You would be spoiled for choices when trying to get rid of maggots in trash cans. You could use chemical methods or natural DIY solutions like vinegar and soap to salvage your garbage can from those annoying bugs.
Chemical methods include bug sprays and bleach, while natural remedies utilize readily available home ingredients such as vinegar and salt to kill the larvae. Either way, you can effectively eradicate the maggots infestation in your garbage can.
Rotting food in trash cans attracts flies. Those flies lay eggs which turn into larvae that are also known as maggots. Flies are usually attracted to damp, humid, safe places with food to feed them and their larvae. Trash can readily provides them with all these.
How to kill maggots in trash cans
While chemical methods and natural remedies kill maggots, chemicals are faster and take little effort to remove the larvae. Natural remedies are also effective, though you might want to reapply to control the larvae altogether.
It’s vital to dispose of the plastic bag with the garbage and remove any debris before removing maggots from the trash can. Please wait for the garbage collection day or take it to the dumpsite fast.
Below are the methods to kill maggots in trash cans:
1. Bug sprays
Insecticides contain chemical ingredients such as permethrin and pyrethrum that kill the larvae instantly. Here’s how to get rid of maggots using bug sprays.
- Read the bug spray label for warning and precautions before using the product. Reading the label is significant to avoid accidental risks resulting from product misuse.
- Hold the bug spray upward, and position the nozzle away from your face. Press the button and direct the mist into the trash can. Cover all the larvae with the mist.
- Close the lid to let the fumes suffocate the larvae.
- Wait for about 30 minutes before opening the lid.
- Wash the trash can with warm soapy water to disinfect it. Ensure you scrub all the sides to eliminate all the dead larvae.
- Rinse the can with a hose to wash soap residues from it.
- Air-dry the bin before usage.
2. Boiled water
Another cheap, straightforward method to instantly kill maggots from the trash can is pouring boiled water on them. The hot water destroys the maggots’ bodies to kill them.
Here’s how to kill maggots from the bin using boiled water:
- Heat a kettle of water in the gas cooker or stove and let it boil. You may need to boil more water for more giant trash cans.
- Pour the hot water into the trash can. Be careful not to spill the water on your skin to avoid burns.
- Let the hot water sit in the bin for about 30 minutes to allow it to kill the larvae. If you have a metallic trash can, close its lid to contain the steam inside for faster action.
- Scrub the garbage can using a sponge and warm soapy water to remove dirt and any remaining fly eggs.
- Rinse the bin with a hose.
- Air the trash can outside and let it dry completely.
White Vinegar contains acetic acid that acidifies the maggots surrounding, making it difficult for them to survive in such places. Vinegar also removes bad odor from the trash can.
Here’s how to use vinegar to kill maggots from your garbage can:
- Mix one part of vinegar to three parts of boiled water in a bowl.
- Pour the vinegar solution into the bin and let it sit for half an hour.
- If there are still some live maggots, reapply the vinegar solution and wait for 30 minutes to let the solution kill the remaining larvae.
- Scrub the bin with warm soapy water, ensuring you scrub all the parts.
- Rinse the bin with a hose to remove soap residues
- Air-dry the trash can outside to make it moisture-free before use.
- Reapply the vinegar solution weekly to repel the maggots and flies altogether.
4. Sprinkle Salt
Salt is another cheap and simple natural remedy to kill maggots from your trash can. Salt absorbs moisture from the maggots’ bodies, thus killing them from dehydration. If you want salt for maggots to work even faster, add calcium hydroxide, otherwise called lime, to make it more potent.
Here’s how to kill larvae from your bin using salt:
- Add one part of salt to one part of lime to a bowl.
- Sprinkle a lot of the mixture into the bin, ensuring your soak all the larvae.
- Wait for about 30 minutes to let the salt–lime mixture kill the maggots.
- Scrub the bin’s interior using a sponge or brush with warm soapy water.
- Rinse the trash can thoroughly with a hose.
- Air the garbage can outside to let it dry completely.
The normal Clorox bleach used for general cleaning can also kill maggots. Bleach emits toxic fumes that suffocate the larvae when poured on them. When using bleach for maggots, have in mind that it can cause corrosion and can also be harmful to you if inhaled in excess.
Here’s how to use it;
- Mix one cup of bleach to one cup of boiling water in a bowl.
- Pour the solution into the trash can. Close the lid to concentrate the bleach fumes to suffocate the larvae.
- Wait for 30 minutes to let the bleach kill the maggots.
