How can I get Rid of Houseflies?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Houseflies can be extremely irritating as well as unsanitary. These small insects appreciate any scrap of food they can find, and since they don't wash their hands before meals, they can leave a trail of bacteria behind them. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques which can greatly help to reduce the number of houseflies in your home. You can get rid of houseflies cheaply and entirely naturally, without risk to pets, children, and your food.

The common housefly can be hard to get rid of, and these germ carrying insects can contaminate food and other items in the home.
The common housefly can be hard to get rid of, and these germ carrying insects can contaminate food and other items in the home.

If you want to rid your home of houseflies, start by keeping your house clean. Use orange, clove, lemon, or basil oil in your cleaning, as these oils repel flies. Make sure to keep surfaces wiped down and dry, and cover compost, garbage, and platters of fruits or breads. Many companies make baskets for covering fruit platters with a fine mesh which allows the fruit to ripen without allowing flies to come in contact with it. You should also strongly consider installing insect screens on your windows, and putting in screen doors so that you can ventilate your house without inviting insects in.

Flypaper is a simple and often effective way to trap houseflies.
Flypaper is a simple and often effective way to trap houseflies.

You can also repel houseflies in an assortment of ways. They do not like the smell of cloves, so you can try setting out oranges or apples studded with cloves. In addition to smelling good and looking ornamental, these cloved fruits can get rid of houseflies by making your house unappealing. Some people also have success with cutting oranges in half, juicing them, and packing them with salt to act as fly deterrents. Flies also don't like basil; you might consider planting basil in windowboxes or a patch of basil by the front door to get rid of houseflies.

Putting out an apple studded with cloves can help get rid of houseflies.
Putting out an apple studded with cloves can help get rid of houseflies.

Even with these measures, you may still experience housefly invasions, especially if it is cold outside or you have a lot of food around the house. These houseflies can be trapped in a variety of ways, ranging from the mundane to the decorative. Flypaper is a popular tactic to get rid of houseflies. This paper is sticky and covered with a fly attractant. The flies are drawn to the paper and then they get stuck; many companies add some fly poison so that the flies die instead of starving to death on the flypaper. You can also make a non-toxic and cheap fly trap using a narrow necked bottle or a jar with a whole in the lid. Bait the trap with something sweet like sugar water or candy. The flies will crawl in, but they cannot crawl out.

Keeping your house clean can help get rid of houseflies.
Keeping your house clean can help get rid of houseflies.

You can also get rid of houseflies while adding to your interior décor, with carnivorous plants. Many of these plants look very interesting, and they are quite effective at killing off the flies in your home. If you have a major fly problem, consider starting a small carnivorous plant garden to help you manage it.

Houseflies don't like cloves, so many homeowners use this spice to repel them.
Houseflies don't like cloves, so many homeowners use this spice to repel them.
Adding carnivorous plants, like a pitcher plant, to home decor can be effective at killing off flies.
Adding carnivorous plants, like a pitcher plant, to home decor can be effective at killing off flies.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Do flies originate from maggots? I have a problem since putting in new windows and screens that I find many nests of strawlike material with small maggots around the track of the screening, mostly in the up and down tracking. I scrape and clean them out every spring. Is this where the flies are coming from? If I get to the cleaning soon enough, I have no fly problem.


I live near the beach and it's hard for me to cook a good meal because the flies always find a way in, even though every where in my home is closed up. I don't need my sons getting sick from these nasty flies. I truly need help on how to keep them away.


Or just shut the door. My roommate doesn't get this concept. Also he takes the screens off his windows (for some unfathomable reason) and leaves them open on hot days, and he has a dog, and never cleans the crap from the yard. I'm gone in September, moving in with a homeowner. Hopefully, he has some common sense.


I understand keeping your house clean is paramount, but sometimes an animal such as a rodent may die underneath your house, causing fly problems inside.


Speaking of clove oil, Tiger Balm oil actually contains clove oil that can serve as a repellent.


