How to Repel Gnats:Gnats Are One Of The Most Annoying Bugs Around

How to Repel Gnats

While similar in appearance to mosquitos and flies, gnats are significantly smaller insects that although tiny, tend to make the most noise when compared to their cousins. These harmless flying critters almost always prefer to fly about one’s face and dangerously close to the ears, which makes them incredibly annoying to have around.

What are Gnats?

Gnats are characterized by having unusually long legs in proportion to their bodies, which are small and divided into three segments, including the abdomen, thorax and the head. They’re a distant cousin of the fly and mosquito and come in different species, such as black gnats, fruit flies, fungus gnats, buffalo gnats, drain flies and sand flies.

Their main source of food differs from one species to the next and could be anything - from plant material, to other insects and even blood. They use a combination of sucking, piercing and lapping motions to consume their ‘prey.’

They, on the other hand, are a source of food for small birds, bats and even other insects. However, some species of gnats do carry parasites and diseases which they pass on, making them potentially dangerous and one of the reasons why humans don’t like having them around. Listed below are a few techniques that you are able to use to repel them:

Vanilla Repellent

Turns out, the sweet smell of vanilla is a nightmare for gnats. Thus, applying vanilla as a repellent on exposed parts of your body can be very effective at protecting you from gnat attacks.

To prepare the vanilla repellent, you’ll need pure vanilla extract, which you are able to buy from your local market. Just be sure to get the sugar-free variety, as it’s more effective and organic. Afterwards, mix 10ml of it with the same amount of water, stirring well and thoroughly to ensure that both ingredients are blended properly.

The best way to apply the mixture is by dipping cotton balls into it and then using them to apply the mixture onto the exposed parts of your skin. Not only will you smell heavenly, but you’ll rest assured that no gnats will come after you.

Just keep in mind that some people are allergic to having high concentrations of vanilla on their skin. So, it might be a good idea to start by dabbing a small amount of the mixture onto a particular section of your exposed skin to figure out how much your skin can tolerate to have on.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is widely available and makes for a super gnat repellent when combined with the right ingredients and in the right amounts. To make this repellent, first mix two teaspoons of water in a bowl with the same amount of witch hazel and six or so drops of peppermint oil.

Then combine well and pour mixture into a spray bottle for easy application. Once that’s done, simply spray the mixture liberally onto your body and even onto your clothes - for even more effective repelling action.

This mixture is safe enough to spray on your body at several intervals while you’re outdoors and it’s perfect for use on those trips to the lakeside, pool, or when you’re by the beach. So, you’ll want to take this mixture along if you’ll be going on a camping or hiking trip soon.

Citronella Spray and Incense Sticks

Citronella incense sticks are massive and can protect you from gnat attacks just by placing them outside in your garden when spending time out there. That’s because citronella sticks are made from just the right ingredients for the job, including concentrated citronella, thyme, rosemary and Brazilian andiroba.

Each of these handy incense sticks can work for up to 3 hours, all the while remaining effective in repelling gnats. You are even able to place them around your garden or pool area and use them as decoration by placing them inside a large outdoor vase. You’ll definitely want to have them around if you want to enjoy gnat-free barbeques, picnics and alfresco dinners.

If you’re not into incense sticks, you also have the option to use citronella as a spray. Citronella spray is prepared by mixing two cups of water with three to six drops of dish soap and two spoons of the Citronella oil. Then transfer the brew into an empty spray bottle which can be taken with you when travelling to an outdoor excursion, or just to make the citronella more accessible and portable.

The best part about citronella spray is that you are able to use it on your body, clothes, in relevant areas around your home and near your plants and garbage can/s, which oftentimes are the most popular entryways for gnats. Citronella spray is harmless, so you are also able to spray it on your pets to keep them safe from gnats, as well, while imbibing your entire home with the nice, citrusy smell of the oil. Whether you use citronella as a spray or as incense sticks, you’ll surely love its aromatic fragrance.

Ultrasonic Pest Repellents

Ultrasonic pest repellents are the next level of pest repelling remedies and they take advantage of modern ultrasonic technology to chase away gnats. Ultrasonic pest repellents don’t actually kill the gnats, but it rather repels them, as it does not contain any hazardous or deadly elements in it.

This device is also super easy and hassle-free to use - all you have to do is just plug it in and it gets to work. This particular repellent is ideal for use in areas around the house, such as the basement, attic, extra storage rooms and the garage. So, you might need to purchase more than one if you have a problem with gnats in several areas around your home.

Additionally, most ultrasonic pest repellents are effective at repelling all sorts of insects apart from gnats, including ants, spiders, mosquitoes, flies, vermin, roaches, beetle, fleas, crickets, house mice and flies.

