentucky tells us that fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. These eggs hatch into larvae that feast on decaying organic matter, perpetuating their lifecycle. To cut off their “food supply,” timely disposal of leftovers, trash, and garbage goes a long way toward keeping fruit flies at bay.

Drains Attract Fruit Flies

Drains are not only drain flies’ favorite breeding ground but also fruit flies’. Clean your drains regularly to remove residue and prevent both drain flies and fruit flies from laying eggs. Food waste and decomposing matter in trash cans often attract fruit flies, too.

Fruit Flies Are Attracted To The Smell Of Apple Cider Vinegar

You might be asking, “Why apple cider vinegar?” Well, fruit flies are attracted to the smell of fermenting fruits, and apple cider vinegar provides a similar scent. Placing an apple cider vinegar trap in strategic locations around your kitchen can help catch and eliminate fruit flies – so you can use this one to your advantage!

Common Fruit Fly Locations and Breeding Grounds

Close-up shot of a fruit fly on a piece of fruit

In this section, we’ll discuss where fruit flies commonly breed and infest, and how cloves can be effectively used to repel them.

Fruit Fly Infestations in The Kitchen

Your kitchen is a prime location for fruit fly infestations, due to the abundance of food and moisture. Fruit flies are attracted to decaying and fermenting fruits and other organic materials.

Common breeding grounds in the kitchen include:

  • Drains: Fruit flies can thrive in the damp, dark environment of your kitchen sink drain.
  • Garbage and trash cans: These provide ample food sources for fruit flies, as they lay their eggs on the decaying organic matter found in your garbage.
  • Windows and doors: Fruit flies often enter homes through open windows and doors, looking for their next meal.
  • Refrigerator: Fruit flies may lay eggs around the edges of your refrigerator, where food particles can accumulate.
  • Compost bins and compost: Compost piles and bins attract fruit flies due to the decomposing organic matter within. It’s important to keep your compost bin tightly sealed or consider using an indoor compost container designed to prevent pests from entering.
  • Pantry: Fruit flies can find their way into pantry items, such as bags of potatoes and onions, targeting any damaged or decaying produce in the process.
  • Counters: Fruit flies can easily access any food left out on your countertops.

Using Cloves In The Kitchen To Repel Fruit Flies

Make sure to strategically place cloves around your kitchen, specifically focusing on the common locations and breeding grounds mentioned above. Here are six creative ways to use cloves for fruit fly prevention:

  1. Cloves in fruit bowls: Place whole cloves with the fruit you store on your countertops.
  2. Cloves in pantry: Scatter whole or ground cloves in your pantry to deter fruit flies from finding refuge there. SPICE TRAIN Ground Cloves work great for this method!
  3. Cloves around windows and doors: Position cloves near windows and doors to create a barrier that fruit flies won’t want to cross.
  4. Cloves in garbage and compost bins: Add a layer of cloves at the bottom of your trash can or compost bin to discourage fruit flies from laying eggs.
  5. Scented sachets: Make sachets with cloves and cloth, then hang them near key fruit fly entry points, such as windows and doors.
  6. Cloves and water: Create a mixture of ground cloves and water in a spray bottle, then spritz it on surfaces where fruit flies have been spotted.

Fruit Fly Traps and Repellents

Fruit flies can be a nuisance, but you can easily repel them using natural methods like cloves. Now, let’s explore some creative ways to make fruit fly traps and repellents using natural ingredients.


  1. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap: Fill a small bowl or jar with apple cider vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap. The vinegar will attract the fruit flies, and the soap will trap them by breaking the surface tension of the liquid.
  2. Red Wine Trap: Pour a small amount of red wine into a jar or bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick. The fruit flies will be attracted to the smell of the wine and will crawl through the holes, but won’t be able to escape.
  3. Banana Trap: Place a ripe banana in a jar or bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick. The fruit flies will be attracted to the banana and will crawl through the holes, but won’t be able to escape.
  4. Milk, Sugar, and Pepper Trap: Mix together 1/4 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper in a small bowl. Leave the bowl uncovered on your kitchen counter. The fruit flies will be attracted to the mixture and will be eliminated in it.


