7 Ways to Get Rid of Flies in the House

Mint, lavender, and basil plants set on windowsills do a great job of repelling flies. (mama_mia/Shutterstock)
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By Mary Hunt

Flies are a nearly unavoidable nuisance in most homes, especially during the warmer months of the year. They’re annoying for sure, but more than just pesky, houseflies (Musca domestica) can carry and transmit disease and cause illness.

Consider these seven simple ways to banish these pests from the house and keep them out for good.

Block the Entrances

If you have a busy household with people and pets coming and going, it’s a challenge to keep traffic flowing without allowing flies to come in with them. Get everyone into the habit of closing the door behind them. Keeping all points of entry closed is your best defense to keep flies from getting inside the house.

Make sure that all doors and windows have screens, and that all of those screens are in good repair. You can buy a screen repair kit at your local home and garden center to do these repairs yourself.

Caulk around windows to seal gaps and small crevices where flies could enter. Consider adding quick-closing magnetic screens to all doors, especially those with high traffic, and doors leading to a deck or patio.

If you have an attached garage, make sure the door isn’t left open for extended periods of time.


Make sure that all doors and windows have screens, and that all of those screens are in good repair. (Kwangmoozaa/Shutterstock)

Use a Vacuum

You can suck flies straight out of the air by hovering a few inches behind with a regular vacuum on to pull them in. Use this method only with vacuum cleaners that have a bag, and dispose of it immediately after loading it up with pests so they can’t find their way back into your home. A few minutes hunting flies with a vacuum every day may quickly solve your fly problem.

Remove the Bait

Houseflies are in search of food. They’ll find the smallest crumbs and food debris, so make sure all food is covered and counters, cutting boards, sinks, and floors are kept free of anything these pests would find tasty—especially fruit. Wash dishes soon after meals rather than leaving them in the sink, and ensure that the door to the dishwasher is always closed tightly.

Hang Flypaper

Hanging sticky paper designed to attract and trap flies is an easy, passive option.

Flypaper, also known as fly tape, is coated with an attractant to lure the flies in, and with a sticky surface substance to trap them when they land. It also works well to help get rid of gnats. It’s a very simple and effective method, but can become quite unattractive if not replaced often.

How to use fly tape, or flypaper, is easy. Hang the roll in areas where flies congregate, but don’t hang directly above food preparation areas or dining areas. Replace the rolls frequently.

Make a Flytrap

You can also make your own flytrap. All it takes is a plastic container, plastic wrap, and fly bait (like fruit, vinegar, or apple cider vinegar). Place the bait in the container, cover with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap to allow entrance.

Set up the flytrap in a corner to attract and trap those pests. Once they fly in, they can’t get out. Bingo! Dispose of them when you’ve won the battle.

If the DIY route isn’t your jam, shop for a flytrap to catch and kill flies. You’ll find a number of options.

Indoor Herb Garden

Some houseplants, especially certain herbs, are worthy fly fighters. Houseflies hate the scent of mint, lavender, and basil. Set on windowsills, they do a great job of repelling flies.

Another option is to add a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle full of water. Frequently spray or mist potential entry points, like door and window frames, to keep flies away.

Insecticides and Repellents

If the methods above fail to solve your fly problem, or aren’t options you wish to deal with, you may wish to resort to insecticides and repellents. Products containing permethrin are considered to be among the most effective and widely available for fly control. However, many sprays and foggers are designed for outdoor use, so if your problem is inside the home, take time to shop around for a safe and effective, nontoxic product.

Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com

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