7 Steps To Sanitizing Large Trash Cans

Emptying the trash may be unappealing but it’s a necessary chore. But, there is an even more abhorred chore, that is, cleaning the garbage bin after you empty it. As long as you take out the trash and keep it out of your sight, you do not bother about cleaning the bin. But, when you overlook this part of waste management, it leads to germ infestation and bad odor.

Most of you have a regular trash emptying routine. In the same way, you should also have a scrubbing routine for your trash cans. This is particularly true for large trash cans. Yet, the process is not as difficult or a dreaded one. The steps below show how it is not a chore you need to avoid anymore. The steps include cleaning and sanitizing, along with trash bin maintenance tips. With this useful guide, you can keep your garbage bins free of germs and smelling fresh.

Sanitizing Steps for Large Trash Cans

Before you start cleaning, make sure you have all the necessary cleaning supplies. Here is a list of the things you will need:

  1. Water
  2. Hose
  3. Scrubbing brush
  4. Chlorine bleach
  5. Vinegar and baking soda (if you are looking for a chemical-free cleaning agent)
  6. Disinfectant spray
  7. Paper towels
  8. Rubber gloves

Step #1

Wear rubber gloves before you begin sanitizing the bin. Gloves keep you safe from the harmful germs present inside the bin. You can wear a face mask for extra safety. This will prevent you from inhaling the noxious odor from rotten debris.

Step #2

After wearing the protective gear, clean out any left-over debris you find inside the bin. Move the bin to a location that has a drain and a water source. Now, use your lawn hose to rinse the waste container.

The strong water jet will remove the stubborn waste that sticks to the walls and bottom of the bin. Use a hose fitted with a spray nozzle to increase the water pressure to loosen the debris.

Once you loosen all the debris particles, empty the water from the can.

Step #3

Now, choose a cleaning solution of your choice. If you want to use an eco-friendly option, vinegar is a good choice. It is non-toxic and works as a deodorizer too.

Mix two cups of vinegar in 4 liters of water. If the stains are difficult to remove, use bleach (1 cup) mixed in water (4 liters). Allow the solution to rest in the bin for about 30 minutes. It will loosen the stubborn debris stains.

While using bleach, do not mix it with any other cleaning solution. This can produce toxic fumes. Most of the dish soap liquids have warnings to not add bleach to them.

Step #4

Use the cleaning brush to scrub the inside of the trash bin. With large trash cans, you need a brush with a long handle. Make sure you reach all the edges, crevices, and the lid. These spaces lodge the most stubborn waste materials. 

Use more amount of cleaning solution for removing the stubborn stains. For extra abrasiveness, use a paste of baking soda and water.

Step #5

Empty the cleaning liquid and give the container a thorough rinse. The next step is cleaning with detergent.

A mix of detergent and cleaning solution can cause toxic fumes. So, make sure you get rid of all the cleaning liquid before you add the detergent.

Step #6

The dishwashing liquid is another good solution. If you find the smell of bleach offending, this is a good alternative to consider. Mix a few drops of the liquid in water and use it in the bin. Use concentrated liquid on the stubborn stains.

Step #7

Give the container another rinse with water. Empty the water fully and dry the can in the open air. Drying in sunlight is good as the heat destroys the residual germs inside the can.

How do you deodorize a trash can?

Even after you do a thorough cleaning of your trash can, the unpleasant odor may linger. Here are a few tips to deodorize your garbage container:

  • Once the bin is dry, use disinfecting spray on the bin. Clorox or Lysol are common disinfectant cleaners in use now. They keep the garbage receptacle free of germs. The wipes help to remove any odor that lingers.
  • Consider using a non-toxic solution if you have pets. Make sure you allow the solution to sit for at least 5 minutes before you air-dry the bin.
  • Use vinegar mixed in hot water for getting rid of the stinky odor. Let the vinegar solution sit for about an hour. Empty the can and allow it to air dry
  • Another way to remove the unpleasant odor is to use baking soda. Apply baking soda on all the inner surfaces of your trash can and let it sit overnight. This will absorb the odor.  Or, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom before you replace the trash bag lining.
  • If you have a metal trash can, the baking soda can corrode the surface. To prevent this, place the baking soda in a coffee filter and tie it.  Place this sachet inside the trash bin. It will absorb the odor but without corroding the surface. But, if you have a galvanized trash can, this is not needed. The baking soda will not affect the galvanized steel.
  • A couple of dryer sheets placed underneath the trash bag will also work. The sheets absorb the odor and keep your trash pleasant smelling. Remember to change the sheets every time you empty the trash.
  • Vanilla extract is another product that can help with your stinky trash can. Splash a few drops of vanilla extract on cotton balls. Once you clean the container after emptying it, place the soaked cotton balls inside it. Let the balls sit overnight. Make sure to keep the bin closed.
  • Cat litter is good to keep the trash smell at bay. It absorbs the moisture and odor from the trash, leaving behind a fresh smell. But, you have to replace the cat litter once a week as it turns damp with moisture. You can find several inexpensive cat litters online and in stores. Use these instead of the expensive cat litters, which you can save for your pet.

How to Prevent Your Garbage Bins from Smelling

Want to take preventive steps so you need not have to face a stinky garbage bin in the future? Here are three important tips you can follow to keep your bins from smelling.

  1. The first tip is to seal the trash bags before you throw them into the bin. Don't throw loose items, such as fast-food containers, into the bin without bagging them.
  2. Have a cleaning routine for your trash cans. For large plastic trash cans, like a 95 gallon trash can, drill small holes in the bottom. This will help to flush the water out while cleaning the container.
  3. Make sure to deodorize the trash container with the deodorizer tips mentioned above.

Final Takeaway

Even if you take out the trash often, your bin tends to get dirty and stinky over time. It may be due to rotting food seeping into the can from the trash bag. Or, it may be due to any other debris that sticks to the walls. Fortunately, you can sanitize your bin and get rid of the smell with the steps and tips given here. These are foolproof methods that keep your trash cans smelling good.