If you have cats and a litter box, there is your problem. Thoroughly inspect your litter for maggots or little brown cocoons. Get rid of this litter and start with new litter.


I disagree that flies don't like cloves. I find that flies are attracted to cloves.


To all people who vacuum their flies into a plastic bag: You must remember to throw the bag out of your because they will just breed inside the vacuum cleaner!


Has anyone noticed black tar like spots on the windows post fly infestation? I am assuming they are feces? We have been battling these buggers for a month. They keep coming back every 12 weeks -- so nasty! And our house is super clean and neat!


My two cents. I have a 20" box fan rigged to my window and it is set to suck air out of the house and blow it outside. the idea was that the fan would continuously circulate the air in the house and help to cool it off. i made it so that the fan pulls the air from the ceiling so that it concentrates on the hot air (because hot air rises).

Anyway, what's happening is that the house flies are being sucked into the fan and are getting chopped to pieces. I'm not sure why this is. I mean the fan is not strong enough to pull flies into it when they're all the way across the house in the kitchen (the fan is in my office). just speculating here, but it may be that they are following the air current. All the air in the house is flowing toward the fan, so they eventually make their way there, and die. There is a ever growing collection of fly body parts inside the fan (heads, arms, eyeballs, etc.), that plus, there are no flies in the house, leads me to believe a fan can be used in this way.

I guess I should mention that the fan is rigged behind a closet door which is always open, this in effect creates a wind tunnel to the ceiling. I think when the flies go down the wind tunnel they find it hard to turn around and then that's when they really get sucked into the fan.


I have a horrible housefly problem. I have developed OCD from all the cleaning I do to keep them at bay-- but alas, nothing works.

I hung a fly ribbon (sticky paper) and within 36 hours it was covered in flies. I bought an electric fly swatter and have been making them "ride the lightning", but that's too time consuming. Now I am noticing little black spots on the ceiling where they gather and on the light fixture where they plot against me.


If flies are a constant problem in and around your home, they can be coaxed into jars where they’ll remain forever trapped. Simply place food that attracts flies in the bottom of a jar with a lid. Poke a couple of holes in the lid so the flies can enter the trap. After entering the jar, the flies won’t be able to get back out.

This home remedy to help get rid of flies is inexpensive, easy, and this simple homemade flytrap can be thrown away when you’re ready to replace it with a new one.

Or try this one: Make homemade flypaper. You’ll need a brown paper bag, scissors, string, and a shallow pan. You’ll also need a half-cup of sweet maple syrup, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and two tablespoons of white sugar. Combine these ingredients in a shallow pan, and cut the brown paper bag into one-inch wide strips. Poke a hole in the top of each strip, and thread a string through each hole. Soak the strips in the sticky mixture for about eight hours. Remove the strips from the mixture, and after they stop dripping, hang them in areas where flies are a problem.


Here's what I did to get rid of the flies in my house. I bought some OdoBan and sprayed some in and around the garbage.

I also spritzed the cat box, mixed it in with the litter, and put some fresh litter on top. The OdoBan neutralizes odors really well and doesn't contain any harsh chemicals.

I found that it kept the flies from getting in their favorite places to breed and I could swat whatever was left over, and guess what - no more flies!


I went on vacation and when I came back I noticed tons of flies in my house. Please someone out there help me with this problem. A neighbor suggested putting bleach in the sink where there is a garbage disposal in it.


I put up little bowls of diluted sugar in rum, and that seems to kill them effectively.


The best thing I ever did to get rid of flies was to close all the drapery on the windows. I opened one curtain on the south side of my house and descreened it. Yes! I removed the screen and cracked the window open just slightly.

Now the flies come in through any door and find their way to this one window and out they go! No more smacking pesky flies all over my painted walls! No more missing with fly swatters!

