Nov. 19 2020, Published 12:20 p.m. ET
For those who don’t know, drain flies are tiny, fuzzy nuisances that breed in the moist organic slush that collects in kitchen and bathroom sink drains. You know, that stuff that you hate having to pull out of the drain when your dishes are done? Yeah, drain flies love that stuff. If you have them already, that means you’re probably wondering how exactly you can get rid of drain flies without calling an exterminator.Article continues below advertisement
What are drain flies?
Otherwise known as sink moths, drain flies are a little less than five millimeters long, which means you might not have noticed the grey or tan fuzzies all over their tiny bodies. They are not good fliers and so they can usually be found sitting placidly on walls surrounding your sink. If you do catch them flying, you’ll probably notice them fluttering jerkily rather than sailing to and fro with purpose.Article continues below advertisement
Where will I see drain flies in my home?
Sink moths will almost always be found living in and around the dirtiest sinks in your home. For most people, that is to say, those who clean most often, they should not be a problem. However, if your sinks are prone to getting clogged or leaving even a small amount of stagnant water in the drain, you might find yourself with a drain fly problem. They can also appear after you’ve come back from vacation if one of your sinks didn’t drain properly before you left.Article continues below advertisement
Is there a way to tell if I have drain flies?
Despite how tiny they are, your first clue about a possible drain fly infestation will probably be a sighting of the flies themselves. If you don’t notice them but have a suspicion that they might be around, you can try to leave some sticky tape over your open drain overnight. The breeding flies will come up and out of the drain and get stuck to the tape. If you peel the tape back and see some flies there, you might have a problem.
How do I get rid of drain flies?Article continues below advertisement
If you have drain flies, read on for a few methods you can follow to get rid of them for good.
Can I use chemicals to get rid of drain flies?
There is likely any number of chemical-based drain cleaners that will eradicate your drain fly colony as soon as you pour them down the sink. The thing is, you probably don’t want to go pouring things like bleach or Liquid-Plumr down the drain if you don’t have to. Solvents like Drano are not only bad for people, they are bad for the environment as well. There have even been reports that Drano can form into dangerous toxins when exposed to surface water and air.Article continues below advertisement
Are there natural ways to get rid of drain flies?
If you’re not looking to annihilate your clumsy sink moths, then there are plenty of natural home remedies that will get rid of them. Something as simple as boiling water might even do the trick when used in concert with a few other methods. The first thing you should do is grab a metal snake (which you can make by unfurling a wire hanger) and push it slowly around the drain so that you mix up any potential clogs. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down to flush out the colony.
If you notice that you still have flies, you could make a solution of equal parts sugar and vinegar, along with 10 drops of dish soap, and place it next to the sink. The smell of the mixture will fool any remaining flies into landing on, and subsequently drowning in, the shallow lake of sugary death.Article continues below advertisement
Other organic solutions for drain fly extermination involve mixing a half cup of salt, half a cup of baking soda, and one cup of vinegar into a bowl. This mixture is then poured down the drain and left to sit overnight. The next morning, follow it up with another pot of boiling water. As a bonus effect of either of these treatments, your drain should be pretty clean too.Article continues below advertisement
Are drain flies dangerous?
You’re asking if tiny, toothless, doofy buggies somehow dangerous to human beings? No, not in any way that matters. Drain flies are harmless in every way except that no one wants to have insects living in or around where they wash and prepare food. There are some schools of thought that actually see them as beneficial in small numbers because they break up and devour the decomposing organic matter in drains. The problem is that they are prolific breeders that multiply quickly over a 32 to 48 hour cycle.
How do I keep drain flies out of my home?
The best way to keep drain flies out of your home is to make sure that all standing water is removed and that you’ve thoroughly cleaned any areas where you’ve encountered drain flies. Then, just keep those areas clean with a mixture of salt, baking soda, and vinegar, and then flush with boiling water. It should keep any drain flies that do sneak in from gaining a breeding foothold in your pipes.