If you’ve found yourself here, chances are you’ve discovered maggots in your trash can. Coming across these fleshy colored worm-like grubs can be nauseating, but the good news is that it’s actually not that difficult to figure out how to kill maggots and keep them from coming back.
The bad news is that if you do have a maggot infestation in your trash can, the job to remove them can be time consuming and, well, gross.
But there’s no better time than now to learn how to kill maggots and reclaim your garbage bin! With that in mind, let’s talk about how to kill maggots in the trash can.
But First, What Are Maggots?
Maggots are the larvae of flies in the suborder Brachycera.
To know how to kill maggots, you should first understand what they are.
Maggots are larvae of a number of fly species in the suborder Brachycera. Flies in this order include house flies, cheese flies, blow flies and phorid flies. Basically, these are the most common types of flies you’ll see in or around your home.
A single female fly in this suborder can lay more than 500 eggs in her lifetime. With a lifetime of just around a month, that’s a lot of eggs that can wind up in your garbage bin in a short amount of time.
It doesn’t take long for these eggs to hatch and for maggots to emerge and begin feasting. These small, pale looking grubs have no legs and two hook like mouthparts on their head used for feeding. They can grow to be up to 22mm in length and feed on rotting garbage (or any rotting or decaying organic matter) for roughly three to five days.
However, these pests can lounge in your garbage bin for much longer if they go unchecked, which is why it’s important to know how to kill maggots. In fact, it takes maggots up to 36 days to develop into adult flies, at which point they could mate and reproduce, causing a vicious cycle of maggot infestation.
Because maggots live in such dirty, unsanitary conditions, they can be hazardous to your health. This is especially true if maggots or food infested with maggots is ingested. Since you’re here dealing with maggots in your trashcan, you’re hopefully not planning to eat the food in question.
However, if you do have maggots in your trash can, it’s a telltale sign that flies have been visiting, and flies are also unsanitary.
Furthermore, because there are so many different species of flies, there could be different species of maggots in your trashcan.
With that being said, the two most common types of flies that are attracted to garbage include blow flies and house flies. Other flies you might find buzzing around trash cans include flesh flies, especially if you’ve thrown away leftover foods containing meat.
Although maggots are considered revolting to most people, they are in truth a highly beneficial creature and they play an important role in our healthy ecosystem.
Like their adult counterparts, maggots feast on decaying and rotting organic matter, making them natural decomposers.
So, it’s no wonder they are attracted to your garbage, where you store stinky, rotting foods and other debris until the trash man comes to collect it.
Still, these pests are not a welcome sight to anyone lifting a trash bin lid, and you’ll be happy to know that, regardless of the fly species, maggots can easily be removed and prevented by following some of our below tips and tricks.
Now, let’s talk about how to kill maggots!
How To Kill Maggots In The Trash Can – A Step By Step Guide
It’s important to store waste properly and clean your garbage bin routinely.
As we warned, figuring out how to kill maggots in your garbage bin isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. It will also require a bit of elbow grease, some gloves, and maybe even a medical mask if you have a sensitive stomach when it comes to the smell of trash.
Alright, now that you’ve got a check list of all the tools you’ll need for how to kill maggots, it’s time to get to work.
Step 1 – Remove The Garbage From The Infested Trash Can
When you’re looking at how to kill maggots, first thing’s first – you’ll need to remove the garbage from the trash bin. Some people opt to wait until after the trash collectors have come to collect the trash before moving on to step two, and we think this is the best route.
Otherwise, you risk transferring maggots elsewhere, especially if you transplant the infested bag of garbage into a clean trash can.
Once you’ve removed the major bits of trash, it’s time to scour the bottom of the bin. Remove those little left over scraps like soggy newspapers, magazines, tissues, and q-tips. Leave nothing behind!
Maggots can be hiding in even the smallest nook or cranny and to get rid of them for good you’ll need to be thorough.
Step 2 – Pour Boiling Water Into Your Trash Can For How To Kill Maggots Instantly
Now that your trash can is completely empty of all the garbage and loose debris, it’s time to kill any remaining maggots or eggs inside. Get a large pot and fill it with water, then wait until the water is at a rolling boil.
