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ATK Reviews

Do You Have a Fruit Fly Problem? Check Your Sink.

A dirty sink is fruit fly heaven. Here’s what to do about it.
By Published Sept. 7, 2022

While testing countertop compost bins, I had my fair share of fruit flies. It felt like I tried every preventative measure under the sun, but I couldn’t escape them. Even when I thought they were gone, they kept coming back. 

So I did what any adult at their wit’s end would do. I called my dad. He’s worked in New York hotels for over 30 years and has dealt with countless infestations and pest problems, so I knew he’d have a solution. 

His suggestion? Deep clean my sink. It turns out that many people can’t get rid of their fruit fly problem because they don’t clean their drain regularly. 

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Fruit flies commonly enter your home on unwashed produce. And when you’re washing your produce, you’re rinsing the flies and their eggs into the drain. Fruit flies love wet, warm environments where they can breed and flourish (yikes!). So if your sink and drain aren't regularly cleaned, it’s practically fruit fly heaven. 

But there’s good news. Deep cleaning your drain or garbage disposal can reduce the problem and eventually help eliminate the flies altogether. 

Here’s how you do it.

Deep Clean Your Drain

If this is the first time you're cleaning your drain, start by enlisting the help of a foam or gel-based cleaning agent that expands (popular brands are Drano or Green Gobbler Drain Gel). This will help pull down the debris clinging to the sides of the drain. Just pouring bleach or soap down your drain won't do the trick since there is often months of buildup.

Regularly Clean Your Sink

Your drain is just one part of the cleaning process. It’s also essential to keep your sink clean to prevent the flies from returning. Regularly disinfecting your sink with 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 quart of water keeps fruit flies at bay and reduces the overgrowth of bacteria.

Just to be safe, wait a couple of days after using any cleaning agents in your drain before cleaning your sink with bleach. (And of course, always read the instructions on the label.)

Cook's Illustrated Editor in Chief, Dan Souza, gives a few tips for keeping your sink clean and sanitized.

Keep It Clean

Your mother (and maybe that nagging roommate?) was right—don’t let your dishes pile up in the sink. Fruit flies are attracted to sticky, sweet substances on dishes and other surfaces. It helps to get into the habit of washing your dishes or loading them into the dishwasher immediately after using them.

Photo: Naris Dorndeelers / EyeEm via Getty Images