maggots in carpet

As if you needed more reasons to hate flies, you’ll hate their children, maggots, even more so. And don’t think for a second the trashcan is their only viable home. Oh no, they can nest in the very carpet beneath your feet.

The larvae stage of a fly, maggots are plump yellow worms unable to take flight. Even in their young lives they can cause havoc, growing in carpets and trash, multiplying like bunnies when they reach adulthood and spreading disease. And don’t think that dirty homes are the only homes they target, though that certainly contributes; even clean homes can experience an infestation of maggots.

How to get Rid of Maggots in your Carpet

Getting rid of maggots in your carpet involves more than just focusing on the carpet itself. That could very well be a symptom of the issue. To really clean house—no pun intended—you have to target every problematic spot. Looking at the big picture is what it will take to rid yourself of a maggot infestation.

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Targeting the trash can

First and foremost, target the trash can. It could be a breeding ground. It doesn’t matter if the trash can is two rooms over; it’s better to be thorough than choosy. Obviously any trash should be removed and properly disposed of. This will take away one of their sources of food. Don’t forget to throw away any trash found at the bottom of the trash can.

After getting rid of the trash, the trash can itself needs to be cleaned. For a thorough cleaning, boil water and pour it over every inch of the trash can, preferably outside and away from any storm drains. In doing so, maggots could get a free ride to the local locals and water supply. Wear gloves as you scrub the trash can with a hard scrub brush. Boiling water can kill maggots right away.

As a recommended bonus, pour vinegar (View on Amazon) over the can and scrub it down with a hard brush again. Vinegar is naturally acidic and can help break away stubborn food particles left behind. Any leftover food caked on the trash can is dinner time for maggots and flies. Alternatively, you can mix boiling water with vinegar.

Once the trash can has been cleaned, thoroughly dry it. Aside from rotting food, maggots love moisture, too. Line the inside of the can with mint oil (View on Amazon) because it repels maggots. When you insert a new trash bag, line it with a rubber band. Set up fly traps (View on Amazon) to snag any flying pests.

Targeting the sink

If you’ve noticed a foul smell coming from your kitchen, then chances are there’s rotting food in the pipes themselves—even more so if you have a garbage disposal. And if there’s one thing flies and maggots love more, it’s rotting food. That’s what they love the most!

In other words, get rid of that kitchen smell. Clean the sink, including the counters, and you’ll eliminate one more area they love to breed in.

Targeting the carpet

Now for the pièce de résistance, cleaning the carpet! Out of the three, this process can be the most involved because it requires that you repeat the same steps several times. If there’s anything that ensures maggots stay away, it is thoroughness and repetition. Maggots won’t one day think, “Oh, you cleaned the trash can really well. I think I’ll go somewhere else then. Sorry!” They won’t show mercy; you shouldn’t either.

To kill these little buggers for good, you’re going to need a few important items:

  • Boric acid
  • A vacuum
  • A broom
  • A steam cleaner

Boric acid (View on Amazon) is a major maggot killer—even ants hate boric acid. After all, it is an insecticide. That also means it’s toxic so when you handle boric acid, where protective gloves. You wouldn’t want to touch this stuff then rub your eyes, face, or mouth. In fact, if that does happen, seek medical attention immediately.

Alongside the steam cleaner, which you can rent from a local hardware store or even Wal-Mart, you’ll need carpet cleaner, particularly an insecticide solution. Now, depending on your living arrangements, you may want to look into a cleaning solution that is both safe for your carpet and for any pets that live in your home. Even something like pet shampoo that has insecticides will work just fine.

What you do first is sprinkle boric acid on every inch of your carpet. There’s no wrong answer. And by all means, be generous with the amount that you sprinkle. Again, maggots aren’t going to run off just because you tossed boric acid their way. If they find a place to survive, they’ll hide there until the storm is over. But you are the bigger storm, the storm to end all storms! For an added bonus, spread a bunch of salt, too. Salt will suck up any nearby moisture, which maggots love, too.

Once you’ve spread boric acid everyone, take your broom and sweep your carpet. You aren’t trying to clean, you are trying to press the boric acid further into the carpet. Maggots will attempt to burrow and you aren’t going to let them. Leave the boric acid ingrained in your carpet for a good 20 to 30 minutes, then vacuum and discard the vacuum bag. Afterwards, repeat the process.

After two or three times of bathing the carpet in boric acid and salt, you can move onto steam cleaning. Steam-clean your carpet to suck out and kill any maggots that managed to stick around. Do this twice; three times depending on the severity of the issue.

Where did the maggots come from?

Flies are looking for two important sources: moisture and food. Once they have that, they start to breed. And they don’t waste any time doing so.

To find a proper nesting area, just about anywhere can be fair game, but it’s rotting food, animals, and animal feces they love the most. If you have pets that leave behind little droppings, flies will divebomb those for laying their disgusting babies.

But why carpets? For starters, maggots don’t stick to one place. They are mobile and taking your eyes off of one for even a few seconds and they can disappear relatively quickly. They may grow up to half an inch, but don’t let their size fool you. Maggots can be pretty quick. Carpets in particular can be a source of food. Crumbs especially can get picked up by your feet and carried into a carpeted area. Mobile maggots can then make their way to the carpet and live deep within the fibers.

Bottom Line

Don’t be ashamed that something like an infestation of maggots happened to you. It does not always mean your house is unclean. The cleanest homes could experience the perfect storm of problems. In one strange case, someone bought a rug that could have had eggs woven into the fibers. Talk about a vacation trip.

The point is it can happen to anyone. What matters is that you act quickly before the problem gets out of hand. All it takes is a few flies, a bit of moisture, some food, and time. Soon after you’ll have an entire carpet of maggots.