Got gnats in your microwave? Those annoying buggers don’t belong in there!
Bad puns aside, gnats are truly annoying.
They’re tiny, hard to catch, and even harder to kill.
They’re commonly mistaken for flies, fleas, or mini mosquitoes.
But gnats are their pest- they’re part of the Diptera suborder.
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
- Why you have flies or gnats in the microwave
- How they’re getting in your kitchen
- What they’re eating inside the microwave
- How to naturally get rid of flying insects from your microwave
- Ways to catch and kill gnats without poisons
- How to keep them away permanently from your kitchen
- And more!
You’ll have everything you need to know to manage, control, and eradicate those pesky pests by the end of this guide. DIY style!
Bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to it.
If you have questions regarding your specific pest infestation, feel free to drop a message in the comments section and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.
Let’s get those fruit flies toasted- but not by your microwave! Not that!
First, we identify the insect inside the unit. Then we talk about how to get rid of them.
Last updated: 4/25/22.
Fruit fly, fungus gnat, or housefly?
It’s important to distinguish if you have a fruit fly or gnat infestation in the microwave first.
If you’re trying to get rid of the wrong insect, you’ll spend time/energy wasted for nothing. Different bugs require different approaches!
There’s never a “one size fits all bugs” kind of scenario, so it’s critical that you identify the bug first.
But gnats, fruit flies, and household flies (the common black ones) are the pests most homeowners will encounter.
Here’s a quick way to tell the difference between the species:
Fungus gnats have visible dangling legs that look like a mosquito.
They’re also silver or black.
The legs are wide with visible antennae that make them look like blood-sucking insects.
Fruit flies have a rounded body that looks like a mini version of the common housefly. These are generally orange or brown colored.
They have smaller legs and smaller antennae compared to fungus gnats.
These flies aren’t hard to distinguish from gnats or fruit flies. Houseflies are usually solid black and have that signature buzzing sound.
They’re extremely quick and can also transmit pathogens like typhoid fever, E. coli, and cholera. You likely will be able to tell if the pest is a common housefly or not.
What temperature kills gnats?
Gnats, fruit flies, or other flying insects generally will be killed in the microwave if temperatures reach around 80F or higher.
However, they need to be positioned in the right place, which is usually in the center of the unit.
If they’re off-center where the microwave’s waves don’t reach or are unfocused, then they won’t be killed by the heat. It’s important to note that for the microwave to kill a bug, the bug needs to be:
In the right place (just because it’s inside the microwave doesn’t mean it’ll be killed)
It needs to have enough water in its body (it works by vibrating water molecules at a high frequency to heat food)
By turning on the microwave when flies are inside, they don’t always get killed by it. This explains why.
Ever try heating a roach in the microwave? They walk out unscathed! This is why roaches in the microwave don’t get killed by heating them.
There ARE some techniques onli
ne that outline how to microwave the flies to kill them.
Here’s one that I found from reddit:
- Place a container of yogurt in the microwave (must be microwave safe).
- Wait for the flies to swarm it (1-2 hours).
- Turn on the microwave to kill them.
- Clean up the flies after heating.
Will the microwave kill fruit fly eggs?
That’d be too simple if you could just power on your microwave and the instantly wipe out all the bugs and their eggs inside.
Not likely. The heat something takes is proportional to its size and water saturation. Eggs are small and have very little water, so it’s not likely to be killed by heat waves from the unit. Even more so if it’s off-center.
But a thorough cleaning with vinegar or dish soap will wipe them off from the edges and kill them.
How do flies get in the microwave?
Flies get into the microwave from the outdoors.
They get inside from damaged window screens, patio doors, or even the front door. Since gnats, flies, and fleas are flying insects, they can sneak by most quickly.
Once they’re in your house, they’ll look for something to infest.
By infest, I mean somewhere to hide, mate, feed, and breed. This is usually within your houseplants or other humid areas of the home.
The microwave is a prime target because it’s in the kitchen, which provides ample opportunities for food and water from spills, leftover food, debris, waste, etc.
Think about it, the trash can is there. Exposed. It makes it easy for flying insects to get in and feed. Water spills are in the sink, counter, and tiles.
Food is everywhere, especially if you don’t do your dishes immediately after eating.
It doesn’t take much for them to discover your microwave and then start buzzing inside to look for food. They’ll eat the splatter, burnt food, or food debris deposited inside it.
