Honestly, I will do anything to avoid smelling the garbage. Unfortunately for us, our two-year-old child has an affinity for opening and closing the bin – so lately, between keeping up with the house, work and all the other things on our plate, I’ve been researching ways to deal with the annoying little problems of trash can odors.
Here’s the thing, I’ve tried it all – so if you’re motivated to get rid of that stink once and for all, try one of these trash can deodorizers!
Deep Clean Your Garbage Can
The most effective trash can deodorizer is a basic deep clean of your trash bin. I don’t mean taking it out to the curb once a week, I mean deep cleaning the bin itself. This means getting rid of all the build-up of gunk and grime that’s accumulated over time.
If you don’t clean your garbage can regularly, then all sorts of bacteria and mold can start to grow – and that’s what causes that nasty, lingering smell.
(If you’re really interested in the reason why your garbage smells that way and the science behind the smells – check out The Chemistry Behind the Smell of Garbage.)
How to Clean a Garbage Can Outdoors
Anytime I can accomplish something by spraying it down outside, that’s the first route I will take. There is nothing more satisfying than systematically spraying off dirt and grime with a hose.
To deep clean your garbage can outside, you’ll need to:
- Remove the garbage bag and any contents from the bin.
- Take the bin outside and hose it down, making sure to get rid of any stuck on food or residue.
- If there are any stubborn stains, you can scrub them with a bristle brush and some dish soap.
- Once you’re finished scrubbing, rinse the bin out completely and allow it to air dry in the sun.
How to Clean a Garbage Can Indoors
If it’s too cold to take your garbage can outside, or you just don’t have the time or don’t want to get wet, then you can clean it indoors.
- Remove the garbage bag and any contents from the bin.
- Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the bottom of the can.
- Using a dry cloth, scrub the baking soda into the sides of the garbage can, making sure to get rid of any stuck on food or residue.
- Wipe the can clean with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry.
- Once it’s dry, add a fresh garbage bag and you’re all set!
The Best Trash Can Deodorizers
Once you’ve deep cleaned your garbage can, it’s time to take preventative measures so that the stink doesn’t come back. Here are the effective trash can deodorizers I’ve tried:
The most tried and true method that your mother taught you! Add a layer of baking soda to the bottom of the garbage can before inserting a new trash liner. Baking soda is 20 times more effective at trapping acids (aka smelly molecules) than bases (source: Washington Post). A fresh layer of baking soda at the bottom of your clean trash can will do wonders for minimizing odors!
We’re addicted to coffee in our household, so this was an easy one for us to try. Simply add a layer of dry coffee grounds to the bottom of the can before each new bag. Similar to baking soda, dry coffee grounds help to absorb pungent odors in a trash can.
Add a few dry lemon peels to the bottom of the garbage can before inserting a trash liner. Don’t be stingy with this method! I found that you will need to use a lot of lemon peels in order to make a noticeable impact on odors. But if you’re like me and cook with lemons regularly, it can be a great way to repurpose the peels and minimize waste!
Soak a few cotton balls in your favorite essential oil and place them in the bottom of the garbage can. This will help to freshen the air and eliminate odors. Similar to the incense sticks in bathrooms – people, this one works!
Cut a charcoal filter into smaller pieces and place them in the bottom of the garbage can. I experienced mixed results but others swear by this method. If you have charcoal filters in your house already it’s worth a try!
Instead of spending extra on scented trash bags, try this method first. Add a dryer sheet to the bottom of the garbage can before each new bag. It’s an easy way to keep your garbage can smelling fresh like spring!
I came across the cat litter method in my quest to eliminate odors. I mean, if it works for minimizing the scent of cat pee, it has to work for trash cans too! If you go this route, add a layer of cat litter to the bottom of the garbage can before each new bag. This will help to absorb any bad odors.
How to Prevent Trash Can Odor
Here are a few simple habits to put in place to prevent odors from happening altogether. With these good habits in place, you might not even need to try one of the trash can deodorizers above!
If you hate bad smelling garbage, composting your food waste is actually the smartest way to get rid of smells. To avoid mixing food scraps and your other rubbish, create a system for composting scraps in your kitchen. Store food scraps in a container in your fridge or freezer and commit to taking them to a compost bin or compost center in your area once a week. This will cut down on the amount of smelly garbage that ends up in your can.
Take Out the Trash Regularly
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often people forget. If you take the trash out on a regular basis, there will be less opportunities for lingering smells to develop. A simple way we do this in our household is we have a much smaller trash can than normal. This way, it fills up faster and we’re less likely to forget about it.
Clean the Lid
When was the last time you cleaned your garbage can lid? If you can’t remember, then it’s probably been too long. The lid is as important as the bin itself when it comes to preventing odors. Anytime you take the trash out, make sure to wipe down the lid with a cleaning solution.
Keep the Lid Closed
This should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Keeping the lid closed will help to prevent any odors from escaping. If you have a foot pedal garbage can, make sure that it’s working properly.
Keep it Clean
Wash spills, sticky spots, and deep clean your trash can regularly. The cleaner you keep your garbage can, the less likely it is to stink.
These are just a few tips that have helped me to keep my garbage can smelling fresh. I hope they can help you to get rid of your trash can odors once and for all! If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments below!