7 Ways To Use Vinegar To Keep Flies Away

Macro flies on the leaf

If warmer temperatures have resulted in an uptick of flies in and around your home, you’re probably looking for easy solutions to get rid of them! Many household items can help eliminate unwanted pests, including purposeful vinegar. But how does vinegar keep flies away?

Flies are mainly attracted to rotten fruit, garbage cans, and rotting plant debris. To keep flies away, you can make a fly trap by mixing vinegar with juice, dish soap, honey, rotten fruit, or sugar. The smell of boiling malt vinegar will also keep flies at bay.

The most common flies you find around your house are fruit flies, and once they start an infestation, it can be hard to stop. Keep reading to learn more about how vinegar can be used to banish flies for good!

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How To Use Vinegar To Keep Flies Away

Composition with vinegar and lemon on table. Space for text

Flies can be found year-round but are most common during late summer and early fall because of seasonal crops. But just how can you get rid of them?

There’s a chance you’ve heard the saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” but it doesn’t ring true. You can use honey to keep flies away (more on that in a bit), but vinegar proves to be the champion between the two!

Vinegar is a fantastic deterrent to keep flies away, and they will steer clear wherever they get a hint of the scent of vinegar.

But, what’s so great about vinegar? A hungry fly can find a drop of vinegar reasonably quickly, making it an excellent way to entice the pest. The hungrier the fly, the quicker they will go after the vinegar.

In addition, vinegar, or acetic acid, is the final part of the fermentation process in fruit, which is why fruit flies are attracted to vinegar. 

Fruit flies generally enter our homes when we go in and out, take a ride on fresh produce, and find holes in window screens.

Unfortunately for us, fruit flies have a great sense of smell and can find nearly anything in your home.

There are several methods when using vinegar to keep flies away. As a reminder, you sometimes have to try more than one technique before you have success.

Persistence is vital when eliminating flies, so try to be patient during the process. Following a few simple steps will help you rid your house of the pesky intruders.

Before going deeper, you may want to check out our piece on the 7 places that flies lay eggs in your home!

Mix Vinegar And White grape Juice

Don’t worry. You don’t have to use your best juice for this one. First, get a dish and add white grape juice and vinegar with laundry detergent.

Next, cover the dish with plastic wrap and create holes for entry. You can also put the solution in a squirt bottle and spray flies directly.

You’re likely not surprised that flies are attracted to juice. Have you ever been sitting outside and found one doing the backstroke in your cup?

With this trap, you will lure the flies in with its sweet smell but prevent them from getting out!

Mix Vinegar And Dish Soap

One of the most straightforward solutions to keeping flies away is to create a vinegar trap. with soap!

First, fill a small dish with apple cider vinegar and dish soap and then cover with plastic wrap. Next, you will want to make small holes in the wrap and secure it with a rubber band.

The flies will be able to get into the trap and be attracted to it because of the apple cider vinegar, but not out. Clean it out once your trap is full, and make a new one if you still find flies.

You also want to ensure the trap is in areas where flies are spotted. You may have to move the trap around before you have success.

Finally, while it’s easy to create one yourself, you can also try the RSVP International Ceramic Fruit Fly Trap. First, fill up the bottom with vinegar, and then watch as the flies enter through the stainless-steel lid but can’t find their way out. It’s brilliant!

Use Rotten Fruit With Vinegar

It’s no secret that flies are attracted to rotten fruit, but think twice before throwing away that rotten banana. Even better are rotten mangoes!

Flies are very attracted to mangoes, and therefore you will have better luck with the exotic fruit.

First, add vinegar to a jar and drop the rotten fruit inside. Next, you will roll up a piece of paper into a cone shape and then insert the paper into the jar. Finally, the flies will be able to access the rotten fruit but will not make their way out.

You will want to ensure the paper is securely fitted at the top of the jar to avoid an escape route for the flies.

Boil Malt Vinegar To Keep Flies Away

Apple Cider Vinegar attracts flies, but malt vinegar encourages them to go away. Flies can’t stand the strong smell of malt vinegar.

All you have to do is boil Heinz Malt Vinegar, and the flies will be knocking down the door to get out. You can carefully move the pot to the infested room if the problem isn’t in your kitchen.

The smell for you might be a little strong, but sending the flies on their way is worth it. While malt vinegar isn’t for regular cleaning, it does a superb job at ridding your house of flies.

Mix Sugar And Vinegar

Like rotten produce, mixing sugar and vinegar will entice flies. You can either make a trap or use a premade one and add the sugar and vinegar.

Ensure you securely cover the container to ensure flies can’t escape. Adding a rubber band around plastic wrap provides additional security.

The combination of sweetness will undoubtedly attract the flies that have decided to call your house a home.

Clean Drains With Vinegar

Drains and sinks are prime spots to find flies. Flies thrive in damp, moist areas, and your bathroom has plenty of opportunities.

First, create a mixture of one cup vinegar, half cup baking soda, and half cup salt. Next, pour the substance directly into infested drains.

A few hours later, pour boiling water down the drain. The mixture and hot water are like a secret sauce to eliminate flies.

In addition to helping eliminate flies, it will also eliminate any dissolve built up in your drain.

Unfortunately, pouring bleach down the drain won’t solve your issue. It would be best if you broke up the debris sitting along your pipes. So, while bleach seems like a viable option, avoid it while eliminating flies.

