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How to Kill Maggots in a Trash Can [5 Easy Methods]

How to Kill Maggots in a Trash Can [5 Easy Methods]

There are few things more disgusting than opening your trash can and seeing hundreds of slimy creepy-crawlies wiggling in your garbage. 

Trust me; I’ve been there before.

A maggot infestation can turn into a disgusting headache if not dealt with immediately.

Maggots will turn into adult flies that will keep returning to your home.

And flies will keep laying eggs if you don’t clean your trash can regularly. 

Don’t worry; killing maggots in a garbage can and preventing further infestations isn’t as difficult as it first seems.

This article will tell you what causes maggots in the trash, how to kill maggots in the trash can, and the preventive measures you can take to keep maggots out of your trash can for good.


Steps to Kill Maggots in a Trash Can

Here’s a quick rundown of what to do:

The best natural way to get rid of maggots infesting your trash can is to first boil 2 quarts of water to 212°F (100°C) in a sturdy pot . Next, empty the trash out of your can or waste bin. Then, pour the hot water directly onto the maggots. This will kill all these larvae pests instantly!

What Causes Maggots in the Trash?

Maggots are fly larvae that emerge from eggs laid on rotten food and old garbage.

Flies lay hundreds of eggs at a time, so you can imagine what would happen if even, say, ten female flies lay their eggs at the same location.

Not a particularly pleasant image, is it?

There are a few things that lead to maggots in a garbage can. They are important to know before you move on to dealing with an infestation. 

1. Rotting Garbage and Residue

dirty trash can with maggots


Trash cans brimming with rotten food waste—or ones that have not been cleaned in a long time—are the perfect breeding grounds for maggots.

This is because flies lay their eggs where the larvae can feed for a few days before becoming adults, and unhygienic areas inside your home are perfect.

Discarded organic material like fruit peels and unfinished meals scraped from dirty plates all attribute to the ideal nursery for baby flies.

Also, any liquid residue from grease, sauces, and other liquids from food and cooking are a delight to these pests.

2. Bones from Meat Products

the animal carcass is ideal for maggots to breed

Worse yet, are old chicken bones or raw tissue such as fats cut from beef or pork.

We all throw this stuff in the garbage, right? But it’s like putting out a ‘Welcome’ sign to flies to lay eggs.

Also, if you’ve disposed of a dead rat or any small animal in your trash can, flies will swarm to the spot in an instant.

An animal carcass is ideal for maggots to breed because of the ample amount of rotten flesh to feed on.

3. Summer

Maggot infestations can occur throughout the year, but you may see more of them during the hot summer months.

This is because hot and humid weather accelerates decomposition, garbage develops an unpleasant smell more quickly, and flies gather around dirty garbage cans by the hundreds. 

As you can guess, maggots thrive in these conditions whether outdoors or worse, indoors in your kitchen or basement.

There’s nothing worse than finding maggots on your floors near the garbage.

How to Kill Maggots in the Trash Can: 5 Ways

While it is quite disgusting to discover maggots in the garbage can, the good news is that maggots are easy to kill.

Begin by removing everything inside the garbage can.

Take the trash can liner out, put it inside another plastic bag, seal it as tightly as possible, and take it outside for collection.

Next, you can focus on getting rid of the maggots left inside the trash can. 

Here are a few tried and tested methods that I’ve used successfully:

1. Garbage Guard from TERRO

While I have some super helpful DIY solutions listed below, I have to put this one at the top – because it works the best in my opinion!

The TERRO T800 Garbage Guard Trash Can Insect Killer is a no non-sense way to control/prevent flies and maggot issues in your trash bins indoors or outdoors.

Trash bin guard for maggots


Simply, place the sticky-back cartridge, that’s about the size of a deck of cards, onto the bottom of your trash can lid and keep it closed. (You could also place on the side a few inches down from the rim if you don’t have a lid).

A small amount of vapor is released over time, keeping these unwanted pests away!



2. Boiling Water

boiling water can kill maggots in trash

Wondering how to get rid of maggots in a garbage can? Boiling water is the simplest and easiest way to do so.

After taking the garbage out from the can, pour hot, boiling water over the areas where you can see maggots.

Make sure you cover all of them entirely with boiling water.

This technique is simple yet very effective. If the infestation is in multiple places or over a large area, boil enough water to cover all of them.

3. Vinegar Water 

Another natural method of killing maggots in a trash can is to use vinegar.

All you need is a simple mixture of one part vinegar and two parts hot water to create a powerful cleaning agent.

