How to Repel Flies (Indoors & Outdoors)

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Flies are one of the biggest pests of the summer months. It seems like every time you’re trying to carry in groceries or do some grilling, and flies decide to join the party.

Not only does their buzzing around get on your nerves, but flies carry bacteria that can make you and your family very sick. So what can you do to repel flies? Whether flies are a problem indoors or out, you can do some simple things to keep them away.

What is the best way to keep flies away?

The best way to repel flies is cleanliness. Plain and simple. You want to make sure your outdoor area is free from trash, pet droppings, plant debris, etc.

Flies are drawn to gross, nasty areas. It’s like a nightclub for them. So before you know it, your outdoor area is teaming with flies, and they make it indoors every time you open the door.

Photo of a fly

What smell will keep flies away?

There are actually several smells that repel flies. Basil, cloves, mint, lavender, marigold, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and lemongrass are great scents to keep flies away.

You can add fresh basil plants to your kitchen. You can also use essential oils throughout your home in any of these scents. Just be aware that essential oils can make pets ill, so use them with caution.

photo of natural remedies to repel flies

What is a natural way to repel flies?

Essential oils are a wonderful, natural way to repel flies. Many scents will do the trick, allowing you to find a scent that you don’t mind having in your home.

You can use an oil diffuser or add drops of essential oil to a cotton ball and place it in the area where flies seem to be the biggest problem.


A fly infestation indoors can quickly grow out of hand. It may start with something as simple as bringing home a bushel of peaches and ending up with flies all over your kitchen.

You’ll definitely want to find the source and do some serious cleaning to get your home back in order. So let’s take a closer look.

Find the Source

First things first, you want to find the source. For example, if you have fresh fruit in your kitchen, that might be the problem.

If you have dirty dishes in the sink, that could be the source. Other sources are trash cans and sink drains. So if the flies are congregating in one spot, that’s the spot you need to start with.

Discard Things That May Be Attracting Flies

If the fruit is the problem, toss the fruit. You never know what the flies may have deposited on the fruit. If the trash is the problem, take out the trash.

Wash the dirty dishes. Use baking soda and vinegar to clean out your sink drains if those seem to be the source.

Flies lay their eggs in decaying matter. Do you really want to eat a piece of fruit that might have eggs in it?

Wash Fruit and Store in Fridge

When you purchase fruit, wash it and store it in the fridge. This will prevent fruit from becoming overripe on the countertop and attracting flies. There also won’t be the sweet aroma of fruit to draw them in.

Wipe Down Surfaces

The next thing you want to do is wipe down surfaces. Get everything good and clean so that there aren’t any lingering eggs that would hatch later on.

If the trash can was the source, make sure you take the can outside and wash it thoroughly with soap and water.

Add Plants Flies Hate

Last but not least, add plants around your home that flies hate. For example, Basil plants make a great addition to the kitchen, and flies hate them.

You could also add lavender sprigs in vases around your home. Not only are they pretty, but the smell will repel flies.

photos of flies


If you love to spend time outdoors on your porch or deck, flies can be a hassle. But, they don’t have to be. There are a couple of easy tricks you can use to make things easier.

Let’s take a closer look.

Keep Food Covered

If you’re cooking outdoors or just enjoying a meal on the deck, keep food covered. For example, keep your grill covered, use food tents to keep food dishes covered, etc.

Also, opt for drinks with caps or lids. This will prevent flies from trying to land in your drink.

Plant Plants That Naturally Repel Flies

Plant things around your outdoor areas that repel plants. Lavender, mint, lemongrass, and marigold are all great options.

Lavender is excellent because it repels other insects as well. So not only will you repel flies, but you’ll also be adding some beauty to your outdoor spaces.

Keep Trash Receptacles Well Sealed

If you have trash receptacles outside your home, make sure they are well-sealed. Not only will you be keeping flies out, but you’ll also be keeping animals out.

Every once in a while, you also want to wash your trash can. Yes, it’s a trash can, but keeping it clean will help repel flies.

Clean Up Your Yard

Last but not least, you want to make sure you keep your yard cleaned up. Remember that flies lay eggs in decaying material.

If you have many leaves, cut grass, etc., you may have a lot of prime areas for flies to lay their eggs. Take the time to clean everything up so that your yard isn’t a haven for flies.

If you want to repel flies, it all begins with cleanliness. Remember that flies love dirty spaces. So once an area is clean, you can use scents to repel flies naturally.

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