In addition to using cloves in traps, strategically place cloves around your home to repel fruit flies.

  1. Cloves in Fruit Bowls: Scatter whole cloves in your fruit bowls and kitchen countertops. The strong smell of cloves will keep fruit flies at bay.
  2. Cloves in Potted Plants: Place cloves in the soil of potted plants near windows. This will prevent fruit flies from laying eggs in the soil and deter them from entering your home.
  3. Herb Bouquet: Create a bouquet of cloves, along with other fragrant herbs like basil and lavender. Hang this near windows or doors to keep fruit flies from coming inside.

Dealing with fruit flies might be challenging, but these natural and creative methods using cloves can spare you from chemical-laden, store-bought repellents.

That said, even the strong scent of cloves can’t repel a severe infestation. In these instances, it may be time to call in a pest professional to assess the situation. If this sounds like you, use our nationwide pest control finder to connect with a local pest professional.

Cleaning to Prevent Fruit Flies

Keeping it clean is essential in preventing fruit fly infestations! Begin with a thorough cleaning routine that involves washing your dirty dishes promptly. Make it a habit to use dish soap to ensure those pesky insects don’t stand a chance!

In addition, always ensure your sponges and dishcloths are clean to prevent bacteria buildup.

Now, let’s talk about food debris. It’s crucial to get rid of any leftovers and clean up any spills immediately. Act fast, as fruit flies love to feast on decaying organic matter. Don’t forget to disinfect countertops and other surfaces regularly.

The Importance of Washing Fruit

Did you know that washing fruit before storing or consuming it can help prevent fruit fly infestations? Make sure you wash fruit as soon as you bring it home. This will eliminate any potential fruit fly larvae that may be hitching a ride.

Remember, every battle requires persistence and creativity! By keeping your kitchen environments as clean as possible while incorporating the wonderful power of cloves, you’ll be able to repel fruit flies naturally.

That’s A Wrap!

Cloves can be an effective natural method to repel fruit flies away from your home. They work because of their strong aroma, which comes from a compound called eugenol. This pungent scent is unappealing to fruit flies, causing them to avoid areas where cloves are present.

However, the effectiveness of cloves may vary, and it is essential to try different methods to find the one that works best for you.

Why cloves work:

  • Strong aroma due to the presence of eugenol
  • Unappealing to fruit flies, making them avoid areas with cloves

Here’s a recap of six creative ways to use cloves for repelling fruit flies:

  1. Cloves and lemon: Embed whole cloves into half a lemon and place it in areas where fruit flies frequent. The combination of citrus and cloves will deter fruit flies.
  2. Cloves in a sachet: Place a handful of whole cloves in a small, breathable pouch or cloth, and hang it near fruit bowls or trash cans.
  3. Cloves and candles: Mix a few drops of clove essential oil into a melted candle and place it in the kitchen to repel fruit flies.
  4. Cloves and essential oil: Mix a few drops of clove essential oil with water in a spray bottle, and use it to lightly spritz countertops, fruit bowls and other surfaces where fruit flies congregate.
  5. Cloves as a table centerpiece: Arrange whole cloves in a decorative bowl as a centerpiece on your dining table to help repel fruit flies while adding aesthetic value.
  6. Cloves around fruit: Sprinkle ground cloves around fruit bowls to create a barrier between the fruit and any lingering fruit flies.

In summary, cloves can be a helpful tool in keeping fruit flies at bay in a natural, chemical-free way. By integrating creative methods like using lemon halves, sachets, or vinegar traps, you can harness the power of cloves to manage fruit fly infestations in your home.

The most important thing is to remain persistent and try different tactics to find the one that works best for your situation. Good luck on your journey toward a fruit fly-free home!

How to pest proof your home in under a day e-book by Zack DeAngelis

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