Tips on How to Keep Maggots Out of Your Trash Can

Tips on How to Keep Maggots Out of Your Trash Can
Picture of Israel Alvarez
Israel Alvarez

Owner @ Insight Pest Management

Table of Contents

Seeing a bunch of maggots squirming around your trash bin can feel disgusting. The worst part is that if you see them once, they are bound to come back again. If your trash can has maggots in or around them, now’s the time to take action to prevent them from showing up again.

In this article, we will be explaining in detail how to get rid of maggots with a few simple steps. Not only will you learn how to get rid of them, but we will tell you how to prevent them from coming back again in the future.

Key takeaways

  • Maggots are the larvae of flies, and they prefer warm, humid environments like garbage bins.
  • To get rid of maggots, first remove the source of their food – the garbage – and seal it properly.
  • Methods to kill maggots include pouring boiling water directly on them, freezing them, using bleach or salt and lime, or using insecticide.
  • To prevent maggots, use a sturdy metal trash can, put food waste in plastic bags, sanitize the trash can regularly, use mothballs or silica packets, and prevent moisture buildup

What are maggots?

Essentially, maggots are the larvae of the common house fly. And what do maggots look like? They are shaped like a cone and can be found in gray, cream, or white colors.

These flies tend to lay a lot of eggs. During its lifetime (which is quite short, to begin with), a female fly can lay up to 500 eggs. They look for organic matter in which to lay their eggs. This could be anything from rotting garbage to feces (Yuck, we know!).

Once the eggs hatch, they become the larvae we’ve come to know as maggots. These maggots spend around 2 – 4 weeks eating the organic matter before they shed and become a fly.

Where do maggots come from?

Maggots prefer meat, even old meat. As such, any leftover pieces of meat, pet food, or dead animals will do the trick. Rotten garbage is a prime location to find these sources of protein. If you have an open bin, you will likely attract many flies to that area.

The longer it is kept open, the more flies will accumulate. So for starters, try to take measures to prevent flies from gathering near your garbage bins (i.e close your bins, use fly sprays or fly paper).

How to get rid of maggots

Maggots prefer warm and humid climates. If you live in a warm area, chances are your trash cans are usually infested with maggots. Once you see these creatures crawling inside your trash can, we wouldn’t blame you for being squeamish. We all also know how reluctant you would feel to stick your hands in there to “clean out the trash”.

Our advice to you at this point is to take some time to prepare yourself (if you need to) and summon up some courage to do what needs to be done. The longer you abstain from doing this, the worse the situation is going to get. You don’t want an infestation of flies and maggots around your house do you?

Once you’re ready, here’s what you need to do:

Cleaning up the trash

Your first step would be to remove the source of their food – the garbage. Chances are maggots are crawling around the sides of the bin or even on the floor. Put some gloves on (cause ick!), and tie up the garbage bag. If properly sealed, the maggots inside the bag will have no escape.

If you haven’t used a plastic bag inside your trash can beforehand, then move on to the next section.

How to kill maggots in the trash can

In this section, we have listed down what kills maggots. You may use any of these methods as you see fit:

1. Boiling water

What kills maggots instantly? Pouring boiling water directly on top of them. But remember, the water has to hit them directly or they won’t die. Also, this may not be the best method for plastic cans as they can bend out of shape due to the hot water.

2. Freezing

If you’re looking for a more humane way to kill them, collecting them in an airtight box and leaving them in the freezer overnight will do the trick. Though this method is not recommended for the squeamish.

3. Bleach

These products help sanitize our homes, but do bleach kill maggots? Yes, they do, effectively. Mix equal parts bleach and water, dump the solution in the trash can, and leave it for 30 minutes. The resulting fumes will kill the maggots.

4. Salt and lime

Just live with leeches, salt is a good way to kill maggots. Mixing it with lime makes it more lethal. Mix equal parts salt and lime and sprinkle the mixture on the maggots. If it doesn’t work, you’ll need a stronger solution.

5. Insecticide

Insecticides are great at dealing with infestations. Since maggots are small and not very resilient, almost any insecticide will do. You can even find insecticides specifically for maggots at your local store.


As you’re already aware, prevention is better than any cure. If you haven’t had an infestation already, consider yourself lucky and put into action the following tips:

  • Use a sturdy metal trash can. Flies cannot enter the bin to lay their eggs
  • Put all your food waste inside plastic bags before throwing them in the bin
  • Sanitize your trash can every week to prevent any infestations – You can use bleach or simply a mix of vinegar and water
  • Line your trash can with mothballs. They contain insecticides that will repel flies
  • Place silica packets inside the trash can. These prevent moisture from building up inside the can.
  • Maggots prefer moisture, so this will stop them from growing inside.

Frequently asked questions

1. What can I put in my trash to prevent maggots?
You can use baking soda, mothballs, silica packets, or essential oil solutions to prevent maggots from entering.

2. What causes maggots in the trash can?
Rotten food is usually the cause of maggot infestations. Don’t leave food waste out!

3. How long do maggots live?
Maggots live for around 6 days before they transition into flies.


The bottom line is that a maggot infestation is not the end of the world. There are some simple steps you can take to kill them or prevent them from ever infesting your bins. However, once an infestation has already started, depending on your situation, it can be difficult to deal with on your own.

If you find it too revolting to fix yourself or the problem is too big to handle alone, your best option would be to hire residential pest control professionals. Contact us today to set an appointment. You can even get a request estimate before finalizing the service!

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Locally owned and family operated, we are a top-rated pest and bug control company that uses state-of-the-art equipment to help ensure that pests are located and eliminated. But it doesn’t stop there! Pest prevention is one of the most important parts of pest and bug control. 

Our expert technicians work to ensure that all potential pest entry points are sealed and offer routine treatment options to help ensure your home or business stays protected from future infestations. You don’t have to share your home or business with pests any longer! If you live in the Ventura County area, let the team at Insight Pest Management help you say goodbye to pests once and for all!

Contact us today to schedule a FREE evaluation!

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