6 ‘most effective’ methods to ‘kill’ houseplant fungus gnats

Monstera: Houseplant expert details how to remove pests

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Fungus gnats lay their eggs in the potting soil, where they hatch into larvae and feed on fungi in the soil, and they can quickly harm the roots of houseplants. To help protect indoor plants all year round, experts at WeThrift have found six TikTok hacks to get rid of the flying bugs.

1. Use a lint roller to remove bugs

A lint roller can be a great way to remove fungus gnats in small quantities without the risk of damaging your houseplant.

The experts recommended gently rolling the tape onto the plant leaves, and by doing this you will remove the bugs and eggs from the plant and squash them to the tape.

Houseplant owners should discard the tape straight away as TikTok user @kill_this_plant demonstrates on the app.

Nick Drewe at WeThrift said: “If you’ve had an infestation of fungus gnats, then it’s important to rip a new sheet on the sticky roller after cleaning each plant. This will prevent any plants that have not yet been infected from coming contaminated with bug eggs.” 

2. Add cinnamon powder to the soil

Cinnamon is one of the “most effective” ways to “kill” fungus gnats, according to TikTok user @gardengal_. The spice works like a natural fungicide, which helps to kill the fungus spores in the soil on which the pests feed.

This makes the soil unfit to live in. This method is really simple according to the experts and involves sprinkling cinnamon across the top layer of soil in the plant pot. This remedy kills off both adults and larvae, making it a great all rounder. 

3. Cover the soil with sand

The experts said: “Fungus gnats are attracted to moisture and decaying materials found within soil, like peat moss or compost.

To prevent gnats from laying eggs and to ensure they don’t infect the other plants in the home, layer sand on top of the soil in the pot. 

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“TikTok plant enthusiast @madelinebus_ uses sand to reduce moisture in the plant pot, which in turn kills adult gnats and eggs. 

“Fungus gnats like to lay their eggs in moist soil, so dry soil discourages this. It’s important to avoid overwatering and to use potting soil designed for indoor plants – which is less liveable for them.” 

4. Push matchsticks into the soil

TikTok user @cleanfreakcleaningco suggested adding matchsticks into the plant pot. The experts added: “It’s quick and easy – all you need to do is place several matchsticks into the soil with the heads facing down, and around two inches from the edge of the pot. 

“Check to see if the heads or the matchsticks have dissolved in the soil. If so, remove the old matches and replace them with new ones. 

“The dissolved matchstick heads gradually start to release phosphorus, magnesium and sulfur into the soil, which helps to get rid of the gnats and helps the plants grow.”

5. Create a peroxide spray

Creating a peroxide spray is an effective way to prevent the infestation of fungus gnats, according to the experts and plant expert on TikTok known as @creative_explained.

Mix one tablespoon of peroxide with one cup of water, pour it into a spray bottle and spray onto the plant leaves and soil. 

The mixed solution will kill the larvae, but won’t cause any damage to your plant. Repeat the process once a week until you see that the bugs have gone.

6. Use orange peel

Orange peel can help to deter houseplant pests from nesting in your plants in the first place. 

A homemade spray can be made by taking the peel from two oranges and placing them into a pan with two tablespoons of soap and boiling water.

After letting the mixture sit for 24 hours, pour it into squirt bottle before spraying the affecting plant.

Nick said: “It’s important to remove any dead leaves or stems from your plant pots, as they become a prime target for fungus gnats to lay their eggs.” 

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