Gnats in Car – How to Get Rid of Them in 9 Ways

Gnats in car can turn even the most enjoyable drive into an uncomfortable ordeal. A sudden swarm of these tiny nuisances buzzing around as you navigate the roads can be distracting, not to mention unhygienic.

What to Do With Gnats In Car

But fear not, it doesn’t have to be this way. Read on to discover a practical guide featuring nine effective strategies to reclaim your car from these unwelcome hitchhikers and maintain a gnat-free ride.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Car?

To get rid of gnats in your car, maintain cleanliness, keep windows and doors closed, use gnat traps and DIY vinegar traps, apply natural repellents and bug sprays, regularly change your car’s trash bag, monitor for fungus gnats, and regularly check for signs of gnats.


1. Maintain Cleanliness in Your Car

Maintaining cleanliness in your car is the most basic yet crucial step to ward off gnats. Cleaning needs to be rigorous and consistent. Gnats are attracted to food spills, discarded food wrappers, and crumbs that often lurk unseen under the seats, between the seats, and on the carpet. They will quickly invade your vehicle to take advantage of such free meals. Thus, promptly removing food particles denies gnats this primary source of sustenance.

Driver Carefully Cleaning His Car

Remove all visible garbage and food remnants from the car to start the cleaning process. Scraps left in the door pockets, beneath the seats, or in the cup holders must be cleaned out immediately. Take special care to clean those often-overlooked areas.

Once the visible mess has been taken care of, use a high-powered vacuum cleaner to reach into hidden corners and crevices. A vacuum cleaner is effective in sucking up crumbs, gnat eggs, or larvae hidden deep within the upholstery and carpets. Ensure you go over every inch of your car interior, including under the mats and between the seats.

2. Secure the Car Perimeter

Securing the car perimeter is essentially about ‘limiting gnats‘ access to your car. This step is an integral part of an effective defense strategy against gnats and fruit flies. These tiny pests can enter your vehicle through the smallest of openings, so it’s crucial to ensure that your vehicle is properly sealed when not in use.

When leaving your car, always ensure all the windows are closed. Gnats are experts at finding their way into spaces through even slightly ajar windows. If your car windows have any chips or cracks, they should be repaired immediately to prevent gnat entry.

Doors are another potential entry point for gnats. Always ensure the doors are closed tightly after entering or exiting your car. If your car doors don’t seal properly, consider replacing the weather stripping around the doors. A tight seal around all doors is vital to keep gnats out.

3. Employ Gnat Traps

When it comes to combating a gnat infestation in your car, gnat traps can be remarkably effective. These traps leverage the gnats’ natural inclinations to lure and capture them. A variety of traps are available on the market, and the choice depends on your specific situation.

Pest Traps And Chemical Killing Sprays

One of the most common types of traps is the sticky trap. Yellow sticky traps, in particular, are very effective as gnats are drawn to the yellow color, which they associate with ripe fruit. Once they land on the trap, they are unable to escape due to its adhesive surface. To use, simply peel off the protective layer and place the trap in strategic locations around your car.

These traps are odorless, which makes them ideal for use in confined spaces like a car. Another type of trap is the liquid bait trap. These traps contain a liquid that attracts gnats and drown once they land on it. To use, simply open the trap and place it in your car.

4. DIY Vinegar Trap

Apple cider vinegar is a powerful attractant for gnats, and you can use this to your advantage by creating a simple, do-it-yourself vinegar trap. The strong aroma of apple cider vinegar is irresistible to gnats and when combined with a few other household ingredients, it can effectively trap and eliminate gnats from your car.

A Bottle of Red Vinegar Trap

You’ll need a small bowl or cup, apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and plastic wrap to make the trap. Start by pouring about an inch of apple cider vinegar into the bowl. The vinegar’s scent is what attracts the gnats, so be generous.

Next, add a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar. The soap reduces the surface tension of the vinegar, ensuring that gnats that land on the surface will sink and drown. Stir gently to combine the vinegar and soap.

Finally, cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band or tape. Poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap. These holes should be large enough for the gnats to crawl through, but small enough that they cannot easily fly back out.

5. Use a Natural Repellent

Leveraging natural repellents is a safe and effective method to keep gnats at bay. Certain essential oils are especially potent for this purpose, proving to be both uninviting to the gnats and pleasant to human senses. These oils repel gnats and add a pleasant aroma to your car.

A Bottle of Pest Repel Oil

Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass essential oils are a few examples of gnat-repelling scents. To use, add a few drops of the essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Give it a good shake to mix the oil and water. Spray this mixture on the upholstery and other areas of your car where gnats seem to gather.

Be sure not to oversaturate your car’s surfaces to avoid staining. You can also place a few drops of the chosen essential oil on a cotton ball and leave it in your car overnight. The strong scent will help repel any gnats lingering in your vehicle.

6. Invest in Bug Sprays

For stubborn gnat infestations that resist other methods, it may be necessary to bring in stronger measures, such as bug sprays. These sprays are specifically formulated to kill or repel gnats and other flying bugs.

