How To Keep Flies Out Of Garbage Can? (Easy And Simple)

how to keep flies out of garbage can

Flies are nothing but a nuisance. They are the culprits behind those weird buzzing sounds and the spread of germs around the house. Things get worse when they decide to infest your garbage can!

So, it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible. But if you haven’t dealt with a garbage can infestation before, you must be confused about the method.

It’s why we have dedicated today’s post to this topic. We’ll discuss how to keep flies out of the garbage can in complete detail. We’ll also talk about the reasons behind infestation, the types of infestation, and how to prevent it in the future. Let’s get started!

How To Keep Flies Out Of Garbage Can? (Easy And Simple) pin1

Why Did Flies Infest Your Garbage Can?

Why Did Flies Infest Your Garbage Can?1

Image Credit: 369bugs

To be honest, these insects may be sneaky but they have nothing personal against you. They will infest any garbage can they find during the warmer months. This is because the heat causes the organic matter to rot quickly.

And flies love nothing more than rotten trash. It’s what they feed on!

While this is just the part of natural decomposition cycle, the situation deteriorates when the flies start reproduction. The female flies will lay hundreds of eggs nearby the food source (trash can in your case).

These eggs will turn into maggots in just 24 to 48 hours. This will give rise to a whole new generation that will feed on your garbage and lay eggs. Meanwhile, the scent of dead flies will attract new settlers.

So, within a few weeks, your garbage bin will become heavily infested with flies. You can imagine it as a hoard of black spots buzzing around your trash can outside.

Pet Collar Tick Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller

Original price was: $4.99.Current price is: $3.99.

P82D Electronic Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller

Original price was: $36.99.Current price is: $27.99.

Portable USB Indoor Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller

Original price was: $12.99.Current price is: $9.99.


Types of Fly Infestations

Usually, a mix of flies will surround your trash can. But it’s also possible to find one type of flies Infestation. Here’s a brief overview of each type and what attracts them:

Type Appearance Attracted to  Special Notes 
Common house fly Black/Ash grey body Food scraps and pet feces House flies are responsible for the spread of most diseases, like Salmonellosis.
Fruit Fly Yellowish body with red eyes Sugary substances Fruit flies are more common in summer and fall.
Blow Fly Large, metallic-colored body Meat and carrion Also called bottle fly, the appearance and habits will slightly differ between sub-types.

  • Blue bottle fly
  • Black blow fly

How to Keep Flies Out of a Garbage Can? 5 Simple Steps

How to Keep Flies Out of a Garbage Can? 5 Simple Steps1

Image Credit: MassLive

Typically, the trash is collected by the local authorities once a week. So, depending on where you live and the pickup schedule, you will first have to wait for the trash to be collected.

Once the garbage can is empty, roll up your sleeves and get to work. The task is going to be a little gross, but as the saying goes – no pain, no gain!

Step 1: Wear Protective Gear

First, prepare yourself by wearing fully-covered clothes. Your arms, legs, and body should not be exposed as the flies may bite and infect you. Cover your head with a cap too.

We also recommend a pair of thick rubber gloves and a mask. This protective gear will ensure you don’t catch any germs from the infestation site.

Upgraded 3000V Electric Bug Zapper Racket

Original price was: $31.99.Current price is: $23.99.

Portable Three-layer Safety Bug Zapper Racket

Original price was: $4.99.Current price is: $3.99.

Upgraded Electric USB Rechargeable Bug Zapper Racket

Original price was: $41.99.Current price is: $31.99.


Step 2: Use a Bug-Repellent Spray

Although the empty trash bin won’t have as many flies as before, there will still be enough to make working a problem. So, once you’re worn your protective clothing, take a chemical bug-repellent spray and use it generously over the can.

This will eliminate the remaining flies as well as cockroaches, wasps, and other pests. Leave the site for 15 to 20 minutes so that the spray can work on every insect and kill it.

Step 3: Clean the Trash Can

Now, take a clean trash bag and manually remove any residue. You can use a microfiber cloth, a small shovel, or any other tool that you may find useful for the task. Just make sure the trash can is free from debris.

After this, pour water and vinegar in a bucket. The ratio should be 1:1 to create a strong cleaning solution. Mix and slowly pour it along the inside walls of the trash can.

Transfer some of the mixtures to a spray bottle and use it over the lid and exterior. You can also use a spray bottle for the interior, if your garbage can isn’t very huge. Wait for 20 to 25 minutes so that the bacteria are fully killed.

