Combat Trash Can Odors

Spring cleaning is in full swing around here! This post is not going to be an in-depth look at spring cleaning, however. What I plan to do is a series on how to tackle some of the more disgusting jobs. Like trash cans.

First up: trash cans

If you have neglected your trashcans for a while, or if you have a large trashcan for the massive amounts of garbage produced by your family, it may be time for a deep cleaning scrub. Can you imagine anything grosser than climbing headfirst into your trashcan to scrub it? No, me either. So, I set out to find some means of getting to the bottom of the gunk without having to shower as soon as I was done.

1. Let it soak.

Some hot water and detergent may be all you need. But for really tough odors, a bit of bleach can help. I don’t use bleach on everything, but since it’s super-gross, and since I will never eat out of it, the trashcan is a good candidate!

2. Get Scrubbing!

This is no job for your sponge. I can’t even REACH the bottom of my trashcan unless I crawl right in. That ain’t happenin’! Since the trash can and toilet are equally gross, you could use your toilet brush. Another option would be an old mop. Please DON’T use the mop you use for your floor. For extra scrubbing power, shake a bit of baking soda into the trash can first.

Then rinse and dry the trash can thoroughly. For outside trashcans, I just set them upside down in the driveway. They dry pretty quickly that way.

3. Keep it Clean!

Outside trash cans pretty much need cleaning every week. But you can keep your inside trash cans smelling clean and fresh by using natural deodorizers.

  • Baking soda: If your trash is plastic, just sprinkle it right in. For metal trashcans, place a plastic bag in the bottom of the trash can to sprinkle the baking soda in. Baking soda can be corrosive to metal. You can also sprinkle it onto the trash if you had to throw away something particularly stinky.
  • Charcoal: Nothing fancy here. Just grab some leftover coals from your fireplace or briquettes from your last cookout. I just pound them into small granules using a rolling pin and plastic zipper bag.
  • Essential oil spray: Tea tree oil is one of the best oils for killing germs. Mix 1 cup filtered water, 1 tbsp vinegar, and 5-10 drops each of tea tree, eucalyptus, and lemon oil. Spray the inside and outside of the trash can. You can also diffuse this blend throughout your kitchen or bathroom to help kill germs and lingering odors!

I also do not put food scraps into the trashcan. I have a small container that I keep under the sink that seals up completely. This step has really helped cut down on the odors in my kitchen.

Spring’s warmer weather can lead to trash can odors heating up and getting nasty. But you can get it under control with these simple steps. What ways have you found to combat trash can stink?

Thinking Outside The Pot