Odor Removal

How to Get Rid of Trash Can Smell

In “Sesame Street,” trash is Oscar the Grouch’s favorite thing in the world. Oscar spent all of his time in his trash can with all sorts of junk, while he pretty much despises almost everyone in the neighborhood. It may be a good thing that Oscar has no nose, because if he did, he would be absolutely repulsed by the smell of the trash he’s living in.

Trash cans and rubbish bins are among the most useful things you have at home, but they can also be very smelly and disgusting. Trash cans store just about every piece of rubbish you have in your home, from the smallest ball of lint to an empty pizza box. If you don’t dispose of your trash properly, your trash cans will smell like every bit of garbage you throw in them. Not only will your trash can get smelly, but the odor will spread to your home or office. Here are some ways to get rid of the nasty odor from your trash can.

You Smell What You Put In

Remember that there’s no such thing as “the smell of trash.” The odors from your trash can are a foul mixture of things you throw away every day. Whatever you throw into your trash can will combine with other odors and smells of other things you throw into it. Over time, the smell of accumulated and unsegregated garbage will reek and make everything in your home smell like a dump.

Segregate

One of the best things you can do to keep your trash cans and rubbish bins from smelling like an open landfill is to segregate your garbage. If you keep all your household waste piled up in just one trash can, the odors will mingle and stink to high heavens. Plastic trash cans are cheap, and you can make trash cans and rubbish bins out of old cans and even woven baskets.

You should have at least four trash cans outside your home, each for the following purposes:

  • Waste paper, cardboard, and other paper products. You can store office paper, product packaging, and old files in this trash can. You can take these products to a recycling center to be processed into recycled paper.
  • Recyclable and non-biodegradable waste. Recycling facilities need your plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other non-biodegradable household waste items. You can even recycle old products on your own.
  • Kitchen waste, leftover food, and other biodegradable waste. Rotting food, vegetable peelings, and other kitchen waste should not be mixed with other waste. You can put these waste products to good use by turning them to compost, and use the resulting product as fertilizer or mulch.
  • Garbage. Whatever can’t be recycled or composted can go in this can.

Empty and Wash

Many people forget that even trash cans need a good cleaning every now and then. Dirty trash cans are coated with a thick, disgusting, slimy ooze that has a very unappealing and nauseating odor. If you don’t clean your trash cans, the slime will build up and add to the funky odors that come from your garbage.

As soon as you empty your trash can for the garbage collectors or out to the dumpster, give it a good hose-down with extra strength soap and water. The task involves a lot of elbow grease, and it’s not the cleanest job in the world, but it’s completely necessary. Do this every time you throw out the trash.

It also helps to line your trash can with a thick garbage bag to prevent the slimy ooze from forming on the sides of the can. Make sure the bag does not leak, and that you don’t dump anything wet into the bag.

Deodorize

There are times that you have to put something really smelly and stinky into your trash can, like a soiled diaper or spoiled food. There are many things that you can do to keep the odor from stinking up your home. Here are some ordinary household ingredients that you can use to deodorize your trash can:

  • Baking soda. Plain old baking soda is a do-it-all wonder for your home. It’s excellent at absorbing odors, whether it’s from refrigerators or freezers or even trash cans. If your trash cans are made from plastic, you can simply put a generous amount of baking soda inside the can and leave it there overnight. If your trash can is made of metal, you need to put the baking soda inside a suitable container to prevent the chemical from corroding the material.
  • Charcoal. Charcoal is an excellent deodorizer that has proven odor-filtering qualities. Charcoal is used in everything, from expensive cigarette filters to air purifying units. You don’t need to buy activated charcoal; you can simply buy a bag of charcoal, pulverize it a bit with a broomstick or a pick handle, and dump the charcoal into the trash can. Let the charcoal sit overnight to remove the odors.
  • Vanilla extract. The powerful scent of vanilla extract can mask the odor of stinky rubbish you throw into the trash can. Place a small amount of vanilla extract on a couple of cotton balls, and let them stay overnight in the trash can. Vanilla extract is expensive, so do not dump the precious liquid into the trash can.
  • Citrus peels. The zest and pith of oranges, lemons, or limes are very effective at masking odors from trash cans and rubbish bins. Make sure that you use dry peels.
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves. Coffee grounds and tea leaves are used extensively by coffee shops to deodorize ash trays in smoking areas. You can leave some coffee grounds or tea bags overnight to remove and mask the foul odors from your trash can. Don’t use instant coffee; as much as possible, use fresh coffee grounds.

Trash cans need not smell like something you and your neighbors will absolutely despise. Whether you love trash as much as Oscar the Grouch, or hate it as much as Oscar hates people on his street, a clean-smelling trash can is very important for everyone’s health and well-being.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of trash can smell.

About the author

Nicole Harding

2 Comments

  • I just discovered this site and love the articles. Frankly, I don’t generally talk up a product but I’ve become a fan of activated carbon. This article mentions charcoal. I’ve experimented with this but it just doesn’t work quite as well as special activated carbon. So, I still recommend it and it’s not expensive. I found a company that sells a product called FRIDGE IT which I suppose is made for refrigerators (which by the way I use and love) but also have been just placing one of these little odor absorbers clipped right onto the trash bin inside my house and also a couple on larger bin in garage.
    They work great and well worth getting. I just go on line to the company web site and purchase on line.

  • Thanks for the insight. I live in a condo and have been dealing with a smelly kitchen trash can. I’ll try some of these helpful tips and see the results! Thanks again for the info!

Leave a Comment