Pour or spray the mixture on the inner surface of the trash can and let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes.

Check to see if the maggots are dead before rinsing. 

The best part about this method is that it eradicates the maggots while also getting rid of the smell that attracts flies.

This will keep the flies away from your trash can for at least a few days. 

4. Insect Sprays

Killing maggots by Insecticide

Have you found maggots in an outdoor trash can? Insecticides are effective in such cases.

Choose one that contains pyrethrum, as it is particularly effective against flies (and thus, maggots).

Another option is to use insecticides containing permethrin. 

You can also use other products that contain permethrin, like dog shampoo. For a DIY insecticide, mix one part dog shampoo with four parts water.

Bug sprays can be quite effective on maggots, though you will have to spray a relatively large amount to kill them.

No matter which product you decide to use, leave it on the affected area for 30 to 40 minutes to let it take effect.

Follow that up by cleaning your trash can thoroughly.

5. Bleach Water 

Mixing bleach with water creates a strong cleansing agent that will kill all the maggots in your trash can.

Create a solution by mixing one part bleach with one part water to start (you can also try a more concentrated 4:1 mixture if needed)

Spray the mixture on infested areas or pour it into the trash can, close the lid, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

The fumes from the solution will kill the maggots in your garbage in no time. 

Rinse and repeat to keep the flies out of your can.

6. Salt and Lime

salt and lime for trash maggots

You can also use salt to kill maggots. And mixed with lime, it is an extremely effective natural maggot terminator.

The mixture works as a dehydrating agent. 

Mix equal parts salt and lime and sprinkle it over the maggot infestation in your trash can and allow it to sit awhile.

Alternatively, you can opt for calcium-oxide lime from the hardware store, too.

Time for an Exterminator?

Sometimes doing things yourself, no matter how many DIY methods you read about just feels overwhelming.

Maybe you’re out of time or the infestation itself is just too much yuck.

I get it…

There’s zero shame in calling a pest control expert who can come by and take care of business (and back up their work).

Maggots and excessive fly issues are no exception!

I’ve used service professionals in the past, and it can be a crap shoot if you hire people blindly.

My go-to way to connect with a qualified and reasonably priced local pro is to use a network like Networx.

Networx does all the “word of mouth” legwork for you; pre-screening and approving capable and trustworthy exterminators who can contact you immediately.

If you’re seriously over things like maggots and ready to hire an actual pro, get a local quote now for your unique issue (it’s free), to ensure any maggots found in and around your house are killed and stay gone!

How to Prevent Maggots in Trash Can

The proverb “prevention is better than cure” best describes how you should deal with maggot infestations.

Practicing preventive measures day in and day out will save you the hassle of dealing with these pests.

Wondering how to keep maggots out of the trash can? Here are some preventive measures you can follow:

  • Avoid throwing food waste directly into your garbage can, especially if it’s meat-based. Use a smaller plastic trash bag instead and immediately take it outdoors.
  • Opt for a trash can with a lid that shuts firmly.
  • Don’t overfill your trash can. The smell emanating from old garbage will attract flies.
  • Clean your trash cans regularly with a mixture of vinegar and water to kill maggots and keep flies away.
  • You can also spray a few drops of essential oils such as peppermint, bay leaf, or lavender around and on the trash can. These scents will keep flies away.
  • Mothballs can also repel flies.


Will Maggots Die in the Sun?

While consistent exposure to harsh sunlight can kill maggots, it’s not a foolproof method to eradicate an infestation. 

Instead of waiting for maggots to die in the sun, it’s best to be proactive.

Get rid of maggots with boiling water, insecticide, bleach, vinegar, or lime.

After rinsing out your trash can, leave it in the sun to dry. This will disinfect your garbage can completely. 

Do Garbage Men Take Garbage with Maggots?

Obviously, most waste collectors will not look in the cans unless your trash bags are entirely covered in maggots.

They will just dump the whole thing, along with the maggots, into the truck and keep moving. 

However, for better public hygiene, it’s best to clear your trash cans of any maggot infestations before trash day.


Maggots are the last thing you want to be dealing with when you’re trying to dispose of your trash.

The best course of action is to practice preventive measures, so you do not have to deal with a maggot infestation. 

Should you have to deal with one, natural measures like boiling water, vinegar water, or a salt-lime mixture will put an end to the maggots in your trash can.

Sharing is Caring!

John p

Monday 17th of July 2023

Ground clove sprinkled on top worked for me.