Home Cleaning

How to Clean a Smelly Garbage Can – Step by Step Guide

Do you have a trash can at home that smells yucky whenever you open its lid? Do you feel sick whenever you see the trash can containing greasy muck inside? It is obvious that a trash bin cannot smell like flowers. But when it starts affecting your entire house, you need some solution to get rid of the smell. A bad smelling trash can is not just annoying but also attracts mice, rats, flies, raccoons, and bugs. So, how to clean a smelly garbage to keep it odor-free? Let’s learn the steps to clean a smelly garbage can.

Overflowing garbage bin spreading yucky smell.
Overflowing garbage bin spreading yucky smell.

Wear your Gloves to Clean a Smelly Garbage Can

Please remember that a garbage can, in particular the one designated for organic trash (Bioabfälle), tends to be a home for many germs. So, it is always essential to wear the gloves when you clean a smelly garbage can.

Clean a Smelly Garbage Can Outside Your Home

People often clean garbage cans in the bathtub or sinks. If you do so, always remember to sanitize the trash can thoroughly after cleaning it. But, the best thing to do is to clean the smelly garbage can outside your home. You can get rid of the smell before taking it inside.

Clear the Trash Can

Clean the trash cans regularly to avoid germs.
Clean the trash cans regularly to avoid germs.

Use a paper towel or rags to clean a smelly garbage can. Try to remove as much muck and filth possible from the trash can with the paper towel.

Use a Hose and Toilet Brush to Clean a Smelly Garbage Can

A brush, just like the one used for the toilet can help you in cleaning a garbage can. You need to have a dedicated brush for cleaning the toilet, and never use the brush previously used to clean a toiled.

In order to clean a garbage can, you should first hose out the first layer of gunk. Then, use a toilet brush for cleaning trash cans to scrub the layer of grime set at the bottom and sides of the garbage can. The food spills and stains can really set deep in the garbage can. So, scrub with the toilet brush, rinse, and repeat the process if required until the stains are gone.

Get Rid of the Garbage Can Smell Using 3 Ingredients

Vinegar and Hot Water

After cleaning the trash can thoroughly with the brush pour hot water in the can and add 2 cups of vinegar. Again, use the long-handled brush to scrub the vinegar solution at every part of the garbage can and wet the interior surfaces. Leave it for around 30 minutes to sanitize the garbage can. Vinegar has several uses. You may also check a few creative uses of vinegar in one of the articles on our blog.

Baking Soda

You may clean a smelly garbage can using baking soda. For tough odors and germs, sprinkling a 1/4th cup of baking soda directly into the garbage bin can prevent odors. Baking soda absorbs fridge odors. It can also be used to absorb the yucky small from the trash can. You may leave 1 cup of baking soda after washing and drying the can. It absorbs the moisture and smell until the next week cleaning.


Fill 2 gallons of warm water in the trash can and add 1/4th cup of bleach. Leave it for some time as it helps to clean a smelly garbage can tough stains and odors.

Dump the Water Used to Sanitize

A neat and covered trash can for your home.
A neat and covered trash can for your home.

Always remember to discard the water in the drain or gutter. Dumping the vinegar, bleach or baking soda water solution on the plants or in the lawn can spoil it completely.

Air Dry after Rinsing

Let the garbage cans dry out in the sun. It helps to kill any remaining bacteria and germs in the can.

Line the Can Immediately

Line the can as soon as you bring the garbage can inside your home so that no one throws the garbage unknowingly in the unlined trash can. You must use a thick bag, especially for your kitchen garbage disposal.


Follow the above steps to clean a smelly garbage can and keep the germs and infections away from your home. Let your home smell fresh always and remain completely odor-free with the few small steps mentioned above.