How to Get Rid of Maggots in Trash Can: 6 Ways

The warmer summer temperatures can bring with them a few unfortunate pest infestations too, like maggots in the outdoor trash can. Thankfully, getting rid of these creepy crawlers is quite easy with the use of a few pantry staples like vinegar, salt, and bleach. Here’s how to get rid of maggots in a trash can, and how to keep them from coming back.

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How Do Maggots Get in Your Trash Can?

Maggots make a home in your trash can thanks to two things: flies and a warm, humid environment. The heat created by rotting food (and the food source that is that rotting food) make your trash bin an ideal place for flies to lay their eggs. They’ll often sneak in via a crack at the top of your trash bin, or through a tear in a garbage bag. The fly eggs turn into maggots, which then grow up, breed, and create more maggots.

6 Ways to Get Rid of Maggots in Trash Can

Use Bleach

One of the easiest ways to kill maggots in your trash can is with bleach. In an empty trash can, combine one part bleach with one part water. Close the lid, and let the combo sit for half an hour to let the bleach fumes work.

After this time has passed, discard the bleach mixture and maggots, then spray the interior of the can down with a bleach spray to ensure it’s totally maggot and odor-free.

Try Boiling Water

If you’d rather not use bleach, try using only boiling water. Boil a full kettle of boiling water, then pour it directly over the maggots in your trash can. The incredibly hot water instantly kills the maggots. Discard the dirty water and let it completely dry before placing another bag in the trash bin.

Use Vinegar

Another chemical-free maggot solution can be found in vinegar. Combine one part vinegar with three parts hot water in an empty bin, then let the mixture sit for 30 minutes with the lid closed.

After this, dump out the vinegar mixture and directly spray any remaining maggots with the vinegar solution. Let it dry completely before using the trash can again.

Try Salt

Salt can dry out (and kill) maggots when enough of it is used. To try this method, take a large container of table salt and sprinkle it all over the maggot-infested areas of your trash can. Then, leave the bin in some direct sunlight for an hour—the heat and salt will dehydrate and kill the maggots. Finish by rinsing the can out with water, discarding the maggots and dirty water, then letting the trash can dry.

Use Bleach and the Freezer for Indoor Bins

If you’re finding maggots inside your kitchen trash bin, move the whole thing outside ASAP. Immediately place whatever trash bag was inside the bin into another trash bag, and ensure it’s all tied up. Place the bag in your exterior trash bin, or if you can, immediately dispose of it at a waste center.

Pour one part bleach and one part water into the trash bin, then let it sit covered for 30 minutes. Discard whatever’s left. If there are still a few stragglers, place them into a plastic bag and freeze them for an hour, then dispose of them.

Use Insecticide

If you’re dealing with a repeated maggot problem, it’s time to break out the big guns: insecticide. Buy a product that’s meant to keep maggots out of trash cans, like TERRO Garbage Guard. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, and keep in mind that you’ll likely need to regularly replace it.

How to Prevent Maggots From Getting in Your Trash Can

If you’d rather not deal with maggots in the first place, here’s what you need to know about keeping them out of your trash can.

  • Keep your trash can lid tightly sealed. This prevents flies from getting in and laying eggs.
  • Try to store your trash can in the shade: summer sunshine combined with stinky waste is a maggot’s favorite place.
  • Ensure that the trash bags going into your trash can are fully closed and rip-free. This keeps maggots out of them.
  • Seasonally wipe down the interior of your trash can with a combo of water and vinegar or bleach, as this prevents the buildup of odors and grime that can attract maggots.

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