This is why fruit flies, gnats, or house flies are in your microwave in the first place. It’s all about the FOOD.
If you’ve ever propped that microwave door open ready to heat your next delicious plate only to see a bunch of gnats hovering around, you know how it feels. Gross.
Other ways flies can get in include plants, infested foods like cheese or rice, or even gnat/fly eggs deposited on the substrate. New bags of soil are often a prime culprit.
How to get rid of flies in the microwave
This section includes basic DIY solutions to ridding flying insects from the unit.
Read through them for some home remedies to eliminate those pesky gnats or fruit flies from your kitchen microwave.
Start from whatever is accessible to you first, then move then there. You can also refer to this complete guide about getting rid of gnats in the household naturally.
Warning: Before doing any sort of cleaning, be sure you’ve disconnected it from power and it’s completely shut off.
Failure to take precautions can be extremely dangerous! Consult your owner’s manual, or contact the manufacturer if you don’t know how to disconnect power to shut off the microwave before cleaning.
Some kitchen appliances are also sensenstiive to sprays or other cleaning agents outlined in this guide. It’s your responsibly to read through the owner’s manual for proper cleaning.
Both gnats and fruit flies like vinegar. The scent of it is appealing to them and will act to draw them in.
The nice part about using vinegar for pests in your microwave is that it’s completely natural.
So no need to worry about contaminating your food with synthetic poisons.
Heating some vinegar in the microwave will help disperse the smell. This will bring in even more gnats or flies.
But once you bring them in, what next? How do you kill them?
That’s where dish soap and water comes in.
This simple solution will kill the gnats because they get stuck in it. The surface tension of the soap doesn’t let the flies escape once they’re in the liquid.
Do you see how easy, but effective this setup is?
Here’s how to make it.
- What you’ll need:
- Vinegar (pure white vinegar works, but apple cider vinegar is more effective)
- Dish detergent
- Mason jar
- Sugar (if using regular vinegar)
How to make it:
- Mix half a cup of water with 1 tablespoon of dish soap in the mason jar. Add half a cup of vinegar.
- You can put a dash of sugar if you’re using regular vinegar or if you want to enhance the solution. The sugar makes it more delicious to bugs.
- Stir well. It should slowly become one color over time.
- Place the jar where you spot a lot of gnats or fruit flies.
- Replace the jar when it’s no longer bringing them in.
- If the flies get in but then escape, put a layer of food wrap over it with a few holes. This will stop them from getting out.
- If the flies don’t go in, use more vinegar.
How it works:
The flies gravitate towards the scent of vinegar.
Once they fly into it, they can’t get out because of the soapy texture.
You can place fly traps in your microwave overnight.
Other strategic locations include:
- Near houseplants
- Near your fruit or vegetables
- HVAC outlets
- Outside near your windows or doors
- Patio doors
- Garden patios
- Build multiple if you need to. Put them at least 5 feet apart for effectiveness.
Wine traps work similarly to the vinegar trap laid out above.
If you don’t want to use apple cider vinegar, you can use basic cheap wine. It’s suitable as a replacement or substitute in place of vinegar for flies or gnats.
It works just as well as vinegar-based repellents.
So if you don’t have ACV available, use wine! Some wines are so cheap that you’ll be surprised what you can find.
Wine is a strong attractant for fruit flies, so they fly towards it like nothing.
Gnats will do the same. The scent of red wine in particular is irresistible to them, so they’ll gladly fly into whatever trap you set up to catch them.
Once they get in, they drown immediately. So this type of DIY trap is completely free of dangerous synthetic compounds.
Plus, you can use cheap wine. It’s a completely natural way to get rid of those pesky gnats in your microwave. Don’t use expensive wines- those cheap ones from your local Walmart are good enough.
To build this natural DIY gnat trap, get a small mason jar. You can also cut up the bottom ⅓ of a 2-liter bottle.
Fill it up with red wine- about 1-inch worth. Get some saran wrap to cover the lid of the jar or bottle.
Wrap it completely around the mouth of the container, then wrap it tightly with a piece of a rubber band.
Get a fork then poke a few holes in the wrap to let the pests in.
How it works is the scent of the alcohol will get them swarming in through the tiny holes in the cling film.
Once they get in, they land on the alcohol then drown.
Flies that don’t go down can’t get out since they fly toward the edges of the container, which have no holes (don’t poke any there).
