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Tips for Cleaner Trash Cans

Posted by on September 12th, 2013

This post stinks.  Well, our trash cans do anyway.  Before we wrap up our garage improvement series, I felt I needed to go where no home blogger has gone before and talk about the trash.  There are two types of people out there: those that keep their trash cans in the house and those that keep them in the garage.  We’re the latter.  A couple months ago, Lisa went out to the garage to throw a bag into the trash can and came back in the house shrieking.  Apparently, there were maggots all over the rim of the bin and she wasn’t going anywhere near it.  That got me thinking.  What’s the best way to keep our trash free from odors and insects.  I came up with these tips for cleaner trash cans.

garbage-can-tips

Some of these tips will be supremely obvious, but others you may have ever occurred to you.

1.  Don’t Throw it, Place it.  I have a habit of opening up the trash lid and then heaving my bag full of discarded slop right into the bin without a second thought.  Why that’s a bad idea: If the bag isn’t placed right side up, it can leak out its contents right from the top of the bag into the bin.  That liquid mess then becomes a Golden Corral for a hoard of house flies.  Even if you manage to toss the bag into the bin right side up, you risk tearing the bag open from the impact.

2.  Double Bag the Nasty Stuff.  We have two little kids.  On any given day, we are knee deep in  dirty diapers.  Every week, it seems I need a fork lift to deposit all of our kids’… deposits.. into the garbage can.  Now, if I can smell the odor through the bags, chances are our 6 legged friends can too.  I like to double bag those diaper hauls, but I don’t merely drop one bag into the next, I cover the top of the first bag with the second.  That way, it’s pretty impossible for a fly to make it into the inner bag OR for a … deposit… to make its way out.

3.  Deodorize.  I’m sure somebody somewhere makes a deodorant for exterior trash cans.  A quick and cheap option is to poke some holes in a box of baking soda and duct tape it to the bottom of the bin.  If you don’t tape it, it’ll get tossed with the rest of the trash.

4.  Compost and Dispose.  Since we have a septic system and not a sewer, we don’t have an in-sink garbage disposal.  Consequently, everything that can’t be recycled needs to be tossed in the trash.  That’s a bummer for us, but if you do have a garbage disposal, you can greatly reduce the amount of waste that gets put in the trash.  That’s a good thing for garbage odor.  Additionally, if your township allows it (some actually don’t) you can start a compost bin for food items that are safe to compost.  Lisa and I will be starting a garden sooner or later so we need to get on that.

5.  Wash it.  Maybe once a year, it can’t hurt to hose and scrub down the bin.  I use a scrub brush on an extension rod and clean the whole thing down with liquid dish washing soap and then follow it up with deodorized powder laundry detergent.  It’s still a trash can, but it smells a whole lot better.

Are you an inside the garage person or an outside the garage person?  If you don’t have a garage or are a city dweller, how do you keep it from getting out of hand?

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