How to Get Rid of Drain Flies/Moth Flies in Your Bathroom

a woman cleaning her bathtub thoroughly

Have you been finding little flies in your bathroom? Do they resemble moths? If so, you may be dealing with drain flies. These little flies are similar to moths in a few ways, but behave more like flies than true moths. In this guide, we will go over what drain moths are and how you can get rid of these pesky little insects!

Moth Infestation in Bathroom Spaces: Here's What to Know

Usually, pestilent species of moths are attracted to spaces like attics, pantries, bedroom closets, wardrobes, and areas where dried food is stored. In these cases they will be either Clothes Moths whose larvae feast on animal based fibres and textiles, or Pantry Moths who lay their eggs near an unsealed food source such as grains, flour, nuts or even chocolate! However, some types of moths and flies infest bathrooms. There are a few reasons for this. In most cases, moths may be attracted to bathroom lights or linen closets. Drain moths, also known as drain flies, enjoy places where stagnant water and bacteria can be found.

What Causes Drain Moths/Flies to Infest a Bathroom?

Drains are a hotspot for bacteria and stagnant water. As such, insects are often attracted to drains that have been sitting unused. So, if you have a house with a bathroom or sink that isn’t getting a lot of use, these insects may make a home there. Basements or septic spaces are also attractive to these bugs.

Getting rid of drain flies can be a simple process. However, it will take some diligence. You will need to be consistent with treatment and be sure to remove as much bacteria as possible from any infested area. You will also need to treat all stages of an infestation, including eggs and larvae.

What are Drain Flies?

a close up of a Drain Fly

Drain flies are sometimes also called moth flies or sink flies. They are about the size of fruit flies, measuring no larger than 5 mm. They can be distinguished by their small moth-like wings and fuzzy torsos. These little flies are usually light gray, dark gray, or black. They are not great at flying and tend to hop around sinks and drains.

Drain flies can be found in outdoor sinks, indoor sinks, bathrooms, toilet pipes, kitchen sinks, shower drains, bathtub drains, basement sinks, septic tanks, wet soil, or any other damp area where bacteria may be growing. These flies may also be attracted to wet mop buckets or compost piles. Additionally, if you have dirty piles of wet rags in a sink near a laundry room or even sitting in a washer for a while, they can make a home there as well. These insects tend to be more active in the warmer months, but can infest damp areas year-round.

Primarily, these insects live on organic compounds found in stagnant water or damp areas where decomposing materials build up. They like to inhabit areas where they can feed on bacteria film, small scum particles, and so on.

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies?

There are many natural ways to remove drain flies and drain moths from your bathroom. Sometimes, just running water through your drains can be enough to remove these insects. However, if you have a stubborn infestation, you might want to try a few of the following methods.

Boiling Water

This is a simple and effective natural method to remove drain flies. Simply boil about a gallon of water and then pour it down your drain. Repeat this process at least once a day for one week until the infestation goes away. In the meantime, be sure to run water down your drain whenever you think of it to flush out any dead insects.

Traditional Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners can be used to clean an array of materials out of your clogged drains. Clogged drains sometimes attract drain flies because they tend to create lots of scum and build up in your pipes. So, if you have a clogged drain, unclog it with drain cleaners. Then, run hot water to flush out any flies.

Salt Water, Baking Soda, and White Vinegar for Cleaning

This go-to mixture is a fantastic way to remove clogs and insects from your drain overnight. Mix salt water and white vinegar together in a half-and-half solution. Then, boil a gallon of water and pour it down the drain. After you have poured the water down your drain, pour the salt water and white vinegar solution into your drain. Then, mix 32 oz of water and ½ cup of baking soda together and pour that in on top of everything else. This should cause a foaming reaction within your pipes. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, flush everything out with hot water or boiling water.

a jar of baking soda and bottle of white cleaning vinegar

Moths in the Bathroom: FAQS

Now that you have a better understanding of what drain flies are, let's discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about these gross little insects. That way, you will be able to get them out of your house right away!

How do you get rid of moth flies in the bathroom?

There are many ways to get rid of moths and flies in your bathroom. First, you will need to identify what type of moth or fly you are dealing with. Clothes Moths are attracted to linen cupboards and animal based fibres such as wool or silk. Garden moths may be attracted to the lights in a bathroom. Pantry moths are attracted to dry food items.

Drain moths are attracted to bacterial buildup and damp areas inside drains. So, to get rid of insects in your bathroom, first, find out exactly what type of insect you are dealing with. Then, use this information to find an extermination solution.

Are drain moths harmful?

Generally, no. The insects themselves are not harmful and do not bite or sting. However, they do spread bacteria and should be eliminated right away.

How to remove a Case-bearing Moth in the bathroom?

If you have identified Case-bearing Moths or larvae in your bathroom, the adult male moths can be eliminated with the help of Moth Traps which will help break the breeding cycle. You should also thoroughly sweep, mop, and vacuum any areas where an infestation has lingered.

Why is there a White-shouldered House Moth in the Bathroom?

White-shouldered House Moths are closely related to common Brown House Moths. There are many reasons that this kind of moth may have fluttered into your bathroom. If you have dust and debris on shelves or unattended dark corners that can be enough to attract them. Moth Traps can be a good way to eliminate the active adult male moths from your home and therefore help break the breeding cycle.

a close up of a White-shouldered House Moth

What are these little black moths in my bathroom?

Tiny black moths in your bathroom may actually be drain flies. Drain flies are attracted to stagnant water and bacterial substances.

Why do I suddenly have moths in my house?

If you have noticed a sudden eruption of moths in your house, you may have an infestation on your hands. To eliminate it, you will need to identify what type of moths are in your house. Then, start taking care of the problem at its source.

How to get rid of moth flies in the bathroom naturally?

To naturally get rid of drain flies, pour boiling water down the drain 1 to 2 times a day for a week. You can also use white vinegar, baking soda, and salt to clean your drain after each boiling water treatment.

About MothPrevention

MothPrevention® speak to customers every day about their clothes moth issues - clothes moths are a species that are ever increasing and that can cause significant damage to clothes, carpets and other home textiles.

To date, we’ve helped over 150,000 customers deal with their moth problems. We have developed professional grade solutions including proprietary pheromones engineered in Germany to the highest production standards.

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