How to get rid of flies in the house: 8 effective methods to keep them away

Try these easy and harmless methods approved by experts to ensure your home is free from flies

compilation image of a house fly, plants near a sink and a homemade fly trap to show how to get rid of flies in the house
(Image credit: Getty Images / Photointrigue | Future | Tamara Kelly)

While we welcome the warmer weather we are not so inviting of the unwanted flies that are starting to drift into our homes through open windows and doors. Discover how to get rid of flies in the house easily and naturally, so that you can let the air in but keep unwanted pests out. 

Not only are flies in your house annoying, constantly buzzing around you and driving pets to distraction, enough reason to get rid of tiny black flies but house flies are also incredibly unhygienic – landing on surfaces, especially in areas where you prepare food. 

As the summer months approach, we'll be trying to cool down rooms without an AC and therefore keeping the windows open, meaning flies will inevitably find a way in at some point. So it's worth adopting these natural and harmless solutions now to get them out of the house and keep them out.

Because like when trying to keep ants away or keep wasps at bay, natural solutions are always the preferred methods where you can.

How to get rid of flies in the house: 8 natural ways

When it comes to getting rid of house flies, prevention is key. "For starters, you should avoid attracting them in the first place," Kameliya Ilieva, pest control specialist for Fantastic Services tells woman&home. 

"Flies are most drawn by a smell or light. So, naturally, if you clean your home often, avoid leaving food in the open, clean the kitchen after cooking, and avoid leaving lights on when opening windows or doors, far fewer flies will be interested in your home"

"Also, we should say that using pesticides or insecticides to get rid of flies in your home is unnecessary," says Kameliya. "There are far better, completely harmless, and eco-friendly ways to eliminate these pests." Discover six such solutions below.

1. Make a harmless trap with apple cider vinegar

Applecider vinegar fly trap by the window as a natural suggestion for how to get flies out of the house

Tamara tried this apple cider vinegar method to get rid of flies in her house.

(Image credit: Future)

Flies are renowned for their love of sweet things, which is why you'll find them in the kitchen by the fruit bowl. They are drawn to apple cider vinegar for this very reason, making it the ideal natural remedy to get flies out of the house. 

Making this simple trap doesn't harm flies, it merely contains them so you can set them back free in the garden and keep them out of your house. 

We can confirm this simple idea does work, and it offers a humane way to get rid of unwanted pests.

What you'll need:

  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Empty jam jar or glass 
  • Clingfilm 
  • Scissors

How to make a harmless DIY fly trap:

  1. Pour a small amount of the apple cider vinegar into the empty glass or jar, just enough to fill approximately an inch from the bottom.
  2. Cover the top with cling film to create a clear lid that won't deter them from approaching the trap.
  3. Next, pierce a small hole in the top of the film lid using the scissors, one that's large enough for a fly to get in but not so big that it can then escape with ease.
  4. The allure of the sweet vinegar will draw the fly into the glass via the hole, but once in there, it will be trapped because of the film above. When it becomes trapped you can simply take the jar outside and remove the cling film to set the fly free.
  5. Pull the cling film lid back over the top and put the trap back inside again to get rid of the next fly that ventures into your house.
Green Protect Bee-Safe Wasp & Flying Insect Trap, £14.49 at Lakeland

Green Protect Bee-Safe Wasp & Flying Insect Trap, £14.49 at Lakeland

You can buy a readymade alternative to save you the effort of making your own trap. It's important to state that this trap uses a solution that is NOT appealing to bees, so will not trap them in error.

2. Try the simple water and coin hack

freezer bag with water and coins hanging in a window as idea for how to get rid of flies in a house

Tamara also tested the water and coin hack to see if it would deter flies.

(Image credit: Future)

This water and coin trick became a firm favourite a few years ago on social media when cleaning forums were filled with praise for this simple yet seemingly effective fly deterrent. 

