Tips For Cleaning Your Garbage Container

Smelly trash cans are the bane of every homeowner. But there are easy ways of keeping garbage containers cleaner, less stinky and freer of germs. Cleaning out a waste container is a dirty job, but it has to be done if you want your home to smell fresh. Built up bacteria in garbage containers contribute to odious odours! Here’s what you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Latex free gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Rags
  • Bleach or ammonia
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Long-handled brush
  • A face mask (if it’s REALLY smelly)
  • Water

You’re all set to clean and disinfect. Here are the steps:

Protect Yourself

Garbage containers are the ideal dwelling place for germs and nasty bacteria. It’s important to wear gloves when cleaning garbage containers, to protect yourself from both the bacteria itself and the products used as disinfectants. If the smell is particularly noxious, wearing a mask and old clothes would be prudent.

Empty Out

Whether you’re cleaning out indoor or outdoor waste containers, removing anything inside is the first order of business. For outdoor cans, check for bugs or rodents that may have been making their homes in the can. Get rid of as much gunk from the can as possible at this point.


If you’re cleaning out an indoor can, rinsing it in the shower or tub is your best option. If you can attach a hose to a hot water source, use that for outdoor bins. If you can’t, it’s better to bring out buckets of hot water than to use cold water. Fill about a quarter of the can or bin with hot water.

Add the Disinfectant

Add between one-third and one-quarter or a cup of bleach or ammonia. NEVER mix the two, that is a recipe for unpleasant and unhealthy fumes. If you aren’t wearing old clothes, be very careful not to get the disinfectant on your clothing, as it will instantly leave an irremovable stain.


Leave the can to soak in the bleach or ammonia water for at least a half hour. If the bin is particularly smelly or dirty you will probably want to leave it even longer, so that the bacterial smell is completely removed and all the dirt and grime is thoroughly loosened.

Scrub time

Use a rag or a scrub brush to clean all the bin’s surfaces, both inside and out, to get rid of any smells and residue. Remember to scrub under the lid and under the rim at the top of the can where bacteria particularly likes to hide. Be sure to do a thorough job, as a small amount of residual bacteria will quickly repopulate the whole can.

Remove water

Dump out the used water and dry the inside and outside of the can or leave it to air dry. The best thing is to place the container in the sun to dry. The sun is a great bacteria and odour destroyer. Make sure the can is completely dry before replacing the lid and liner. Moisture can cause mold which creates a bad smell.

Recent Posts