Picture of the Homemade Fruit Fly Trap in action, made with cooking wine and dish soap. It really works!

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap; Cooking Sherry and Dish Soap

No matter where we’ve lived in the northeast and Midwest, fruit flies bug us every summer. So we discovered this homemade fruit fly trap recipe and were amazed at how quickly it worked.

But fruit flies love the scent of very ripe, fermenting, or rotting fruit. So this sherry based trap occurred to us, as it creates a similar aroma.  Now then, this concoction offers a fairly natural way to quickly trap and get rid of them.  Moreover, the cooking sherry and soap are virtually harmless to humans.  Besides, these liquids cost little buy.  Finally, as expected, this trap generates very low odor.  And when the fruit flies have vanished, this trap is a cinch to clean up.  Consequently, this homemade fruit fly trap described below, removed the flies from our entire apartment in just a few days.

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap Ingredients

It’s quite simple, really.  In fact, a glass bowl, a little sherry, and a drop or two of dish soap does the trick.  Specifically, the sherry puts out a long-reaching sweet scent of fermenting fruit.  Then the soap helps keep the fruit flies under the surface of the sherry once they arrive and dive in.  Avoid dish soaps with very strong scents, as these can mask the sherry aroma.

Picture of the Homemade Fruit Fly Trap Ingredients: cooking sherry, dishwashing liquid soap, and a glass bowl.
Homemade Fruit Fly Trap Ingredients: cooking sherry, dishwashing liquid soap, and glass bowl.

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap Assembly

Add a few drops of the hand dish washing soap to the small glass bowl.  We use Holland House Sherry coking wine.  Great Value Ultra concentrated dishwashing liquid works well here too.   But use any sherry and soap you have. Just don’t mask the fruity smell of the sherry.

Then, pour the cooking wine sherry into the bowl. But be careful not to pour directly onto the soap.  This avoids creating more suds than necessary.  Small bowls work best too.  Why?   Because you need much less sherry to fill them to the tenth-inch depth needed.

Gently stir the soap and cooking sherry together until the dish soap completely dissolves into the wine.

How to Use this Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

Place the bowl of sherry cooking wine and soap on a hard, flat surface.  Put it near the strongest concentrations of fruit flies in your living space.  However, keep it away from high traffic areas.  That way, it will not spill accidently.  Typically the kitchen attracts the most fruit flies.  Understandable, since the kitchen is where people often prepare fruity or sugary foods.  But you may also experience infestations in the living room and bathroom too. Fruity aromas often occur at these locations from fruit-scented candles, shampoos, perfumes, and the like.

Then, watch the fruit flies come.  Our bowl looked like a full fruit fly hotel  graveyard in just minutes, as pictured below.

Leave the bowl in place until all fruit flies in the area have lighted in the bowl.  This took two days in our case.  Then, we saw no more fruit flies zipping around the stove, sink, and garbage can.

Top off the bowl with more sherry each day, to restore full potency to the cooking wine aroma.

Periodically scatter the live fruit flies that congregate on and around the bowl.  Sometimes, they’ll just site around enjoying the aromas without actually diving into the soapy wine.  Stirring them up like this a few times per day moves them to, “take that plunge,” so to speak.

Once all fruit flies disappear, dump the bowl contents into the toilet and flush them down.

Repeat the trap as necessary.

Place these homemade fruit fly traps in all rooms where you’ve observed fruit flies.

Picture of the Homemade Fruit Fly Trap in action, made with cooking wine and dish soap. It really works!
Homemade Fruit Fly Trap in action, made with cooking wine and dish soap.


This fruit fly trap solution contains only water soluble ingredients.  So, spills are wipe up easily with wet dish cloth or rag.  Afterward, any drops on clothing will wash out in the regular laundry.

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  1. Search: How to get rid of fruit flies?
  2. What is a fruit fly?    on Wikipedia

Revision History

  • 2019-04-02: Fixed key phrase targeting issues, added tags, and removed ad code.
  • 2018-03-04: Revised the contents.
  • 2015-10-15: Originally published.
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