Carefully transfer this pot outdoors to where your garbage bin is and pour the boiling water inside. Repeat this process a few times over to ensure you have removed or killed any remaining maggots or fly eggs.
Step 3 – Scrub Or Mop the Empty Trash Can Carefully From Top To Bottom
Next, it’s time to put those muscles to work. Grab a scrub brush or a mop and your favorite cleaning solution, and scrub your trash can down thoroughly. You can also use your own vinegar cleaning solution for how to kill maggots, or use two parts water and one part rubbing alcohol to make an effective cleaner.
Skip down to our home remedies section of this article to learn how to make your own homemade trash can cleaner from items you likely already have in your pantry or medicine cabinet.
Step 4 – Pour More Boiling Water In Your Trash Can (Optional)
This step is optional, though we do recommend doing it one more time if you had a very severe maggot infestation. We also recommend doing this once more if you have a trash can with numerous hiding places.
Try and pay special attention to cracks and crevices to ensure you kill any maggots left behind. This is the best process you can use for how to kill maggots immediately before moving on to the next steps.
Step 5 – Rinse Your Trash Can Out Thoroughly With A Hose
Now you’re almost done. Lay your garbage bin on it’s side and give it a good rinse with your garden hose.
Step 6 – Allow Your Trash Can To Dry In The Sun
Now that you’ve figured out how to kill maggots and your garbage bin is clean, sit it up and leave the lid open so that it can dry out in the sun. The sun will also help to clean and somewhat sterilize anything you may have missed.
Step 7 – Do Not Put The Infested Garbage Back Into The Bin
Last, do not put infested garbage back into your trash bin. This will mean you need to clean it all over again and repeat that long process above.
It’s also important to make sure that when you do throw trash away in your garbage bin that you do so properly. Throw trash away in sealed plastic bags and try to ensure the lid of your trash can is shut and sealed securely.
You might also consider sprinkling a few drops of peppermint oil or spraying ammonia directly over your garbage from time to time to help repel pests in the future.
Best Products For How To Kill Maggots In The Trash Can
Getting rid of maggots also means getting rid of the flies that are responsible for them.
Figuring out how to kill maggots and clean your trash bin is quite the process, but it’s important that you do it right each time so that you can keep any potential maggot infestation under control.
You should try and clean your garbage bin out on a routine basis, not only to keep pests like flies and maggots at bay but also other nuisance critters like racoons.
If you’re looking for some quality products to help with how to kill maggots and keep them from returning to your trash can, we have you covered with a list of our suggested favorites below.
Terro T800 Garbage Guard
First on our list of products for how to kill maggots is a trash can guard by Terro. Terro is a popular pest control brand and they make a number of products we trust. We like that this product is specifically designed to keep pests like flies away. This, in turn, can keep maggots from becoming problematic.
The trash can guard works by using vapors that kill pests if they get inside the garbage bin. It is simple to use as it sticks inside your trash can using an adhesive sticky tape. You can attach the product almost anywhere, but most experts recommend attaching it to the lid.
Each order lasts up to four months. We should note that this product is for outdoor garbage bins only and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Hot Shot No-Pest Strip
Another product that uses fumes and vapors for how to kill maggots are the above No Pest Strips by Hot Shot. Again, Hot Shot is another popular pest control brand known for creating a number of products to help manage insects and pests.
This product works not only on flies, but also on moths, roaches, spiders, ants and more. These strips work by hanging above or near garbage bins as opposed to on or inside of them. This can help keep flies out of the trash and in turn maggots from becoming a problem in your garbage.
The strips work for up to four months and a single strip can treat an entire room. For large garages or storage units larger than 10 by 13 feet, however, we would recommend two strips.
Wondercide Pest Control Spray
If you’re looking for a more natural option for how to kill maggots, we would recommend looking into this product by Wondercide. This spray can be used both inside and out and works using plant-based ingredients like essential oils.
These oils include cedarwood oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil and lemongrass oil. The product is safe to use in homes and in areas where children and pets frequent, and it even leaves behind a pleasant smell people love but pests hate.
You can actually spray this product directly into trash cans if you wish to not only help repel flies and maggots, but kill them on contact. The spray also helps to kill and repel other pests as well including roaches, flies, fleas, ticks, and ants.
