Mum’s low-cost hack to banish flies – ‘this works’

Lynsey Crombie on how to get rid of flies from the house

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Autumn is a popular time for fruit flies to make their way into the home, with the pests particularly attracted to ripe, rotting or decayed fruit and produce. British mum Charlene has taken to TikTok to share a simple kitchen cupboard hack to get rid of fruit flies after becoming “fed up” with the bothersome bugs.

She shared a video of the simple hack to her TikTok account @mumscleaninglockdownlife, where she showed a step-by-step guide to making your own fly trap at home.

Although there are plenty of products available to kill bugs, these can contain harsh chemicals which might not be the best choice for use in the home.

However, Charlene’s hack uses two household staples that you likely have tucked away in a cupboard at home.

In the video, she can be seen filling a small pot with a mixture of water, dish soap and malt vinegar. Next, she placed plastic cling film across the top of the dish and made sure it was secure.

Charlene added some holes to the plastic cling film to allow the flies to make their way into the pot, and then placed it on top of her bin where the bugs tend to circulate. The cleaning influencer then showed her results, with several fruit flies now trapped inside the pot.

A commenter named Liz McGill said: “This works, did this years ago, anything sweet really, wine, cider, etcetera, but always put the washing up liquid in as it stops them from getting out.” [SIC]

The hack is an affordable option, with vinegar costing as little as 29p in supermarkets such as Asda, and dish soap available from just 55p. If you do begin to notice fruit flies in your home, you should try to get rid of them as soon as possible.

This is because female fruit flies often lay their eggs on the surface of or inside overripe or rotting fruit. To make matters worse, they can lay up to 500 eggs at any one time.

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These eggs hatch within 24 to 40 hours, producing larvae or maggots which feed on the food source on which they were laid. Within about a week, the larvae continue the reproduction cycle all over again.

Therefore, as a long-term solution, you will need to clean your kitchen and throw away any overly ripe fruit which has been sitting out for some time.

How do vinegar and dish soap work to get rid of fruit flies?

Fruit flies are attracted to vinegar which is what makes this hack so successful. Vinegar, or acetic acid, is the ultimate product of the fermentation process in fruit, which is why fruit flies are attracted to vinegar odour.

Many people recommend using apple cider vinegar in particular because it has a strong, sweet odour that leads the flies into the trap as its smell is similar to overly ripe fruit.

Red wine vinegar will also work, but it tends to be more expensive than apple cider vinegar. Adding dish soap to the solution works to decrease the surface tension of the liquid, ultimately trapping the flies in.

The cling film adds another layer of protection, making it difficult for flies that don’t make contact with the liquid to escape.

Poking tiny holes in the cling film allows them an entry to the vinegar solution, but they can find it hard to get back out of them.

Kitchen experts from Bon Appetite recommend microwaving the vinegar solution for 20 seconds to enhance the smell of the vinegar, although this is not absolutely essential.

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