Posted on: August 19, 2013 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 0

At one point or another, we’ve had to deal with maggots in the trash can. The white, squirmy fly larvae are enough to make anyone sick. Once your garbage can is infested with them, it can be difficult to get rid of them altogether.

Since they are fly larvae, the flies that lay these eggs, which turn into maggots, are attracted to rotting food matter. This rotting food releases methane, which the larvae live off of. Rotten meat is usually the biggest culprit for maggot infestations, so it is important to always bag the meat you throw away properly.


The heat and humidity of the summer, mixed with rotting meat and other food material, makes your trash can a perfect home for flies to give birth to their larvae. Here are some tips for getting rid of maggots and preventing them from ever coming back again.

One important note to make; some tips in this article may use ammonia or ammonia-based products. Make sure not to mix ammonia and bleach together – the chemical reaction is toxic and can be fatal. Always check the labels of household cleaning products before using them.

1. Strong scents.

Flies don’t like strong chemical smells – you should try lighting some incense or spraying some heavy-smelling insecticide in and around your garbage cans.

2. Clean out your food containers.

When throwing a food container out, it helps to clean the container thoroughly before disposing of it. These little bits of food leftover in boxes and cans add up, and give even more food for the flies around your trash can.

3. Set up fly strips.

To keep flies away from your trash cans, you should set up fly strips around the area where you leave your outdoor disposal and your indoor trash can. Fly strips attract flies, then they get stuck on the strips which effectively kills them. This will stop the flies from getting into your trash can and planting the eggs that will turn into maggots.

4. Use thicker garbage bags.

If you use thicker bags for your garbage can and disposal, this may help your maggot problem. When the juices from rotten foods escape a ripped or weakened garbage bag, the liquid fills up at the bottom of your garbage can and attracts flies to breed on the surface.

5. Put rotting meat into separate bags.

With those thicker bags, it also helps to keep rotting meat wrapped separate from the rest of your garbage. This will put less stress on the bag, making it less prone to tearing and leaking. Also, make sure you keep any meats in your fridge or freezer (wrapped in newspaper) until garbage day – this will keep the meat from rotting in the trash can until it is ready to be picked up.

The best way to get rid of maggots is to prevent them from showing up at the start. Especially during the more hot and humid times of the year, it is important to keep your garbage cans, both inside and outside, as clean as possible.

This can be easy as splashing boiling water and vinegar into your trash can once or twice every few weeks, emptying your bin as quickly as you can, and using thicker garbage bags.

6. Boiling water.

The most straightforward way to kill the maggots in your trash can is by simply boiling a pot of water and pouring it into your trash can.

First, you’ll want to give the inside of your garbage can a good rinse. Then, boil a pot of water, and add about half as much vinegar as there is water. Vinegar, works as an acid against maggots and will help kill the maggots in there already, as well as the ones on the surface of the can.

If the problem is particularly bad, you may want to repeat this process a few times. This is a good method because it is more eco-friendly than others, but slightly less effective.

7. Insecticide/pet shampoo.

There are many insecticides you can use to kill maggots, but make sure that they contain permethrin. Permethrin has a low toxicity for humans, but is very effective against bugs and pests, making it perfect for killing maggots and flies. Pet shampoos containing this insecticide are particularly strong.

First, mix the pet shampoo in a spray bottle with warm water – two parts water to one part of shampoo. Then, spray the solution on the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes. The insecticide will work to kill the maggots, and when they are dead, wipe them up with a paper towel.

After you’ve killed the maggots and cleaned the sides of your garbage can, wipe it down with any kind of antibacterial product – even white vinegar and water would work. Disinfect the surface of the trash can and then wipe it down again, with just warm water. After all steps are complete, make sure the garbage can is completely dry, so that the moisture isn’t attracting more bugs.
The best way to prevent a maggot infestation, either in your kitchen or in your outdoor disposal, is to keep your trash as empty and clean as possible. Since flies are attracted to rotting foods, you’ll want to make sure the garbage can is cleaned and emptied on a regular basis.

Flies also give birth to maggots who love this kind of stuff, so that’s just another reason to keep it clean.

Aside from using vinegar as a surface disinfectant and maggot killer, there are other natural fixes that are overall safer and more eco-friendly than insecticides. Mint oil, bay leaves, and eucalyptus are known to be great fly-repellents, and are great for prevention of maggots after the fact.

Remember, to get rid of the maggots, you’ve got to first get rid of the flies. It’s easier said than done to stay on top of cleaning your garbage all the time, but it’s not too difficult to clean out the maggots you may already have. Good hunting!