How to Kill Flies With Dish Soap

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Flies love a good trap. They can't resist a well-scented and well-designed trap either indoors or outdoors. There are a few ways to create traps for flies depending on what kind of flies you hope to remove from your indoor and outdoor spaces.


How to Kill Flies With Dish Soap
Image Credit: Jonathan Kitchen/DigitalVision/GettyImages

Video of the Day

How Dish Soap Works to Kill Flies

It seems rather basic and slightly archaic, but using dish soap to kill flies has been a go-to for irritated homeowners since the viscous detergent hit the grocery store shelves. When diluted with water, the properties of the dish soap stick to the fly's legs and cover the insect's wings with a soapy film.


Best Way to Get Rid of Flies

For a quick trap built with minimal ingredients and minimal effort, you can kill house flies with dish soap placed in a shallow bowl rimmed with sugar. The flies will fall into the soapy reservoir after being lured to the trap by the sugar.

Apple Cider and Dish Soap to Kill Flies

Apple cider has the added benefit of being just a little bit sweet. Its aroma naturally attracts flying pests. Placed in a shallow bowl, it will draw tiny gnats and fruit flies that skitter around your fruits and vegetables left out on the counter.


For larger gnat and fruit fly issues, you can create a homemade trap using apple cider vinegar as bait with an inverted soda bottle. To create an apple cider and dish soap fly trap:

  1. Clean a plastic liter bottle of soda.

  2. Make a cut around the base of the soda bottle about an inch below where the neck tapers. This will create a funnel when the cut top of the soda bottle is inverted.

  3. Turn the top of the bottle into a funnel by inverting into the bottom of the soda bottle.

Straight Vinegar Fly Trap

A spray bottle filled with vinegar can be a good first layer of attack on flies on a porch or patio. If you are a good shot, the vinegar will not only take out the fly but cover it with a fine mist of liquid that its wings and legs can't easily remove. The fly that gets a good dousing of straight vinegar will suffocate and be otherwise maimed from its encounter with the household cleaner.


Another bonus of shooting at flies with a stream of vinegar is that it will leave tiny attractive puddles that will lure flies to land. Once their feet touch the vinegar, it can spread to their wings and cause them to falter in their flying abilities.

Vinegar and Dish Soap Fly Trap

A glass jar that is at least half full of vinegar and sugar at about a one-to-one ratio will draw a large swath of flying insect species. You can roll a piece of white paper into a cone and put that into the jar with the narrow part of the cone facing down or cover the jar in plastic wrap with holes. Make sure the holes are big enough for the flies to find and crawl into but not large enough for them to fly out.


Best Fruit Fly Trap

To kill fruit flies, you need a smaller trap. You can also use apple cider vinegar for fruit flies. Fruit flies are often called vinegar flies because of their attraction to the acidic liquid.

Fruit flies will fall into a baby food jar or a small, narrow glass container half filled with apple cider vinegar and a dollop of dish soap. If they are difficult to catch, drill holes in the top of the small jar you are using so they can't land and flit away. The dish soap should float on the surface so it comes in immediate contact with the fruit flies' legs, rendering its flying abilities useless.