RESUE! Disposable Fly Trap
- Easy Fly Control – This disposable outdoor hanging fly trap gets rid of common flies, including hundreds of the most prevalent species. Once the trap is full, simply discard—no mess!
- Fast Acting — This trap uses an attractant bait that flies can’t resist. Lured by the scent, flies enter the trap through the cap and drown in the water.
- Easy to Use — Follow the easy directions on the bag to expose the trap entrance. Add water to activate bait and hang the trap outside, at least 20 feet away from any living spaces.
- Outdoor Use Only – Once activated, these traps have a strong odor. Only use this trap outdoors, and at least 20 feet away from any living areas.
- Made in the USA – At RESCUE!, our goal is to design and manufacture the safest and most effective pest control solutions available. We proudly manufacture our products in the USA!
Fly traps won’t help when it comes to how to kill maggots, but it can stop adult flies from laying so many eggs.
If flies are a serious problem for you and tend to always be buzzing around your garbage bins, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a few disposable fly traps.
However, keep in mind that fly traps tend to contain lures inside of them that attract flies, so only use this method if you already have flies and you want to get rid of them or keep them from entering your garbage.
The best way to use fly traps to keep flies from landing in your trash and laying eggs is to hang them about 25 to 50 feet away from your garbage bin. This will help lure the flies away from the bin and trap them.
Best Products To Help Repel Flies And Maggots In The Future
Pure peppermint oil can help cover the smell of garbage and repel flies and maggots.
Once you’ve figured out how to kill maggots, your next focus should be on preventing them from returning. In order to do this, you’ll need to repel the adult flies that lay the eggs that turn into the maggots.
Flies are especially sensitive to certain odors and chemical combinations, and can even be repelled using specific scents or products.
Let’s take a look here at some of the best products you can use not only for how to kill maggots, but for keeping them from coming back.
Plasticplace Heavy Duty Garbage Bag Liners
A garbage bag liner may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to how to kill maggots in the trash can, but in fact, keeping your garbage can as clean and free of debris, grime and waste buildup as possible can help reduce pests, which will mean you will deal with less flies and less maggots.
These heavy duty liners are especially helpful for those who prefer to toss their waste directly into the bin without sealing it in a bag first. We also like that when you remove this liner, the inside of your bin should stay clean and dry. This can help reduce the amount of times you’ll need to clean your trash can as well, which can save you time.
Lab Bulks Peppermint Oil
One of the easiest, (and perhaps most pleasant) ways you can go about preventing flies once you’ve figured out how to kill maggots in trash cans is to use a potent essential oil to cover the smell of garbage.
Peppermint oil is repulsive not only to flies, but also other pests like rodents, spiders, roaches, and ants. There are a few different ways you can use peppermint oil to keep pests at bay and deter them from your garbage bins.
One of our favorites is to simply soak cotton balls in the essential oil of your choice and leave them in your trash cans at all times. Replace these saturated cotton balls once every three days for best results.
Home Remedies For How To Kill Maggots In The Trash Can And Repel Them In The Future
You can make your own maggot repellent and cleaning solution using vinegar and other ingredients.
Figuring out how to kill maggots in trash cans and prevent them in the future doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
In fact, there are plenty of products that repel both maggots and flies that you likely already have right there at home.
Vinegar and Water Cleaning Solution
That’s right, vinegar and water will not only help cover the odor of trash in your bin, (which will in turn deter the flies), but it will also kill maggots. However, vinegar is not an instant solution for how to kill maggots, as it usually takes between 8 hours for the solution to fully eradicate the pests.
However, you can combine one part vinegar with three parts hot water. You can even boil the water if you aren’t willing to wait for the vinegar to do its job. Since you’re already boiling water anyway to kill the maggots, we suggest going ahead and adding a bit of vinegar.
You can then use a combination of vinegar, water and liquid dish soap to scrub out your empty trash can and to kill any maggots or eggs left behind from the initial rinse.
This may seem like an obvious home remedy for how to kill maggots, but we’re including it because it’s one of the most efficient. Simply pouring boiling water into a maggot infested trash can will kill maggots instantly.
You can do this repeatedly until you are sure all the maggots have died before moving on to cleaning out your trash can as we mentioned above, which brings us to our next set of home remedies for do it yourself pest control when it comes to how to kill maggots.
