Odor control your cans!

May 31, 2022

Due to the heat of the summer months, it can be challenging to keep curbside carts, trash cans, and bins from giving off unpleasant odors. Trash cans see their share of gunk and grime. Plus, many of the things we throw away can be downright stinky, especially when met with the sun’s rays, high humidity, and summer temperatures.

It’s no wonder your containers might greet you with a putrid smell each time you open the lid. Luckily, there are some steps that you can take to reduce and control odors.

Tips for odor-free bins

1. When it’s not collection day, store your containers in a cool, shaded area or inside a garage or shed to avoid the sun’s heat. If possible, place your containers at the curb early on collection day and take them in as soon as possible after collection so that they don’t sit in the hot sun for long periods of time.

2. Bag food and yard waste in your trashcan or cart. Odors often come from bacteria that thrive in damp environments. To avoid excess moisture, drain off any liquids from food waste before placing it into the trash bag. Empty all containers before placing them into a recycling bin or cart.

3. To keep moist waste from sticking to the bottom of your container, try placing dry items, such as a few sheets of newspaper or cardboard, underneath moist items, like grass clippings.

4. Sprinkle about a quarter of a cup of baking soda into the bottom of each container (or even into individual trash bags) to help absorb odors.

How to clean your containers

5. Wash your containers by following these steps.

  • Place your containers over an absorbent surface, such as your yard, so that any rinse water will soak into the ground instead of running off.
  • If you just want to give the containers a quick clean, squirt a bit of dish soap inside. For more serious odors, pour two to three cups of white vinegar into each container.
  • Attach an automatic shut-off spray nozzle to your hose. For best results, you want to use a small amount of water at high pressure. Spray the inside walls and then the bottom of the cart.
  • Let the soapy water or vinegar/water solution soak in the bottom of the containers for an hour or so.
  • Tip each container over and dump the solution onto the ground. Spray the insides of the container thoroughly to rinse them one more time and then turn them upside-down to drain for a few minutes.
  • Turn the containers right-side up. Leave them in the sun with the lid open to dry. The sun will not only finish drying out the containers but will also kill off those last few germs and smells.

6. If you still have unpleasant odors, repeat the wash process using a cup of baking soda in each container instead of dish soap or vinegar.

Photo credit: Ljupco | iStock | Getty Images Plus