- Reapply the bleach to kill any larvae remaining.
- Scrub the trash can with a sponge or brush and soapy water, ensuring you wipe all the sides to remove debris.
- Rinse the can with a hose.
- Let the can dry outside before using it again.
6. Carburetor cleaner
Carburetor cleaners contain very potent solvents, including toluene, propane, methyl ethyl ketone, and acetone. These solvents are highly toxic and can kill larvae when sprayed on them.
However, the solvents can corrode your skin. Wear heavy-duty gloves and faces masks to protect yourself from the harmful solvents before using the carburetor cleaner.
Here’s how to kill maggots using carburetor cleaner:
- Mix one cup of carburetor cleaner with two gallons of water in a bowl.
- Pour the solution into the maggot-infested garbage can.
- Let the solution sit for about one hour, allowing it to kill the larvae.
- Scrub the inside of the trash can with warm soapy water and a sponge.
- Rinse the bin with a hose.
- Air-dry the trash can outside to remove all the moisture from it.
Caveat: Don’t mix the carburetor cleaner with other cleaning agents!
7. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous powder is extracted from naturally occurring rocks. It is usually used for household cleaning but can also kill maggots. Diatomaceous earth has insecticidal properties, absorbing moisture from maggots’ bodies and thus killing them.
Here’s how to kill maggots using diatomaceous earth:
- Sprinkle a lot of diatomaceous powder into the trash can. Be sure to cover all the larvae with the powder.
- Wait for a few hours to let the powder act on the larvae.
- Thoroughly clean the trash can with a sponge or brush and warm soapy water.
- Rinse the garbage bin with a hose and let it dry outside.
You can also use lime to get rid of maggots from your trash can. Lime, also known as calcium hydroxide, absorbs moisture from the larvae’s bodies and thus killing them.
Here’s how to kill maggots using lime:
- Sprinkle a lot of lime into the trash can. Be sure to soak all the larvae with the powder to kill them effectively.
- Please wait for a few hours to let the lime dehydrate the maggots.
- Clean the trash can with a brush or sponge and warm soapy water.
- Rinse the bin with a hose to remove soap residues.
- Air the garbage bin outside to get rid of all the moisture before use.
How to prevent maggots in a trash can?
Maggots can infest your bin even after removing them. It’s vital to prevent them from reappearing in your bin, so you often don’t waste time killing them.
Here are the best ways to prevent larvae from invading your bin again:
- Use a sealed plastic bag to hold the waste in the bin. An airtight plastic bag concentrates the garbage’s waste, especially if you have stale meat and bones, which are more potent in attracting the flies into the trash can.
- Wash the garbage bin weekly with vinegar to keep maggots away.
- Use a trash can with a lid. Sealed lids will also work perfectly in containing the smell and blocking flies from laying their eggs inside the bin, which later hatch into maggots. The cover should be airtight to prevent flies from laying eggs in it.
- Repel the flies. Peppermint oil and bay leaves emit smells flies hate and will repel them from resting on the garbage bin to lay eggs. Put a few drops of peppermint oil in a sprayer containing water and shake well to mix them. Spray the oil inside the trash can to repel flies from it.
- Alternatively, use a soft cloth to coat the inside and outside of the bin with peppermint oil. Also, place bay leaves inside the trash can to repel flies.
- Always dry the bin before use. Maggots love damp places, including moist trash cans. Air-dry the bin before use to remove all the moisture from it. Alternatively, place silica packets inside the bin to absorb moisture, thus keeping flies away.
Will the garbage man take garbage with maggots?
The sanitation worker will take your garbage even if they contain maggots. Garbage collectors rarely look into what’s in the trash bag and whether they have larvae or not. So they would pick your garbage with maggots and dispose of them.
There are always more maggots in the trash when it is warm. For example, summer heat makes the wastes ferment fast and spreads their smell, attracting flies to the trash can.
When flies land on your garbage can to eat stale foods, they also lay their eggs inside the can. According to PennState Extension, Housefly eggs hatch after 24 hours, resulting in maggots in the garbage bin.
Calina Mabel has over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism and communications. Currently, Calina Mabel is the Content Writer for categories such as Cockroach, Ants, Bed Bugs, Mosquito, Rodent, Termite, and Flies on Pestweek.com. She aims to build content for these categories with a focus on providing valuable and accessible information to readers, in order to create the world’s largest knowledge community about Pests.
All content written by Calina Mabel has been reviewed by Emily Carter.