Cleaning Trash Can: Best Ways to Eliminate Odors

Trash cans often get neglected during cleaning sessions, but they can harbor bacteria, and cause odors if not cleaned regularly.

Best Ways to Eliminate Odors When Clean Trash Can 1
Photo: Best Ways to Eliminate Odors When Clean Trash Can

When it’s time for cleaning, sinks, countertops, and toilets usually receive the most attention.

However, it’s important not to overlook neglected items that could benefit from an occasional scrub, such as your trash cans.

Neglecting to clean your home’s trash cans, especially the ones in the kitchen can lead to the spread of bacteria and germs, especially if spoiled food has been discarded.

It can also result in unpleasant odors permeating your home. For outdoor cans, it may even attract unwanted animals to your yard.

Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining a trash can is relatively easy, and you don’t have to clean it as frequently as you might assume.

The material of your trash can influence your cleaning schedule and the appropriate cleaning solution to use.

Cleaning a Trash Can

Best Ways to Eliminate Odors When Clean Trash Can 2
Photo: Cleaning a Trash Can

For most standard trash cans, the cleaning process is relatively simple.

Start by ensuring that the can is empty of any trash. Remove the bag and wipe away any loose debris.

Also, check the inside of the lid for any sticky residue that might be present.

Step 1: Rinse it Out.

On a pleasant day, take the trash can outside and thoroughly rinse it with a hose.

Alternatively, you can place it in the bathtub or shower and use the showerhead or faucet for rinsing. If it’s easier, lay the can on its side to ensure that all angles are covered.

Step 2: Spray and Let it Soak.

Next, apply an effective cleaning solution to the trash can.

You can use a disinfectant or an all-purpose cleaner. To tackle particularly strong odors, add a small amount of baking soda, about half a cup if necessary.

Let the cleaning solution sit on the can for five to ten minutes.

Best Ways to Eliminate Odors When Clean Trash Can 2
Photo: Cleaning a Trash Can

Step 3: Scrub it.

Roll up your sleeves and use a sponge, soft cloth, or a long-handled bristle brush (depending on the size of the trash can) to scrub the interior and remove dirt and grime.

The combination of scrubbing and the cleaning solution will effectively clean the trash can and leave it sparkling.

For cleaning the outside of the trash can, use a microfiber cloth, especially if the can is made of material prone to scratching, like stainless steel.

Step 4: Rinse Again and Dry.

After the cleaning solution and baking soda have done their job, rinse the trash can once again.

Use the hose or showerhead to thoroughly spray the inside and outside of the can, including the lid, to remove any lingering suds or residue.

Next, allow the can to air-dry.

If you need to use it quickly, use paper towels or a towel to wipe it dry completely. Make sure the can is completely dry before putting it in a new bag to prevent moisture buildup and the potential growth of mold and mildew.

As an additional step, place a few new garbage bags at the bottom of the can for easy and quick replacement between cleanings.

How frequently you should clean your trash can

Best Ways to Eliminate Odors When Clean Trash Can 3
Photo: How frequently you should clean your trash can

How frequently you should clean your trash can depends on its usage and location.

According to Rapinchuk, outdoor trash cans that are regularly filled and taken to the curb should be cleaned seasonally and at least twice a year to prevent insects, bacteria, and unpleasant odors.

Kitchen garbage cans, which are located in high-traffic areas of the house, would benefit from a quarterly cleaning or, at the very least, twice a year.

Additionally, it’s recommended to wipe the lid weekly or as needed to keep it clean.

As for indoor trash cans that are not used as frequently, Rapinchuk suggests cleaning them on an as-needed basis.

Assess the condition of the can and clean it when necessary.

By considering the usage and location of your trash can, you can determine the appropriate frequency for cleaning to maintain cleanliness, hygiene, and odor control.

Get Rid of Trash Can Odors

Best Ways to Eliminate Odors When Clean Trash Can 4
Photo: Get Rid of Trash Can Odors

According to Rapinchuk, the best way to eliminate trash can odors is by keeping the can clean.

Make it a regular part of your cleaning routine to prevent odors from building up. However, if you need a quick solution to deodorize the trash can between cleanings, baking soda can be very useful.

To use baking soda for deodorizing, simply sprinkle a small amount at the bottom of the trash can.

The baking soda will help absorb any lingering odors. When you’re ready to clean the trash can, Rapinchuk suggests adding a squirt of Dish Soap and washing it either in a utility sink or outside with a hose.

This will help thoroughly remove any odors and keep the trash can smelling fresh.

By incorporating regular cleaning and using baking soda as a deodorizer, you can effectively eliminate unpleasant odors from your trash can.

*The information is for reference only.