Dish Soap and Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

0 Posted by - August 29, 2012 - DIY & Crafts

The other day I got a request from one of the pintestes to test the dish soap and apple cider fruit fly trap.

And I realized I already tried it a few weeks ago. I was visiting my mom and, lest you judge her for having fruit flies, I must let you know that we didn’t know it at the time, but her sub-floor was slowly flooding with dishwasher water and giving the flies a place to breed. She is currently working in a floor-less cabinet-less kitchen while the contractors dry everything out and replace it all. So no judgies. And also be nice to my poor, kitchenless mom. Unlike her cooking-fail daughter, she actually does like to cook and makes really good stuff, and being without a proper kitchen sucks when you’re not a cooking-fail.

Anyway, she was making noises of general aggravation about the fruit flies and I went, “DING!” (that is the sound of a brilliant idea popping into my head) “I know! Let’s find a solution on Pinterest!”

And, thus, this post was born.

We settled on the dishsoap and apple cider vinegar trap. We even added an almost-over-ripe cherry for effect.

And, I have to tell you, we caught a few. But, turns out when you’re breeding them faster than you can kill them, one little mug full of fly trappy stuff doesn’t work too well. Still, I think it gave my mom and I a little sadistic pleasure to have killed at least a few of the little effers.

The fly-killing duo

In conclusion, this kinda sorta works, but mostly just to satisfy your slightly psychotic tendencies to KILL KILL KILL the little creatures that invade your kitchen from time to time.


  • Mermaid74 August 29, 2012 - 8:21 am Reply

    I’ve used that method many times but one thing that I did was to put a piece of plastic wrap over the mug, secure it with an elastic and then I poked little holes in it, big enough for them to squeeze though but they got trapped and couldn’t squeeze back out.  I caught 10’s of hundreds of them… well, at least 10’s of 50 of them but it worked and the general fruit fly population was demolished pretty quickly.  It works especially well after leaving a banana to rot at the bottom of the fruit basket, as I seem to do at least once a month.

  • rum65 August 29, 2012 - 8:36 am Reply

    I used this technique this summer as well with good results. I did have to replace the mixture every day. It seemed that after a certain amount of dead fruit flies were in the container, no more. Would go near it. Maybe they could sense it was a death trap when they saw their relatives’ lifeless little bodies laying on the bottom!!

  • RebeccaSchaefer August 29, 2012 - 9:11 am Reply

    I have found more success by putting it in a water bottle and then making a cone of white computer paper to put in it. The can get in, but struggle to get out. Works best for me! 

  • rawketstarling August 29, 2012 - 10:01 am Reply

    I tried this a few months ago when the drain flies got really bad, and it worked like a charm! I actually used that same jar of vinegar and soap for 6 weeks. There was something soooo satisfying about seeing that jar of dead flies. 

  • JamieKLee August 29, 2012 - 10:11 am Reply

    I recently read on reddit that Mad Dog 20/20 works pretty well also. I guess the flies are attracted to the fruitiness and then drown.

  • shedigs August 29, 2012 - 11:36 am Reply

    No judgies. You can get fruit flies without having a dirty home (as you have proven). Also, if it’s hot out and you have a trash bin in your house (like everyone does), you can attract them, it happens. Red wine vinegar itself works great! Put it in a glass, tape saran wrap to the top and poke a few holes in it with a toothpick, the flies can’t get out and it works pretty darn well to attract them! Putting it on a warm surface, like a stove top (not on, either recently used or a gas stove) helps attract them to the vinegar as well (self tested).

  • PiperAlexander August 29, 2012 - 11:41 am Reply

    I have a great fruit fly trap that usually works wonders. Let me know if you want it. Also, totes no judgies, these f*ckers are breeding like crazy in my apartment. I’ve given up trying to get rid of them and now have to live with the fact that we share the space, but not the bills 🙁

  • DanaEvans68 August 29, 2012 - 2:16 pm Reply

    I’m thinking that maybe you shoulda spelled ‘pintestes’ as ‘pintestees’, because, I don’t know if everyone else out there is as sensitive as I am to spelling and body parts, but I see ‘testes’ and I’m not thinking bugs!