Use a scrubbing brush to get rid of any sticky residue on the surface. Then, use a cotton rag to wipe off the cleaning solution. If you doubt some solution is still left behind, dampen a clean rag and wipe the surfaces again.

Or, if you accidentally poured too much of the mixture and it is now sitting on the bottom, use a water hose or bucket to rinse everything. Turn over the trash can to remove the liquids and wash the exterior.

Let the moisture evaporate completely. Once dried, sprinkle baking soda inside and close the lid.

Step 4: Use a Garbage Bag or Liner

Next day, put a plastic bag or liner inside the trash bin. This is very important to maintain a clean and odor-free bin. If you go back to throwing food waste without a bag or liner, the residue will get stuck to the walls and foul-smelling bacteria will grow again – attracting flies.

You will have to repeat the cleaning process all over again!

Step 5: Place a Deterrent

Lastly, you need to decide the type of deterrent. This is a preventative measure that will help keep flies out of your garbage can permanently. So, even if the garbage spills out of the bag or some reside gets stuck on the walls, the deterrent will ensure the flies don’t infest the can.

Below, we have discussed what deterrent options are best. Keep reading!

What Keeps Flies Away from Your Garbage Can?

What Keeps Flies Away from Your Garbage Can?1

Image Credit: Adams Exterminating

Cleaning the garbage can is the first part of the job. To keep flies away forever, you need to bar their entry by using deterrents. Here are some effective options to try:

Electric Handheld Fly Swatter Indoor Bug Zapper

Original price was: $11.99.Current price is: $8.99.

3000V UV Light USB Charging Indoor Bug Zapper

Original price was: $19.99.Current price is: $14.99.

Upgraded 3000V TYPE-C Charging 3 in 1 Indoor Bug Zapper

Original price was: $33.99.Current price is: $24.99.


Natural Remedies

1. Citronella

Citronella has a strong floral and citrusy smell that overwhelms the senses of flies. So, a good way to ward them off is to plant citronella plants near the garbage can. Or, if it is kept in an indoor space, you can also light up citronella candles.

2. Basil Leaves

The sweet aroma of basil is another natural smell deterrent for flies. If you have extra basil leaves in the kitchen, tear them into smaller pieces and scatter them around the trash bin. You will have to use a lot of them to create a strong smell barrier.

But if that’s not an option, empty tea bags and fill them with crushed basil leaves. Secure the opening with tape and hang these tea bags from the trash can. Make sure all tea bags have an equal distance between them.

Since the leaves are crushed and collected together, they will release a stronger smell than individual leaves scattered around.

3. Essential oils 

There are a lot of different essential oils that disorient the flies – forcing them to leave eventually. A few popular examples include:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Clove oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Lavender oil

To use them as fly deterrents, add a few drops of any one essential oil in a cup of water and transfer the mixture into a spray bottle. Use it to spray the deterrent on the can every day. If you can’t do it every day, soak rags in the mixture and keep them near the can.

4. Ginger Spray 

Ginger has compounds that act as irritants for the flies. You can use this ingredient against them by adding some ginger powder to water to create a spicy mixture. Spray it all over the garbage bin using a spray bottle.

Store-Bought Solutions

Store-Bought Solutions1

Image Credit: IFLScience

1. Fly Bait repellents

Bait repellents are designed to attract the target insect and kill them. In the case of flies, the bait repellent is a pellet-like substance with an alluring scent. When flies taste the substance, they die immediately.

2. Garbage guard

Garbage guards are gadgets installed inside the trash can. They release vaporized and odorless insecticides periodically. This kills the larva and prevents the waste matter from becoming the breeding grounds for flies.


Flies infestation is a common problem throughout the world. So, it’s important to know how to keep flies out of garbage can in simple and easy-to-remember steps. We have summarized the complete process in just 5 steps;

  1. Wear fully-covered clothes, gloves, a cap, and a mask.
  2. Spray a bug-repellent all over the empty trash can.
  3. Clean the trash can by removing residue, spraying vinegar solution over the dirty surface, and rinsing it afterward.
  4. Place a garbage bag or liner inside the trash can.
  5. Use a natural or store-bought deterrent to keep the flies away forever.

Natural deterrents (like citronella and peppermint) are usually cheaper than store-bought solutions. But, since they need to be replaced frequently, using them can be troublesome for busy adults. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

How To Keep Flies Out Of Garbage Can? (Easy And Simple) pin2

Sharing is caring!