Eliminate Maggots in Your Trash Can: Expert Tips

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Imagine opening your garbage can to see a wriggling mass of slimy white maggots squirming through your trash. 

Gross, right?

Maggots are the larval stage of flies, particularly the common housefly. They thrive in decaying organic matter like spoiled food and other waste, bringing harmful bacteria from the trash can into your home.

In this article, we’ll arm you with practical, easy-to-follow steps for getting rid of maggots in your trash can.

We’ll also cover proven strategies to help you keep your garage maggot-free in the future. That means eliminating flies in your garage before they lay their eggs.

So, grab a pair of gloves, and let’s get to work. 

Don't let your garbage can look like this. If you have maggots in your trash can then follow these steps to eliminate them. Pin

Will the Trash Company Take Garbage with Maggots?

Yes, in most cases, your garbage collection service will still collect garbage that has maggots. 

Some of the major garbage service companies in the United States are Waste Management, Republic Services, and Clean Harbors. None lists any official policy on picking up trash cans with maggots. That said, they are typically equipped to handle all types of waste, including those infested with maggots. 

Some services might require you to bag the infested garbage separately or take additional steps for sanitation and safety.

Contact your local waste management service for their specific policies when in doubt. Regulations may vary by region and company. 


How To Kill Maggots In Your Trash Can

If you’ve already found maggots in your trash can, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. 

Here are some tried-and-true methods to eliminate them so you can clean your garbage can and start fresh. 

Boiling Water: This may be the simplest method to kill maggots, but don’t underestimate it. Pour boiling water over the swarm of maggots in your trash can, close the lid, and let it do its magic for at least 30 minutes. The heat will not only exterminate the maggots but also help loosen any stuck-on grime.

Bleach: If that doesn’t work, household bleach has strong chemical properties that can wipe out maggots and flies while sanitizing your trash can. Mix a 1:10 ratio of bleach and water, and pour or spray it over the maggots. Close the lid, let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, hose out your garbage can. Remember, even diluted bleach can be harmful to your skin, so use caution while handling it.

Vinegar: A more natural solution is white or cleaning vinegar. Besides killing maggots and flies, it’s excellent at deodorizing your trash can. The process is identical to using bleach: Pour or spray vinegar over the maggots, seal the lid, and wait 30 minutes. Vinegar’s acidic nature will kill the maggots and help remove any unpleasant odors.

Salt: Salt is another natural method at your disposal. Here, you can use table salt or ice-melt salt, which is more concentrated. You may need to brush or spray the larvae into a smaller area. Then, generously sprinkle salt over the maggots and wait a few hours. Rinse the trash can afterward with water to dispose of the casualties. 


Diatomaceous Earth: This natural substance, made from fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms, is another great maggot killer. Like salt, the diatomaceous earth penetrates the maggots’ skin, dehydrating and killing them. Just sprinkle it over the maggots in your garbage can, let it sit for a few hours, then rinse out the remains. 

Essential Oils: Most insects hate the smell of certain essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree. Mix a few drops with water and spray it over the maggots. Alternatively, soak cotton balls in the oil and strategically place them around the can to repel flies and maggots.

Insecticides: If natural methods aren’t cutting it, the next option is insecticides designed specifically for maggots and flies. Follow the instructions on the label, and apply it to the maggots or your garbage can. As with bleach, avoiding inhalation or direct contact with insecticides is essential.

Depending on how many maggots are in your trash cans, you may need to try a combination of these methods.

Don’t be afraid to repeat the process to completely get rid of the maggots in your trash can.

Pressure wash resularly to get rid of maggots in your trash cansPin

How to Dispose of Maggots Safely

Cleaning up dead (or dying) maggots is just as important as killing them. Maggots can also carry and spread diseases like salmonella and myiasis. Additionally, their bodies will decay and invite other flies and pests, causing further infestations. 

So, it’s vital to dispose of maggots properly, not just for your immediate health but for the environment’s well-being.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to disposing of maggots safely and effectively:

Wear the proper clothing: Before you get started, gear up with gloves and protective clothing. It may sound excessive, but maggots can bite or infect your skin. Once you’re done, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly. 

Use heavy-duty trash bags: Round up the maggots and any infested trash, and seal it in a plastic bag. Ensure the bag is tightly closed and free from holes or tears. The last thing you want is for the bag to rip and have the maggots escape. 

Remove garbage quickly: If the decaying food and maggots are around, it could still attract flies and pests. Toss it into an outdoor dumpster or trash bin as soon as possible. It’s worth a quick check of your local regulations. Some areas may have specific requirements or recommended disposal methods for maggot-infested trash.

Sanitize: Finally, thoroughly clean your trash can and the surrounding area. A combination of hot water, soap, bleach, vinegar, or other disinfectants should do the trick. This will not only help clean it but will also help remove any lingering odors. Remember to dry the trash can completely before you start using it again.


