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How to repel flies: a guide to keeping flies away

Watch those flies fly away from your home with Cleanipedia’s ultimate guide on how to repel flies.


repelling flies

Key steps

You don’t need to spend loads of money to keep flies away, just remember these 3 simple steps:

  1. Populate your house interior and garden with plants that repel flies.

  2. Create your own homemade fly repellent with vinegar.

  3. Prevent flies in your home by cleaning and disinfecting thoroughly.

Flies can be more than a nuisance; they can also carry diseases. The last place you want to see them is inside your home – especially in the kitchen, where everything should be kept clean and hygienic. Never fear! Cleanipedia has come up with the following top tips for how to repel flies, whether inside or out so that they’re gone from your home for good.

The golden rule is, don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or let rubbish accumulate in the bin!

How to keep flies away inside

To banish flies from your home, try these 3 methods:

1. Add plants that repel flies

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Flies dislike certain plants so if you're struggling with flies why not try buying a pot of mint. Not only does it smell delicious to you, and get deter pesky flies, but you can also use a sprig or two when cooking! Have a look at some of our other suggestions for plants to help you eliminate flies inside the home:

  • Mint

  • Venus flytrap

  • Basil

  • Marigolds

  • Lavender

  • Rosemary

  • Citronella

You can use a selection of these plant to repel flies inside the home but that's not the only benefit they might have - check if any are purifying plants that can help keep your home air clean.

plants that repel flies

2. How to repel flies inside the home with cleaning

The best way to prevent flies from being drawn into the house is to keep your home and kitchen clean. 

  • Wash dishes immediately after you use them.

  • Don’t leave food out on the countertop for long periods of time.

  • Clean the kitchen thoroughly after preparing food. 

  • Keep on top of cleaning your indoor bins, especially your food bin, and don't let them become too full.

If you are facing an infestation of flies, the first thing you need to do is clean your house thoroughly. Vacuum and wash all surfaces with a disinfectant spray or wipes to get rid of any fly eggs, and clean behind furniture and everywhere that might not be easily accessible at first – that’s where flies like to hide.

a clean kitchen

3. Make a homemade fly repellent

Flies can be easily repelled with white vinegar, so much so that even the smell of boiling vinegar can be an easy-to-make DIY fly repellent on its own.

  • Pour some cider vinegar into a pot or jar to start making your fly repellent.

  • Add one drop of dishwashing liquid.

  • Cover the pot with cling film and pierce it in several places.

  • Leave in areas where you have seen flies.

Another homemade fly repellent you can easily make uses a jar, some sugary water, and a paper cone. The sugar attracts the flies, while the jar and cone make it impossible for the flies to escape once they are trapped.

With these methods, you can finally wave goodbye to these bothersome and uninvited guests.

How to keep flies away outside

Your house is clean on the inside, but you can still see a swirling cloud of flies in your garden or around your patio? Yep. It’s a common issue and here’s why: flies love laying their eggs in moist surfaces. Though you can’t see them during the rainy season, it’s only because the larvae are just babies and are not yet ready to fly.

To get tackle the problem, follow this guide:

  1. The larvae feed on organic matter (food leftovers are their favourite dish!) so it’s very important to keep your outdoor bins in a dry area and your garden waste dry.  

  2. Disinfect your bins with a good disinfectant such as Domex.

  3. Cleanse the outdoor area with camphor fumes or light up citronella candles which deter flies. Never leave a lit candle unattended for safety.

  4. Get yourself a selection of plants that keep flies away - place them inside and outside your home, focusing on doors and windows.

a clean garden

 Now that you have the flies under control, you’ll want to make sure your home is also mosquito-proof! For tips on mosquito control, keep on reading Cleanipedia.


Read the instructions on your cleaning product before use. Wear gloves at all times and ensure that the area is well ventilated. Test all solutions on a small area first.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on repelling flies

What is the best way to remove flies from a car?

When it comes to understanding the best way to remove flies from a car, there are two top tips we can share with you. First, as long as you do the cleaning as soon as possible, most regular bug removers or glass cleaners will do the trick. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you’ll have a bug-free car in no time. Secondly, for more stubborn bug residue, we recommend using baking soda. This is not just great for cooking – it is also the perfect product to bring the bug-free shine back to your car. Simply add a little water to some baking soda and apply it to the bug residue, rubbing it with a damp cloth to remove it. With one final rinse you should see all the grime wash away.

What outdoor plants keep flies away?

There are a handful of great choices when it comes to outdoor plants which are great at keeping flies away. Herbs such as basil, rosemary and mint are great choices for window ledge herb gardens to keep flies from flying into your home. If you're landscaping your garden, try adding a little lavender, sweet woodruff and even some marigolds to your flower beds to work as garden pest control. These plants are not only relatively inexpensive and easy to care for, but they are also great for encouraging butterflies and bees too – so they're great for you and for the environment.

Are venus fly traps a good deterrent for flies?

Venus Fly traps aren't necessarily a deterrent for flies – but they are ideal when it comes to natural fly control. While they cannot control infestations, they love a tasty fly snack and will readily rid your home of a few flying pests. If you're trying to choose the best option, we recommend the ‘Big Mouth’ which is most popular for its capability of eliminating even the biggest of flies, including big bluebottles.

I've heard that vinegar is used to trap flies, so why is white vinegar a fly repellent?

Using white vinegar as fly repellent is a great if you're in a pinch. Add it to a spray bottle alongside dish soap, water, and baking soda for a surprisingly effective treatment. If you have the ingredients to hand at home then our vinegar of choice would actually be apple cider vinegar which can be used in a mason jar to create the perfect natural fly trap to rid your home of flying pests.

Originally published