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3 Hacks That Prevent or Eliminate Garbage Can Odor Without Fancy Cleaning Products

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If you’re like us and you’re active in the kitchen, chances are you’ve had to deal with odor coming from your kitchen trash cans. A smelly garbage can is caused by different things, but the main is old food. Both your outdoor trash cans and your indoor trash cans often hold the scent from old or rotting foods that have been sitting a bit too long. 

We know that the last thing you want is a neighbor popping over and asking, “What is that smell?” so we’ve got a few helpful tips to help you banish unwelcome odors for good, whether you’re looking to prevent trash can stink or are trying to deodorize a trash can that’s already too far gone.

These easy tricks can be used for both indoor garbage cans and outdoor garbage cans that you might be keeping in your garage. The best part? There are no fancy products involved, and you can use things you’ve probably got lying around the house already! This means no extra spending on your part, plus you get the enjoyment of knowing that your home is being kept squeaky clean and smelling fresh. Check out our hacks for eliminating odor from a garbage can below.

1. Prevent or eliminate odor from your trash can with newspaper.

You can easily make sure that your indoor trash cans never smell with a few simple hacks that call for everyday household items during your next home cleanup. The main thing about preventing trash can odor is using products that help to absorb any unpleasant smells. 

One thing that causes odor to form in a trash can is spillage or moisture. Even when you put a bag in the garbage can, moisture can collect inside and become smelly over time. And let’s be honest, who really wants to spend hours scrubbing the bottom of a stinky trash can? 

To combat this, take some old newspaper to line the bottom of your garbage can underneath the trash bag. Each time you’re ready to take your kitchen trash out, remove the newspaper and discard it with the rest of your garbage. The newspaper will soak up any excess moisture and help to prevent any buildup at the bottom of the can. 

2. Make a DIY trash can odor eliminator with baking soda.

Baking soda is a well-known cleaning agent and odor eliminator, so it makes perfect sense that you’d be able to use it to deodorize a smelly garbage can. Not only that, but you can even use baking soda when it’s time to clean a trash can, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. 

To use baking soda as a DIY trash can odor eliminator, simply sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of your can before adding a new trash bag. If this is a little too messy for your taste, you can make a baking soda sachet instead to rest at the bottom of your can. To do this, simply take a sock, some fabric scraps, or a coffee filter and fill it with baking soda. Tie the top of the sachet with a rubber band, and lay it on the bottom of your garbage can to absorb pesky smells. Keep in mind if you’ve got a metal trash can, you’re going to want to use the sachet trick rather than dumping baking soda at the bottom to prevent corrosion, as baking soda will chemically react with the metal.

If you’ve found yourself in a pickle where your trash smell has already started to linger, you can also use baking soda for damage control. To banish the stench, simply sprinkle some baking soda atop your trash while it’s still in the can. This should help to soak up any unwanted smells within a few hours.

3. Use dryer sheets as a trash can freshener.

That’s right, not only can you use dryer sheets for laundry or in your drawers for a whiff of freshness, but you can also use them to banish garbage can odor. This trick is just as simple as it sounds: Just drop a dryer sheet — both new and old sheets work! — at the bottom of your can before putting in a fresh bag. For an added bonus, drop a bit of lemon or peppermint essential oil on the sheet for a burst of extra freshness.

How to Clean a Garbage Can — Indoor or Outdoor

If you’re finding that you simply can’t get rid of stubborn garbage can stench, it may be time to take extra measures. The good news is, you can still clean a kitchen garbage can or an outdoor garbage can with stuff you’ve already got in the house. For a deep clean that won’t leave any lingering smells, you can either use baking soda to clean your trash can or a mixture of dish soap and warm water. 

To use baking soda, pour 1/4 cup baking soda into your garbage can and let it sit for a few hours to absorb smells. Once you’re ready, take the can outside or somewhere else where it can get wet. To wash the can, lay it down horizontally and use a pressure washer or hose to spray the inside. If there’s extra reside on the can that won’t come off with just water pressure, use gloves and a coarse sponge to scrub the inside of the can.

To use dish soap to clean your trash can, you can add this cleaning step onto the baking soda step or simply do this one on its own. Use about two tablespoons of dish soap mixed with a generous amount of water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the inside of your can so that it is soaked, focusing on areas with stuck-on grime. Let the can soak in the solution for a few minutes, then pressure wash it or scrub it using a coarse sponge. 

Once you’re done cleaning your garbage cans, allow them to dry and use one of the hacks above to prevent future odors from lingering. Taking preventative measures is totally worth it if it means not having to spend hours on your hands and knees every week scrubbing away tough, smelly residue. Happy cleaning!

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