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Homekeeping · Cleaning · Gardening & Outdoors · This Is The Best Fix For Your Stinky Outdoor Trash Cans

This Is The Best Fix For Your Stinky Outdoor Trash Cans

Tired of the nausea-inducing stench wafting out of your trash can? Learn how to eliminate trash can odors here!

I’ve always been a summer girl at heart, but even I can admit there are certain drawbacks to all this hot weather. For one, I absolutely ABHOR taking the trash out to our big outdoor trash cans during the summertime.

Why? Well, when it’s nearly 100°F outside and our big black trash cans are full of garbage, it’s not uncommon to be able to smell all that garbage from several feet away. And the stench is about ten times worse once you open the lid—it’s enough to trigger anyone’s gag reflex!

But luckily for me (and for those of you who also struggle with this problem), there’s a fairly simple solution to the problem of stinky outdoor trash cans. In today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing a simple step-by-step process for how to deodorize your outdoor trash cans quickly and easily!

How To Deodorize A Stinky Outdoor Trash Can

You’ll need:

  • Dish soap
  • Garden hose with sprayer attachment
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Broom, scrubber, or long-handled scrub brush (optional)


Step 1 – Empty It

In order to properly clean your trash can, you’ll need to empty it out entirely. The best way to do this (if you can time it right) is to wait to clean your trash can until right after it’s been emptied out by the garbage truck.

(If you don’t want to wait, you can always just pull any trash out of the can and set it aside somewhere.)

Step 2 – Add Soap

Next, pull your trash can to an area you don’t mind getting wet and soapy, like a driveway, the gutter, or even your lawn. Once you’ve relocated your empty trash can, squirt a bit of dish soap into the bottom of the can.

(Don’t have a good spot outside to wash your trash can? Take it to a self-serve car wash and spray it down there!)

Step 3 – Wash It

Grab your garden hose and sprayer attachment, and turn it on to the most powerful sprayer setting. Spray the inside of the can thoroughly to “pressure wash” it, paying special attention to any visibly grimy spots.

Step 4 – Rinse It

Once you feel like your trash can has gotten a thorough washing, dump out the soapy water. Use the hose again to rinse any remaining suds or grime out of the can, allow it to drip-dry for a few minutes, then smell the trash can again.

If the stink is gone (or mostly gone—it’s a trash can, so it’s probably not going to smell great), you’re done! Let the trash can dry completely before replacing or adding trash to it.

If your trash can still smells, simply proceed to Step 5!

Step 5 – Use Vinegar (Optional)

If washing your trash can wasn’t enough to get rid of the stink, you can use white vinegar to help neutralize those stubborn odors. After rinsing all of the soapy water out of your trash can, pour around two cups of white vinegar into the bottom of the can.

Use an old broom or scrubber to scrub the vinegar around the inside of the can. Allow the vinegar to sit in the bottom of the can for an hour or two, then rinse the can again with your hose.

At this point, the smell should be much less noticeable. Allow your trash can to dry completely before adding trash to it, and you’re done!

3 Bonus Tips For Stinky Trash Cans

  • Don’t store your trash can inside your garage. Keeping your trash cans in an enclosed space will only concentrate the smelly aroma of the garbage inside the case!
  • When choosing an outdoor location for your trash cans, look for a shady spot. Keeping them out of direct sunlight will help control odor levels.
  • Don’t like seeing your trash cans outside? Use an outdoor screen like this one to shield the cans from view!

Do you have any tips or tricks for smelly trash cans?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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