How to Keep Maggots Out of Your Garbage Cans

Once you’ve eliminated maggots from your trash can, the next challenge is to keep them away. 

Here’s why that’s important. 

Maggots can spread diseases and infections to humans and animals, which is usually enough reason alone to want to prevent them. 

But there’s more. They can generate foul odors and unsightly stains, attract more flies and pests, and damage your trash can.

Preventing maggots from coming back in the future will help maintain a clean, healthy, and, frankly, less creepy garage. 

In this section, we’ll discuss some proven strategies to help keep maggots away from your trash cans. We’ll cover tips on trash can cleanliness, waste management, and the strategic use of natural repellents. 


Here are some hard-and-fast strategies to maintain a maggot-free garbage can:

  • Clean and disinfect trash cans regularly. This is one of the most effective ways to keep maggots away from the trash can. Cleaning and disinfecting the trash can removes any food residue, dirt, grease, or bacteria that may attract flies and maggots. In summer, you should clean and disinfect the trash can at least once a week. More often if needed. You can use hot water, soap, bleach, vinegar, or other disinfectants to clean and sanitize the trash can.
  • Use tight-fitting trash can lids and liners. This is another important way to keep maggots away from the trash can. Tight-fitting lids and liners prevent flies from accessing the trash can and laying eggs. You should also ensure no gaps or holes in the lids or liners that may allow flies or maggots to enter or escape. Replace the liners frequently and dispose of them properly.
  • Keep trash cans away from direct sunlight and heat sources. This is a simple way to keep maggots away from the trash can. Keeping trash cans away from direct sunlight and heat sources reduces the temperature and moisture inside the trash ca. Warm, dark, moist conditions are favorable for larvae to grow and multiply. Avoid placing the trash can near windows, doors, vents, or other openings that may expose it to sunlight or heat.
  • Use natural repellents like bay leaves, mint, or cedar chips. This is a natural way to keep maggots away from the trash can. Natural repellents like bay leaves, mint, or cedar chips create a strong smell that repels flies and maggots. You can place these natural repellents inside or around the trash can or make a spray by boiling them in water and straining the liquid.
  • Freeze food scraps before throwing them away. Freezing food scraps before throwing them away kills any eggs or larvae that may be present in the food waste. It also reduces the odor and decomposition of food waste, which attracts flies and maggots. You should freeze food scraps in a sealed container or bag until the day of garbage collection.
  • Install fly traps or screens around the trash can. Installing fly traps or screens around the trash can catch and kill any flies that may try to enter or leave the trash can. You can use sticky, electric, or homemade traps made from plastic bottles, vinegar, sugar, or honey. You should also regularly check and clean the traps to keep maggots away from the trash can.
  • Spray vinegar or ammonia on the trash can lid and rim. This will help prevent the growth of maggots in your garbage can. Spraying vinegar or ammonia on the trash can lid and edge creates a sour smell that deters flies and their larvae. If your maggot problem is bad enough, consider spraying vinegar or ammonia on the trash can lid and rim every time you close it.
  • Sprinkle salt, vinegar, or lime juice on the garbage. This is an easy way to keep maggots away from the trash can. Sprinkling salt, vinegar, or lime juice on the trash creates an acidic environment that kills or repels maggots.


Why do I have maggots in my garbage can?

Refrain from disposing of food waste in your bin without sealing it first in a bag or container. Warmer weather will also increase the decay and odors of meats, and bloody polystyrene trays will attract flies to lay their eggs.

Can maggots appear out of nowhere?

No, not by themselves. Maggots are fly larvae. Housflies lay their eggs in food waste, animal feces, or other rotten foods. Maggots are typically only noticeable when the eggs hatch and fly larvae appear.

Is it easy to get rid of maggots in your trash can?

Yes, keep your house and trash can clean. Pour boiling water, vinegar, or bleach solution over the maggots to kill them. You can also use insecticides than contain Permethrin.


Wrapping It Up

Keeping a clean and maggot-free trash can doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s all about understanding the life cycle of these pesky creatures, tackling the issue promptly if they do make an appearance, and taking measures to keep them at bay in the future.

We’ve explored several methods to eliminate the maggots in your garbage can, from simple boiling water to natural solutions like vinegar and salt and commercial insecticides.

After exterminating them, it’s crucial to dispose of them safely to avoid health risks and to prevent re-infestation.

Equally important is preventing the return of these unwelcome guests. Routine cleaning, proper waste disposal, strategically placing your trash cans, and using natural repellents are all practical measures to keep your bins maggot-free.

Remember, everyone finds maggots in their trash from time to time, so don’t be disheartened if you’re dealing with them right now.

With the practical knowledge you’ve gained here, you can get rid of the maggots in your trash can and declare your home a no-fly (and no-maggot) zone.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.

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