How to Keep Flies Away from Your Home

Let’s face it, flies can really ruin a good time, whether it’s a patio gathering, a long-awaited barbecue, or simply enjoying a meal. Some flies, like mosquitoes, can even spoil the mood with their bites. So, how do you deal with these pesky insects and keep them away from your home?

Flies aren’t just annoying; they can also carry harmful bacteria, potentially leading to food poisoning and other infections. So, it’s essential to find effective ways to get rid of them. Here are some natural methods to keep flies at bay:

What Attracts Flies?

In Australia, there are three common types of flies: houseflies, bushflies, and blowflies. Additionally, if you’re a gardener or have fruit trees, you might encounter fruit flies and vinegar flies around your plants. After severe weather like floods or storms, black flies may also appear.

Regardless of the type of fly, there are basic steps you can take to prevent attracting them to your property. Here’s what typically draws flies:

Easy Access to Food

Flies are attracted to rotting food and scraps. To prevent this, wrap food waste tightly, ensure bins have tight-fitting lids, keep them closed at all times, and empty them regularly. Regularly clean both the inside and outside of your bins.

Neglected Gardens

If you have a fly problem indoors, the cause might be outside in your neglected garden. Remove unwanted fruits and vegetables promptly, as leaving them on trees to ripen and rot can attract fruit flies and vinegar flies. Also, remove fallen produce from the ground and harvest fruits early if they’ll continue to ripen after picking.

Open Septic Tanks and Drains

Ensure drains and septic tanks have sealed lids and are undamaged. Regularly inspect them for fly larvae and repair any entry points if larvae are found. Keep toilets clean and fully functional, including inspecting toilet vent pipes for gaps where flies could enter.

Lawn Clippings and Discarded Vegetation

Dispose of garden remnants in tightly closed bin bags to avoid attracting flies.

Animal Feces

Clean up after pets immediately and inspect your garden daily for any wildlife feces.

By addressing these factors, you can minimize fly attraction to your home, garden, and yard.

1. Prevention is Key

Before we dive into methods to repel flies, it’s important to adopt some common-sense practices to prevent them from breeding and multiplying in your home:


Keep your home and outdoor areas clean, especially after gatherings or meals where dropped food can attract flies. Seal rubbish bags tightly and maintain clean rubbish bins.


Bright white lights tend to attract mosquitoes and flies. Dimming your lights during outdoor events and using yellow bulbs can help reduce their attraction. Consider switching to yellow or sodium vapor lights and avoid leaving lights on overnight.

2. Natural Fly Repellents

Even if you’re diligent with preventive measures, flies may still find their way into your patio and home. Here are some natural repellents that could help keep them away:

Homemade Sprays, Herbs, and Plants

Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix ⅓ hydrogen peroxide with ⅔ water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray it on surfaces where flies tend to gather. It’s highly effective.

Vodka: Flies and mosquitoes aren’t fans of vodka. To make a repellent, mix 1 glass of vodka with 2 teaspoons of aloe vera juice, 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil, and ½ teaspoon of essential oil. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You can use it on your skin or on surfaces where flies are present. Test a small patch of skin first to ensure it doesn’t cause irritation.

Mouthwash: Fill a spray bottle with alcohol-based mouthwash and spray it on table and chair legs or any patio surface. Flies dislike the smell of mouthwash, and it will leave your space smelling fresh and minty.

Using Natural Oils and Herbs to Repel Flies

Anise Oil

This potent and sweet herb is excellent for keeping bugs away. Simply mix a few drops of anise oil with water in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray it on surfaces and outdoor areas to repel flies.

Citronella oil

Citronella oil is known for its ability to repel flies. Mix approximately 150 ml of witch hazel with 5 drops each of citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils in a spray bottle. Thoroughly mix the ingredients before using this bug repellent spray.

