Does Bleach Kill Maggots?

Chemical methods are the best remedy when dealing with heavy maggots infestation. Although bleach is popularly known for cleaning, it can also kill maggots.

Bleach eliminates maggots by suffocating them with toxic chlorine gas emitted after a chemical reaction with hot water. Mix equal parts of bleach and hot boiling water in a bucket and pour onto the maggot-infested area, soaking all the larvae with the solution. Let the bleach sit for 30 minutes, then clean the site with soapy water and let it dry.

Warning: Note that leach should never be used directly on any surface before checking whether it reacts with it or not. You can always try it on a small portion to check if it reacts. However, it is much better to test on a material that is the same as the one on the infested surface. This is important because leach can react with some surfaces and cause a lot of damage.

How to kill maggots with bleach

To kill the larvae, you will need Clorox bleach, a bucket, a metal spatula, and water. Wear hand gloves and face masks before beginning the treatment because bleach can corrode your skin.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to eliminating larvae from your home using bleach:

  1. Heat a kettle of water until it boils
  2. Measure equal parts of the hot boiling water and bleach and pour them into the bucket. Stir the solution using the metal spatula to mix them nicely.
  3. Pour the mixture over the maggot-infested area, and soak all the larvae. If treating a trash can, close the lid to concentrate the bleach fumes into the garbage can to work on them faster.
  4. Wait for about 30 minutes to let the bleach suffocate the maggots to kill them.
  5. Check the maggot-infested area to confirm all the maggots are
  6. dead. If there are any live larvae, add more bleach-hot water solution over the area and wait 30 minutes to let the bleach kill them.
  7. Flash the water containing the dead maggots in a toilet or a drainage system.
  8. Clean the maggot-treated area with soapy water and a sponge or brush. Rinse the area with clean water and let it dry completely before use.
  9. You may want to spray some bleach solution in a trash can to prevent reinfestation.

How long for bleach to kill maggots?

Bleach takes approximately 30 minutes to kill maggots. It’s among the best home remedies to get rid of larvae almost instantly from your home.

However, bleach kills maggots fast only when mixed with hot boiling water. Coldwater can also be used, although it would take longer than hot water.

Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which reacts with the water to release toxic chemical fumes, suffocating the larvae. It kills maggots by suffocating them with the toxic chlorine gas it emits after reacting with hot boiling water. Thoroughly soak the larvae with the bleach to kill them effectively in a few treats.

Where can you use bleach to get rid of maggots?

 Bleach contains chemicals that can corrode and damage some surfaces. It’s therefore vital to know areas where you can use bleach to get rid of maggots safely. The trash can, kitchen floors, ceilings, and pantry area are the most common areas you can use bleach to control larvae.

Trash cans

Larvae are common in trash cans, especially during the hot summer months when the food decomposition and scents diffusion rate is higher. Maggots in trash cans result from hatched eggs.

Maggots are baby flies. Flies love humid, moist, and safe sites with food, such as your garbage can. They feed on stale food and lay their eggs in the trash can. These eggs hatch at room temperature to become maggots.

Bleach is a suitable DIY when killing maggots in trash cans or garbage bins.  It emits toxic fumes, killing the larvae when they inhale them. The process is even more effective and fasts if you close the lid to concentrate the fumes inside.

After killing the maggots with bleach, wash the can with warm, soapy water and let it dry. Spray bleach solution inside the garbage can to prevent maggot infestation.

The kitchen floor

Maggots invade damp kitchen floors with food droppings and drink stains. Food droppings left longer on the floor ferment, attracting flies to feed on them. Tea, wine, and juices spilled on the ground have scents that attract flies. They also love damp, humid surfaces.

Flies eat stale dropped foods and lay their eggs since there’s abundant food to feed their larvae. You soon see maggots on your messy kitchen floor resulting from the hatched eggs.

