The Best Way to Clean & Deodorize Your Trash Can

Trash can odors can stink up your kitchen in a hurry, so it’s important that you your trash receives routine cleaning. Even if you take out the trash every night, bits of gunk, garbage, and stains have a way of building up in your trash bin, causing your bin to develop a less-than-pleasant smell. A thorough cleaning will get rid of this buildup and prevent foul smells in your kitchen.

Below, the home cleaning experts at Maid Right® break down the best way to clean and deodorize your trash can. We’ve also included tips on masking and neutralizing garbage bin odors between cleans.

How to Clean Your Trash Can

The best way to clean your trash can will depend on your home. If you have a high-pressure hose or power-washer, you’ll want to hose down your trash can outdoors. If your hose doesn’t have much water pressure, or if you live in an apartment, you’ll need to use a bristle brush to properly clean your bin.

How to clean your trash can with a hose or pressure washer (outdoors):

  1. Take your garbage bin outdoors and set it on its side.
  2. Squirt a little bit of dish soap into the bin.
  3. Use a high-pressure hose or a pressure washer to wash out the bin. Make sure to rotate the can as you’re cleaning and spray down the exterior and lid.
  4. Tip the can to drain as much water from it as possible, then towel dry using rags.
  5. Apply disinfectant to kill any lingering bacteria. Allow to evaporate, or rinse clean.

How to clean your trash can with a bristle brush (indoors or outdoors):

  1. Take your trash bin outdoors. If you live in an apartment, use your bathtub.
  2. Squirt a little bit of dish soap into the can. Fill the can about 1/3 full with warm water.
  3. Use a long-handled bristle brush (a clean toilet brush works great) to scrub the interior, exterior, and lid of the bin using the soap water.
  4. Rinse the bin thoroughly and drain. Towel dry using rags.
  5. Apply disinfectant to kill any lingering bacteria. Allow to evaporate, or rinse clean.

For an eco-friendly disinfectant, you can use hydrogen peroxide, which evaporates without any harmful fumes. If you use bleach, you’ll need to rinse your bin again after disinfecting it to get rid of bleach residue.

How to Prevent Trash Can Odors

If you find that trash can odors develop faster than you can clean your trash can, there are a few tricks that you can use to make your trash bin smell better. Below are a few easy ways to safely deodorize your garbage bin or mask garbage bin odors between cleanings.

  • Sprinkle a ½ cup of baking soda on the bottom of the bin to absorb any unpleasant odors.
  • In place of baking soda, you can also use a scoop of cat litter as a deodorizer. Cat litter will also absorb moisture, which prevents bacteria buildup.
  • Dryer sheets are another great odor absorber and can give your trash bin a fresh scent.
  • To mask unpleasant smells, put cotton balls splashed with a few drips of essential oil or vanilla extract in the bottom of the bin.

With regular trash can cleanings and a little help from your deodorizer of choice, you’ll never need to worry about offensive garbage smells in your kitchen again.