7 Easy Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Garbage Cans from Smelling

Have you ever passed by a dirty garbage can that smelled like rotten food? Are there flies or maggots around your trash and you’re not sure why that’s happening? I’ll show you how to keep outdoor garbage cans from smelling and just being a pile of potentially-harmful trash. 

What Causes Your Garbage Can to Smell So Bad?

There are plenty of reasons why garbage can smell really bad.

Food Residue

The majority of odors originating from your rubbish bin have to do with food wastes that begin to decompose, emitting a pungent stench. This is particularly true for seafood and meat scraps, which may benefit from double bag disposal. Not only will this help contain the odor better, but it will also help avoid leaks.

Animal Waste

While we like our furry pals, disposing of their feces is an unpleasant task. This is especially true if you are directly disposing of it in your trash. Dog feces already has a strong odor. However, when combined with waste, the odor becomes considerably worse. At the very least, ensure that you’re using a bag to separate canine feces from the rest of the rubbish.

Biodegradable Items

Other objects that decay also contribute to the odor of a rubbish bin. Grass clippings and leaves will decompose in your rubbish container. To assist in reducing the odor inside your rubbish, leave these forms of yard debris outside the bin before trash pickup day. This keeps the objects from combining with any liquids included within your rubbish, so speeding up the decomposition process.

The Importance of Keeping Your Garbage Can Clean and Odor Free

Cleaning your trash bins on a regular basis is something you want to consider for a variety of reasons.

Gets Rid of Germs

Discarding expired food and diapers can contaminate your trash can with germs and diseases such as E-Coli or Salmonella. Sanitizing your waste containers will eliminate harmful germs, so protecting you and your family.

Keep Wild Animals Away

Animals are frequently drawn to food left in trash cans. Rodents, feral dogs, stray cats, and even raccoons are frequently spotted rooting around in trash containers. They are drawn to the scents and residues of previous trash bags. If these are frequently cleaned out, there is nothing to attract their attention.

Get Rid of Maggots

Have you ever asked yourself why flies are attracted to trash? That’s because of the odors. They also have the tendency to lay eggs in organic material, which is why maggots appear. 

Increase Curb Appeal 

When your garbage bins are neat and clean, taking out the trash becomes less of a burden. Don’t worry about smearing your clothes or coming into contact with any unpleasant odors or critters. Additionally, it enhances the exterior appeal of your home and property.

How to Keep Your Outdoor Garbage Cans from Smelling?

1. Baking Soda Trash Deodorizer Arm & Hammer 84116 42.6 oz Trash and Dumpster Deodorizer Can (2 PACK)

Baking soda is an excellent deodorizer for trash cans. To assist in absorbing foul odors, sprinkle it either directly in the trash or on the bottom of the can when it’s empty. B soda is excellent for cleaning out your garbage can and removing any scents that may have gotten in. This is frequently the most popular product for keeping garbage cans odor-free.

You can add about a quarter of a cup to the trash can in the morning.  By the time the trash is ready to be hauled outside in the evening, no odors will be detected. When it comes time to clean the garbage cans, place a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the can.  This will assist in absorbing moisture and odors until the following week when you clean the cans again.

2. Use a Strong Garbage Bag Hefty Ultra Strong Tall Kitchen Trash Bags, Blackout, Clean Burst, 13 Gallon, 80 Count

A common issue is that your garbage bags are pretty thin and will tear easily. Even when you’re careful with handling them, you might have sharp can lids or objects that pierce through the bag. When this happens, trash is bound to make its way through holes and sticky liquid pour out of the bag and onto the bottom of the bin. This problem is easily solvable if you invest in strong garbage bags. They are thicker and more puncture-resistant.

3. Garbage Bin Liners 95-100 Gallon (50/Count w/Ties, Wholesale) Large Black Heavy Duty Can Liners, Super Value Pack, (Black)

Garbage bin liners are thick, more resistant, and capable of trapping odors inside the trash can, not all over it. The simplest way to prevent your waste from stinking is to use scented rubbish bags. 