    • kbullet August 30, 2012 - 8:11 pm Reply

      DanaEvans68 I think that was her intention…. if you are a fan of this blog you see her love of ball jokes and other various ‘crude’ humor…. Bring on the testes!

      • DanaEvans68 August 30, 2012 - 11:11 pm Reply

        kbullet DanaEvans68  Silly me- I was thinking it was a funny mistake (like a funny autocorrect)- shoulda known better…. 🙂

  • MeredithGreenwood August 29, 2012 - 2:46 pm Reply

    I’ve always put a small bit of wine in a Gladware container, then rubber-banded some plastic wrap around it and poked a few holes in the plastic wrap.  They can get into the container (attracted by the enticing aroma of the wine, of course!) but they’re too stupid to get out.  I couldn’t believe how well it worked the first time we tried it and it’s the only thing I do to get rid of them now!

  • melissmk August 29, 2012 - 5:46 pm Reply

    The absolute best fruit fly trap is an almost empty wine bottle. Or if you only have empty wine bottles, you can put a little bit of apple cider vinegar in the bottle. The thin neck makes it hard for the flies to get out.

  • Dragondotz August 29, 2012 - 9:56 pm Reply

    I use the cider/soap trap and it nails them every time our population reserfaces, and I swear by it! The trick is to water down the mix a bit. They come for the vinegar, but get trapped by the soapy water.Thanks for posting! It makes me giddy when I see a pin that I’ve tried or want to try. (You saved me from body sugaring. For this I am truly greatful.)

  • ejsuess August 30, 2012 - 1:36 am Reply

    I had a fruit fly problem in my old apartment and I just used a tiny bit of water mixed with dish soap and put a few peaces of a peach in there. What I was shown to do, though, was to make a funnel out of paper because if the flies don’t get trapped by the fruit, they’re too stupid to fly back through the little hole in the funnel.

  • SandraSkeem August 30, 2012 - 10:01 am Reply

    it works better if you add a few drops of dish detergent to it, cover the mug with saran wrap and poke a few holes in it and put out 3 or 4 mugs.  I catch a ton this way.

  • michellelfelt August 30, 2012 - 12:01 pm Reply

    I’ve never tried it with soap but I use a ‘cone’ and catch 20 within the first 10 minutes, especially if we have a lot of fruit on the counter.

  • lariet50 August 30, 2012 - 5:26 pm Reply

    I’ve done this – always works really great. I tried the method of covering it with cling wrap, too, but that never worked as well for me. Die, you little bastards! Die!

  • Popping traps | Pydltda August 31, 2012 - 10:39 am Reply

    […] Dish Soap and Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap | Pintester […]

  • WendyGay August 31, 2012 - 11:21 am Reply

    It helps if you make an upside down cone with a sandwich bag.  Poke a few holes in it and attach with a rubber band.  That way, they get in, but have a hard time getting out and eventually land in the liquid and die.  I’ve done this and seriously have caught hundreds of them.  It was so gross and also incredibly satisfying.

  • GirlWhoCriedSkinny August 31, 2012 - 1:36 pm Reply

    “…but mostly just to satisfy your
    slightly psychotic tendencies to KILL KILL KILL the little creatures
    that invade your kitchen from time to time.”Yup, that’s me!

  • Cbouch September 1, 2012 - 8:31 am Reply

    I had a similiar situation a few years back. I used a apple cider beer (cause that’s the closest I had) poured some in a bowl then tightly wrapped plastic wrap over it. Then using an earing carefully poke little holes all over the top. This allows the fruit flies to get in, but then they cant find their way out. Worked like a charm. After a few days of these treatments, we didn’t have them any more.

  • tricialee07 September 1, 2012 - 4:16 pm Reply

    I do this FREQUENTLY (got the idea from my MIL) you have to pour a small amt of Apple cider vinegar and like 2 DROPS of BLUE DAWN dishsoap. It will definitey work this way.

  • AmandaBakerPayne September 5, 2012 - 3:07 pm Reply

    I have done this before too. Every so often my husband takes a wild hair to cook, but then doesn’t clean anything up and by the time I have to clean it up my kitchen is infested with gnats. As long as the original source of the problem is taken care of then this will work. Usually a small dish with dawn in the bottom and Apple Cider Vinegar about half full works for me

  • Valleygurlie916 September 6, 2012 - 11:40 pm Reply

    i like the  two litter soda bottle and paper cone method, that way you can see the little suckers drowning to death. its good entertainment.

