How to Get Rid of Maggots in a Garbage Can: 9 Easy Methods

A garbage bin covered in maggots

Anyone who's gone to throw away trash only to see the can covered in crawling critters knows that a maggot infestation is a terrible time. While taking out the garbage is never fun, it's made just so much worse when you're dealing with maggots.

If this is your situation right now, don't fret. Getting rid of those annoying pests and keeping them away is easier than you think. There are also plenty of ways to kill maggots, so there's definitely at least one method you'll be able to try right away. So that you're leaving as prepared as possible, here's everything we're covering in this article:

We'll start by tackling why the maggots are ending up in your garbage can in the first place.

Want to try composting your food waste instead? Check out our guide on composting for beginners or sign up below for composting tips and tricks!


 


 

What causes maggots to show up in your garbage?

A garbage can filled with food scraps

Maggots get into your trash because it's a prime environment for flies to lay their eggs. If you have food waste in your trash, that rotting food will create warm and humid conditions ideal for flies, and will attract flies with its smell. Essentially, you get maggots in your garbage can when you add food to it.

Adding decaying organic matter to your garbage bin is a bad idea in general. Not only does it attract flies, but it negatively impacts the planet. That food will get taken to a landfill, where it will take up unnecessary space and release methane into the atmosphere. For the sake of both your garbage bin and the environment, you'll want to keep food scraps out of your trash can.

We'll get more into preventing maggots later, but for now let's help you get rid of the ones you already have.


How to get rid of maggots in your trash can: 9 methods to try

There are a variety of methods to kill maggots so you can eliminate your maggot infestation. You should be able to find at least one method that works for you from the following list.


1. Boiling water

Steam coming out of a kettle with boiling water

The way to kill maggots we're sure absolutely anyone could do is to pour boiling water on them. Pouring boiling water directly on the maggots will quickly kill them, but you have to be sure to get all the maggots. Any maggots that don't get hit with the water will continue to live.

You also have the option of completely filling your trash can with boiling water. Unless you have a small trash bin, however, that would take a lot of water. But, this method would also ensure that any eggs laid in your bin would also get killed.

Pro tip: This method is most effective when maggots are concentrated in a few small spaces so that you can easily get them all with your pour. If they're all over and around the trash can, pretty much any other method will be much easier to pull off.


2. Insecticide

A person spraying a can of insecticide

Insecticide is an easy and effective way to kill maggots. You can find insecticides in stores specifically for killing flies and maggots, but you likely already have what you need at home. Any bug sprays you get for normal use will also work on the maggots in your trash. All you need to do is give your entire trash bin a good spray with the insecticide and wait at least 30 minutes for it to kill them off.

Pro tip: Make sure to wear a mask and other protective equipment when spraying that much bug spray or insecticide. You don't want to end up sick from getting rid of your maggot infestation.


3. Vinegar mixed with water

A clear bottle filled with white vinegar

Vinegar is another potent maggot killer that you can easily use. You can create a vinegar solution by mixing it with hot water in a 1:2 ratio. Spray everywhere the maggots are, and then scrub all the inside walls of the trash bin with the solution. Let that sit for at least half an hour before completely rinsing out your garbage bin.

Pro tip: Not only will this solution kill maggots, but it will also sanitize and deodorize your garbage bin. This is a great method for both removing the maggot infestation and just cleaning your trash cans.


4. Bleach

A bottle of Clorox bleach

Just like with the vinegar, you can also make a bleach solution by mixing it with equal parts of warm water. With this solution, you can spray it all over your trash can, but if you don't have a spray bottle, you can also gently swirl the solution all over the sides of your trash bin. Once again, let that sit for a bit and then thoroughly rinse your trash can.

Pro tip: If you have a relatively small trash can, you also have the option of just filling it up a little with the solution and putting the lid on tight. When you leave it like that for a while, the fumes from the solution will fill the trash can, which will also kill maggots. Just make sure to rinse well when you're done.


5. Household cleaners

A couple of bottles of household cleaner

One more thing you've definitely got lying around your home that can help you rid yourself of this maggot infestation is your household cleaners. Pretty much any cleaning solution you've got around is going to be toxic to the maggots and will be an effective killer, especially when mixed with boiling water. The best part is that they'll also clean your trash can while killing the fly larvae.

Pro tip: Your cleaning supplies probably aren't the only thing you've got lying around either. Products like hairspray and spray antiperspirant can also effectively be used for maggot pest control.


6. Freezing

A close up image of ice

If you're a bit squeamish and you don't want to deal with the maggots directly, you also have the option of freezing them. Freezing them will kill the fly larvae and any laid eggs inside your trash bin. All you need to do is put your whole bin in a freezer. Of course, this is only really a good option for maggot infestations in small trash cans, or for people with freezers large enough to hold entire outdoor trash cans.