Don’t buy the cheapest bags just because you feel like you’re going to discard them. Spend a few extra cents on the bags that will assist in masking any bad scents. Not only will this make your inside garbage can more palatable, but it will also keep your outdoor garbage can from smelling.

4. Absorbing Granules

At the very bottom of your can, place cat litter to keep dampness and trashy scents out of your home. The cat litter absorbs liquids and odors leaving the area around the trash with a fresh scent. When the cat litter becomes soggy, discard it and replenish it. 

There is hardly any difference in the quality between affordable and more expensive cat litters. Save the pricey stuff for the cat and use the less expensive stuff in the bottom of the trash can.

Otherwise, you can use smell-absorbing granules, like these ones:  Stinky Bins - Garbage Odor & Sludge Control - Absorbing Granules & Cherry Scented

5. Compost Separately

The majority of odors emanating from the garbage bin are caused by decomposing food waste. Though meat, seafood, and dirty diapers are the primary offenders, vegetable and fruit scraps are also significant offenders.

To combat the foul odor, separate all “organic” debris into a separate, sealable compost caddy that you may keep on the countertop or beneath the sink. The contents should eventually make their way to your garden, compost heap, or biodegradable recycle bin. Keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent decomposition and bacterial growth, which will ferment the funkiness.

6. Regular Cleaning

Although it may seem self-evident, regular thorough waste pail cleanings are one of the most effective strategies to reduce odors.

Immediately wipe up spills and sticky parts, and give the liner a quick once-over with a sanitizing spray or wipe each time you change it. Weekly, use a long-handled scrub brush and soapy water to remove any unpleasant sludge from the bottom of the can.

7. Charcoal Filter Deodorizer purifyou 100% Natural Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag - Set of 12 Carbon Filters, Deodorizer Bags, Odor Absorber for Diaper Pail, Trash, Shoes, Closets, Cars, Fridge, Pets House, Kitchen, Home

Activated charcoal, which is porous carbon that has been treated with oxygen, is one of the most effective methods for reducing pungent odors. Purchase charcoal-infused deodorizers that attach beneath garbage can lids. They are both safe and effective at naturally neutralizing and absorbing odors associated with food, pets, mildew, and other sources of odor.

How to Deodorize and Clean Out an Outdoor Garbage Can

For cleaning your garbage can, you’ll need:

  • A bucket
  • A scrub brush with a long handle
  • Pressure washer or garden hose
  • An all-purpose cleaner

1. Empty the Can

Make sure that no garbage is left inside the can. Garbage pickup day is the best time to clean your garbage can. Remove any potential debris or food bits and scrapes that might still be in the can.

2. Rinse the Can

Grab a garden hose or a pressure washer to thoroughly clean out your garbage can. To make the process easier, flip the can over to the side and spray the insides. This will prevent dirty water from sitting at the bottom of the can.

3. Scrub the Can

If you have an all-purpose cleaner or some other cleaning solution that needs to be prepared beforehand, now is the time to do so. Always apply the cleaning solution based on the manufacturer’s instructions. If you make the solution in a bucket, you will have to cover all interior and exterior sides of the garbage can with it. 

Use an extendable brush to scrub the interior and exterior of the bin. For solutions mixed in a bucket, dip the brush and swirl it around before you start scrubbing.

4. Rinse Once More

When all sides of the can are clean, grab your pressure washer or hose and begin to rinse the can. The instructions in step number 2 will also apply here.

5. Allow to Dry

Leave the can with the lid open in a well-ventilated place. Allow it to dry for the entire day in the sun or, if temperatures are lower, allow it to dry overnight. 

Can You Hire Someone to Clean Your Garbage Bin?

Yes, there are services available for someone to come and clean your garbage bin. Rates and prices will vary depending on where you live, but there’s likely such a service in your area as well.

These are companies that use professional equipment, such as angle washers and quality cleaning chemicals, to get rid of harmful bacteria and foul garbage can odors. 

Final Thoughts

Once you determine what causes your garbage can to smell awful, you can easily discover how to keep outdoor garbage cans from smelling. There are several methods that can keep odors away from your garbage can, but regular cleaning is still required to prevent nasty smells.

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