  • housewifery September 7, 2012 - 3:00 pm Reply

    I do this and it works.  Apple cider vinager, red wine vinegar,  (it has to have fermenting fruit present…) and a drop of dish soap.  I use 7th gen, just cause that’s what I wash my dishes with.  But, most importantly, I secure to top with plastic wrap and poke holes in the top so the flys can get in, but usually not out.  I change it once I have a good amount in there.  Then I make sure to bleach my drain and remove all food from counters until I don’t see any for a while.  

  • katbro34 September 12, 2012 - 12:03 am Reply

    One thing that has always worked for me… take a jar, poke small holes in the lid, and fill jar with beer.  Totally works every time!  I hide the jar behind some crap on my counter and no one even notices it is there!

  • driedonmilk September 12, 2012 - 3:23 pm Reply

    I actually do this all the time. effing fruit flies from the Target bananas!!! *shaking fists at the sky* I do it all the way you did it but put a piece of suran wrap on top of the bowl or cup and poke some holes in the top with a toothpick. the little turds can get in but can’t figure out how to get out and then DROWN AND DIE!!!!!

  • EWJLang September 20, 2012 - 4:42 pm Reply

    A little wine is what works best for me.  Just a shallow bit in the bottom of a glass, and the suckers fall in and it’s all “Leaving Las Vegas” time for them. I find it most effective when one buys a massive bottle of wine, or even a decent box.   Sure, you only use about 2 Tablespoons to catch the flies, but making sure the rest doesn’t go to waste?   Makes you care less about the ones that get away.

    • lacyrasmussen414 October 1, 2012 - 3:52 pm Reply

      EWJLang I’m going to try this:)  I’m not allowed anymore plants in the house because of those darn little bugs!  And anything with wine in it has to be good.

  • JenniferGreenHarvey September 27, 2012 - 7:47 pm Reply

    I searched the internet for ideas to rid my home of those pests and it said this method would take a while but it works. I tried two small bowls with apple cider vinegar and dawn dish soap. It did work but it took a while like they said. This past weekend my home was swarming with flies and once again gnats. I thinks it’s the weather change here that’s bringing them in.  Anyway, I mixed regular vinegar with the apple cider kind and put more dawn dish soap in the bowls and it has worked much better this go around.

  • jannelou October 1, 2012 - 3:07 pm Reply

    Actually, we’ve had the greatest success with teriyaki sauce in a cup.  It’s amazing how many you can catch.

  • jillchelseanyc October 2, 2012 - 11:13 am Reply

    TEQUILA. I have way more in my apartment then apple cider vinegar. After a super scientific test of this magic elixir vs. apple cider vin with and without soap it won hands down, 12 flies to 1. Don’t want to talk about how so many ended up in our home. Took 24 hrs to get over 15. Awesome.Also key, is to use a shallow bowl, put about 1/4 inch of magic elixir in it and cover with plastic wrap. Poke holes and be sure to put a few near lip of bowl, they see bowl edge and land on it to sniff it out – yeah a lot of time on my hands, unemployed. Swish it around every now and again to reinvigorate aroma.Plus inspires margarita afternoons.

  • tweetspie October 3, 2012 - 12:58 am Reply

    I had a fruit fly problem in my college apartment. I put some wine in the bottom of a glass, poked some holes in some saran wrap, and rubber banded it around the top of the glass. The next day, the fruit flies were all dead.I know some people suggest just leaving it open, but the bastards can’t find their way out if you cover it and they’re less likely to wise up.

  • teamawesome October 5, 2012 - 1:54 pm Reply

    during the summer, my boyfriend and i RAID the farmers markets- so our house was full of them…we’ve used apple cider vinegar and white wine- both have worked extremely well, we just had to leave it out for a bit and it was in a tiny dish- like sushi soy sauce dish style. worked wonders. fruit flies are the spawn of satan.

  • bainidhe December 12, 2012 - 1:00 pm Reply

    This method totally worked for me… my sister-in-law managed to get a swarm in her kitchen this fall and was trying the holes-poked-in-saran-wrap thing with little success. I came over to babysit & tried the vinegar and soap thing, and caught like 20 in a few hours. My niece explained it when her mom got home: They fall in the cider and DROWN!