Pro tip: If you live somewhere that gets cold during the winter, this is actually probably the easiest way to remove maggots during that season. All you need to do then is leave your trash can outside and mother nature will do the job for you!


7. Salt and lime mixture

A spilled bottle of salt

You've probably heard before that salt is a good way to kill maggots because it dries them up. This is actually true, and it's made even more potent when mixed with lime (the powder, not the fruit). Mix an equal amount of both products and sprinkle that mixture wherever you see maggots. If you come back and find it hasn't killed them all off, you can just add a second layer.

Pro tip: If you don't want to mix up salt and lime yourself, or just don't want to use all of your table salt to get rid of maggots, you can actually buy this mixture at most hardware stores. Just look for premixed calcium-oxide lime.


8. Diatomaceous earth

A spadefull of diatomaceous earth in a garden

If you happen to have some diatomaceous earth at home, that's another great resource for getting rid of maggots. Just like with the lime and salt mixture, the earth dries them up, killing them. Because it's essentially made from tiny fossils, it's also sharp to the maggots and can cut them up. To use it, you can apply it the same way as with the salt and lime mixture, just sprinkle it wherever the maggots are.

Pro tip: Diatomaceous earth is great for dealing with more than just maggots. You can use this handy resource to get rid of plenty of other bugs, such as ants!


9. Move them to a compost pile

A person adding food scraps to their compost bin

If you want to get the maggots out of your trash can but don't want to kill them, we have a solution for you, too. When they're not in an unwanted location, fly larvae can be quite helpful. If you have an outdoor compost pile or bin, you can easily transport them from your trash can to your compost. Maggots thrive in a compost pile, and will actually speed up the composting process for you by eating up the organic matter.

Pro tip: You don’t need a big outdoor compost pile filled with maggots to get the benefits of composting. Lomi is a small kitchen appliance that will quickly replace your food waste with nutrient-rich dirt, making it easy to remove organic matter from your trash can.

 

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6 tips on how to prevent maggots from getting in the garbage can

A maggot free garbage bin

Killing the maggots inside your trash can will definitely be a relief, but what's the point if they're just going to come back? Here's what you can do to prevent future infestations:

  1. Reduce your food waste with Lomi: Rotting organic matter attracts flies, so just don't put any food in your garbage bin. Instead, use Lomi, a small kitchen appliance that can turn your organic waste into natural fertilizer in less than a day!
  2. Put your food waste in a compost pile: If you have the time and space for it, a compost pile is another great way to remove organic waste from your trash can. With time, you can turn what was once garbage into an enriching soil amendment.
  3. Ensure the lid of your trash can closes firmly: Unfortunately, not all food can be composted traditionally or broken down with Lomi. When you do have organic matter in your trash, the first thing to do is ensure the lid closes firmly. This will prevent smells from escaping and flies from getting in.
  4. Rinse food packaging before throwing it away: Small remnants of food and liquid on packaging are enough to draw flies in. It's quick, easy, and effective to simply rinse the packaging before you throw it out.
  5. Clean your trash can regularly: Little bits of rotting waste left in your garbage bin over time can create strong scents for flies to follow. Regularly cleaning your trash cans will keep them smelling fresh to you and unattractive to flies.
  6. Add some sort of pleasant scent to your garbage can: What smells wonderful to us doesn't smell appealing to flies. If there's a rotting food smell leaking from your trash cans and there isn't much you can do about it, you can mask the smell with something else. Consider adding essential oils to your bin or even spraying it with an air freshener.

 


 

What’s the best way to keep maggots out of your trash can?

Lomi surrounded by foodscraps, dirt, and houseplants

The best way to prevent maggots from getting inside your garbage bin is to keep food waste out of your bin as well. If you don't want to deal with any sort of bugs or smells, the easiest way to do so is by breaking down your food scraps with Lomi. Using Lomi, you'll be turning food scraps into nutrient-rich dirt every day.

By breaking down organic waste and turning it into dirt, you'll be able to safely throw that dirt away without attracting flies. You also won't have to worry as much about its environmental impact, either. Lomi prevents organic waste from releasing methane into the atmosphere. Also, Lomi dramatically decreases the volume of organic waste by turning it into dirt, so it won't take up anywhere near as much space in a landfill. Of course, it's still better to use that dirt instead of throwing it away.

Of course, with the high-quality dirt that Lomi produces, you can easily find some way to use it. Instead of throwing away the dirt that Lomi makes each day, you'll be able to feed your gardens and indoor plants with it. Or, if you don't garden, you can share the dirt with friends and family.


Nobody wants maggots in their trash can. They're gross and just make handling the garbage much worse. Thankfully, getting rid of them is actually pretty easy, and you can prevent them from ever returning by following the tips above. If you want to use Lomi to eliminate your food waste, you can order yours online today. You can also learn more about how Lomi works and what it can do for you on our blog while you wait for it to arrive!


Written by: Sereana Simpson