I Tried (and Failed) to Keep Gnats, Ants, and Flies Out of My Kitchen — Then I Found 3 Products That Really Work

published Jun 7, 2023
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gnat catching sticker shaped like yellow butterfly in potted plant
Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

Although I’ve long been accustomed to gnats and other little bugs hanging out around my home (I have around 70 houseplants, after all), the summertime is particularly frustrating when it comes to getting rid of pests in my kitchen. Whether it’s my fruit bowl or the sink drain, gnats, fruit flies, and ants love taking over my kitchen. Ew!

Getting rid of them has been a long process of trial and error — a fly swatter wasn’t enough, and bug sprays are too harsh to use in the same area where I cook. I decided to try some new methods and products, and found a few that actually work like a charm in my home.  Plus, they’re all either non-toxic or all-natural, so it’s a win-win!

1. Fruit Fly Traps, $5.99 for 36

These gnat stickers, as I like to call them, have been the most effective in getting rid of fruit flies and gnats in my kitchen and throughout my home. I have one in almost every plant in my apartment, including the two succulents that hang above my kitchen sink to trap those pesky bugs that like to hover around the drain. Plus, these stickers add a charming shape and fun pop of color to my houseplants that’s not as much of an eyesore as it sounds. 

2. Citronella Herb Plant, $12.98

Citronella candles are essential for warding off bugs during any outdoor gathering, but they can feel quite overwhelming indoors (not to mention the smokier burn). A citronella herb plant is the perfect compromise because it still has a potent-enough fragrance that is similar to lemongrass, but doesn’t overpower your senses. I keep this plant by my kitchen window to give it the light it needs while letting it work its herbal magic to keep gnats and other flying bugs away from my kitchen. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that citronella is toxic to pets, so it’s best to keep it up high or out of reach from your fur babies.

3. Raid Essentials Ant & Roach Killer, $6.40

Before I started collecting houseplants, I wasn’t too picky when shopping for a bug-killing spray. Once the collection grew and we got a dog, I searched high and low for a pet-friendly and effective bug spray that would get rid of gnats and ants (my kitchen’s biggest invaders during the summer) without harming my dozens of plants and my beloved goldendoodle, Chai. I spray this along the edge of my kitchen window and around my sink and faucet as a preventive measure.