This honestly works like a charm! The window is barely opened and yes, I do run central air but this crack open is well worth my sanity. yes, I still have cats and dogs too* --Mary Cathleen


I built a mud room from part of the garage so we would have more room in the basement for the father-in-law.

every so often there are flies in the mud room -- lots

of them. they will disappear for a while but they seem to return again and again. please help.


My kids got me with a double whammy. They hid cookies in the cat litter box! Flies everywhere and they are driving us nuts. I may have got a bit carried away but I put a couple drops of clove oil on my hands and rubbed it on my arms and legs out of desperation. They get a couple feet from me and turn around. So clove oil works. I think I will mix it into some cleaner and go spray everything down now.


We live near farm land. We get loads in the summer. We haven't got rid of them but have had great fun with a fly gun we bought from the Silver Pear in Ludlow, Shropshire, England. The gun is orange plastic with a white plastic circular device about two inches diameter which it propels st the fly. Very therapeutic and good fun. You can clear a room with a bit of time and effort. Joss sticks seem to help too.


I potted basil and oregano on my kitchen window sill. I noticed the flies actually enjoyed hanging around it! To top it off, my garden was thinning. They were eating my herbs!

Tonight I got up to make my four-month-old a bottle and discovered maggots in my herb garden. I was so disgusted and disappointed as I was looking forward to cooking with fresh herbs this summer.

I'm desperate to get rid of these flies. I'm worried my baby will get sick.


when you vacuum house flies they breed in the vacuum, so if you use bags get them out of the house ASAP, and if you don't, empty your vacuum away from the house.


I started spraying the windows with bleach. They don't seem to like that that much.


I keep finding dead flies in my house. While I'm glad they're dead, I do feel like I'm in an episode of the X Files! They fly into my house and just die! How?


We have a turkey farm behind our house several several feet away and we get flies almost year 'round. They love our garage and our kitchen. We hang fly strips in the kitchen which works great but I hate hanging the disgusting thing up when we have company but the alternative is to have flies landing on us and our food. Yuck!

For our garage we bought flying insect spray like Raid and the flies are minimal for a few days. I heard they do not like air movement, thus a fan would be a good idea.

Funny thing we came across while vacationing in Seaside, Oregon. Seems that a pub we visited right beside a slough had not one fly in their establishment but noticed they had ziploc bag filled with water hanging from the door frame of every door and we asked why these bags were there and their answer to us was to keep the flies out.

Supposedly flies do not fly in the rain and with their hundreds of lenses for eyes they think its raining and will not fly underneath this bag. Go figure. It seems to work for them so we tried it at our house and it did not work.

I guess our Canadian flies are just too smart! Sorry to slam the Americans but I can because I am one. I just live in Canada.


I am moving into a house that is surrounded by farm land. Right now there are thousands of flies in the house. I need some serious help.


take some camphor tablets. put in a half a bowl of water; as camphor vapourizes flies vanish. Plus your room is deodorized as well.


I opened all of my windows and let as many flies out as possible. I then grabbed my vacuum and sucked up the flies that were dumb enough to stay inside. I then scrubbed everything down. I am now fly free!


i also have a problem with house flies. the problem is they are flying around a wooden beam in my living room. i have small figurines hanging on the beam also and there are always flies buzzing around them. one thing that i have tried that works is "Bedding Spray" for lice treatment. just spray it directly at the flies and it will get rid of them.


I've been having a problem with houseflies too. Everyday I vacuum them up from around the window and glass door edges and every morning there are about 60 more flies. I've cleaned everything, including the trashcan, I keep the dishes clean and I no longer throw food in the trash. I'm at wits end and worried that there could be maggots somewhere that I cannot see. I wonder if I could be causing more of a problem by using my vacuum cleaner?? Please help!


I disagree that houseflies dislike basil. I am battling houseflies this fall vacuuming hundreds everyday & have to vacuum my large potted basil herb garden as they like to hide under the leaves. I have read that they dislike oregano... I'll plant some & see how that turns out...

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