If you notice that no gnats are being caught, try increasing the amount of wine, making bigger holes, or making more holes to bait them in.
Build multiple ones so you can put them all over areas of your home that have gnat activity.
Put one jar in the microwave to catch them passively, but take it out before you use the appliance.
You can also leave it in there overnight to catch any fruit flies that come out.
It’s a simple, cheap, and effective natural way to catch those microwave bugs.
How to prevent flies from getting into your microwave for good
Tired of constantly trying to keep those flies out? Here are some tips to keep them out of your microwave permanently.
If flying insects are a common occurrence in your kitchen, here are some tips to keep them out permanently.
Depending on your specific situation, you may find these helpful in eliminating gnats or flies from your kitchen entirely.
Some states are prone to gnats more so than others, specifically ones that have high humidity levels like soil mites, psocid mites, or grout mites. These tips might help you out.
Use essential oils
Flies naturally will stay away from strongly scented oils.
Essential oils are a completely natural way to repel them.
These oils come in concentrated bottles.
Dip a cotton swab to soak it up, then place a few swabs around the kitchen. The gnats will stay out if it’s something they dislike. Some popular essential oils for gnats include citronella, eucalyptus, or lavender.
The nice part about these oils is that they’re versatile- you can dip them in swabs, buds, or even just put a capful of them sitting around in your kitchen. It gives you options.
Note that it’s powerful, so you should only use something you don’t mind smelling yourself.
Additionally, read the label. Some oils may trigger reactions or be dangerous to people or pets.
Buy a bulk pack of fly tape and put them around your kitchen. There are some key areas you should strategically line with tape.
The tape serves as both a passive trap to catch flying bugs and a way to monitor them.
When you see fewer flies getting caught over time, it means that whatever pest management plan you’re doing is working.
But if you don’t see them slowly dissipating, then you may want to change your plan.
Here are some areas to put some fly tape:
- The perimeter of your microwave unit
- On the edges of kitchen counters (both ventral and lateral sides)
- Window edges
- Ceiling edges
Use as directed. Replace when they get littered with bugs or as instructed. You can also use the triangular fly hotel types if you prefer.
These hanging types contain a special bait that brings in the flies.
Once they get in, they have an adhesive that prevents them from getting out. They’re just as effective if the tape doesn’t work for you.
Check for entry points
Flies that consistently sneak into your kitchen may be due to some kind of entry point they’re using in your house.
Damaged fly screens, gaps in the weatherstripping, or even foundational cracks are possible areas.
Do a checkup on the exterior of your house for obvious entry points. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, hire a professional contractor for your house to find it.
These points need to be caulked, sealed, replaced, or repaired. This is where flies are getting in.
If you find it then seal it, how else can they enter your kitchen?
Keep your garden clean
Just like your kitchen, keeping your garden tidy as well is critical to keeping bugs out.
Think about it: bugs come into your house from where?
If the outside of your property is clean, then there’s a lower chance of infestation.
Doing basic things like mowing the lawn, picking up leaf litter, trimming or removing excess plants, and not overwatering is important.
Fertilizers should be stopped during this time of pest elimination.
Your gutters should be draining and your soil shouldn’t pool water, which may bring in water-loving pests like computer mites or clover mites.
Replace the unit
When you’ve done a complete cleaning of your microwave (including unmounting it and then taking it outside for a deep clean), but the bugs are still there, it may be ridden with eggs on the internal components.
Replacing the unit entirely may be necessary. Some parts aren’t accessible without dismantling which can be dangerous or void the warranty.
You should never take apart the unit without consulting the owner’s manual, which poses a serious risk to you and your microwave.
Hire a professional exterminator
When you can’t figure out what to do, consider hiring a professional to help you out.
Sometimes, they’re worth the money because they save you time and energy.
Think about it:
If you don’t know what you’re doing and the bugs are still there, then it costs you time.
If you just had hired a licensed exterminator in the first place, you may have saved yourself well over their price.
That’s why it’s ideal to hire one from the start if you just know that you won’t have the energy or time to take care of the pest infestation DIY style.
Find a local exterminator. Read some reviews.
See if they offer a free consultation or “green” natural bug remedies so they don’t spray dangerous compounds inside and around your property.
Professionals can identify the source of the pest problem. Then they can utilize industrial compounds to get rid of them.