Yellow Bug Spray For Car

When choosing a bug spray, look for one that’s designed to combat gnats or fruit flies. The label should specify what types of insects it’s effective against. To use, carefully spray it around your vehicle, paying particular attention to the areas where gnats congregate. Avoid directly spraying on leather or fabric surfaces as it may discolor or damage them.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bug sprays. Remember to air out your car after spraying, to prevent inhaling the chemicals. Don’t forget to wear protective gear, like gloves and a mask, to safeguard against possible skin or respiratory irritation.

Bug sprays provide a quick solution to gnat infestations but should be used responsibly. It’s recommended to try fewer toxic methods, like traps or natural repellents, before resorting to chemical sprays. However, when used correctly, they can be a powerful tool in your gnat-fighting arsenal.

7. Regularly Change Your Car’s Trash Bag

When it comes to gnats, your car’s trash bag can be a double-edged sword. While it’s helpful for containing litter, a neglected trash bag can become a hotspot for gnat activity. Gnats are particularly drawn to discarded food containers, used napkins, or any other organic waste that might end up in the bag.

Big Black Trash Bag On A Blue Background

To prevent this, make a habit of changing your car’s trash bag regularly. Depending on your lifestyle and the type of waste you usually have, this could be daily, every other day, or at least once a week. The key is to never let the waste linger long enough to attract gnats.

When removing the trash bag, close it tightly to prevent any gnats from escaping back into your car or home. Avoid throwing your car’s trash bag in indoor trash bins, as it could transfer the gnat infestation to your house.

Additionally, if you often have food waste, consider using a smaller bag for food-related trash and dispose of it immediately after your journey. This can help reduce the chance of gnats being attracted to your car.

8. Watch Out for Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats, a common type of gnat, are not just annoying; they could indicate more serious issues. They are typically drawn to decaying organic matter and damp spaces, making your car’s damp floor mats or wet upholstery a perfect breeding ground.

To prevent fungus gnats, ensure to keep your car dry. If your car’s interior gets wet, maybe from rainwater or spilled drinks, dry it out immediately. When not in use, park your car in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent accumulation of moisture.

Fungus gnats are also attracted to mold and fungi, which can grow in your car’s HVAC system if it’s not properly maintained. Ensure to regularly service your car’s air conditioning and heating system and replace the cabin air filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

If you’re already dealing with a fungus gnat infestation, vacuum your car thoroughly, focusing on the damp areas. Use a dehumidifier if necessary. Treat the affected areas with a fungus gnat-specific insecticide available at most gardening or home improvement stores.

9. Regularly Check for Gnat Signs

Active prevention is an essential aspect of maintaining a gnat-free car environment. Regular inspections for signs of gnats can catch an infestation early before it escalates. Look for signs like gnats flying around your car, especially near windows or food areas. Check the carpets and upholstery for tiny, pepper-like specks, which are gnat larvae or eggs.

Being observant can make a big difference. For instance, gnats are attracted to rotting fruit and sweet substances. If you see a single gnat hovering around a specific area, examine that spot for any forgotten food items or spills. Gnats are small and can quickly disappear out of sight, so their presence around an area often indicates a nearby attractant.

Also, pay attention to the corners and crevices of your car. These spots often accumulate crumbs or moisture, which can attract gnats. Regularly vacuuming these areas can prevent an infestation from establishing itself.

Remember to inspect your car’s exterior as well. Look for gnats around the window seals, door edges, and trunk. Gnats might also gather near the car’s air intake vents, so make sure to check these areas.

Can Getting Rid of Gnats in My Car Help Eliminate the Fishy Smell?

Getting rid of gnats in your car can actually help eliminate that fishy smell. These pesky insects can often be attracted to the odor, leading to an unpleasant experience for any driver. By finding effective car smell like fish solutions, such as using vinegar or baking soda, you can tackle both problems at once. Keeping your car clean and free of gnats will undoubtedly make your driving experience more enjoyable.


With the right preventive measures and treatment strategies, dealing with gnats in car can become a manageable task. To summarize the main ideas that we have discussed here:

  • Maintain cleanliness in your car to eliminate potential breeding grounds for gnats, and secure the car perimeter by keeping windows and doors shut to prevent gnats from entering.
  • Employ gnat traps, such as yellow sticky traps, to capture and reduce the number of gnats.
  • Utilize a DIY vinegar trap with apple cider vinegar and dish soap to attract and drown gnats, and use natural repellents, like certain essential oils, to deter gnats from your car.
  • Invest in bug sprays for more stubborn infestations while ensuring safe and responsible use, and regularly change your car’s trash bag to avoid creating a hotspot for gnat activity.
  • Watch out for fungus gnats, which indicate unwanted moisture or decay in your car, and regularly check for signs of gnats to catch an infestation early and prevent escalation.

Use these steps consistently, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve taken control of your car’s environment.

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