How to get rid of Gnats in the House

I’ve had a number of readers email me to ask how to get rid of gnats in the house.  It’s a good question — and I can’t stand the thought of those pesky plant gnats.  

After doing some research, however, I’ve discovered that over watering is a huge factor in creating the problem. The gnats lay eggs and reproduce in moist soil. So the No. 1 one way to prevent plant gnats is to not over water. If you already have them in your soil, the easiest way to get rid of them is to re-pot your plants in healthy, fresh soil.

If you’d rather not re-pot, you can’t figure out a good watering schedule or you just can’t seem to get rid of the gnats, here are a few other things you can try.

Solution 1:  Soap and vinegar
When watering your plants, mix 1 tablespoon of soap and 1 teaspoon of white vinegar into the water. Water with this solution every other watering. (Source)

Solution 2: Gnatrol
There is a product on the market called Gnatrol. It’s a natural bacillus toxin that can be added to the water when you water your plants. Gnatrol will kill the larvae, but the plants have to be treated several times, about six weeks total. This is a very effective method as long as you are not also fertilizing. (Source)

Solution 3: Sticky Stakes
Sticky Stakes are an inexpensive product that catch the flying gnats. This is a good solution for gnats that have already hatched and it will allow you time to let the soil dry out and treat it to get rid of the larvae. (Source)

Solution 4: Moth balls
Moth balls are another way to get rid of gnats. Place one to two moth balls in a 12-inch pot and it should get rid of the gnats. The moth balls should also prevent other pesky critters from being attracted to your plant. (Source) I do not recommend this solution if you have small children in your home. You don’t want a small child to mistake a moth ball for a piece of candy!

Solution 5: Horticultural Sand
The flying gnats lay their eggs in the soil and the cycle starts all over again.  Stop this cycle by applying a 1/8″ layer of horticulture sand to the top of the soil of your plants; the larvae/pupae can’t hatch out of the soil and the flying gnats can’t lay their eggs in the soil – it stops the cycle, and best ofall nothing toxic and no re-applying every 7 days! (Source: a local nursery, Wyntour Gardens)

I hope these solutions will help you to get rid of your plant gnats so you can fill your house with beautiful plants and not be annoyed by the gnats!

About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. We have tons of house plants and found that the gnats were a huge problem in our new house. We simply bought a small bug zapper, which comes on automatically every evening. Whatever gnats are hatched during the day die by night. We haven’t had another problem since installing the zapper.

  2. TQ Fabulous says:

    I put vinegar and a few drops of dish soap, mixed in a small medicine cup. Fill the cup to the top, almost overflowing. They crawl down for a drink and drown. Read in on a blog and it works for the gnat from bananas.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions. I overwater my plants and then I get gnats. I’m going to use your water mixture to try it.

  4. Thanks for the suggestions. I overwater my plants and then I get gnats. I’m going to use your water mixture to try it. Thanks :)

  5. I’ve used the soap before….but I’ve never tried vinegar!

    Thanks so much for all the great tips!


  6. Great tips! I HATE gnats! Going to try the soap and vinegar trick.


  7. Thanks for sharing Anna! Great tips!

  8. Ah…. always have wondered why I see mothballs in plants sometimes…now I know! Thanks for all these helpful tips!

  9. Great tips, thanks so much!

  10. Gnats are not the problem, they don’t live a long time. The problem is the larva in the soil, you have to kill those. I don’t believe any home remedy will work. Not sure about the moth balls, don’t know what it would do to the roots of the plant and it might stink up the house. Nursery’s sells a product called Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules that works. You dig it in the top inch of the soil and water lightly. That kills the larva. I got my gnats in my Miracle Grow potting soil. I was told they have a huge gnat problem in their plant.

  11. Just curious as to what the water ratio is to the soap and vinegar

    • Bethany Davis says:

      Hi, Jada! I’m Anna’s assistant, Bethany. You can start with a ratio of 2/3 water to 1/3 vinegar/soap mixture, and then increase the vinegar/soap mixture slightly if you think it needs it. Hope that helps!