June 2, 2006 4:47 AM   Subscribe

How do I clean up maggots?

This is awful, and I'm sorry for subjecting you all to this, but while I was away overseas, my roommate left a bag of garbage in our backroom (on a carpet) for about three weeks. She's moved out now. When I came back and took the garbage out, there was a puddle of stinky brown garbage juice under it, and, yep, some writhing maggoty-things blinking in the new light. How should I get rid of them? Should I wait a while until I know they're good and dead? This is a terrible state of affairs.
posted by ITheCosmos to Home & Garden (20 answers total)
I don't think maggots are as fragile as they look. I say gently sweep them up and put them somewhere outside.
posted by milarepa at 5:10 AM on June 2, 2006

I would let the maggots dry out/die, then sweep them up; you might speed up the process with some kitty litter. If the carpet is soaked with garbage juice, then I am afraid getting the maggots out will be the least of your problems.
posted by TedW at 5:17 AM on June 2, 2006

Should I wait a while until I know they're good and dead?

A quick spash of methylated spirits will make sure they're good and dead fairly quickly, and will probably help dissolve the stain at the same time.
posted by Jimbob at 5:18 AM on June 2, 2006

Maggots are pretty strong. My dad showed me once by spraying a group of the with burning WD40, they were still moving well after several minutes. You know they hatch into flies right? If you wait for them they'll turn into flies, not die. Sounds like you might want to cut out a section of a certain carpet.
posted by Napierzaza at 6:34 AM on June 2, 2006

Shop Vac. It will be gross cleaning it out afterwards, but at least you can do that outside. With a hose. At high pressure.

(Potatoes, cupboard, waaaaay back, "what's that smell? oh dear god," Shop Vac. At least it's over quickly.)
posted by Lyn Never at 6:41 AM on June 2, 2006

I poured a bottle of vinegar into a gargage can that had maggots in it and swished it around. They all shriveled up. That might be a good first step.
posted by jon_kill at 6:43 AM on June 2, 2006

Oh god, this happened to me years and years ago and I'm still not over it. You have to douse them with whatever nasty cleaning chemicals you have at hand. They will turn brown and crusty. Sweep them up and dump them. Then you will have to do something about that carpet.
Meanwhile, you are going to have flies now no matter what you do and you have to make damn sure there's nothing around all summer for them to lay their eggs in or there will be more maggots.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:44 AM on June 2, 2006

Lyn Never writes "Shop Vac. It will be gross cleaning it out afterwards, but at least you can do that outside. With a hose. At high pressure."

I always have a few filter bags on hand for my shop vac for stuff like this. Saves having to clean up the puke after cleaning up the vac.
posted by Mitheral at 7:06 AM on June 2, 2006

Cleaning chemicals - Pine-Glo, Fantastik, bleach, whatever you have on hand. Actually, since it's carpet dump some vinegar. Then sweep/wipe them up, put them in a trash bag, and take the trash bag out immediately.

Clean the carpet with more vinegar.
posted by Anonymous at 7:14 AM on June 2, 2006

The "puddle f stinky brown grabage juice" in your carpet seems more of a problem than the maggots.

I'm sure any stain remover you use would kill the maggots and any other bacteria that have grown there.
posted by lain at 7:14 AM on June 2, 2006

The "puddle f stinky brown grabage juice" in your carpet seems more of a problem than the maggots.

I resent that.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:24 AM on June 2, 2006

Yeah, I'm kind of stunned by the comments that they'll "die". They won't die -- these are larvae and most likely what they'll turn into is houseflies after a 3 to 4 day pupal stage. Then you'll have an even worse mess, depending on how the food source holds out.

There's no way to really fix this except set up a second trash can (maybe buy some giant size trash bags or a really big box) and scoop it all up into there. Alternately you could hire a neighborhood kid to do it, or you could find some dessicant (arts & crafts stores for flower drying), sprinkle the maggots, wait about 30 minutes until they're dead, and clean it up (or use the shop vac). Dessicant is safe except for being an skin irritant, so if you just wear gloves and vacuum it up you'll be fine.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:35 AM on June 2, 2006

Tiny paper towels.
posted by notyou at 7:40 AM on June 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Soak up as much of the "juice" as you can with paper towels. Then hit up a local pet store and get a gallon or so of Nature's Miracle. If they don't carry that brand, other enzyme-based cleaners might work too, but I've tried a couple different brands and Nature's Miracle seems to work best.

Completely saturate the entire affected area with the cleaner. I wouldn't even bother with the sprayer attachment, just dump the stuff out of the bottle directly onto the mess. Make sure you use enough of the cleaner so it can get down into the carpet pad too. Let it dry on its own (if the spot is big enough this could take a day or more to completely dry).

You might have to repeat this process a couple of times, but I've found that it is really effective at cleaning up any organic-type carpet messes. As a bonus, I would think that the high alcohol content of the cleaner would kill off any critters that are left behind. After that I would rent a steam cleaner and go over the area thoroughly.
posted by jtfowl0 at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2006

This happened to me last summer, but the garbage was a couple of mice caught in a trap while I was on vacation. Eww. I just used a paper towel and then scrubbed my hands with steel wool and alcohol until I finally felt clean.

Who am I kidding? I'll never feel clean again.
posted by OmieWise at 8:32 AM on June 2, 2006

Make your roommate do it.
posted by LilBucner at 11:11 AM on June 2, 2006

Salt? Like with slugs?
posted by unknowncommand at 12:01 PM on June 2, 2006

Uh vacuum and then soak it with carpet cleaner? I had maggots in a garbage can and put a healthy amount of bleach in. Bleach is good at killing, though it'd probably destroy the carpet.
posted by geoff. at 12:23 PM on June 2, 2006

Were I you, I would hire a professional exterminator, and send your irresponsible roommate the bill. You may never collect, but some things are worth paying to have done for you, and I'm hard pressed to think of a more compelling example than this. My god, do you ever have my sympathies.
posted by melissa may at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2006

Raid? I mean, they're insects, albeit in the larval stage. Get a can of Raid (or any other aerosol insecticide) and it should kill them within a few seconds. The cleanup is another matter - you'll either have to rip up and replace the carpet, or rent a steam-cleaner for the rest of the mess.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:48 PM on June 2, 2006

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