Drain flies, sewer gnats, filter flies, sink flies—whatever you call them, one thing is for sure: they are some of the most irritating household pests you’ll ever encounter. With a scientific name like Psychodidae, is it really any wonder they make you crazy?
Once these insects infiltrate your kitchen or bathroom drain, you will be willing to do nearly anything to get rid of them. The problem is that they aren’t always easy to eliminate, and they multiply quickly.
Household bleach is often recommended on the internet as a method to destroy the drain-hovering pests, but how effective is it? You may also wonder if bleach damages your plumbing.
Let’s take a closer look at what a drain fly is, why they like to hang out in sink drains, and which remedies, including bleach, work best to safely eradicate drain flies from your home.
What Are Drain Flies?
If you’ve noticed teeny-tiny flying insects taking over the drains in your kitchen or bathroom, chances are you’re dealing with drain flies. They are typically about 1/8-inch long, black or brown, and have hairy bodies and one set of wings featuring a unique pattern of veins. If you happen to crush one, you will find their bodies leave behind a powder-like smudge.
Unlike fruit flies that hang out around veggies and fruit, drain flies congregate in drains, septic tanks, and sewers, where they feed on grease, sewage, and other rotting organic materials. Although they are not harmful to humans, they are bothersome. Even worse, female drain flies can lay 30 to 100 eggs at one time, so things can spiral out of control quickly.
Are Drain Flies Resistant to Bleach?
Bleach will absolutely kill drain flies. However, using bleach comes with certain risks. It’s better to try other methods first and use bleach as a last resort.
Here are four reasons not to pour bleach into your drains:
- Bleach can create dangerous, toxic fumes when mixed with other substances, including ammonia, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Mixing these products and breathing in the resulting fumes can lead to shortness of breath, respiratory damage, chest pain, and even death. If you decide to try bleach to kill drain flies, it’s very important to mix it with water only.
- Pouring full-strength bleach down household drains can permanently damage septic systems.
- Bleach can also damage your home’s plumbing if it mixes with the wrong substance inside your pipes, which can easily happen without your knowledge. It can also corrode plastic or lead pipes. Older pipes are especially susceptible to bleach damage and bleach-caused corrosion.
- Bleach flows quickly down the drain. That means bleach is often unable to break through the thick buildup of drain fly eggs and larvae.
How to Kill Drain Flies with Safer Remedies
So what kills drain flies safely without putting your health and plumbing at risk? Here are a few safe and effective remedies to try:
- Vinegar and baking soda – This combination can be used to create a foaming reaction that kills flies living in your drain.
- Apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and water – By using a trap made of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, plus a bit of dish soap, you can attract the flies into your drain where they can’t escape. To do this, cover the drain in plastic wrap and poke small holes with a toothpick. The flies will be attracted to the apple cider vinegar but won’t be able to escape the dish soap once they go past the plastic wrap.
- Dish soap and water in a spray bottle – Use this method to shoot down flies that try to escape from your drain. The dish soap acts as a mild insecticide and prevents the flies from flying away.
Each of these methods can be used to get rid of drain flies with relative ease. There are also consumer products available that may work to get rid of drain flies and fruit flies. If the infestation has reached an unbearable level, then you may need to work with a professional plumber or exterminator to solve your issue.
Keep Drains Clear and Fly-Free
Are you looking for a trusted team that can help you with plumbing issues? Your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing is ready to help. Our friendly, licensed plumbers handle everything from drain cleaning to plumbing installations. Call us to schedule services or request an estimate online to get started now.