Gnats and other flying insects can make spending time outside a miserable experience. Merely spending time on your porch or working in your garden can quickly turn into a battle if you happen to have a gnat infestation at your house.
While you could wear heavy clothing to keep these tiny pests from biting you, it could cause you to become uncomfortable quickly and may even leave to you overheating, forcing you back inside anyway. There are also commercial pest control sprays that will kill gnats and other bugs, but these can be extremely harmful to your family, pets, and the environment.
Learn how to keep gnats away with natural methods that use everyday household ingredients.
If you have a few stray gnats buzzing around your home, you might find that they can quickly explode into a swarm in as little as a few days. These annoying little pests can damage your plants and cause a substantial amount of frustration.
Even worse, if you don’t deal with them quickly, before they become a problem, the gnat population will only continue to grow. Here are some practical ways to keep gnats away and save your plants and your sanity.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Gnats
It’s no secret that gnats are incredibly annoying. The constant buzzing alone is enough to drive anybody crazy. When it comes to dealing with these flying insects, many people turn to chemical means to keep gnats away.
However, using a chemical bug spray could end up being harmful to your children and pests, not to mention the harm they can cause the environment. If you are looking for non-chemical ways on how to kill gnats, here are some useful, natural remedies to repel gnats from your home.
1. Let Soil Dry Out
If you notice you have a gnat problem, the best thing you can do is let the infested soil dry out. Allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before you water a gnat infested area again.
To control soil gnats, this goes for both the soil in your garden as well as the plants in your house. Gnats like to lay their eggs in damp, over-watered plants and the fungus gnat larvae need the moist organic material to develop into adult fungus gnats.
The only way to dry out and kill the eggs and larvae is to expose them to dry conditions.
2. Re-pot the Houseplant
If allowing the soil in your potted plants to dry out doesn’t get rid of the fungus gnats, you may need to remove the plant from its current pot and replace the potting soil.
It is essential when you re-pot your plants to use fresh soil since the adult gnats may have already laid their eggs in the old soil. When you remove the plant from its pot, be sure to check the plant for any signs of decay.
Decaying plant matter will attract gnats, so if the bulb or roots appear to be decaying, you may not be able to save the plant if you want to eliminate gnats and fruit flies.
3. Remove the Trash
If you have any overripe fruit or other decaying organic material, it’s best to get rid of it. Decaying organic items, like fruit, will not only attract gnats but will also bring fruit flies into your home.
Removing these sources of gnat food from your home will deter gnats from hanging around and annoying you. Remove the trash from your garbage can and place it outside.
Plants That Repel Gnats
Even though gnats are much smaller than mosquitoes, certain types of gnats, like buffalo gnats, also known as black flies or turkey gnats, deer fly, biting midges, stable flies, and sand flies will eat human flesh.
>> More about the difference between fruit flies and gnats
A gnat bite results in small red bumps that generate an annoying itch. If you don’t want to resort to wearing chemical gnat repellent spray every time you venture outside, you can try adding the following plants that are known for repelling gnats.
4. Plant Geraniums
You can grow geraniums in pots, or you can place them directly in the ground. The colorful, fragrant flowers contain citronella, which is a scent that gnats can’t stand.
Citronella is also one of the main ingredients found in commercial repellent sprays and candles. Place these plants in the sun and make sure they are in an area where the soil drains well.
5. Plant Lemon Thyme
A perennial herb, the lemon thyme plant has yellow and green lemon-scented leaves and is another plant that contains citronella.
You will need to plant this particular plant in a spot that gets full to partial sunlight. A bonus of planting lemon thyme in your garden is that you can use the herb in the kitchen to bring lemon flavor to your meals.
6. Plant Lavender
Another perennial plant, the aroma of the lavender plant repels gnats and is one of the many plants the keep mosquitoes away from your home. The flowers on the lavender plant can be either purple, lavender, or white.
While the scent is delightful to humans, it is downright revolting to gnats. You’ll want to place your lavender plant in an area that receives full sun, and you can plant it in the ground or a container.
7. Plant Mexican Marigold
The Mexican marigold plant produces clusters of yellow and cream colored flowers. The foliage of the plant emits a musty odor that gnats and other flying insects detest.
Not only will the Mexican marigold drive away gnats, but it also kills any harmful nematodes that may be living in the soil. You can plant them in locations that receive full sun and in soil that is mildly alkaline to acidic soil.
What Can I Use to Keep Gnats Away from Me?
There aren’t too many things that are more annoying than being swarmed by gnats when you step out the door or go for a walk. While they are relatively harmless, they tend to prefer to fly about the face and dangerously close to the eyes and ears, which makes them tremendously annoying to have around.
Fortunately, there are a handful of things that you can do if you want to know how to keep gnats away from your face. Try a home remedy for gnats before you reach for a commercial solution.
8. Use Dryer Sheets to Keep Gnats Away
The scent of fabric softener sheets tends to smell like lemon balm, lavender, scented geranium, and other various gnat repelling plants. So, if you want to keep gnats from your face, you can place a dryer sheet in your pocket before heading outside.