Finally, pouring vinegar down your kitchen sink can help break down any food debris left behind. Ensure you don’t leave food in the sink and always run the garbage disposal. If you don’t have a garbage disposal, never let food go down the drain.

Mix Honey And Vinegar To Get Rid Of Flies

Now, comes the honey. Finally, on the list of ways to use vinegar to keep flies away is mixing it with honey.

As with other traps, grab a small dish, add the honey (you can also mix sugar in), and add some apple cider vinegar. Next, wrap the top with cellophane and poke holes with a toothpick or fork.

The sweet smell will be irresistible to flies, and once they go for a taste, they will get stuck. Since sugar and honey can also attract ants, ensure you monitor the trap, so you don’t cause an infestation of another type.

Luckily, vinegar does an excellent job at keeping ants away, too.

How To Prevent Flies From Coming Inside

Fly on window screen, closeup

Flies have a pesky way of entering your home, however, there may be undetected ways that have flown under your radar.

As with any pest, preventing future infestations is crucial. While you may get rid of the current problem, it doesn’t mean they won’t come back.

Following these steps will reduce the chances of a recurrence of flies!

You can take a look at our full guide on how flies get into your house here.

Seal Gaps And Holes in Your Foundation

Flies can easily make their way into your home through any cracks in your foundation. For example, if you notice an uptick of flies inside, walk around the perimeter of your home looking for entry points.

Even the tiniest of gaps can allow access, so checking every crevice is vital. The excellent news is that sealing cracks and holes will prevent other pests from entering.

According to Colorado State University, we don’t usually see flies in their larvae state – which consists of pale, legless maggots. (Lovely, right?)

However, flies can lay their eggs in the cracks of your home and leave behind these larvae to grow into adult flies.

As you are filling in holes, look inside for any evidence of larvae or flies. It’s an excellent opportunity to eliminate them before they make their way into your home.

Remove Any Standing Water

You’ve heard of “like a moth to a flame.” Well, the same is true about flies and standing water. Flies need moisture to breed and can easily find it in your backyard.

Fruit flies can reproduce anywhere there is moist organic matter, so you will also find them around sinks and drains inside your home.

If you’ve noticed an uptick of flies, take a walk around your house to see if you unknowingly have standing water. If left alone, play pools, empty pots, and other bins can be a breeding ground for flies.

It’s good practice to check for standing water regularly to prevent flies from making a home in your yard.

Throw Away Rotting Fruit

detailed close-up macro of a shiny golden greenbottle fly sitting on a leaf

You may have been ambitious at the store and stocked up on produce!

Unfortunately, produce that sits on the counter too long will undoubtedly begin attracting flies. Garbage cans can only do so much sometimes.

Flies also feed off decaying plants, so it’s good to check your house for plants that have seen better days.

To keep flies away, make sure you immediately take the trash bag outside when you throw away rotten fruit. Otherwise, the flies will find a new spot in your home!

In addition, ensure all outside trash bins are tightly secured. For example, if you compost, consider the Tiyafuro Kitchen Compost Bin. Its convenient 2.4-gallon bin can be set on the counter or attached to a cabinet.

The secure lid prevents flies from detecting the rotting produce inside and will steer clear of your house! You’ll probably have a lot of fruit flies as well as regular flies for this one.

Take a look at our guide on the foods, fruits, and scents that attract them here!

Call A Professional To Get Rid Of Flies

If nothing you do seems to work, it’s time to call a pest professional. For example, a professional can access the areas where you have seen flies in and around your home.

Unfortunately, flies can be challenging to eliminate, and they reproduce quickly, so you want to tackle the problem immediately. A small infestation can grow overnight, causing a significant issue.

Flies are a nuisance, but you still don’t want them hanging around. Anytime a pest problem seems out of your control, it’s always a good idea to call someone with experience!

There’s a chance you’ve overlooked the reason flies keep coming back, and a professional can provide helpful insight. Their knowledge may end up keeping additional pests away, too.

That’s A Wrap!

With a bit of help from vinegar, you can help keep flies away. It’s also vital to practice preventative care to keep them from returning. Ensuring you have no standing water and always throwing away rotten fruit will help prevent any future issues.

Now, just to recap!

Here are the 7 ways to use vinegar to keep flies away:

  • Mix juice and vinegar
  • Mix vinegar and dish soap 
  • Use rotten fruit with vinegar
  • Boil malt vinegar
  • Mix sugar and vinegar
  • Clean drains with vinegar
  • Mix honey and vinegar

While flies typically don’t cause damage, they can be a nuisance, and it’s always best to avoid the issue immediately. They can, however, carry germs from one surface to the next.

You also don’t want to eat food that flies have been on. While sometimes flies make their way inside on fresh produce, you don’t want them getting cozy inside your home.

There you have it! Vinegar is an inexpensive yet effective way to keep flies away and I hope these tips have been helpful.

Happy fly repelling!


Ishii, Yuri, et al. “Effective trapping of fruit flies with cultures of metabolically modified acetic acid bacteria.” Applied and environmental microbiology 81.7 (2015): 2265-2273.

Jouandet, Genevieve C., and Marco Gallio. “Olfaction: Catching more flies with vinegar.” Elife 4 (2015): e10535.

Zhu, Junwei, Kye-Chung Park, and Thomas C. Baker. “Identification of odors from overripe mango that attract vinegar flies, Drosophila melanogaster.” Journal of chemical ecology 29.4 (2003): 899-909.

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