How to Repel Gnats Naturally

Get pesky gnats out of your house and off your body using natural methods. D. Kucharski K. Kucharska/Shutterstock

Gnats are a pesky part of life. Down here in Florida, gnats are as commonplace as sweating the moment you walk out of the house — which is pretty uncomfortably common.

So how can you repel these irritating little creatures?

First, it’s important to note that annoying gnats generally have a lifespan of about four weeks and if you happen to have a pregnant mama gnat in your house, she can give birth to as many as 300 more babies. So if you’re the lucky winner of an indoor gnat infestation, you should try and get rid of them. And fast.

Eliminate Problematic Produce

Gnats generally go where the fungus (and subsequent moisture) is. That’s why they’re attracted to the overripe bananas on your counter and the soft potatoes in your pantry. So if you do see them hanging around those items, chuck the produce and eliminate the reason the gnats are congregating in the first place.

Leave Out a Bowl of Vinegar

Of course once you’ve resolved the issue, you might still find some gnats flying around your house. If that’s the case, try putting a bowl of vinegar and dish soap on a table away from the food. Gnats are attracted to the smell of vinegar so that will draw them into the soapy mixture. The dish soap prevents them from getting out.

Swat Them

You can also try killing them the old-fashioned way — with a fly swatter or by clapping your hands together. (At one point, gnats were so commonplace around here that my 3-year-old was clapping his hands together every time he saw a gnat. I don’t think he was trying to kill them, I think he thought that’s what you’re supposed to do when you see a gnat. Poor kid.)

Make Yourself Less Desirable to Gnats

Gnats are also attracted to people, which is why they seem to swarm your face when you’re outside on a hot day. What can you do about it?

You can try raising your hand or wearing a high hat on your head. It's often said says that gnats tend to gravitate towards the highest point on your body, so if you make that highest point even higher than your head, they’ll usually leave your eyes, nose and mouth alone.

Also, try to lay off the fruity-scented shampoos, lip gloss, creams, and makeup as they’ll all attract, gnats, flies and mosquitos — one more reason to go natural this summer. Of course, you could wear one of those mosquito net hats, which definitely work well but might not be a popular fashion choice at the family reunion barbecue or office picnic.

Whatever you choose, know that summer is almost over and that means the end of lots of outdoor pests. So take advantage of these last couple weeks knowing there’s an end in sight — at least for this year!

View Article Sources
  1. "Fungus Gnats and Shore Flies." University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment

  2. Chen, Chaoying, et al. “An Innovative Strategy for Control of Fungus Gnats Using Entomopathogenic Nematodes Alone or in Combination with Waterlogging.” Journal of Nematology, vol. 52, 2020, pp. 1-9., doi:10.21307/jofnem-2020-057