If you’ve cleaned your house and taken out the trash, but there’s still a lingering odor, it’s probably your trash can. If you’ve never cleaned your trash can or it’s been a while, it’s time to give it a good scrub. Review these tips on how to wash your indoor and outdoor trash containers.
Gather your cleaning supplies
Before you grab your gloves, consider what type of cleaning agents you want to use. If you prefer to be chemical free, vinegar and water can do the trick. Simply mix vinegar and hot water and scrub. If you’re OK with using chemicals, or want a fragrance, use bleach, or another type of scented disinfectant like Lysol, a laundry detergent or liquid dish soap and water. If using bleach, be sure the soap is compatible to avoid caustic fumes that cause burning eyes and coughing. Mix the bleach or disinfectant with soap and water and scrub. “If you’ve got ketchup and mustard and different things that are stuck on and dried, you might want to leave the bleach on for a while, especially if it’s [the trash can] white,” says Lorena Campbell, owner of Loving Care Cleaning & Referral Service, Memphis, Tennessee. “If it’s stainless steel, then you want to use your stainless steel cleaner.”
A good scrubbing is all your trash can needs to make it clean and odor free.
Yusuf Mehmetoglu of Maid Bright of Sterling, Virginia, suggests washing the garbage cans outdoors or in the bathtub, then air or towel dry.
Eliminate the stinky smell
Just because the can is clean, doesn’t mean it’s free of lingering odors.
“After washing the garbage cans, spray with vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide,” Mehmetoglu says. “Then, wash this solution out and air dry or pat dry with towels. This will not only eliminate odors, but will disinfect your garbage can at the same time.”
While there’s no hard timeline for how often you need to clean your garbage cans, you may want to make it part of your regular cleaning schedule, Campbell says. Both Campbell and Mehmetoglu suggest sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the trash can between cleanings to help absorb odors.