Keep the kitchen CLEAN
The reason flies and gnats are in there in the first place is because of hygiene.
They only eat dirty food debris that’s been leftover or burnt into the machine.
By keeping it neat you can effectively remove their food source.
If they have nothing to eat, they have no reason to be in your microwave.
There are some basic things you can do that greatly reduce the presence of pests inside your house, which include your kitchen oven, microwave, toaster, fridge, etc.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Take out the kitchen trash regularly
- Use a tight-fitting kitchen trash can (such as a step on trash can – see on Amazon)
- Use insect repellent trash bags (see on Amazon)
- Find ways to keep bugs out of your kitchen garbage
- Clean your sinks at the end of the day
- Wipe up spills on the kitchen counter or tiles immediately
- Keep your microwave clean by wiping up splatter or food debris right away
- Keep food stored properly
- Do the dishes EVERY DAY
- Never leave food out
- Never leave beverages out
- Eat foods right after preparing
- Fix damaged windows or patio doors that let bugs in
- Check for holes or tears in bug screens
- Put bug repelling plants in your kitchen and immediately outside in your garden near entry points
Gnats will infest everything from paper to cat litter.
Get rid of excess humidity
Gnats, fruit flies, and even houseflies love moisture.
That’s why you see them eating your leftover fruits and veggies- they’re chock full of moisture.
Wet environments like your bathroom or kitchen that have sinks or showers provide a suitable environment for these bugs to lay their eggs and drink water.
Check your home thoroughly for areas that are damp, but can be dried using some artificial methodology.
For example, you can clear up some excess by doing the following:
- Prop your windows or doors open in wet rooms so it doesn’t trap moisture
- Use a dehumidifier
- Use fans to blow out the moisture content
- Take shorter showers
- Clean up spills
- Don’t put plants in rooms with poor ventilation
Eliminate or relocate plants (they contain water and soil, both of which pests love to hide, breed, and feed within):
- Use a dehumidifier for rooms that have no evaporation
- Don’t leave out damp towels, clothing, or laundry
- Check for leaks or backed up the drainage that may be contributing to pooling
If you suspect that your home leaks somewhere, hire a professional to do an inspection to identify and fix it.
If there’s a leak behind your walls, you may need some professionals to help you out.
Gnats or fries may be hiding within the moisture and then breeding there. This is why they keep showing up in your microwave oven after you’ve cleaned it.
Indoor plants are common areas that gnats or fleas infest. Bugs don’t naturally infest homes. They infest the outdoor foliage that’s available to them.
When they get into your house, they’ll look for suitable environments to deposit their eggs after mating.
Houseplants have soil, water, plus a suitable food source for them to consume. Fungus gnats frequently infest the soil of your houseplants.
If you have a lot of plants, bugs may infest them to make a home out of them if they’re not cared for properly.
- Quarantine new plants for 2 weeks before you put them inside your house
- Thoroughly check new plants for insect behavior
- Check your current plants for signs of pests regularly
- Never bring in soil or crop from your garden without checking it
- New bags of potting mix that used indoors should be examined carefully
- Get rid of soil that’s been infested
- Get rid of plants that have been infested by carefully locking them in a tight plastic bag
- If you must keep the soil, you can bake it to purge gnat or fly eggs
- Plants infected with pests should be removed to the outdoors, then sprayed with insecticide, horticultural oils, or insecticidal soap
These references may be handy on your quest to eliminate microwave flies:
- Fruit Flies – UK Entomology
- Fruit Flies – University of Maryland Extension
- Vinegar Flies – Penn State Extension
Did you get rid of the flies in your microwave?
While gnats can be annoying, they’re not hard to get rid of.
You have everything you need to know to fully eradicate them from your microwave.
Now you can enjoy your next microwave meal in peace- without flies coming out of it when you remove it from the unit.
Gnats and flies are easy to get rid of, but hard to keep away from your appliances.
The key is to be persistent in cleaning your kitchen appliances over time. Don’t let them get dirty.
Set up natural repellents to keep them out. Then use traps to keep them under your eyes- remember that they’re gauges for how severe the infestation is.
When you notice pests in there, do something to get rid of them quickly. If they deposit eggs nearby, you’ll get dozens more bugs.
It’s really basic practice when it comes down to it:
Keep clean and take care of your pest problems.
Do you have any questions about a specific pest infestation? Please post a comment below and let me know.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.