How to Clean Your Garbage Can

Learn how to clean your garbage can, so that you can get rid of bacteria and any bad smells. You’ll be glad you did it.

Trash and recycling bin in front of a house and cars.

How to clean your garbage can

Cleaning your trash can isn’t excited or enjoyable. However, it’s something you need to do a few times a year.

Otherwise, you’ll encounter a stinky garbage can that attracts flies, maggots, or rats. Make sure you learn how to do a good job cleaning and deodorizing your trash cans.

The supplies that you’ll need are as follows:

Take the following steps to give your garbage can a deep clean. Commit to regularly cleaning it to avoid any bad smells and build-up.

1. Empty the trash and rinse the can

The first thing that you need to do is empty your trash can. Make sure everything is out. Then give the inside and outside a quick rinse. This will give you a great starting point.

If you have a pressure washer, use it because it’ll make the cleaning process much easier. If not, you can use a garden hose.

2. Prepare and apply cleaner to the garbage can

Now that you have a fresh slate, it’s time to prepare your cleaning solution. In your bucket, pour four cups of white vinegar, half a cup of water, and one-fourth cup of dish soap.

Pour half of your solution into the garbage bin, and you’ll use the rest for the outside.

3. Scrub the inside and outside

Start with the outside of the trash bin. Since you have half of the solution left, dip your scrubber in and scrub the outside. Then, you’ll scrub the inside of the garbage can.

4. Quick rinse

After you’ve scrubbed the entire garbage bin, grab your hose and give it a quick rinse. Now, the stinky smell and grime should be gone.

5. Disinfect

Take your disinfectant spray, and spray down the entire garbage can. Let it sit for five minutes, which allows the disinfectant to kill the germs and dry.

6. Rinse the entire thing

After five minutes, spray the entire trash can again. Let it air dry with the lid open. Depending on the weather and where you keep the garbage can, it can take a few hours. A good way to let it dry is to leave it open overnight.

Frequently asked questions

How often should you clean your garbage can?

At a minimum, you should clean you garbage can twice a year. If you can, it’s ideal to clean it out every three months.

Why do I get maggots in my garbage can?

Garbage cans offer flies warmth, protection, and food, so they can lay their eggs in peace. That’s why you get maggots in your garbage can.

How can I keep my trash can clean?

To keep your trash can clean, make sure you’re sealing your trash bags tightly and not overstuffing them. You’ll also want to ensure that everything you throw in your trash can is contained.

How do you get the smell out of a garbage can?

Sprinkle a half-cup of baking soda on the bottom of your garbage bin to absorb the smell, and add a lemon peel for a fresh citrus scent.


With regular cleaning and proper maintenance, your garbage can will stay fresh for longer. Aim to clean it every three months, or at least twice a year to ensure it doesn’t get a terrible stench.

More resources:

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola and Luna, the destination for home improvement and decor. He launched Nola and Luna to share DIY how-to’s, inspiration, reviews, shopping guides, and expert advice to help you create a beautiful home.

About Nola & Luna

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