Bleach is among the best solutions to kill maggots from the kitchen floor, especially non-hardwood floors. Spray an equal part of bleach and hot water solution over the floor and collect the dead maggots after 30 minutes. Clean the infected area to prevent the bleach content from damaging the floors.                

The ceilings

If you notice white or creamy worms on your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom ceilings, they might be the larvae, rather maggots, of the Indianmeal moth. Before using bleach on any ceiling surface, test it on a a very small portion of material used to make the ceiling. If it reacts, do not proceed because the damage can be so expensive to repair.

The larvae have legs and thus can climb the walls and reach the ceilings looking for safe places to pupate. Maggots on ceilings can be annoying because if they lack a good grip, they can drop on anything below.

The Indianmeal moth lays eggs in your kitchen or bathroom and later hatch into larvae at room temperature. The larvae feed on the foods in your pantry area for days before they become inactive. When they are about to change into adults, they look for safe places to host them. 

Therefore, they crawl and climb walls to reach the ceilings. On reaching the ceilings or finding cracks and crevices along the walls, they hide in their cocoons and transit into adult Indianmeal moths.

Getting rid of the larvae in your ceilings or cracks and crevices can be difficult. But spraying bleach solution on them can do the job well. However, the larvae can fall on the furniture and stuff below the ceilings.

Move them away during the process. After removing the larvae from the ceilings, collect the dead maggots and scrub the floor.            

The kitchen cabinets or the pantry

Flies love food and would gladly lay their eggs in areas with abundant food to feed their larvae after hatching. And your pantry or kitchen cabinets provide the food they need.

House flies and the Indianmeal moth, also called pantry moths, are the most common pests in pantries. Their larvae or maggots eat the cereals and grains in storage cans and other dry foods stored in the closets.

Use bleach to get rid of the larvae from the pantry area. However, the bleach should be less concentrated and used in small amounts. You cannot use bleach to clean the food containers since it’s toxic. Wipe the cabinets with a disinfectant or use soapy water to rub bleach residues after killing the larvae from the pantry.

 Use bleach less often in the kitchen closets. Otherwise, opt for safer natural remedies like vinegar and salt to control the larvae.

While bleach can be used in several areas at home to control larvae, there are other delicate areas you should never use it on. If you have maggots in your carpet or rug, furniture, and beddings, don’t use bleach to remove them. Bleach can significantly damage and discolor the fabrics, leading to high replacement costs.

Instead, sprinkle boric acid, salt, white vinegar powder, or diatomaceous earth on the fabrics to get rid of them.

Bleach Vs. Vinegar for Maggots

Apart from bleach, vinegar also eliminates maggots from an area. However, choosing when you have both vinegar and bleach can be challenging.

When comparing their effectiveness, bleach outdoes vinegar. Bleach is a home cleaning substance that kills maggots chemically from infested areas. It contains sodium hypochlorite, which reacts to emit toxic fumes that suffocate the larvae.

Meanwhile, vinegar is less effective than bleach. It’s a natural remedy containing about 6 percent acetic acid that makes the larvae’  surrounding inhabitable, thus killing them.

Furthermore, bleach kills maggots faster than vinegar. While bleach takes only 30 minutes to kill larvae, vinegar takes longer, usually up to 18 hours.

Bleach kills maggots instantly and is the better option when wanting to deal with the infestation fast. Meanwhile, vinegar can be a good choice when you have plenty of time to do the job.

You might be tempted to mix bleach and vinegar to make a more robust maggot killer. However, mixing vinegar and bleach to make a more potent maggot killer is wrong, and you should never do it.

Bleach is highly alkaline, while vinegar is a weak acid. When mixed, the two neutralize to release hypochlorous acid and chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is very toxic and produces a choking, pungent smell.  Exposure to chlorine gas leads to respiratory problems, including shortness of breath, vomiting, coughing, and blurry vision.

Reference; Northeastern University: Using Bleach as a Disinfectant.