Lemongrass Oil

Create a bug repellent with a refreshing citrusy aroma by mixing 20-25 drops of lemongrass essential oil with half a cup of hot water. This mixture not only repels pests but also fills your home with a pleasant scent.

Using Herbs to Repel Flies

Certain herbs and trees have scents that flies can’t tolerate. Consider planting these near your doorway to prevent flies from entering your home. Alternatively, you can plant them outdoors to enjoy bug-free outdoor gatherings. If planting isn’t an option, dried basil and mint placed in bags and hung outside or inside can also help repel flies effectively.


Flies dislike strong, fresh scents, and peppermint tops the list in this regard. It’s easy to care for and makes a lovely addition to your home.

Lemon Balm (Horsemint)

With its citrusy scent, lemon balm is a breeze to grow and requires minimal care.

Citronella Grass

Known for its effectiveness in repelling flies, citronella grass needs plenty of sunlight and is sensitive to cold temperatures. Most mosquito repellents contain citronella.


Apart from being a culinary favorite, basil’s strong, sweet aroma also deters flies and mosquitoes. Planting basil allows you to enjoy both fresh cooking and a fly-free environment.


Easy to grow and a potent repellent against mosquitoes and flies, thyme is a versatile herb commonly found in stores.


This medicinal herb produces an oil that efficiently kills bugs. However, if you’re not a fan of cats, avoid planting catnip, as felines adore it.


Besides enhancing the flavor of your dishes, rosemary serves as a powerful repellent against flies and other bugs. It’s resilient and easy to grow.


Plant these charming flowers in summer and spring to keep flies at bay. Marigolds also add vibrant shades of orange and yellow, brightening up any space.


Renowned for its relaxing properties, lavender is used in commercial mosquito and fly repellents. Whether grown directly in soil or in a pot, lavender effectively repels flies. Drying lavender flowers and placing them in bags indoors also works wonders.


Bugs detest the scent of eucalyptus, making it an excellent natural repellent. Easy to grow, especially in Australia, eucalyptus also provides relief for nasal congestion.

Tea Tree

Effective against mosquitoes and flies, tea tree leaves offer relief from itching caused by insect bites.

3. Using Aromatic Repellents Like Citronella

Employ various natural scents that smell pleasant to us but repel flies! Here are some examples:

Clove and Lemon Decorative Repellent

Flies can’t stand the strong scents of cloves and lemon, but for us, they’re delightful. Create this decorative repellent by halving a lemon and inserting 6-12 cloves into each half. It not only makes a beautiful centerpiece but also keeps flies at bay effectively.

Natural Apple Cider Skin Repellent

Mix ¼ cup of witch hazel with ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and add 30-60 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to create this spray. Apply it to your skin, but avoid ingestion and discontinue use if it causes irritation.

Burning Citronella Candles

Burning citronella candles is an effective method as flies dislike both the scent of the plant and the presence of flames and smoke.

Using a Fan

When cooking a barbecue, flies can be a nuisance. Place a fan near the barbecue to create a breeze that discourages flies from approaching the food.

These simple methods can help keep flies away and allow you to enjoy your outdoor activities without interruption.

4. Making Natural Fly Traps

If you’ve decided to trap those pesky flies, here are some creative and easy-to-make traps that will get rid of them:

Sugar-Water Trap

You’ll need a jar, sugar water, and a paper cone. Pour the sugar water into the jar and cut a small hole (about 1 cm) in the tip of the cone. Place the cone in the jar with the point facing downwards, making sure it doesn’t touch the liquid. Flies will be attracted to the sweet liquid but won’t be able to escape once they enter the jar.

Milk, Sugar, and Pepper Trap

Mix 250ml of milk, 3 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper in a pan. Heat the mixture on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Pour the mixture into bowls and place them in areas where you want to trap and repel flies. The flies will be attracted to the mixture but will drown as soon as they land on it.

These natural traps are effective and easy to set up, helping you get rid of flies without using harmful chemicals.

How to Keep Flies Away

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