The simple trick uses water to repel flies from entering the house. So how does it work? It's really quite simple, working on the basis that flies have compound vision, meaning that their two eyes are essentially the equivalent of thousands of eyes so they see vast multiples of everything. The bag of water is multiplied in a fly's eyes and will therefore appear to be a bigger body of water to repel them from approaching. 

The coins inside are added to create a prism of colour via the reflection of the water to add to the effect, to overwhelm the fly's eyes to stop it from approaching an open window. 

Having tried this method we can attest it did appear to ward flies off from entering through the open windows, but of course, it won't work after dark.

What you'll need:

How to make a DIY fly deterrent: 

  1. Half-fill the clear bag with water, drop in five or six coins to sink to the bottom and seal tight.
  2. Cut a length of string to tie the bag securely to hang inside the window frame - we suggest tying it to the handle of a top-opening window or suspending it from the blind or curtain pole above a side-opening window. The bag needs to be hung to ensure the light can pass through and capture the reflections of the coins inside.

3. Put plants near the windows

House plants and herbs beside window used as a method for how to get flies out of a house

(Image credit: Getty Images / Westend61)

Mint and basil are commonly thought of as scents that flies dislike, meaning their presence acts as a simple repellent. If you are growing herb plants indoors, place the pots near the open windows in an attempt to stop flies in their tracks from crossing the threshold.

"Flowers can be the best repellent of them all," suggests Kameliya. "Nature knows how to deal with pests and has provided us with several herbs and flowers to prevent them from entering our homes.

"Just place some basil, marigold, lavender, bay leaves, or catnip around windows and doors. They will not only keep insects at bay but also beautify your surroundings. 

If you don't have plants indoors but have a patch of mint or basil in the garden, pull a bunch of leaves and pop them in a glass to act as a vase and pop that by the window instead. "You can also plant them in your garden to keep insects even further away," adds Kameliya.

4. Use essential oils

Making homemade remedies using essential oils to show how to get rid of flies in the house

(Image credit: Getty Images | Rawf8)

Spritz a room with essential oils such as lemongrass or peppermint or use an essential oil diffuser to repel flies in an instant. These natural fragrances give off a strong smell that instantly deters flies from entering your home.

Luckily there are plenty of household sprays and aromatherapy candles containing essential oils to make it easy to fill every room in the house with an unattractive aroma to flies – but one that's delightfully scented to make your home smell good.

If you don't want to make a spritz you could try dousing a clean microfibre cloth in one of the fragrant oils and hang it directly in the window to deter flies from the main entry point.

However you decide to use your essential oils your home will be fly-free and fragrant, What's not to love about this natural method?

5. Keep your bin smelling fresh with baking soda

Clean kitchen bin with baking soda as a way ofhow to get rid of flies in a house

(Image credit: Future)

Keep your bin smelling sweet to deter flies from coming inside to explore what treats await them at the bottom of the bin. Flies feast on decaying food waste and sugary substances, making the best kitchen bin an irresistible temptation. 

Keeping your kitchen bin clean and smelling fresh can eradicate the problem before it starts, as we discuss in our guide on how to get rid of fruit flies.

A simple trick to keep the bins fresh is to sprinkle a small serving of baking soda directly onto the bottom of your bin before placing a bin bag in. Discovered when cleaning with baking soda, this will help to catch any moisture should anything spill from the bin bag once it's in use while subtly scenting the bin in the meantime. 

You could also try the viral cleaning hack of soaking cotton wool balls in your essential oils to emit a further scent that repels flies with ease. Aside from deterring flies, this is also a great way to make your kitchen smell good at all times.

6. Burn citronella candles

Burning citronella candles as a natural way how to get rid of flies in a house

(Image credit: Getty Images / Blanchi Costela)

Citronella-scented products are renowned for their ability to ward off flying pests, so much so that citronella candles are often touted as the best-scented candles for the garden to keep mosquitoes away – the perfect accessory when hosting a BBQ. But they are a good natural way to deter flies also. 

"Another way to prevent flies from entering your home is using citronella candles or scents. They do work, but only in a limited space, so you need to have a citronella candle for every window and door you are going to open," says Kameliya.