More information on repelling Gnats can be found here

Lemon Oil

Like most insects, gnats are naturally attracted to areas with high levels of moisture. Thus, more often than not, gnats gravitate towards indoor plants due to the moisture of the soil. One way to effectively repel gnats would be through the use of lemon oil. There are several reasons why lemon oil would be an appropriate repellent to use in an indoor environment against gnats.

Firstly, the use of lemon oil to repel gnats would be appealing to most people because lemon oil is a natural extract. People these days prefer products derived from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals that could be harmful to the environment and people’s health.

Secondly, lemon oil innately gives off a pleasing scent that can fill a room with a wonderful citrus scent. To use lemon oil to repel gnats, it is as simple as applying lemon oil around the gnat-prone areas. For example, if the area you would want to apply lemon oil is around your indoor plants, then just take an application of the lemon oil around the lip of each indoor plant. Application can be done through rubbing or spraying, or any other topical application.

Plants and Flowers

Another natural way to repel gnats would be to use plants and flowers. Some plants and flowers naturally repel gnats through the scents they give off. This is a wonderful way to repel gnats because this method is not only effective, but is also visually appealing. These plants can be planted in the yard or around the perimeter of your house, or other outdoor areas where people frequently hang out at or even indoors.

One way to maximize the use of these kinds of plants are to use plants with additional uses, such as herbs and spices and ornamental plants. There are some herbs and spices from plants that naturally repel gnats, while at the same time, could be used for culinary purposes.

Plants that can ornamentally be distributed around the property while also being able to repel gnats will also serve more than one purpose. The plants that will be mentioned that can be planted for repelling gnats are just a few of the many plants that have this ability.


Lavenders are a type of flowering plant in the Mint family. Native to many parts of the world, Lavenders are grown primarily for its essential oils and culinary uses. With white, purple, or lavender colored flowers, Lavenders are effective repellents when it comes to gnats.

To be able to effectively repel gnats, it is best recommended to plant Lavenders outdoors. This is because they need full exposure to sunlight. Highly effective as a repellent, the Lavender even repels other pests and insects other than gnats, such as disease-carrying mosquitos.

The essential oil from Lavenders have been known to have a myriad of uses aside from repelling gnats. Some of the uses of the Lavender’s essential oils include medicinal properties, such as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. These extracts have also been popularly known to be used commercially as an infused extract in fragrances and bath products. Culinarily, the Lavender has primarily been used for its aroma.

Its notable aroma includes a sweet fragrance reminiscent of a citrus scent. If you want to plant Lavenders, the USDA recommends planting them in hardiness zones 5 through 9, because this wonderful and useful flowering plant grows best in these zones.

Mexican Marigold

Another plant that can naturally repel gnats are Mexican Marigolds. Mexican Marigolds give off a musty scent that gnats and even other flying insects cannot stand. These plants are oftentimes used as outdoor ornamental plants due to their cream and yellow flowers, but are also being planted due to their repellent properties.

However, Mexican Marigolds have also been known to be planted for other reasons than repelling flying insects. These multipurpose plants are also known to improve soil health by being toxic to root nematodes, worm-like organisms that are harmful to plants in the surrounding area. Another variety of this plant, the Mexican Mint Marigold will even have culinary uses in the kitchen.

The Mexican Mint Marigold can be used by chopping fresh leaves and adding it to dishes as additional seasoning. In addition to that, people have also been known to use the leaves and make tea with them. If you want to plant Mexican Marigolds and you want them to grow to their full potential, the USDA recommends planting them in acidic to slightly basic soil, in hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Vinegar Soap

Taking a little step away from repellents, vinegar soap is an effective method to attract and eliminate gnats that may have found their way inside your homes. The method is simple: simply put a little vinegar in a small dish or bowl and add a little dish soap. The vinegar’s acidic scent will naturally attract gnats towards the area and right into the solution, while the soap will trap them in the solution.

This method is effectively done when the dish is regularly replaced when it has already caught an abundant number of gnats. This method should also be done by placing the dish in an area that is not frequently visited by the people of the household, since the solution will actually be attracting the gnats to that area of the home. Although it also works when the dish is placed outdoors, it is more effective when used indoors. This is because the odor of the vinegar will be much more concentrated inside the home, as opposed to the outdoors where the scent of the vinegar will just diffuse in all directions and lose its effectiveness.

Another way to improve the effectiveness of the vinegar soap is to experiment with the proportions of the vinegar, to the proportions of the dish soap - this may depend on your preference. Although more vinegar would mean attracting more gnats, this also means there will be a very strong vinegar scent lingering in that part of your home. Also, make sure enough dish soap is added to the solution, in order for it to be enough to trap the gnats or any other insects that may find themselves attracted to the scent.


Gnats are incredibly annoying insects that enjoy buzzing around one’s face in an uncomfortable way, while sometimes carrying harmful bacteria and parasites that could threaten your health. That’s why you need to have different gnat-repelling techniques on hand to use whenever you encounter their presence, so that you are able to enjoy a peaceful and insect-free home.

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