  • DIY Make-up Brush Cleaner | Pintester January 2, 2013 - 2:31 pm Reply

    […] more I look at Pinterest, the more I am convinced that a mixture of dish soap and vinegar can pretty much do everything. Today I decided to test this theory again, this time with a make-up […]

  • Lani January 3, 2013 - 10:21 pm Reply

    I must say that this one actually worked wonders for me. I recently moved into a neighborhood that doesn’t allow garbage cans to be kept in front of the house. (Silly association rules) To try and get around it the first week, kept my cans in the garage (as opposed to the concrete slab designated for them in my back yard). Within days, my garage was swarmed with flies. There were THOUSANDS. I turned to Pinterest for a solution, and came across this pin. I set up two traps on opposite sides of the garage. It took while, but within a week, all of the flies were gone. My traps were FULL of dead flies. I think I had to refresh the traps at least twice during the week. But it definitely worked like a charm…and I gave in to keeping my garbage cans in back.

  • Sarah Ritchie February 5, 2013 - 5:22 am Reply

    You can skip the dish soap and it still works. Cover the top with plastic wrap next time, and poke pencil sized holes for maximum kill count

  • Labrat February 17, 2013 - 11:50 am Reply

    I worked in a fly lab in college. If there was anything useful that I learned there, it would be fly traps. For being a lab that worked with hundreds of thousands of tiny flies, there were surprisingly not many flying around. One trick I ended up bringing home: using an empty jelly jar, fill 1/4 with apple cider vinegar, add a couple drops of dishsoap, and cap with a paper funnel. The dishsoap breaks the surface tension (which means the little buggers sink into it the second they get near the vinegar) and the funnel prevents them from escaping.

  • Okami Rei February 23, 2013 - 11:51 am Reply

    actually red wine in a cup with a ziplock bag with holes poked in it over the cup works the best…

  • Mend May 7, 2013 - 1:04 am Reply

    i’ve done this and it worked. instead of a mug, you use a bottle with a paper corn taped to it going inside of it, so the flies fly into the cone and don’t realize they can leave where they came in and they get trapped in the bottle and die in there.

    • Mend May 7, 2013 - 1:05 am Reply

      corn lol, i mean cone

  • 14truth June 4, 2013 - 11:09 am Reply

    Sorry, but I am sitting here watching the fruit flies land everywhere EXCEPT the vinegar dish… I am going out now to buy a fruit fly trap.

    • k k nanee November 29, 2014 - 12:53 pm Reply

      Same thing happening here. All they do is sit on the edge of the container, dont matter how many holes you make, it doesn’t work

  • Emily June 8, 2013 - 8:02 pm Reply

    I have actually used this before, and it works well. Just gotta figure out the right ratio, which was basically trial and error for me. Annnnd unfortunately I don’t remember because it was a couple of summers ago when I needed to use it. It takes about a day or two, but if you just sit there and watch you won’t notice the difference, leave it out for a few days, you will definitely notice!

  • Pintester Movement: Volume 2 – Happenstanced July 11, 2013 - 12:05 am Reply

    […] original pin came from over at Apartment Therapy and The Pintester’s test showed that it kinda worked, so feel free to give it a shot even if you aren’t […]

  • Brandy H August 5, 2013 - 12:20 am Reply

    MUST COVER WITH PLASTIC WRAP AND POKE HOLES. Otherwise you will get the results that you speak of. They must be trapped inside for it to work. Guarantee, take a look at in in two hours after the wrap is on then say it does not work. I use about 1c of viniger w/ about 5 drops of dawn.

  • ThetaSigma October 9, 2013 - 11:58 am Reply

    This may only happen in our house, but we don’t always finish white wine before it becomes undrinkable. I uncork it and leave it on the counter, and it is an *excellent* fruit fly trap.

    • Heather January 2, 2014 - 3:15 pm Reply

      Happened to me with some white zinfandel. Except I was going to have some more! Upon venturing to the kitchen to fill my glass, lo and behold the bottle had several fruit flies in it. Yuck, yuck.

    Leave a reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.