Does Baking Soda Kill Maggots? 3 Important Things to Know Before Using It

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Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Published: January 2, 2024

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Dealing with a nasty maggot infestation? While these animals have their purpose in the ecosystem, most people would prefer to keep them out of their homes. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy DIY solutions to killing these pests. Does baking soda kill maggots? Yes, in fact, baking soda is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get rid of maggots and their residue from your home.

To use baking soda to kill maggots, first apply boiling water over the entire area where the maggots are squirming. This kills them instantly and requires no special materials or tools. Simply boil water on the stove or in the microwave and give the maggots a thorough bath. The water must be very hot to kill the maggots since they can survive in cool or even warm temperatures. That’s why boiling is best.

After you’ve given them their hot bath, sprinkle baking soda over the area. This absorbs all of the residue from the maggots. It can also help with any odors left behind.

Why Get Rid of Maggots?

maggots in a pile

Maggots are the larvae stage of the housefly.

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Aside from being unsightly, maggots can pose a health risk in your home. These pests can cause illness if accidentally ingested. Maggots form when houseflies lay eggs. Once they hatch and enter the larvae stage, they are considered maggots. After 8 or 9 days, maggots develop into flies and the cycle begins again.

Maggots eat garbage, which is why they are so common in trash cans and other receptacles. They like decomposing fruits and vegetables, meat, and other organic waste. While they are a necessary part of the ecosystem and help turn decaying matter into healthy soil, most homeowners don’t want them in their trashcans.

Preventing Maggot Infestation

Using a disposable bin liner can help keep your trash can cleaner and reduce the build-up of debris, which might attract pests like maggots.

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A few maggots likely aren’t anything to worry about but these pests reproduce at a rapid rate, especially when they have a smorgasbord to feast on as they grow. That’s why prevention is so important when it comes to controlling a maggot infestation. Make sure that organic waste, such as fruits, veggies, and meat, is disposed of quickly. The longer you keep rotting garbage in your trashcan, the greater the chances of a fly finding it and laying eggs. Once the female fly lays her eggs, they will hatch into maggots within a day and you’ll be fighting an infestation within a couple of days.

You should also clean out your trashcans and bins periodically to prevent pests. Even if you empty the bin, residue from your garbage can linger on the bottom or sides. Using an effective cleaning solution can do wonders to keep your trashcans pest-free. Trash cans can also be feasts for other animals if not kept clean and secure.

Other DIY Remedies to Kill Maggots

If you don’t have any baking soda to kill maggots, other home remedies are equally effective. You can likely make them with ingredients and tools that you already have at home. Some take a few applications, depending on how many maggots you are trying to get rid of.

Saltwater

what smells do mice hate

Always label your homemade cleaning solutions, including saltwater, so that you apply them as recommended.

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Create your own saltwater mixture by dissolving regular table salt in boiling water. Once all of the salt is dissolved, let it cool and put it into a spray bottle. Make sure to label it so that you don’t confuse it with any watering spray bottles for your plants. Spray the saltwater over the maggots. They will soon die because they do not have enough hydration. For a large infestation, you might need to spray this solution over the area multiple times. Make sure to check back periodically and reapply as needed until the spot is maggot-free.

Sprinkle Salt

Table salt can keep maggots away and prevent them from returning when sprinkled over an area.

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You can use the same ingredients to keep maggots away from an area completely. Sprinkle salt in the spot to make it inhospitable for maggots. While this doesn’t kill any maggots that are there (unless it comes into direct contact with them), it will deter them from coming around. Keep in mind that they might just seek out an unsalted area nearby. Just like with other solutions, you’ll need to check back to make sure that it is effective. You can use this option in combination with other tricks.

Bleach and Water

Bleach, Cleaning, Cleaning Product, Drum - Container, Horizontal

Dilute bleach with water to make it less potent and easier to use to clean trashcans and other areas.

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For a slightly stronger solution, dilute bleach with water (50/50 ratio) and pour it over the area. This can be very effective if the maggots are concentrated in a particular spot like a trashcan. Bleach may not be safe for all surfaces, however. You also need to give it a thorough rinsing if pets or children might come into contact with the area. Bleach isn’t the best option for food prep spaces since it can cause harm if ingested.


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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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