Home » 6 Ways To Get Rid Of Gnats & Fruit Flies In Garbage Disposal

6 Ways To Get Rid Of Gnats & Fruit Flies In Garbage Disposal

You may often find gnats and flies coming out of your garbage disposal. This happens in warm climates as these insects do not survive cold climates. Is it possible to get rid of these insects?

You can get rid of gnats, and fruit flies in a garbage disposal by regular cleaning. This can be done by either grinding ice cubes, using baking soda and vinegar, or using dishwashing soap. Using a fly-trap also prevents these insects from making their home in your garbage disposal.

How to get rid of flies in garbage disposal

Here is a simple step by step and detailed guide to get rid of drain flies, bugs and gnats in your garbage disposal;

Grind ice cubes once a week

Image of ice cubes

Removing the source of attraction is the best method to get rid of fruit flies and gnats. Using pesticides or other methods to kill them will yield only temporary results as long as the source of attraction is not addressed. So make sure you clean the garbage disposal once a week with ice cubes. All you have to do is dump a tray full of ice cubes into your garbage disposal with hot water running. Turn on the garbage disposal and wait until all the ice is ground and the disposal is clean. This method will kill and remove any infestation inside the garbage disposal. In addition, it also helps to sharpen garbage disposal blades.

Clean the disposal with dishwashing soap after each use

Use dishwashing soap

Even though grinding ice cubes clean your garbage disposal, fruit flies and gnats will come back sooner or later. To avoid this, you should clean the garbage disposal after each use. This may sound like a tedious task, but it is effortless. Once you got rid of all your food wastes, continue running the garbage disposal with water on. Then, add a few squirts of dishwashing soap into it. Let the soap foam and back up into the sink. Add a few more squirts of soap if needed. Keep running the water until all the soap is washed away.

This method will take only a minute or so, and it keeps the garbage disposal clean, avoiding any chance of insects returning to it.

Use baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar

There is no home & kitchen blog that doesn’t recommend baking soda and vinegar for cleaning. They are two easily available products and are used for all kinds of cleaning jobs. You can use this combo to clean your garbage disposal as well.

Add some baking soda into the grinding chamber of your garbage disposal. The disposal shouldn’t be running at this point. Then pour some vinegar on top of the baking soda. This will create a fizzy reaction that bubbles up. Let the solution sit inside the disposal for 10 minutes or so. Then run the water and turn on the disposal to wash away all the debris.

Cleaning your garbage disposal with baking soda and vinegar is only an alternative to grinding ice cubes. So include this in your weekly cleaning schedule. I prefer the ice cubes method because it provides a more abrasive action that cleans the garbage disposal thoroughly. If you use ice cubes, you don’t have to use vinegar and baking soda. Using any of these methods once a week is enough to keep the flies out of your garbage disposal.

Clean the underside of the splash guard after use

Clean sink baffle

Grinding ice and using dishwashing liquid helps to keep the insides of the garbage disposal clean. However, there is also another place where the food wastes collect and rot; splash guard. More accurately, the bottom part of the splash guard.

When the food waste is ground, they get spread everywhere, and some of this food waste is collected on the bottom side of the disposal’s splash guard. This keeps attracting flies and gnats even when you clean the garbage disposal. You can clean them using a toothbrush and soap with ease. Lift the edges of the splash guard and remove any gunk on it. The splash guards are removable for garbage disposal models (Waste King models), making it much easier to clean them.

Cleaning the splash guards after each use makes sure that nothing is left in the garbage disposal to attract flies.

Additional reading: Are splash guards universal?.

Clean the drain pipes

Clean drain pipes

You may still see flies coming out of your garbage disposal even if you regularly clean the disposal directed above. This means that there are some leftovers inside the drain pipes attracting these flies. These leftovers should be eliminated to prevent flies from breeding inside the drain pipes. In most cases, these can be found in the p-trap under the sink, so all you have to do is disconnect your p-trap and clean it. For most kitchens, the p-traps can be simply twisted off. Make sure you use a bucket or a basin to avoid dripping water everywhere.

Once the p-trap is clean, snake the drain pipes to remove any possible debris. Once this is done, refit the pipes, and you are done.

It is doubtful that you will see any more fruit flies from the disposal if you follow all the above steps. Eliminating the source of attraction and breeding is the only practical solution to getting rid of fruit flies and gnats in a garbage disposal.

Put a homemade fly trap near the sink

Making a fly trap

Fruit flies and other insects are attracted by the smell of ripe fruits and vegetables. They can breed anywhere in the kitchen. Considering that fruit flies can lay around 500 eggs and these eggs can develop into adults in a week, getting rid of them is not an easy, one-time job.

Using fly traps in several locations can prevent these insects from nesting in inaccessible places in the kitchen. For this, take a jar and add some cider vinegar or anything that produces a fruity smell. Cover the jar with a conical paper funnel. The funnel should have a hole at its end, large enough for flies to get in. Put this trap near the sink. Any flies attracted by the fruity smell coming from the trap will fall through the funnel, never to come back!


Like I said before, it is not a one-time job getting rid of gnats and flies in your garbage disposal. Regular cleaning is necessary to make sure they don’t come back. So make sure to include your garbage disposal in your daily cleaning routine.

Additional reading:

My name is Thomas Anderson, author of DisposalQA. I have 15 years experience working as a plumber in CA, and this is where I answer common questions about garbage disposals.