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17 Effective DIY Outdoor Fly Repellents That Actually Work

Flies can be a real nuisance when you’re trying to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re hosting a backyard party, relaxing on your patio, or simply spending time outside, flies can disrupt the experience. Fortunately, there are many effective DIY fly repellents that you can use to keep these pests at bay. Here are 17 tried-and-true methods to help you enjoy a fly-free outdoor space.

1. Essential Oil Fly Repellent

Essential oils are a natural and pleasant-smelling way to repel flies. Oils like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass are particularly effective.

To make your own fly repellent, mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Add a small amount of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to help the oil and water mix better. Shake well before each use and spray around your outdoor areas, including patio furniture and doorways.

The pleasant aroma of the essential oils will keep the flies away while adding a refreshing scent to your outdoor space.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

Apple cider vinegar is not only great for health benefits but also an excellent fly trap. Flies are attracted to the smell of vinegar, making it an effective bait.

To make a trap, fill a jar with apple cider vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap. The dish soap breaks the surface tension, causing the flies to sink and drown. Cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the top. The flies will be drawn to the vinegar, enter the jar, and get trapped.

Place these traps around your outdoor areas to significantly reduce the fly population.

3. Irish Spring Soap

Irish Spring soap is known for its strong, fresh scent, which flies find unpleasant.

Simply cut the soap into small pieces and place them around your outdoor space. You can also hang pieces of the soap in mesh bags or pantyhose in strategic areas like near doorways or windows.

This method not only repels flies but also adds a clean scent to your surroundings.

4. Pine-Sol Mixture

Pine-Sol is another powerful fly repellent. The strong scent of pine deters flies and can help keep your outdoor areas fly-free.

Mix Pine-Sol with water in a spray bottle in a 50/50 ratio. Spray this mixture around your outdoor areas, focusing on places where flies tend to gather. You can also use this mixture to wipe down surfaces to prevent flies from landing.

This simple solution is effective and easy to prepare.

5. Vinegar and Dish Soap Fly Trap

Similar to the apple cider vinegar trap, a simple mixture of white vinegar and dish soap can also work wonders.

Fill a bowl with white vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap. The soap reduces the surface tension, causing flies to sink and drown. Leave the bowl uncovered near fly-prone areas.

This trap is inexpensive and highly effective, making it a great choice for outdoor fly control.

6. Pennies in Water

This old trick involves placing shiny pennies in a clear, ziplock bag filled with water.

Hang these bags around your outdoor area. The reflection of light on the water and pennies creates an optical illusion that flies find confusing and frightening, keeping them away.

It’s a simple, cost-effective, and non-toxic way to deter flies.

7. Patio Fans

Flies are weak fliers and find it difficult to navigate in strong winds.

Setting up fans on your patio or outdoor area creates a breeze that keeps flies away. Position the fans to cover the most frequented areas to ensure a fly-free zone.

This method not only repels flies but also keeps your outdoor space cool and comfortable.

8. Fly Repellent for Dogs

Protecting your pets from flies is just as important as protecting yourself.

Create a DIY fly repellent spray for your dogs using essential oils. Mix water with a few drops of lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spray your dog’s fur, avoiding the face and eyes.

This natural solution keeps flies off your furry friends without harmful chemicals.

9. Fly Repellent for Chicken Coops

Keeping flies out of your chicken coop is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your birds.

Use a mixture of water, vinegar, and a few drops of essential oil to spray around the coop. Hanging up fly strips and placing traps can also be effective.

Regular cleaning and proper waste management in the coop will also help keep flies at bay.

10. DIY Fly Spray

A homemade fly spray is easy to make and very effective.

Combine water, vinegar, and essential oils in a spray bottle. For added effectiveness, you can include a few drops of dish soap. Spray this mixture around your outdoor areas, focusing on places where flies gather.

This DIY spray is a simple and non-toxic way to keep flies away.

11. Fly Repellent for Parties

When hosting an outdoor party, the last thing you want is flies crashing the event.

Set up citronella candles around your party area. Citronella is a natural fly repellent that also adds a pleasant ambiance with its light and scent.

You can also use any of the previously mentioned methods, like the vinegar traps or essential oil sprays, to ensure your guests remain unbothered by flies.

12. Basil Plants

Basil is not only a delicious herb for cooking but also an effective fly repellent.

Place potted basil plants around your outdoor areas. The strong aroma of basil repels flies naturally.

Additionally, you can crush some basil leaves to release more of the scent and place them in small bowls around your patio or dining area.

13. Lemon and Clove

This simple trick involves using lemons and cloves to repel flies.

Cut a lemon in half and stick several cloves into the flesh of each half. Place these lemon halves around your outdoor areas. The combination of lemon and clove is highly effective in deterring flies due to its strong scent.

This method is natural, easy to prepare, and adds a fresh aroma to your surroundings.

14. Cucumber Slices

Flies dislike the smell of cucumbers, making them an effective repellent.

Slice a cucumber and place the slices around areas where flies are a problem. You can also place cucumber peels around your outdoor areas.

This natural method is safe, easy, and also helps keep your outdoor spaces smelling fresh.

15. Homemade Fly Paper

Fly paper is a classic method for trapping flies, and making your own is simple and effective.

Mix equal parts corn syrup, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Cut strips of brown paper or cardstock and dip them into the mixture. Hang these strips around your outdoor areas.

Flies will be attracted to the sweet mixture and get stuck on the paper.

16. Garlic Spray

Garlic has a strong smell that flies find repulsive.

To make a garlic spray, blend several cloves of garlic with water. Strain the mixture and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray this around your outdoor areas, particularly in fly-prone spots.

This natural repellent is easy to make and very effective at keeping flies away.

17. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another strong-smelling spice that flies avoid.

Sprinkle ground cinnamon around your outdoor areas or use cinnamon sticks placed strategically.

You can also make a cinnamon spray by boiling cinnamon sticks in water, letting the mixture cool, and then spraying it around your outdoor spaces.

This method is natural, aromatic, and keeps flies at bay.


Keeping flies away from your outdoor areas doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals or expensive products. These DIY fly repellents are effective, easy to make, and use natural ingredients. Whether you’re enjoying a quiet evening on your patio, hosting a party, or ensuring your pets and livestock are comfortable, these methods will help you maintain a fly-free environment. Try these solutions and enjoy your outdoor spaces without the nuisance of flies.