Also, since you are carrying around a fabric softener sheet and not actual flower petals, you won’t attract hummingbirds, butterflies, or bees, because they don’t want to be around the chemicals that are found in some of the dryer sheets.
9. Wear a Vanilla Repellent
It turns out that gnats can’t stand the sweet smell of vanilla. So, if you apply a vanilla concentrate to the exposed parts of your body, you can be adequately protected from gnat attacks. Here’s how to prepare a vanilla repellent.
Combine the sugar-free vanilla extract and the water, stirring well to ensure the two ingredients are appropriately blended.
Dip a clean cotton ball into the vanilla solution and apply the repellent to the exposed parts of your skin.
Keep in mind that there are some people are allergic to high concentrations of vanilla, so you’ll want to test the repellent on a small section of your exposed skin to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction.
10. Use Essential Oils
For years, people have been effectively using essential oils to repel gnats and other insects, as well as being a natural bee repellent. Essential oils are fundamentally potent substances that are a result of pressing or distilling plant material.
They are rich in potent aromatic compounds which make them perfect for repelling gnats. You can also essential oil for fruit flies and other annoying pests that you want to repel. The aromatic compounds that are the essence of essential oils are the source of the unique and natural scents that each oil has.
While these scents smell lovely and pleasing to us, they are incredibly unpleasant to insects like gnats. Here are several useful, homemade gnat repellents using a combination of essential oils and other natural ingredients.
11. Peppermint Oil to Repel Gnats
Peppermint essential oil is a slightly minty and peppery and is the active ingredient in many of the commercial bug repellents. The strong smell of peppermint is detested by many insects and comes in handy as a gnat repellent.
The raw peppermint oil can be harsh on the skin, so you want to make sure you dilute it for your safety.
Melt the shea butter completely in a double boiler until it is liquefied. Remove the pan from the heat and add the essential oils. Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
Transfer the liquid to a four-ounce container and let cool. To repel gnats, apply the cream to the exposed areas of skin.
12. Eucalyptus Oil
The strong smell of eucalyptus oil will not only leave your house smelling great, but it will keep gnats away as well. The strong scent of the oil is excellent for repelling many different kinds of insects, including those annoying gnats.
You can place some eucalyptus oil in your home diffuser, or you can combine it with a few other essential oils and use it as a simple DIY gnat spray or for other annoying bugs.
Pour all of the essential oils into a plastic spray bottle. Add the vinegar and the water to the container. Replace the cap and shake to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
Spray your surroundings with the spray to keep the gnats away. Be careful not to spray the solution in your eyes or the eyes of your pets.
13. Geranium Oil
Geranium oil is known as a healer of various skin problems and is excellent for keeping gnats away. Gnats can’t stand the smell and will steer clear of any area that smells like geraniums. It also has anti-bacterial properties, which will help combat the presence of gnats.
14. Cedarwood Oil
The sweet scent of cedarwood is exceptionally repugnant to most animals and insects, including gnats. This makes cedarwood one of the most potent remedies against gnats and is used in many of the best gnat repellents, including those that are sold commercially.
15. Rosemary Oil
The soothing aroma of rosemary, while enjoyable to us, is horrendous for gnats. Placing rosemary around the house can be a great way to keep the gnats at bay.
You can also combine the oil with water and spray it around your garden and yard to keep the gnats out.
16. Trap them With Vinegar Soap
An effective method for attracting and eliminating gnats is vinegar soap. This homemade gnat trap is simple and uses apple cider vinegar and dishwashing liquid.
The acidic scent of the cider vinegar will naturally attract the gnats, and the dish soap will trap them in the solution.
Pour the apple cider vinegar into the small bowl or jar. Add the dish soap to the vinegar. Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the container and make small holes, about ½ a centimeter in diameter, in the plastic wrap. Place the bowl in an area where gnats have become a problem.
This homemade solution also makes an effective fruit fly trap.
17. Use Yellow Sticky Traps
You can effectively trap and remove gnats from your home with the help of yellow sticky traps. You can find these traps at your local home improvement store, or you can make your own. Start by covering the front of a yellow index card with a thin layer of honey. It is essential that you use a yellow card because it is the color that will attract the gnats to your trap.
Next, tape the yellow, honey covered card to a straw or popsicle stick, making sure to attach it to the non-sticky side. Place the stick in the ground or potting soil next to the infested plant, with the honey-coated side facing out.
The gnats will swarm the card and will become trapped in the honey. Once the card is full of gnats, discard it and place with a new homemade sticky trap.
Are gnats attracted to light? Not necessarily, but you can put the traps near outdoor light fixtures to keep them and other flying pests away.
Gnats are incredibly annoying little insects that love to buzz around your face in an extremely uncomfortable way. Sometimes they can even carry harmful bacteria and parasites that could threaten your health. Using the above-mentioned, gnat repellent techniques will effectively eliminate a gnat infestation and let you enjoy an insect-free home.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to keep gnats away with these simple and effective natural techniques. If you found these tips on keeping nats away useful, please feel free to share it with your friends and family.