7. Invest in protective screens

door screen with a butterfly on to show to get rid of flies

(Image credit: Getty Images | Cavan Images)

Another way to keep flies out of the house, the same as keeping mosquitoes away, is to cover open doors or windows. 

"Invest in a fly screen door or mesh curtain to protect your home from flies with ease," suggests Jordan Foster, a pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control. This solution allows you to leave the windows and doors open and not be quite so restrictive with having food out on the counter inside the house.

This might not be the most aesthetically pleasing solution for your stylish home but these protective covers do ensure the pesky flies can't find their way in even if they tried.

Zero In Window Fly Screen, £3.90 at Amazon

Zero In Window Fly Screen, £3.90 at Amazon

This affordable solution is not the most pleasant to look at but it is effective, the fine mesh window screen prevents flies from entering your home.

8. Dim the lights

bedroom with curtains and low level lamp

(Image credit: Getty Images | Bulgac)

Like many insects, light sources are an irresistible draw into your home. So to keep flies out of the house try lowering the lights.

“Insects are attracted to light so make sure that when windows are open, your lights are turned off in the evenings," suggests Adam Pawson, a window expert at Safestyle. "This is a fool-proof way to make sure you’re not inviting insects and flies in." 

If you are looking to keep a bedroom cool during the heat by leaving windows open Adam offers this tip: “On warmer nights, you can keep windows open but make sure to close your curtains or blinds to prevent flies entering your home.” 


 Why do I suddenly have flies in my house?

It might feel like flies appear suddenly at this time of year but it's no coincidence as to why they are more prevalent in the warmer months. Here are several things that can cause flies to suddenly appear in your house at this time of the year.

The first is the warmer temperatures, it means that we are more likely to keep doors and windows open much more than we ever would. "Flies can enter your home through open doors and windows, especially if you live in an area where they are prevalent," explains Jordan Foster, a pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control. "Your house may have gaps or openings that allow flies to enter." Consider some of the natural ways to repel them from entering via the windows.

"Also if there is uncovered or decaying food in your home, it can hold a lot of attraction for flies,' says Jordan. "Food should be stored in sealed containers and spills should be cleaned up immediately. The presence of garbage and organic waste attracts flies. Uncovered or improperly sealed garbage cans can become breeding grounds for flies," Jordan warns.

"Flies are also attracted to areas with moisture and dampness. Look for leaks or standing water in your house, as these can attract flies," Jordan advises. "Leaks should be fixed immediately and areas prone to moisture should be ventilated properly."

Certain plants and flowers attract flies, particularly if they produce sugary substances, so it's worth a check to see if your best indoor plants are the problem and are attracting flies.

"It is also possible that flies are breeding near or in your house," says Jordan. "They lay eggs in rotting fruit, compost piles, or pet waste that is moist and decaying. Identify and eliminate potential breeding sites in and around your property."

What smell will keep flies away?

Flies are said to detest the smell of essential oils like lemon grass, peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus – try putting a few drops of the best essential oils into a spray bottle and using them around the house daily to keep them away. The strong smell of citrus is one that flies dislike, evident from the success of using citronella coils and candles to keep flies away. Flies also don't like the smell of basil so consider popping a basil plant in your kitchen to help deter them from coming into the house.

When is it time to call in professionals to get rid flies in the house?

While natural methods are a suitable solution for how to get flies out of the house on the odd occasion, if you have an infestation it might be time to call in professional pest control. 

"All the above methods are viable only if you fight against an occasional fly that enters your household. If you have a constant and significant fly population, you’d need to call an expert to deal with the problem," explains Kameliya. 

"The main task is to find the source of the infestation. Before calling a professional, though, you need to check if all your windows and doors are undamaged and that there are no holes from which flies can enter. The point of entry might be some eroded seal around doors or windows or cracks in the walls," suggests Kameliya. "If you’ve taken care of all these factors and you still have a fly problem, calling a professional is unavoidable."

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 22 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trend forecasting events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.