Gnat infestations are a common yet challenging issue in many homes. Understanding the behavior of these tiny flying insects is crucial for effective control and prevention. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of gnats, particularly in bathroom environments, and prevent their return.

Understanding Gnats

Gnats (often confused with small flies) are tiny flying insects that can become household pests. Common types found in homes include fungus gnats, drain flies, fruit flies, and phorid flies (also called coffin, scuttle, and hump-backed flies). These insects are particularly drawn to moist environments and organic matter, making your kitchen and bathroom prime targets.

Identifying Gnat Infestations

A gnat infestation is often noticeable by the presence of adult flies hovering around sources of standing water, organic material, or house plants. Key areas to check include sink drains, garbage disposals, fruit baskets, and overwatered potted plants. If you see gnats in a particular area in your bathroom, then chances are, there's moisture somewhere, or something is decaying nearby.

Strategies for Arresting Gnat Infestations

Eliminating Breeding Grounds

One of the most important steps in getting rid of gnats is to tackle the places where they like to live and have their babies. These places are usually wet and have things that gnats like eating, such as decaying organic matter. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Garbage Disposal and Kitchen Sinks: Food bits often get stuck here, making it a favorite spot for gnats. Clean your garbage disposal regularly. You can use a mix of baking soda and vinegar followed by hot water to keep it clean and gnat-free. You can also use drain and fruit fly eliminator, or something even longer-lasting such as Green Gobbler Bio-Flow Drain Cleaning sticks.

Sink Drains and Pipes: Gnats love the gunk that builds up in sink drains. To clean these areas, pour down boiling water mixed with liquid dish soap. This helps to break down the organic matter. Doing this once a week can keep gnats away.

House Plants: Overwatering your plants can create a perfect home for fungus gnats. Make sure you're not giving your plants too much water. The top layer of the soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings. This will help prevent gnat larvae from thriving.

Bathroom Drains and Showers: Just like kitchen sinks, bathroom drains can attract gnats. Regularly clean these drains using a drain cleaner or a mix of white vinegar and hot water. Also, fix any leaky faucets or pipes to reduce standing water.

Stagnant Water: Anywhere there is still water, like trays under flower pots, can be a breeding ground for gnats. Make sure to empty these trays and keep areas around your home dry.

Remember, getting rid of places where gnats can breed is a big step towards keeping them out of your home for good.

Traps and Solutions

If you're dealing with gnats in your home, setting up traps can be a really effective way to catch them. Here are two easy traps you can make:

Vinegar Trap:

  • This trap is super simple to make. All you need is apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, liquid dish soap, a bowl, and some plastic wrap.
  • First, pour some vinegar into the bowl. Vinegar smells like a tasty snack to gnats, so they'll be attracted to it.
  • Then, add a few drops of liquid dish soap. The soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, so when gnats try to land, they'll sink instead of sitting on top.
  • Next, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and poke some small holes in it. The holes should be big enough for the gnats to get in, but not too big.
  • Place the bowl near where you see the most gnats. They'll fly in through the holes, attracted by the vinegar, but won't be able to fly back out.

If vinegar is too pungent for you, you can use alternative liquids such as red wine or even beer to do the same thing.

Sticky Traps:

  • Sticky traps are another great way to catch gnats. You can find these traps at most gardening or home improvement stores.
  • They are usually bright yellow and covered with a sticky substance that gnats get stuck on.
  • Just place these traps near the gnat-infested areas, like house plants or the kitchen. When gnats fly near the trap, they'll get stuck to it and won't be able to fly away.
  • Remember to replace the traps when they get full of gnats or when they're not sticky anymore.

Using these traps helps lower the number of gnats in your home. They work well because they attract and trap gnats, stopping them from flying around, bothering you, and making more baby gnats in the primordial soup they found inside your house.

