How To Keep Gnats Away With This Soil Hack

If you've ever left out overripe fruit or over-watered your house plants, chances are you've had to deal with gnats. HGTV says that fruit flies, fungus gnats, phorid flies, and drain flies are all usually called gnats, but each one is attracted to different areas of your home. For example, drain and phorid flies are found around garbage cans, drains, and sewers, while fruit flies are attracted to (you guessed it) overripe fruit. Fungus gnats typically hang out around overwatered houseplants because they lay their eggs on the surface of the damp soil.

Dealing with fungus gnats can be difficult because they reproduce quickly; you could have hundreds in your home in a week. In addition, while these insects aren't harmful to humans, they can damage plants, Almanac notes. This is because the larvae could begin feeding on the roots, slowly killing your plants. Luckily, there is a super easy soil trick that should keep the gnats away from your houseplants. This hack only uses one ingredient, which you probably already have in your kitchen.

The easiest soil hack

If you're dealing with fungus gnats around your houseplants, try sprinkling a small amount of cinnamon on the top layer of the soil. Homes & Gardens says that this hack should work almost immediately because gnats don't like the strong smell of cinnamon. Also, the aromatic spice should keep the gnats from laying eggs as it will also kill the fungus the larvae feed on in the soil. Cinnamon is a great method of removal because it's a natural and safe ingredient. It's also cheap and easy to find in the grocery store — not to mention that it smells great. Cinnamon can be used on most houseplants or even entire gardens to keep pests away.

According to Gardening Know How, cinnamon isn't only beneficial to plants because it gets rid of pests. The spice also promotes root growth, which can benefit seedlings or cuttings. Furthermore, because cinnamon kills fungi, it works to control mushroom growth.

Other ways to deter gnats

While cinnamon is a great and natural way to keep gnats away, there are other tricks you could try. Using multiple methods together will be the most effective if you have a large infestation.

According to Plant Care Today, chamomile tea can also be used to deter insects. Sprinkling watered-down chamomile tea on top of the soil can keep the houseplant gnats away. The Almanac also suggests keeping the first layer of the soil dry or covering it with sand to keep the gnats from laying eggs. However, when using any of the above methods, you may want to cover the drainage holes in your plant's pots. This is because if the top of the soil isn't suitable for them, gnats may start laying eggs in these holes.

Cover the holes with a material that still allows water to seep through, like a synthetic fabric. You could also try trapping the insects. HGTV suggests pouring a mixture of apple cider vinegar, dishwashing soap, and a small amount of sugar into a dish. The gnats will be attracted to the sweet mixture, trapping them inside the bowl. Or, you could purchase yellow sticky traps, which will work the same way.