Does Bleach Kill Maggots? Here’s What You Need To Know

Did you spot maggots in your trash can, your carpet, or any other area of your home? 

Then you probably have some questions like, what are these bugs? Where do they come from? And most importantly, can you kill them with bleach?

In this blog post, we will answer all of those questions and more. So without any further ado, let’s dive right in!

Understanding Maggots in Your House

What Are Maggots?

The first thing to understand is what maggots are.

The simple answer is they are the larvae of flies, also known as fly larvae or blowfly larvae.

There are about 150 different types of flies in North America alone and each one has its own unique life cycle. Most commonly identified by their large size and many legs, these pests are capable of flying short distances, but often prefer to crawl.

Where Do Maggots Come From?

The sight of a maggot is usually enough to make people feel nauseous. These worm-like creatures can be found in many different places, but their primary habitat is decaying animal carcasses.

People may find them in the garden, compost pile, or even inside their garbage cans. 

Furthermore, maggots are attracted to the smell of rotting flesh. However, they can sometimes be found in uncooked meat. They most commonly appear in warm weather when it is humid outside. That’s because they prefer dark areas that are moist and have a lot of decaying organic material. 

Are Maggots Harmful to Humans?

Maggots are not known to carry any diseases that can affect humans, but they do pose a health risk: food poisoning.

If you ingest maggots by eating spoiled food, you become at risk of food poisoning with symptoms that can range from very mild to serious and last for several days.

What Do Maggots Thrive On?

While maggots are typically found in decaying animal remains, they can also be attracted to rotting fruit and vegetables. 

In fact, many people discover them on their compost pile or even when cleaning out their refrigerator’s crisper drawer. That’s because these items attract the flies which then lay eggs that soon hatch into larvae.

Foods that are high in protein and low in moisture are what maggots thrive on. This includes meat, egg yolks, cheese, nuts, candy bars, or even pet food that is left out for too long.

Getting Rid of Maggots Effectively

Does Bleach Kill Maggots?

Yes, you will be glad to know that bleach does in fact kill maggots. However, there is a problem. Maggots do not drink from the surface of bleach as other insects do.

So you can’t just pour bleach on them and hope they ingest it.

How Can I Then Kill Maggots With Bleach?

Here’s a step-by-step method to kill maggots with bleach.

  1. Pour the bleach in a large open container, preferably with a lip on one side. Containers with lids don’t work too well for this.
  2. Add some water to dilute the bleach slightly for safety purposes- not more than 50% of the volume.
  3. Add a few drops of dish soap to help release the suds and mix until it’s nice and bubbly
  4. Place your trash can or what have you that has maggots in it right next to the container of bleach and water mixture
  5. Put a few pieces of cardboard on top of the maggot-infested area as a barricade from them crawling away from the liquid.
  6. Leave it there for an hour or two to ensure that the maggots have all drowned.

It does not take long for maggots to drown as they cannot drink from this liquid and will be forced to stay there until they die. So after waiting an hour or two, just remove the cardboard and you should no longer see any bugs crawling around dead in your trash can or pile of compost.

One thing we want to advise here is that you should always remember to put on protective gear when dealing with bleach, including reusable cleaning gloves and face masks. That’s because, although a common household item, bleach is still corrosive, which means it can burn or irritate your skin.

How Much Bleach Does It Take to Kill Maggots?

Generally, a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water does the trick. However, you might need to experiment with your own ratios depending on how many maggots there are and what type of container you have them in.

We recommend using a spray bottle as it can easily reach all areas of the infestation without you having to scoop up maggots with your hands.

What Type of Bleach Should I Use to Kill Maggots?

Regular household bleach works just fine. However, you can use more potent options like ammonia or hydrogen peroxide if you prefer. You can also use the classic over-the-counter Clorox Regular Bleach from Amazon.

One thing to note here is that vinegar and bleach aren’t the same. You cannot kill maggots with vinegar. So keep that in mind when attempting to clean up after a maggot infestation.

Will Bleach and Boiling Water Kill Maggots?

Another method to kill maggots Is by combining bleach with boiling water. This method actually works faster than the one we mentioned earlier. Here’s how it works.

  1. Heat a gallon of water over a stove. Make sure to set it to “high.”
  2. Let the water boil. Once the water starts bubbling, it’s time to add a cup of household bleach.
  3. Pour the boiling solution directly into your bin. Be careful not to burn yourself in the process. 

As with the method mentioned earlier, just use the solution to drown the maggots — and don’t forget to put on your protective gear before you start.

How Can I Prevent Maggot Manifestation In My Home?

It’s useful to keep in mind that maggots are attracted to high-protein foods. So it helps if you store your high-protein food properly and dispose of any rotting material inside the home quickly so they don’t have time to get there first.

Furthermore, never leave out pet food for too long, avoid throwing raw meat or eggs into compost piles, and keep your trash bin clean.

As long as you take note of these steps, there should be nothing to worry about when it comes to maggots infesting your home or garden area. 


If you’ve ever had a maggot infestation in your home, chances are it happened because of something as simple as not storing food properly. But no matter the cause, the solution is still the same: bleach!

When you have an infestation, you can either use the traditional household bleach or more potent options like ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to keep these pests out of your life for good.

But elimination shouldn’t be your first choice for a maggot-free home. No, the ideal way is to prevent maggot manifestation.

The key to preventing maggots from entering your home is to always be vigilant about how you store high-protein foods and dispose of any rotting material inside the house quickly. As long as you take these simple steps, you have nothing to worry about as the chances of maggots entering your home will be slim to none.

So just follow our tips and stay vigilant!


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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