Chemical Treatments

When natural methods and traps don't fully solve the gnat problem, you might need to use some chemical treatments. Here are two effective ways to do this:

Drain Treatments:

  • If you have drain flies or sewer gnats, it's likely because there's gunk in your drains where they can lay eggs.
  • Boiling Water: One of the easiest methods is to pour boiling water down the drain. Do this slowly and in several stages to make sure you reach all the gunk stuck in the pipes.
  • Bleach: Bleach can also be used, but be careful with it. Pour a small amount of bleach down the drain and let it sit with plenty of water for about an hour before flushing. Note: Don't use bleach if you have a septic system, as it can damage it.
  • Commercial Drain Cleaners: Special drain cleaners are available designed to break down organic buildup in pipes. This is where products like Green Gobbler drain cleaning sticks may be useful. Remember always to follow the instructions on the product carefully. These are powerful chemicals, so make sure to use them safely.


  • For areas infested with fruit flies or fungus gnats, insecticides can be effective. Look for products specifically designed to target these pests.
  • Indoor Use: Make sure the insecticide you choose is safe for indoor use. Always follow the instructions on the label for safe and effective application.
  • Targeted Application: Apply the insecticide in areas where gnats are most active, like around garbage disposals, near fruit bowls, or in plant soil. Be cautious when using insecticides around food or eating areas.
  • Regular Application: Sometimes, you might need to apply the insecticide more than once to get rid of the gnats completely.

Remember, chemical treatments should be used carefully and as a last resort. Always prioritize safety, especially in homes with children or pets.

Preventive Measures Against Gnats

Keeping gnats away from your home is all about making sure they don't find what they need to live and grow. Here are some key steps to prevent gnats:

Reduce Moisture and Organic Waste:

  • Gnats are attracted to wet and dirty places. By keeping your home dry and clean, you can make it less inviting for them.

Regular Drain Cleaning:

  • Use hot water or a commercial pipe cleaner to clean your drains regularly. This helps prevent drain fly or sewer fly infestations by removing the gunk from your sink drain where they like to breed.
  • For a natural approach, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar followed by boiling water.

Proper Plant Watering:

  • Overwatering house plants creates a perfect place for fungus gnats to lay eggs. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.
  • Consider using a moisture meter to water your plants just the right amount.

Keep Kitchen Surfaces Clean:

  • Wipe down kitchen counters, tables, and other surfaces regularly to avoid attracting fruit flies.
  • Store ripe fruits in the fridge and dispose of overripe fruits immediately to discourage a fruit fly infestation from developing.

Seal Entry Points:

  • Check for and seal any cracks or small openings around windows, doors, and walls. This can prevent small flies from getting into your house.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good repair.

Ensure Good Ventilation:

  • Good airflow helps keep areas dry and less attractive to gnats. Use fans or open windows to improve air circulation, especially in damp areas like bathrooms and basements.

Regular Trash Management:

  • Take out the garbage regularly and use trash cans with lids to keep gnats away.
  • If you have a compost bin, keep it well-managed and away from your house.

Following these steps can create an environment less likely to attract and support gnats, helping keep your home pest-free.


By understanding the nature of gnats and implementing these pest control measures, you can effectively eliminate and prevent gnat infestations. Regular vigilance and proper hygiene practices are key to keeping your home free of these pests.

Frequently Asked Questions On Gnat Infestations

What are the signs you have a drain fly infestation? 

If you see small, moth-like insects flitting around your drains, that signifies a drain fly infestation. These flies are often spotted near sinks, showers, and bathtubs. They like to breed in the gunk that builds up in your pipes, so if you're seeing them often, they're likely calling your drains home.

What do the fruit flies in your bathroom look like? 

Fruit flies in your bathroom are tiny, with a reddish-brown color. They have rounded bodies and are usually seen hovering around overripe fruit, trash cans, or any fermenting organic material. A fruit fly in your bathroom is likely drawn to something moist and organic, like a damp towel or a trash bin.

How long does it take to eliminate drain flies? 

Eliminating drain flies can take a few days to a week, depending on the severity of the infestation and the methods used. Regular cleaning of drains with hot water, vinegar, or a commercial drain cleaner is essential. Sometimes, you may need to repeat the treatment to eliminate them completely.

Why do fungus gnats keep congregating in your bathroom? 

Fungus gnats are attracted to moisture and organic matter, often found in bathrooms. They might congregate in your bathroom because of overwatered houseplants, damp towels, or a leaky faucet. Reducing moisture and removing any potential breeding sites will help keep them away.