Bleach and Hydrogen Peroxide
Both bleach and hydrogen peroxide are cleaning agents and can help sanitize your garbage bin, though depending on your trash can’s size you might need a lot of the stuff. However, we recommend using bleach and hydrogen peroxide because they will not only help clean your trash can, but also kill any maggots inside of it you may have missed.
Make Your Own Ginger Spray To Repel Flies
Ginger spray is an excellent tool you can use to help deter flies and keep them from laying eggs inside your trash can.
You can make fresh ginger spray by boiling crushed ginger root in water, but we actually have a more simple recipe.
Instead, take four cups of water and add about two teaspoons of ginger powder to the mix. Add this combination to a spray bottle and spray it over your trash bins every time you take out the trash. This will help repel flies and reduce your chances of dealing with maggots in your trash can in the future.
Try Using Essential Oils To Cover Up The Odor Of Garbage
Flies are not only sensitive to ginger, but they are also deterred by essential oils. Some of the most common essential oils that can help repel flies and keep maggots at bay include:
- Clove Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Cinnamon OIl
- Lemongrass Oil
- Lavender Oil
- And Eucalyptus Oil
To make your own essential oil spray to repel flies, try combining two cups of water with ten to twenty drops of the oil of your choice. You can also add a dash of liquid dish soap if you already see flies buzzing around and you want to kill them on contact with this solution.
Also Try Spraying Ammonia or Rubbing Alcohol Over Your Trash Can For How To Kill Maggots
Last, if your garbage is especially stinky, try spraying rubbing alcohol or ammonia over it from time to time. Even a fine mist can help repel flies by masking the odor of garbage. In turn, this can help reduce any maggots you may come across in your trash can again.
Getting Rid Of Maggots and Keeping Them From Coming Back – Expert Tips And Tricks
Getting rid of and preventing maggots is important, especially considering these pests are so unsanitary.
Cultivating a good pest control regime includes having a game plan for prevention. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping pests under control and reducing potential infestations in the future.
So, now that you know how to kill maggots in the trash can, let’s talk about how to prevent them.
Clean Your Trash Can On A Routine Basis
Cleaning your garbage bin certainly isn’t the most fun chore, but it can help ensure you never have to deal with maggots again.
Plus, if you keep up with routine garbage bin cleanings, you shouldn’t have to do it to the extreme in which you did for our method on how to kill maggots in the trash can above in our step by step guide.
Experts recommend getting into a good routine and cleaning your trash can at least once a week, typically after the trash is collected by the garbage collectors.
Not only can doing this help ensure you kill any potential eggs laid in your trashcan between the last cleaning, but it also helps remove waste and particles that cause odor which can be attractive to breeding flies.
Throw Food Away In Properly Sealed Garbage Bags
It’s also important to toss your food properly. Some people throw their waste directly into their outdoor trash can without sealing it first in a plastic trash bag. The problem with this is that the food deteriorates out in the open, and the fumes from this rotting waste attracts flies and other pests much more quickly than it would if the waste was sealed in a garbage bag.
Furthermore, sealing waste before dumping it in your outdoor garbage tote also ensures you don’t have as much nasty, gooey, stinky grime to clean each week from your bin’s siding.
Refrain From Leaving Garbage Bins Open Or Unsealed
You can also help prevent flies from laying eggs in your trash can by investing in a garbage bin with a lid that seals shut. Look for bins that are pest-resistant, as these types of trash bins typically reduce odor and can even help deter bears, raccoons, possums and flies.
Invest In Pest Repellent Sprays for Both Inside Your Home and Outdoors
While we did focus primarily on how to kill maggots in the trash can outside of your home, flies can also get inside and lay their eggs in your indoor garbage bin. If you’re going to invest in a pest control spray or repellent, we suggest investing in products you can use both inside of your home and outside.
You can find out more about how to kill maggots in the trash can and prevent them from returning by checking out this video below.
And there you have it! Now you know how to kill maggots in the trash can.
So, what do you think about this somewhat nauseating yet totally fascinating topic we covered today? Have you ever encountered maggots in your trash can? Tell us the tips and tricks you used to get rid of them in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.