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How to Get Rid of Gnats in Potted Plants

By Lucinda Gunnin ; Updated September 21, 2017

While perhaps they are not the bane of a home gardener's existence, gnats are a very annoying pest that all of us would like to be rid of. Attracted to various foods or plants, the gnats travel in little swarms and can get all over everything. Thankfully, you do not have to get rid of the plants or foods in order to get rid of the gnats. Instead, simply follow one or more of these easy tips on how to remove the gnats from the home and discourage them from returning.

Spray a family/pet-safe fruit and garden insecticide on the potted plants. Gnats tend to be drawn to houseplants and this will begin the process of getting rid of the annoying little bugs. This type of insecticide should be readily available at any home and garden or do-it-yourself store.

Dig up the top layer of soil in the pots the plants are growing in. Gnats like to lay their eggs in the plant's topsoil, so removing this layer of soil and disposing of it will often get rid of the next generation of gnats.Usually digging to about an inch in depth is plenty. Be sure to replace what you remove with fresh topsoil.

Spray the family/pet-safe fruit and garden insecticide on the window sills and door jambs of your house. This will help set up a screen to kill any new gnats that attempt to invade your home.

Mix 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap in with the water used to water the plants. The dish soap will act as a further deterrent against the return of the gnat problem and is perfectly safe for the plants.

Mix a single drop of lemon essential oil and a single drop of lemongrass essential oil together and then rub this mixture around the lip of the pots the plants are in. These oils will deter the gnats from approaching the plants. This is a more organic method to dealing with the gnat infestation.


Things You Will Need

  • Fruit and garden insecticide
  • Potting soil
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Lemongrass essential oil

About the Author


Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.